Magical Morocco 2012
May 8-17th, 2012
 


May 7th – 9th

I left for London on May 6th to arrive May 7th and took a day room at a most wonderful Hilton Hotel, the Hilton Terminal 4 Hotel. I was arriving at Terminal 4 so this could not have been easier. Off the plane, through immigration – which by the way was a breeze – then to my luggage and off to the hotel. A mere six minute walk and I was at reception where I was checked in by the loveliest young lady, upgraded to a club floor room, and after storing my Chelsea Flower Show Tour bags, I was headed to my room. I wrote a TripAdvisor review on this hotel as well as I was most impressed with the ambiance of the hotel. It didn’t look at all like an airport hotel…very posh and modern as you can see by my photos. A lovely surprise awaited me as well. The rooms are not that big but they have everything you could want for a longer stay. This is one of the many reasons that I always try and choose a Hilton Hotel. It is a bit like coming home. I arrived at 7:20 a.m. and left the hotel around 4 pm for my Air Maroc flight to Casablanca. I was arriving a day early just to make sure all was well when the guests started arriving. One had arrived from Turkey prior to this tour..most were coming in May 8th. It was a bit of a challenge for a few guests as four missed flights and two of them didn’t arrive until the 9th so met us at the Mosque.…but in the end we all arrived and our little group was so ready to enjoy Magical Morocco.

Morocco, with its palaces and monuments, its history and passions, is a country you will fall in love with.

In the cities of Rabat and Casablanca, French post-colonial influence is dominant. Rabat is also markedly modern in its European grid, but also contains some of the finest historical monuments in Morocco dating from the Almohad and Merinid dynasties. Don’t picture some exotic destination as both towns were
developed by the French and look very much like any other modern European city. In fact, Casablanca’s main attraction is its unique colonial landmarks in the city center, a French idealization of traditional Moroccan style. If you haven’t seen the movie ‘Casablanca’ in a while, now would be a good time to refresh yourself. Warner Brothers originally wanted Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan to star in a medium budget picture called "Everybody Goes to Rick's?" Deciding instead to capitalize on the rising popularity of Humphrey Bogart, they rethought the project, gave him a new leading lady, Ingrid Bergman, and renamed the movie ‘Casablanca’. And remember that part about the ‘medium budget? It wasn’t even filmed in Casablanca!

Since its foundation in the 8th century by Moulay Ismail, Fes or Fez as it is also known has been the seat of government of the great dynasties of the Merenids, Wattasids and Alaouites. As the imperial capital for close to ten centuries of the Moroccan empire, Fes was the major intellectual and cultural center of the Islamic world, rivaling the greatest cities in Europe.

Today, Fes is unique not only in Morocco but in the wider world, in preserving the external appearance and way of life of its distant medieval past. It is a city that seems suspended between the middle ages and the modern world. In terms of historical monuments, mosques and madrassas, Fes has as much as Marrakech, Meknes and other imperial cities put together.

Marrakech, Morocco’s most popular tourist destination holds an enduring fantasy and immediate excitement for visitors. Even those tourists who return many times will always find it a compelling place with a delirious imagination, a thousand stories to tell, an enchanted carnival city that opens a door to a past that has lasted thousands of years and shows no signs of stopping. The setting of Marrakech itself is magnificent: the capital of the South with close proximity to the Sahara, it is dominated by the peaks of the magnificent Atlas Mountains. The forbidding appearance of the peaks, hazy in the scorching heat of summer, make for an amazing view behind the city’s palmery in winter: shimmering white with snow!


Tuesday 08 May 2012: Arrival Day into Casablanca
Ideally located in the heart of Casablanca, the Kenzi Tower Hotel offers an overwhelming view over the city, the ocean, the Hassan II Mosque and the port. All rooms are furnished with luxury fabrics. Guests have free access to the hot tub, hammams and indoor heated swimming pool. See my review of this hotel on Tripadvisor!
http://www.kenzi-hotels.com/eng/hotels/casa/tower-hotel.html


Wednesday 09 May 2012: CASABLANCA-RABAT

After a leisurely breakfast we depart to Rabat. On the way there we will visit the Hassan II Mosque.

A breathtaking landmark of Casablanca with its tallest minaret at 210m, its architecture takes its majestic inspiration from Arabic and Islamic traditions but boldly surpasses them. In size: it occupies an esplanade covering 2 hectares that can receive up to 105,000 faithful for prayers 5 times a day. In technology: the 1,100 ton cedar ceiling in the immense prayer room slides back and forth in 5 minutes! In visibility: from the top of the minaret, a laser beam indicates the direction of Mecca. It is also the only mosque in the country to be open to non-Muslims. Hassan II Mosque; is the third largest religious monument in the world. Completed in 1993, this ornate modern marvel is the work of over 10,000 artisans and craftsmen whose talents are evident in the intricate decorations in the 33,000 sq metres of carved cedar from the Atlas Mountains and embellishments like the Murano glass chandeliers. There are 10,000 sq. metres of mosaics. The ablution hall has 41 fountains made with marble from either here in Morocco or Italy. It was designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau and took 6 years to build. Its most distinctive features are a glass floor [for royal use and off limits to visitors] built out over the Atlantic that allows worshippers to see the ocean as they kneel to pray and a sliding ceiling opened on special occasions to grant visions of the sky above as well. This building is so big, it must be stood in to be appreciated. You feel very tiny here. 20,000 men can pray on the main floor with the hanging mezzanine above holding 5,000 women. A further 80,000 can pray outside.

Visit of a Catholic Church with the 80 tons of Stained Glass and a bit of a tour in Casablanca.

Lunch at Le Pilotis this place is remarkable…the view alone is worth the visit.


and continue for approx. one hour drive to Rabat.

Two nights at Sofitel Jardins Des Roses


The Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses Hotel occupies a majestic position in the heart of the capital city Rabat, close to the Royal Palace and Mausoleum of Mohammed V. Completely renovated, its contemporary design blends with the best in Moroccan architecture. This 5-star luxury hotel is set amongst a 17-acre garden. A real palace with an international reputation, its history is closely tied to the great conferences and international events that have taken place within the kingdom. The hotel's exclusive features are its Andalusian gardens, orange grove, outdoor swimming pool and golf range, making this palace an oasis of relaxation and pleasure. Its fitness center is one of the best in the kingdom. See my review on TripAdvisor!
http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-6813-sofitel-rabat-jardin-des-roses/room.shtml

This evening we had dinner at Dinarjat which was delicious!

 
 

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row