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Reviews of Holidays and Hotels in Morocco - This Place Stinks

The Sunday Times, 22 May 2005

This place stinks: The Blue Lagoon - and the other travel 'hot spots' we don't like

They're famous, they're feted - we think they're rubbish. From pyramid-pounding with sweaty Americans to tropical islands that ruin romance, our writers reveal the destinations where the hype and the holiday don't match up.

We also track down the magical alternatives that are far less famous, but far more fun.

The magic: there is no shortage of flash five-star hotels in Marrakesh, but for the real deal, you should stay in a riad in the medina. They get you under the skin of the city more than La Mamounia or Amanjena ever could. Riad Souika is typical: huge stone walls enclosing a central courtyard that is open to the sky; walls finished in silky-smooth tadelakt plaster; succulents and lemon trees growing from ornamental pools; low couches for lounging; and rose-petal strewn beds for, well, whatever. Outside the front door is the madness of the medina, but inside it is cool and tranquil. The riad has just three double bedrooms and a roof terrace for sunbathing/star-gazing or dinners, with breakfast prepared by a local houseman. Best of Morocco (www.realmorocco.com) has four nights from £500pp, including flights from London.