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A luxury boutique hotel in the heart of ancient Marrakech

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  • January 2013

    Marrakech Magic
    "... I have never taken 15 minutes to cross a street before. Not even in New York. But early evening on the dusty Avenue Echouhahada en route to the main square in Marrakech and I was stumped for a full quarter of an hour. Cars, more motorcycles than I’ve ever seen, donkeys, dogs, drinks carts, you name it – all kept me from exploring this wonderful city no further. Eventually I decided on that old adage ‘follow a local’. The family of five I chose didn’t turn a hair as I practically grabbed their shirt tails, but it worked! But my travails were not over. Early evening is when everyone comes out in Marrakech – especially in the blistering heat of July when we were there – and to stroll the shopping areas before nightfall and visit the souks is no easy feat with the large crowds. But, like everything in this quirky city, when you get used to it, it’s fun. The first 24 hours in Marrakech are most certainly a culture shock. It’s everything you’ve ever heard, and more – loud, dusty, busy, smelly, colourful, a mishmash of cultures and a hotchpotch of life. If you like people watching there’s plenty of them to eye, from the residents to the tourists who flock from all corners of the world. It’s not just in your face, Marrakech assaults your ears, nose, mouth and more. I was hesitant – did I like this? But after 24 hours I was a convert to this crazy place. The secret to a good time in Marrakech is, I believe, having an oasis of calm to retreat to – so ensure you book your accommodation accordingly. Les Borjs de la Kasbah is a riad (a traditional Moroccan multistorey house with an interior garden or courtyard) and had been recommended to us – about a 20 minute walk to the square and just inside the old medina (city) walls in the Kasbah quarter. It’s peace personified. From the moment you walk through the heavy front doors which shut out the noise and dust you start to relax. Trickling water from the courtyard’s fountain and the tweet of birds are the only noises here as the efficient staff drift by with fresh iced orange juice, mint tea and deliciously dainty Moroccan cakes and pastries to serve to you.(But of course you can tweet, too, with wi fi available in communal areas.) Les Borjs is a boutiquestyle hotel which has been period of four years from a complex of six town houses and one riad. The bedrooms are typical Moroccan style with dark wood furniture and tiled floors and the dining room is divided into an open area and an inside for whenever the weather turns (not often I assure you). And Les Borjs has the prettiest swimming pool to cool off in after a hot day out in the streets or to lounge around for a day off from sightseeing – and there’s a snack bar too. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff. The spa is a haven, too, with fabulous treatments – try the hammam, a session in a traditional steam bath involving a washdown and numerous dousings with hot water and concludes with an, erm, invigorating bucket of cold. This is followed by a ‘gommage’ (a scrub-down using black soap made from olives and eucalyptus leaves) and then by a gentle massage of back, neck and shoulders. You can also have the usual list of beauty treatments as well as an assortment of other massages. Les Borjs also offers cookery lessons and you can learn how to make salads flavoured with rose and orange flower water, a chicken tagine, and a briq pastry dessert layered with cream and pistachios – all the while fortified by copious mint tea (and you’re given the technique for making it too) before sitting down to lunch on your efforts. Hilary stayed at Les Borjs de la Kasbah, Rue du Méchouar,La Kasbah, Marrakech, www. lesborjsdelakasbah.com, 00 212 524 381 101/06, info@ lesborjsdelakasbah.com ..."

    Download Article » Publication: Reading Post (UK)
  • June 2010

    An exotic mix
    "... Les Borjs de la Kasbah is a riad hotel in the Kasbah quarter near the Royal Palace and set against the old city walls. It has just 18 rooms, three suites, cocktail bar, restaurant and meeting room for 20. It also has a hammam: a Turkish-type steam bath and heavenly massages. It’s an unusual cross between a traditional Moroccan riad and a contemporary hotel and was voted Number One Hotel in Africa in a recent Expedia survey based on customer satisfaction and value for money. The hotel has begun focusing on the events market this year and can be hired for exclusive use for up to 34 people at about £40pp including breakfast and airport collection. For corporate golfing breaks, Les Borjs is located near the Amelkis, Royal and Al Maaden golf courses. ..."

    Read the Article » Publication: Meetings and Incentives magazine
  • November 2009

    CHRISTMAS IN THE KASBAH
    "... Sip mint tea in front of a roaring fire when you spend Christmas in the riad voted the best hotel on the African continent in a survey by Expedia. The hotel Les Borjs de la Kasbah is inside the old city walls of Marrakech and is a traditional Moroccan house with plenty of modern comforts. The fire-eaters and jugglers and food stalls of the Djemaa El Fna square are only a quarter hour away. The hotel has 18 bed rooms and a spa with a traditional hammam. On Christmas Eve there'll be a Moroccan feast with folk music and dancers (costs £60pp extra). CHRISTMAS PACKAGE: Rates until December 24 are £45pp per night, then £80pp per night from December 25 until January 3. The price includes airport collection and breakfasts but not flights, which are bookable through easyjet.com ..."

    Read the Article » Publication: Daily Mirror Online
  • January 2009

    A new riad hotel in Marrakech
    "... On a trip to Marrakesh last month, I visited Les Borjs de la Kasbah, another new riad within the old walls of the city. Unlike the usual four or five-bedroomed riad converted from a family house, however, this was an extraordinary 18-roomed hotel hewn from seven townhouses. With its own bar, restaurant, spa and swimming pool, Franco-British owners Mike Bruce-Mitford and his wife, Francoise, have created an exceptional hotel in the medina, overlooking the Royal Palace. ..."

    Publication: The Times Online
  • November 2008

    Rebecca Davies is scrubbed to within an inch of her life in a Moroccan steam room
    "... The spa: 'Hammam' steam room and treatment rooms at the Borjs de la Kasbah hotel, Marrakech, Morocco. The symptoms: General griminess and fatigue after a day's haggling and sweating at 30°C in the markets of Marrakech. The prescription: A traditional hammam steam bath followed by a vigorous full-body scrub with black olive soap, known as 'gommage' (40 minutes), and a full body massage (30 minutes). The procedure: Those of a modest disposition may be a little shocked by the intimacy of the hammam. Visitors are required to sit topless in the steam room while the therapist rubs gooey black olive soap all over your body (and I mean all over) and then throws buckets of warm water over you to rinse you clean. You are then asked to lie down on a marble block where you are scrubbed to within and inch of your life with an abrasive massage mitt. More buckets of water follow, the last of which is ice cold. After a brief recuperation and rehydration period, a second therapist leads you into a massage room and administers an intense full body massage from toe to top, both back and front. But don't worry, it's strictly therapeutic and not in the least bit kinky. The verdict: Never before have I felt so clean and relaxed, not even after six hours in a Japanese onsen. The exfoliation part of the hammam was slightly traumatic - there's a risk of developing what is known in military circles as 'army nipple' if the therapist scrubs too hard in certain places - but it was certainly very invigorating and my skin was left fantastically smooth. The massage was the best I have ever had. Unlike in most English spas, the masseuse wasn't afraid to knead every muscle into submission, leaving me feeling totally unwound. Le Spa aux Borjs de la Kasbah, Rue du Méchouar, Marrakech, Morocco (00 212 24 38 11 01 or 06), www.lesborjsdelakasbah.com ..."

    Publication: Daily Telegraph