Rabat transitioning from France to Fes – My week in Morocco by Relais & Châteaux | Rabat, Morocco |After an amazing and very hectic week in France for ILTM 2016 in Cannes, I was ready for my next experience and first ever – long overdue – visit to Morocco. This invitation came to me by Relais & Châteaux Africa, to sample in a week most of Morocco’s key destinations. Being this my first time, I said yes right away. Here is my journey across Morocco, from Rabat, through Fez and along the Atlas Mountains to Marrakesh and beyond. Our First stop, and port of entry was the city of Rabat, where we spend the morning and afternoon, to later head to our next destination. For more tips and recommendations, check and follow me on Instagram, to see all my minute-to-minute past/current/future post and experiences on Morocco.
This is how we got to Morocco from Cannes, France. Very early morning and two hours drive from Cannes to Marseille Airport. There we took a 2 hours Ryan Air flight into our port of entry into Morocco, at Aeroport Rabat Sale. Rabat is is the capital of Morocco and its seventh largest city centre with an urban population. Among other industries, beautiful Rabat, benefits highly from tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco. One of four Imperial cities of Morocco ( along with Fes, Marrakesh and Meknes), and the medina of Rabat is listed as a World Heritage Site. Rabat is an administrative city, and it feels like it. We were here only for a few hours, on our transition from France into Fes.
Our fist stop was the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. It contains the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. The building is considered a masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, with its white silhouette.
The interior of the Mausoleum has a reader of the Koran often present, having his assigned seat. Marvelous zellige tile work and minibar. A typical green tiled roof, green being the color of Islam.
The Royal Guards flank all gates and access to the Mausoleum, Hassan Tower and Yacoub al-Mansour esplanade.
This site, with the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and Hassan Tower, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage in 2012.
The Hassan Tower is part of the esplanade. The minaret of an incomplete mosque, intended to be the largest minaret and mosque in the world. Only half of the original plan was completed and left along with of several walls and 200 columns which were to become part of the mosque.
It was time to head for lunch, and our host in Rabat, was the lovely Villa Diyafa Boutique Hotel & Spa by Relais & Châteaux. Our visit began with a full site inspection of the property guided by th General Manager personally, followed by a typical Morrocan lunch in a fine dinning seating at Le Restaurant.
Villa Diyafa (from the Arabic “Hospitality”) is a boutique hotel with 10 suites and one villa. Located in the Ambassadors District of Rabat, the design of the hotel’s spaces is inspired by the life and art of Zyriab (789 – 857, who lived in Cordoba-Andalucía, Spain) an exceptional man known for his artistic sensibility and passion for the art of fine living.
Lunch at Le Restaurant was the perfect introduction to Moroccan cuisine and to our upcoming iconic gourmet week by Relais & Châteaux, with a typical menu prepared for us. Starter: Chicken & Almond Pastilla. Main Course: Fish Tagine. Our lunch featured local wines, and of course, the classic thé à la mente. Le Restaurant at Villa Diyafa blends European cuisine with flavorful Moroccan specialties. Its outdoor terraces within the vibrant gardens of the hotel complement a distinctly calm, elegant indoor atmosphere.
After a lovely (early morning) transitioning from Cannes, France to Morocco, and a great brief visit to Rabat, it was time to continue to our next and final destination for the day, the enchanting Fes. Our Moroccan week experience was just beginning, lots to see – explore and learn ahead. 2 hours and 30 minutes drive separate Rabat from Fes. On our way we – literally rocked the kasbah inside our minibus – with a far and quick look at the lovely Kasbah of the Udayas (kasbah – type of medina, or fortress) located at the mouth of the Bou Regreg river opposite Salé. The edifice was built in the 12th century during the reign of the Almohad Caliphate.
As we crossed the River Bou Regreg, we were officialy on our way to our next Relais & Châteaux hotel and gastronomy experience in Fes at the charming Riad Fes, but this is for my next post on Morocco. Stay tuned.!!! But I can anticipate that Fes was indeed the highlight of my Moroccan journey. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
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