Magical Morocco
by Babs Gold
Our World Magazine - January / February 1999

You are transported to a mysterious and ancient world, a gentle blend of French, Arabic, Muslim and Berber cultures.  DavidTours [DavidTravel] "Luxurious Moroccan Imperial Cities Tour" gives you the best of Morocco.  Legendary deluxe hotels are used.  Your tour incorporates the finest restaurants, guides and transportation.  You will even meet David's local friends who provide access to a private world, including one couple's restored palace in an ancient walled medina.  One very well traveled client on their 1998 tour, marveled at the unparalleled luxury, service and private access provided.  He stated, "I have never been so warmly greeted at every turn and our visit to a private palace opened the doors to a world that actually exists for very few people in this world."

On Day 1, you travel to Casablanca where the tour begins.  On Royal Air Moroc, there is an easy 6 hour and 40 minute non-stop flight from New York to Casablanca, arriving early on Sunday morning.  Your hotel is Le Royal Mansour Meridien, a member of Leading Hotels of the World.  This is an older, elegant and superbly maintained property in the center of the city.

A highlight of Day 2 is your visit to the newly completed architectural wonder, The Hassan II Mosque.  This is the second largest mosque in the world, second only to the Grand Mosque in Mecca.  Its minaret is the tallest in the world, 562 feet high.  This tour is a perfect introduction to some of the finest Moroccan architecture and craftsmanship.  An overview tour of the city is followed by a leisurely dinner at one of the top seafood restaurants on a bluff above the ocean.

On Day 3, you travel to one of the most beautiful cities in North Africa, the ancient Imperial City of Fez.  En route, the group visits the capital of Morocco, Rabat, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V.  Completed in 1971, this structure is one of the country's most impressive 20th-century buildings and is considered a masterpiece of Moroccan classicism.

Upon arrival in Fez, the group enjoys a 3-night stay at a former palace that is within the walls of the medina, Hotel Palais Jamai.  From your luxury air-conditioned, 5-star room with a private balcony, mini-bar and 24-hour room service, you will have an amazing panorama view of the hotel pool and gardens and an ancient world.

The description of the Hotel Palais Jamai in Frommer's guidebook to Morocco states: "Located on the northern edge of The Medina of Fes el Bali, this is considered one of the finest hotels in Morocco.  An opulent 19th-century palace of the Grand Vizier Jama, with additional bedrooms set within an Almohad-inspired wing added in the 1930's.

Your hotel offers every conceivable comfort and an international decor with specific Moroccan accessories.  Built around a garden, the ziggurat-shaped decorative crenellations evoke some of the mystery of Fez.  Under a different name, this hotel was immortalized in the Paul Bowles novel The Spider's House as the ancestral pleasure palace of the Jama family."

Dining is always a special pleasure at the restaurants included on DavidTours [DavidTravel].  Several meals are included at the best restaurants.  For example, you'll dine at one of the finest restaurants in Fez, La Maison Bleue, which received rave reviews in Travel & Leisure. You will feel like a private guest in this stately family home of the young and charming owner, Mehdi.  As soon as you enter, you will be taken back several centuries to the pampered world of Mehdi's prominent family.

One of the best national guides will travel with you throughout your visit.  Even your driver has been specially picked and trained.  Past clients have stated that they were delighted and surprised that issues of sexual orientation were so respectfully addressed and openly discussed.

On Days 3 and 5, you explore the mysteries of Fez, especially the ancient walled medina where life and commerce go on as it has for centuries.  On Day 4, you take a day trip to explore the Imperial City of Meknes; discover the ancient Roman ruins at Volubulis, one of Morocco's oldest cities and a royal Roman residence dating back to 25 B.C.

Day 6 includes an excursion through the beautiful Atlas Mountains for a late afternoon arrival in Marrakech, and an incomparable treat... a 3-night stay at the world famous La Mamounia Hotel, another member of Leading Hotels of the World.

La Mamounia has been described as follows: "Enjoy the flamboyant luxury of one of the top hotels in the world with an opportunity to experience at first hand such Moroccan delights as the famous Jemaa El Fna Square, the ancient and historical Koutoubia Mosque and the Marrakech gardens.  Wonderfully grandiose and imposing, Marrakech's five star deluxe 'Leading Hotel,' La Mamounia, was built in 1923 and was often frequented by the rich and famous - Sir Winston Churchill was a regular visitor and the suite he used now bears his name.

Refurbished in a lavish art deco style, the hotel offers more than 200 rooms and sumptuous suites.  Acres of superb gardens reflect the hotel's maturity with a large heated pool and sun terrace boasting a backdrop of orange groves and the high peaks of the Atlas Mountains. There is unlimited choice for entertainment and dining, including International, Moroccan and Italian restaurants, boutiques and full health, beauty and sports facilities.  A stay at La Mamounia represents the last word in luxury.

At all the hotels, magnificent breakfasts are included.  Several lunches and three amazing gourmet dinners at Morocco's finest restaurants are included, one memorable meal on a balcony overlooking Jemaa El Fna Square, the most famous address in Morocco and a world unto itself.  Within walking distance from the hotel, Jemaa El Fna Square features a cast of characters right out of the Arabian Nights.  They include acrobats, monkey trainers, soothsayers, palm readers, barbers, magicians, flame eaters, lottery sellers, snake charmers, acupuncturists, and scribes

On Days 7 and 8, your excellent guide will unveil the magic of Marrakech, its museums, fabulous gardens, historic sites and the mysteries of the walled medina.  Special attention is provided to shield you from the hawkers and provide guidance for any shopping interests you may have.  On Day 9, the group travels to Casablanca for the flight home after being pampered on a trip to another world.

All journeys with DavidTours [DavidTravel] are balanced between planned activities and free time, allowing you to set your own pace.  The itineraries give you time to explore and get to know the cities and sites you visit.