A Room With a View? Travelling with Classic Collection Holidays, Diplomat tells a travel story with a difference
The husband, increasingly irate at the reception desk, claimed to be sympathetic to, and tolerant of, all manner of religious and cultural differences. He clearly understood the meaning of Ramadan, that most holy of Islamic months. Nevertheless, he was insistent that, surely, it would not be so difficult to organise the staff on a rota so that not every member of the hotel staff disappeared at exactly the same time to break their fast. For all his sympathy, tolerance and understanding, he had failed to appreciate one of the more salient points of Ramadan: everyone must break their fast together and at precisely the same time.
His wife had also missed the point. Staying in Marrakech for the first time they had shunned the larger hotels in favour of the more authentic experience of staying in a riad, a traditional Moroccan house. However, she had been disappointed not to have been allocated the room which they had requested: a room with a view. Rooms in riads do not have views. Ancient merchants’ houses were built with privacy in mind. The design is inward-focused. There is a central courtyard, an interior garden and a water feature. There is not a view. There is a distinct lack of window to permit a view. Privacy, you see. And modesty. The husband had a predilection for Rolex and Ralph Lauren, his wife, Versace and Christian Louboutin. Perhaps modesty wasn’t their bag. No. The bag was Chanel.
This being Marrakech, one must be grateful that our couple had not requested a sea view. Marrakech is 109 miles from the sea. As is the first class riad Palais Sebban. But who needs a view out, when the view in is as pretty as this? Beautiful zelig tiles, stunning artisan carved ceilings, slim Andalucian pillars and arches complemented by dark wood Arabia screens and dazzling bougainvillea.
Located in Marrakech’s historic medina, the family-owned and characterful Palais Sebban is a short walking distance from the heart of the city, the Djemaa El Fna square, and has been beautifully restored. The atmosphere is intimate and romantic. Guest bedrooms are individually decorated and distinctly traditional in style; prestige rooms and suites are particularly recommended. There’s a formal dining room and several outdoor dining areas from which to choose. Breakfast on the roof terrace, as this medieval city awakes, is a most enjoyable way to start a day. So why not partake of some winter sun and superb Moroccan hospitality at Palais Sebban? There are 25 rooms and suites. Just don’t ask for a view.
Classic Collection Holidays offers an impressive number of city break holidays. In addition to Marrakech, this award-winning independent tour operator features short breaks and longer stays to four- and five-star hotels in Athens, Dubrovnik, Florence, Istanbul, Lisbon, Palma, Pisa, Rome, Venice and Verona.
A stay of three nights at the Palais Sebban starts from £572 per person, including return flights from London to Marrakech, private transfers and accommodation in a double deluxe room, two sharing, on a bed & breakfast basis. Suite supplements from £46 per person per night.