We loved Morocco. Surprised by how green and cool it was. I guess I was expecting sand right up to the ocean.
Driver – Ryad was great. Not afraid to discuss issues confronting the country. Gave us a real feeling for the people of Morocco. He was always there when he said he would be. Always polite and always very helpful. Also, his English was very good. No problem communicating. Also, the van was very comfortable and a good way to see the country.
Hotels – Far and away my favorite was the La Maison Arabe in Marrakech. The rooms and common areas were spectacular and the service was unbelievable. Nicest hotel I have ever stayed in.
We loved Palais Faraj in Fez. It was hard to believe that it was recently built with all of the interesting touches.
We also loved the Berbere Palace. Not quite the Palais Faraj, but very nice.
Hotel Le Doge was different than the others, but we liked it a lot also. Great service. We had our first hammam there.
The one hotel that I didn’t think was up to par with the others was Palais Masandoia. Not bad – just not up to the standard of the others. Virtually no other guests and we only saw 2 employees.
First day in Casablanca – Had a great dinner at a French restaurant on the same block around two corners from Le Doge. I highly recommend it.
Day 1 (of the tour) – Raining. Went to the Hassan II mosque. That was quite a beautiful building. Ate at Le Doge. Very good food.
Day 2 – Rabat and on to Fes. Don’t remember the dinner.
Day 3 – The tour of the medina and several co-ops was probably the highlight of the whole tour. Unbelievable! Unlike anything I have experienced. We liked our guide, Kleffa (sp?) a lot. Dinner that night was a little disappointing. Not at the hotel.
Day 4 – Nice driving tour of Volubilis (interesting) and Meknes 12,000 horse stables for the crazy king. Don’t remember dinner.
Day 5 – over the Mid-Atlas. I knew the Atlas Mountains were in Morocco, but it was still surprising to see snow in Morocco (as well as macaques on the road.) Dinner at the Palais Masandoia.
Day 6 – Tour with Heshom in Rissani. He was great. Interesting lunch – Berber pizza. Then out to the Sahara. Riding camels. Libby and Aaron snowboarded the dunes. Then dinner (forgettable) and a sandstorm raging over night. The place was in shambles the next morning. Great experience.
Day 7 – The trip to Ouarzazate was interesting and beautiful. Walked in the Todra Gorges. Dinner was very good.
Day 8 – Trip over the High Atlas. Once again, surprising terrain. Some of it much like where we live (Colorado.) The stop at the movie studio (I think) could be skipped. Lunch was very good pizza at the top of the pass. Down to Marrakech and La Maison Arabe. Marrakech could be in Europe. Very cosmopolitan.
Day 9 – Our guide (can’t recall his name) was good. Knowledgeable, if not the most outgoing sort. Food at La Maison Arabe was very good.
Day 10 – Back to Casablanca and Hotel Le Doge.
One of the things that puzzled us the whole time was tipping. I was never sure whether we were supposed to tip the bellmen that helped with our bags. You should clarify that. Also, in several (if not most) restaurants there was a service charge, usually 10%. When we asked, some of the waiters said they did get that amount and several said they didn’t. It would be nice if you could figure that out and help future travelers with this. Not an issue for guides and driver.
I would strongly recommend Morocco Tours and the tour itself to travelers who would like to get a good view of a country with a significantly different culture. The absolute monarchy coupled with the Muslim religion, although seemingly pretty benign, is still very different than I am used to. That, along with the beautiful and interesting landscapes, buildings and historic locations make Morocco a great place to explore.
March of 2018