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Why Hotels Should Take a Cue From Marrakech's Riad Joya

January 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM | by | ()

Mint tea and fresh Moroccan pastries: now that's a check-in greeting

Though London's winter has been comparatively mild to previous chillblain-inducing, blustering holiday seasons of years prior, us local Hotel Chatter-ers found ourselves craving a mid-season warm weather getaway nonetheless. Marrakech, Morocco won out over other similarly balmy cities for its proximity to the U.K. capital (it's just a three hour flight away) and the promise of tangines peppered with Ras el Hanout and preserved lemons.

We booked a couple of hotels—or rather, one riad and one resort—during our four day sojourn, the first of which was Riad Joya, a luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of the Medina. In the middle of donkey-led carts and scooters zooming by and souk proprietors yelling out their well-honed sales pitches, Riad Joya lies tucked away behind a few quiet alleyways.

Who needs a minibar when you have fresh dates and fruit from the Jemaa el-Fnaa?

We'll have a full report on the Riad tomorrow, but first, a teaser. If there's one thing we'll take away from our first hotel experience in Morocco, it's the memory of the best service we've ever experienced, period. (And this from a hotel we chose nearly at random, under the pressure of last-minute planning.) Yes, that includes time spent at many a four- and five-star resort, which don't even come close to the warmth we felt in Marrakech.

Imagine being greeted with warm hand towels doused in orange blossom water, hot mint tea and Moroccan pastries, and having fresh roses and candles lit when you return to your room after a day of hard core haggling—and that's not even the half of it. Service with a smile is an understatement.

We'll keep you hanging for now, but keep dreaming of waterfall showers, a room stocked with dates instead of stale chips, and personal butlers: it's all to come during our Marrakech roundup this week. Take note, Four Seasons.

[Photo: Heidi Atwal for Hotel Chatter]

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