Travellers searching for an authentic experience when visiting Morocco need look no further than Luxury Riads, an online booking service offering luxury accommodations and excursions. Owner Hicham Elmahrab, an energetic 30-something, has turned his love of Morocco into a unique business venture that is capturing the attention of travelers worldwide.
Rather than holing up in international chain hotels that tend to look the same whether one is staying in Berlin, Orlando or Istanbul, astute travelers are fancying more traditional adventures. What could be better than booking a grand room in a lavish riad in Marrakech, Casablanca or Fez? Generally the former homes of wealthy merchants, riads are built around a central courtyard or three depending on the size of the riad. Appointed with intricate stucco work, stunning local tiles, elaborate iron grills and gurgling fountains set amid breathtaking garden foliage, riads are a treasure trove for guests wishing to take the road less travelled. Well-appointed guest rooms and comfortable nooks make these Marrakech riads and Fez riads desirable to guests who have always longed to spend a night in a room reminiscent of Granada’s Alhambra.
Mr. Elmahrab’s recommended Moroccan riads and hotels employ staff dedicated to providing only the finest in service and accommodations in Morocco, and all riads and hotels are personally reviewed. Many of these select lodgings come with the added comforts of swimming pools, hammams, spa services and excellent restaurants serving local specialties. Toss in a rooftop terrace offering a panorama over the old walled city or sea and you have digs fit for a sultan.
In addition to accommodations, Luxury Riads can arrange excursions with local English speaking guides. A trip to Essaouira may include a visit to a women’s cooperative manufacturing argan oil products, as well as a historical narrative and tips on where to eat the best grilled fish. Travelers may enjoy the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in the Ourika valley or visit the souks (markets) in Fez and Marrakech where locals gather and merchants peddle their wares. Such jaunts make the Moroccan culture accessible and increase a traveler’s appreciation of the country.
An entrepreneur with a big heart and the knack of being in the right place at the right time, Mr. Elmahrab, has even rescued travelers in distress. Once he transported a guest to hospital who required emergency surgery, and stayed on to act as a translator. Another time he discreetly arranged accommodation for a patron of another hotel who found himself the unwitting victim of a booking scam. No matter the situation, Mr. Elmahrab exhibits an unexpected level of fairness and sensitivity. In addition to managing Riad Kasbah, he is quickly gaining a reputation as the “go-to” man on the streets of his home city, Marrakech.
Travelers can book hotels directly through the Luxury Riads website (www.luxury-riads.com) or work with reservation specialists to design an entire Moroccan trip replete with accommodations and excursions. Luxury Riads also provides assistance with car rentals and airport transfers. With such personal attention and service, travelers may well find themselves wanting to spend a thousand and one nights in Morocco.
Luxury Riads: www.luxury-riads.com
Riad Kasbah: www.luxury-riads.com/riad-kasbah-marrakech-193.html
Marrakech riads: www.luxury-riads.com/marrakech-hotels-1.html
Fez Riads: www.luxury-riads.com/fez-hotels-11.html