Hotel Review: Kasbah Angour

Place: Kasbah Angour, Tahanaout, Nr. Marrakech, Morocco
Type: 4-star Hotel
Operator: Owner and Creator Paul Foulsham
Date of Visit: March 2019

A man with a dream – no, a Yorkshireman with a dream. A geologist working for oil companies buys a barren hill some 40 kilometres outside Marakech and starts to create an oasis, an idyll, a garden on its top. ‘Kasbah’, so the taxi driver tells us, means castle, and the architectural form strongly reinforces the name – or is it that the name reinforces the perception of the architecture? Either way the name is reinforced by the winding track up from the road outside the provincial town of Tahanaout leading to a blank walled car park through which entrance is made, almost like a defensive castle entrance.

Reception desk

Yorkshiremen think of their home county as ‘Gods own country’, but here the owner has created almost his own Garden of Eden in Morocco, shielded completely from prying eyes by the way the architecture works with the location. It achieves a privacy for guest the nearby Richard Branson property notably fails to achieve. Rooms tune their backs onto the valley in the most part, turning instead towards the glorious gardens and the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains not too far away. Those same snow-capped peaks provide a steady supply of water from the hotels own bore hole, control of which ensures exclusivity on this hill top.
Currently just 26 bedrooms, the owner has almost completed purchase of the rest of the whole hilltop and talks of growing to 50+ rooms with maybe an indoor pool and a spa operation. Meanwhile he personally supervises the operation of the existing romantic property having fought his way through three architects to realise his vision. Bedrooms make a semi-circle around the garden and use stone and building techniques recognisable locally. Based on local materials and furnished with locally manufactured products his interiors reflect the Moroccan traditions of carpets and hard floors, stonework, polished plaster and shuttered windows.
A couple of suites provide the towers that punctuate the bedrooms, most of which have individual balconies and patio areas. All open onto the gardens, and oasis of green full of bird and insect life. Certainly, it is the first hotel I have been in where I have been kissed by a butterfly – I say kissed but I think it was an alcoholic butterfly wanting the beer off my lips, but it sure beat kissing the blarney stone…

This is an hotel for relaxation and contemplation with nature. Rooms are free of television, but there is the internet for those who feel discombobulated by the idea of simply listening to the cuckoo call, or simply relaxing on a terrace or by the pool in the quiet of the gardens. There are excursions into the mountains to a local souk or to take tea in a village house, guided walks, camel treks or for those who miss the noise and bustle of the city, an easy taxi ride into Marakech.
For me waking each morning to birdsong together with the ability to just sit and relax in the warmth of the March sun (22° to 29°C whilst I was there) was enough. Bird life is a mix of African and European, and the garden, said another guest, reminded of the winelands of South Africa, and the Moroccan wine on offer was very quaffable too. Food was local, vegetables from the hotel garden (the broad bean is a major local crop, as are of course, oranges although they don’t make marmalade…)
I didn’t intend to write a Review of this hotel – spent enough time doing hotel reviews I my life, but the charm of the spaces and their use of the local vernacular as well as their African feel led to me to write about it again. That an individual can create such a little gem with his own efforts (he even created his own building company) deserves approbation and applause. Yorkshire it is not. God own country? Well its different but maybe this Garden of Eden has a stronger claim to that label than much of our English county.


Bath and Breakfast Please!

Bath and Breakfast

I Can and do sleep in Bath tubs, So I rather have a Bath and Breakfast than an Bed and Breakfast;-)


Yes please!!! – Blue. Iris..

Grand designs at Bauhaus B&B | Travel | The Observer

Grand designs at Bauhaus B&B

The influential German design school now offers tourists the chance to stay in its former student quarters. Hans Kundnani checks in
Grand designs at Bauhaus B&B | Travel | The Observer

Pension Manfred Klaus, Weingartsgreuth Germany

Manfred Claus

Today a short review of Pension Manfred Klauss, because one of our Austrian relatives called for their address and I want to be able to find its address back here at my blog.

This little Inn (“Pension” in German) is located between Wurzburg and Nurnberg in Germany.
This is about half way between The Netherlands and Vienna in Austria which we visit frequently. It is also nicely half way if you like to go skiing in Austria from The Netherlands.

We have stayed there many times. It started more than 40 years ago when my parents in law stopped for a couple of hours of sleep at the Motel Steigerwald next to the gas station Steigerwald along the A3 / E45 motorway in Germany, see the map. The motel had no vacancies and the attendant at the gas station directed my father in law along a rural back road (actually only allowed for local traffic) that brought him just 500 m from the motorway to a very peaceful little inn operated by his parents in law. The gas station attendant still works for the gas station (more than 40 years now) After his father in law passed away, his wife and his mother in law still run the place. Last December I stopped at Steigerwald under way to Vienna to refill my car and I visited them for a cup of coffee, while I offered the hostess a couple of roses to stress our enduring relation. In recent years we use to fly more than to drive to Vienna so we see each other less.

They offer you a very clean bedroom with a good bed nice crisp sheets and an excellent breakfast. I if you arrive late, you can buy a nice bottle of local wine: The Wurzburg Nurnberg region has excellent wines that the locals like so much that you can hardly find them outside the area. All for a very decent price. So although it is not a luxury hotel, it offers you the luxury of a clean comfortable bed to crash in and go on with your traveling. In addition, in a nearby restaurant they serve excellent food. Reservations for both the pension and the restaurant are recommended.

Off Topic
This is my first post from a computer with the Linux operating system. It is the Suse 10.3 distribution. It is a steep learning curve, but I am glad that I may be able to say good bye to the Windows operating system….

Nothing Wrong with Doing Nothing!

Lazy by Christoph |Nieman
Lazy by Christoph Nieman for the New York Times

After reviewing my 2007 resolutions for 2008 (and not keeping many of those), I decided on only one New Year’s resolution for 2008: Press the “publish” button of this Blog more often and quicker. Well thus far I didn’t keep even that simple resolution: Hahaha there are over 50 posts in “statu nascendi” (in simple English: in “Draft” status). I didn’t even bother to give predictions for 2008.

And then, yesterday, I came across this funny story: All Nothing, All the Time from The New York Times writer Neil Genzlinger, mainly a Theater, Film and Television reviewer. He describes five places where you can excel in doing nothing:

Why did I post this?

Firstly: it is a brilliant story.

Secondly: I was inspired by a couple of my own guests, who I just said “Bye Bye ” to after having seen them spending a romantic getaway…yes you guess…doing nothing: No laptop, no mobile phones, no blackberries, no PDA’s…They took their own Ipod and loads and loads of chips, cookies, marshes, M&M’s and other chocolate bars…They loved it…and so did I seeing them enjoy themselves.

Thirdly. This was not the first time we have hotel guests doing nothing. Moreover sometimes we go away from our hotel to do nothing just to recuperate from a period of hard working. However I never realized it can be a great art and also a great marketing tool/promotion. Why not promote your place as excellent for doing nothing?

And Finally: I believe Doing Nothing could become a huge trend in 2008.

There should be those B&B’s and Inns in Europe as well. Any suggestions from my dear readers?