Moroccan Flavours – Bidawi Couscous & Seven Vegetables

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Typically served on a large platter as a mound of semolina with the meat and vegetables placed with their broth into the central crater, this delightful dish provides a scrumptious taste of Morocco. Traditionally accompanied by bowls of the remaining broth, small dishes of harissa and varying other condiments, it is eaten by forming balls of the food in the hand.

Ingredients

To prepare six servings of this delicious meal you will need:

  • 1.5 kg of fairly fatty mutton (saddle or shoulder) or veal (shank, shoulder or neck )
  • 800 g of cabbage
  • 1 piece of stale bread
  • 15 ml of lemon juice
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 kg of onions Read the rest of this entry »

Questionnaire feedback – 100% of guests would ‘definitely recommend’ Les Borjs

Monday, January 18th, 2016

We have been delighted to note that Expedia’s ‘Insiders’ Select’ award (see October’s blog article), presented to us in September in recognition of the high standards maintained at Les Borjs over the past year, tallies with the results of our own recent analysis of questionnaires completed by guests at Les Borjs de la Kasbah over the six months from May to October 2015.

This revealed that under no less than 33 of 36 headings in nine categories (including value for money) satisfaction levels exceeded 90%, indeed, under 29 of the headings satisfaction ratings exceeded 95%.

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The Marrakech International Marathon

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Marrakech International Marathon 2016, in January, is one of the world’s most prestigious and an important tourist attraction. Hosted in Marrakech under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, this year’s race, the 26th edition of the event, is preceded on the 30th by a ‘Welcome Race’ and the ‘Kids’ Race’ at 10:00 and 10:30 respectively (from the Marathon Village). 

 Main Races

The starting point for the two main events, the half marathon and marathon itself, is on Menara Avenue on the 31st January at 08:00 and 09:30 respectively.

The Circuit

Predominantly flat (with some modest inclines in the Palmeraie district) and thus one of the fastest, the IAAF-approved circuit covers the regulation 42.2 km (marathon) and 21.1km (half marathon) taking participants and spectators along city ramparts and some of the most attractive parts of the city’s residential areas, through the Menara and Agdal Gardens, past ancient monuments s well as olive and orange groves.

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Les Borjs chosen for TV ad location

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

When the SPAR supermarket chain decided to shoot a commercial in Marrakech for Austrian TV last September Les Borjs de la Kasbah was chosen as one of the locations. A 42 strong Austrian/Moroccan crew descended on our small hotel to film a German celebrity chef and her four sons promoting a new range of Moroccan cooking products.

 

The shoot began at 7 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m when the entire crew sat down to a hearty meal prepared by our own chefs at Les Borjs!

January 2016 in Marrakech

Monday, December 21st, 2015

While winter in much of the northern hemisphere is characterised by cold, wet and often snowy conditions the climate of southern Morocco is comparatively mild, indeed pleasantly warm during a large part of each day. Average maximum daily temperatures hover around 18° (warm enough to enjoy relaxing by the pool) while night time lows are seldom below 5°. Taken together with some 7 hours of sunshine per day and pretty modest rainfall (25 mm), January can be a great month to visit Marrakech if you fancy avoiding the crowds while profiting from low season prices.

January Events

Proclamation of Independence – January 11th is Morocco’s Independence Day when the nation marks the formal separation from colonial France in 1956. Some businesses will be closed on this day in observation of this national holiday

Aid al-Mawlid – 24th January is the birthday of the prophet Mohammad. Mosques are busy, of course but, again, many businesses will be closed.

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Arsat Moulay Abdeslam Cyber Park, Marrakech

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Located in the heart of Marrakech, alongside Avenue Mohamed V, the main commercial thoroughfare, this eight-hectare historic garden (or arsa) was originally created for Moulay Abdesalam, an 18th century prince, poet, writer, scholar and diplomat.

Transformation of a Garden

In 1920, under the French protectorate, the garden was extended although, during subsequent years, it gradually fell into disrepair. At the beginning of the 21st Century, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection decided to restore the garden and, while preserving the main features of its historical heritage, create a space showcasing the role in the modern world of advanced communications technologies.

The People and Work Involved

With the help of Jean-Charles Mazet (landscape artist) and Karim El Achak (architect), and with contributions from Maroc Telecom and various IT companies, work to restore and develop the park was started in late 2003. Some eighteen months later, following pruning of 450 mature trees, the planting of 200 palms, 680 orange, lemon and other trees and some 500 shrubs, the ‘new look’ Arsat Moulay Abdeslam garden was finally reopened to the public as a cyber park in February 2005.

