Review: Hotel Rural Laroles

*Unpaid, unsponsored independent review*

Last week we had the pleasure of first night of the season at Teatro Entre Todos and their summer ’16 project of Me Vuelves Lorca. This project (similar to the famous Minack) situated in the Alpujarras is a resounding hit with locals and far flung admirers of greaspaint, footlights and theatre.

Last year we attended the opening night, and also Lorca’s Blood Wedding, and were swayed once again, choosing to see another Lorca piece, La Casa de Bernada Alba, a sad play performed with dignity, outstanding talent and a few wry laughs by the amazing Tribueñe Teatro from Madrid.

The great value ticket price included a bottle of wine, so, not needing to be asked twice, we decided to ditch the thought of a drive home, and booked a night at Hotel Rural in Laroles. Checking the reviews – as you do – on Trip Advisor, we were happy to see so many rave reviews, particularly mentioning Ramón, the host. So off we set, the promise of some tapas, dinner, and a night watching Lorca unfold under the stars.

The host with the most

Ramón greeted us warmly, and as we were the first to check in, showed us ALL of the available rooms, and asked us to choose. He can talk! Hotel Rural may be 2* but it was a 5* 10/10 for a friendly welcome. He deserves all those great reviews, for sure.

The Hotel

The hotel is clean, in fact it is amazingly spotless. The rooms are spacious enough, the usual furniture + a desk, chair, 2 large single beds zipped together, with really comfortable mattresses. WIFI available. Double glazing with 2 sets of doors, a mozzie screen on the balcony (mountains breed midges!) and air conditioning. The bathroom was spacious, modern, well appointed and came with sachets of gel and shampoo (but no soap!) I did spot locally made soap for sale in the lobby.

There’s a terrace, a cosy sitting room and a dining room.

Dinner time

We ordered a pre-theatre dinner, and it was a case of “what would you like?”, rather than “this is what I have.” We agreed on some slow cooked chicken in Champagne, a salad and drinks, and set off to explore  – read beers and tapas. 🙂

After a rest in the quiet, airy room, we partook of the delicious dinner, which was impeccable. Served with that crisp and fresh salad, and potatoes cooked in a tasty stock, we also had 2 beers and a glass of wine. Total bill €20 – amazingly good value, there was so much we simply couldn’t finish it.

We left the next morning after a great sleep, waving away offers of breakfast as were in a rush – we’re always in a rush – but with hugs and promises to return. For the next theatre production, of course…..Just ONE night Ramón 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Riad Review. Les Bougainvilliers, Marrakech.

It’s a little bit of an anomaly, to review a Riad, because in general they tend to be special places as a rule, but a recent visit to Riad Les Bougainvilliers in Marrakech proved that some are just better than others. (What was that marketing campaign? If Carlsberg made Riads…)

Trundling our cabin baggage through the Medina at 8pm was a pretty hairy experience, it was Ramadan, the day’s fast had just finished, and as mopeds sped past us on the hot, clammy, narrow streets, and people called out to each other, we felt a bit frazzled after a long day. A flight from Sevilla, preceded by a morning in Córdoba, and then the beautiful madness of Marrakech.

13497971_1010494128999498_1638632854139817340_o

Arrival

Reading our minds, or perhaps just our lost looks, a local guy asked if we were looking for Les Bougainvilliers. We were promptly hustled up alleys, twisting and turning before being deposited at a large wooden door in a terracotta coloured street that looked like all the others. In reality, as we discovered later that evening, it’s perfectly placed, just a few steps from Jemaa el fna square.

13466135_1009673702414874_2941226419571890612_n

Total calm

Amal – beautiful, gentle Amal – efficiently swept us inside, and into another world. Everyone will tell you the marked difference between the mayhem of the Medina, and the calm oasis of a Riad, but this was like closing a door on another world. Inside, Les Bougainvilliers is as calm as a south pacific ocean, as sweet as an unfurling flower. Soft music in the background, the hint of some spiced essence, a trickle of water, and total, complete calm. It is decorated in a classic, elegant style that befits the magnificent building. Everywhere, Bougainvillea tumbles over balconies, and the rooms are spacious and individually decorated. Sitting at the marvellous breakfast*, I remarked to my husband that there wasn’t a single thing I would change, I simply could not find a criticism – and believe me I tried!

13428432_1010111129037798_1822756739660155837_n

It’s the epitome of understated, classical décor, and has a palatial feel without being aloof. That’s the real secret appeal of Les Bougainvilliers – you will feel as though you are at home (but perhaps a much nicer home!).

Select staff

The staff are clearly hand-picked. Nothing is too much trouble. They are there to hand you something just as you are in the process of thinking about it…like magic. They’re friendly, completely efficient,  but never overbearing. They really are perfect, all of them, from the smiling cook (those light, airy crepes!) the friendly girl who cleans (she would put Martha Stewart to shame) the Hammam lady who not only took a layer of skin away from me, but fixed my dodgy knee. Special mention to gentle, helpful night-concierge Moncef, and the aforementioned Amal, graceful, warm and pretty unbeatable at her job. Honestly, we would have packed them up and taken them home if it were possible.

We enjoyed an upgrade to the senior suite (see below) after the first night, so managed to enjoy 2 rooms, each containing their own individual style and calm space.Even the rooms at Les Bouganvilliers have personality!

13501977_1010107565704821_3289109486535387776_n

Well done to Phillipe the friendly, personable owner, you really have a royal winner amongst Riads – our score for Les Bougainvilliers? You already know that one. 10/10.

Notable points

High points: Staff, Breakfast, Rooms, Roof terrace, Great value, Location.

*Breakfast: Fresh OJ, tea, coffee, flatbreads, crepes, pancakes, fresh fruit, jam (2 types) honey, butter, cheese.

Contact

Raid Les Bougainvilliers. 5, derb Ben Amrane | Riad Zitoun Lakdim, Médina, Marrakech, Morocco.
**Call directly for availability and the best price: Phillipe
Tel. : +212 (0)524 391 717
Fax. : +212 (0)524 391 717
Mobile. : +212 (0)661 170 222 / +212 (0)666 40 60 60
Email : Bougainvilliersresa@yahoo.com**