We aren’t even there yet, and I’m already impressed with Moroccan hospitality.
I have been hustling to get our itinerary finalized amid work, school, holidays and just life in general. I had most of our lodging booked weeks ago–we are doing a combination of hotel chains (where we have points/can stay for free or cheap) and local riads (where we can experience the flavor of the cities).
It should be a nice compromise, especially after I saw how much my husband liked “living local” on our honeymoon!
I was starting to panic a little the last couple weeks because I wasn’t getting anywhere with the riads I was emailing in Marrakech, which is our first stop. Several didn’t respond at all, and many were responding that they had no availability.
There are hundreds of riads listed on TripAdvisor, many of which had wonderful reviews, so it wasn’t that I thought there would be NO place to stay, simply that we might end up somewhere not quite as nice, not quite as centrally located, not quite as prime a neighborhood, etc. The riads are often former homes converted into a sort of bed-and-breakfast type accommodation so there often aren’t that many bedrooms–they may have four or five standard rooms and one or two deluxe suites, but it’s not hard to see how they would be at capacity, especially those close to all of the activity in Marrakech.
I emailed a few more last week, and was very happy when one wrote back that started off, “we are pleased to reserve you…” However, the communication got a little troublesome from there. As it turned out, the riad only had one room available for the nights we are there (the deluxe suite, of course!) and it was only available for two of the three nights we needed. The owner suggested we reach out to other local riads to see if we could stay with them the very first night we arrive from the U.S. and then transfer to them for the other two nights.
I didn’t really know what to do–all my continued efforts were going nowhere, and at least this one place could accommodate us a couple of nights. I decided to think about it, and that’s when things got better!
Not only that, but the second riad would reduce its rate, which is much higher, to match the rate we would be paying at the second place.
But wait, there’s more! She said she would also offer us free airport pick-up to take us from the airport to the other riad, which they usually only offer to customers staying at their establishment for three or more nights.
I was sold! I confirmed with both riads, we’re all booked, and it appears our arrival in this new country and first several nights stay are covered.
When I confirmed, I also thanked them both, but especially the owners of Dar Rocmarra, for helping us. That was well beyond the call of duty, and it helped me out tremendously. I just haven’t had the time to plan this trip like I had hoped, and the three, unaccounted-for nights when we first arrive have been weighing on me. I was also blown away at how both riads worked together to get us transportation and affordable rates–again, not something they had to do at all.
I’m not even in Morocco yet, but I’m already happy to share this story far and wide. If this is an example of the people and service we’re to expect, then I think our first visit to this country may not be our last.
On to packing!