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Ali Ben Youssef Medersa – A Must for Fans of Historic Architecture

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

A splendid place to admire traditional Moroccan architecture while unwinding from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Ali Ben Youssef medersa is a must for anyone interested in art, architecture and Islamic culture in general. A medersa, an intricately decorated school building as impressive in its way as any European university, is critical to the culture of Muslims.

A Brief History

Founded in the 14th Century by Abu al-Hassan, the then ruling Marinid Sultan, the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa is Morocco’s largest madrasa. In 1565, a reconstruction of the original building ordered by Abdallah al-Ghalib (Saadian Sultan 1557 to 1574) was completed. Restored again in 1950 before being closed to both the general public and the faithful in 1960, the madrasa was finally reopened to in 1982 following further restoration work to permit visitors to experience this exquisite master-piece of Moroccan architecture and art.

The Madersa

Featuring 130 dormitory cells for students clustered around a richly carved courtyard with its central rectangular pool and two bronze fountains, Ali Ben Youssef Medersa was one of North Africa’s largest theological colleges and was home to perhaps as many as 900 students at a time.

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December 2015 Events in Marrakech

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

One of the year’s cooler months, December in Marrakech is still very pleasant, at least by comparison with much of the rest of the northern hemisphere. Daily temperatures range between lows of 9 degrees to highs of around 20 and you can reckon on around 7 hours of sunshine every day. There are several events and other attractions in Marrakech in December, the International Film Festival being the most notable.

International Film Festival – this year marks the 15th edition of this increasingly popular international event taking place from the 4th – 12th December, the jury president this year being Francis Ford Coppola. An important centre of film production over many decades, Morocco has welcomed some of the top names in the industry in recent years, not least Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese, Orson Wells and David Lean having made films here as far back as the sixties. Following the special tribute last year to Japanese cinema, this year’s festival celebrates Canada’s contribution to the film industry. As usual, several films will be screened on the main square (Jemaa el Fna) in the centre of town, as well as other venues.

New Year’s Eve – although not an official national holiday in a Muslim country like Morocco, which operates to the Islamic as opposed to Gregorian calendar, New Year is celebrated widely, as it is in most major, non-Christian tourist destinations, especially in hotels. At Les Borjs de la Kasbah a gastronomic gala dinner is laid on for guests preceded by cocktails around the pool. The hotel’s main patio becomes a tented dining venue for the evening with a variety of entertainment including music and belly dancing, fire eating display and magic performances at table. After midnight a disc jockey takes over as revellers dance their way into the wee small hours.

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Marrakech in November – Events and Other Things to Do

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

With daily temperatures ranging between 11 and 23 degrees, November in Marrakech is very pleasant. Visitors can expect over seven hours of sunshine and little, if any rain (31mm per month). A number of events at this time of year are worthy of note:

November Events in Marrakech

The two main events in Marrakech during November are the Eid Al Massira Al Khadra on the 6th and Eid Al Istiqulal on the 18th.

Eid Al Massira Al Khadra, the ‘Green March’ Anniversary, commemorates the march of 27,000 soldiers and approximately 350,000 unarmed Moroccans to the Western Sahara’s border on the 6th of November 1975. Identifying with Islam through choice of the symbolic colour green and directed by King Hassan II, the march was undertaken to call for the return of the territory to Morocco.

Marked by varying festivities throughout the country, Eid Al Istiqulal is Morocco’s Independence Day, a National Holiday commemorating the return of King Mohammed from his exile in Madagascar and the subsequent declaration of independence from both France and Spain on this day in 1956.

Other Marrakech Events in November

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New Year 2015 in Marrakech at Les Borjs de la Kasbah

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Christmas and New Year celebrations are not generally marked in the Muslim world but special arrangements are always made at Les Borjs where we certainly know how to put on a good party!

At the end of December a large marquee is erected over the hotel’s main patio which is then dressed and colourfully decorated for the festive occasion.

New Year 2015 in Marrakech at Les Borjs de la Kasbah starts with drinks and canapes by the pool accompanied by local Berber entertainers with drummers and singers; this is often followed by an act featuring a fire eater and juggler.

New Year’s Eve dinner itself is a multi course, buffet style affair taken in the heated marquee, entertainment continuing throughout the meal in the form of a live traditional band and belly dancers as an excellent magician entertains diners at each table.

Later, a DJ plays music for dancing to continue through until the wee small hours.

Click the ‘Special Offer’ tab above for details of our 3-night New Year package price