Thursday, February 4, 2016

Hotel Review: Ksar El Kabbaba – Skoura Oasis, Morocco


Ksar El Kabbaba, located in the beautiful Skoura Oasis, was the second place we stayed during our visit to Morocco. 

Very early on the third morning of our visit to Morocco, we began our four-day Morocco Tour heading to the Atlas Mountains, and then through the Tizi n’Tichka pass, the direct route towards Ouarzazate.  This nearly four-hour drive included beautiful views of the snow capped, Atlas Mountains, Berber villages, and a stop in Ait BenHaddou.

Fun Fact: Ait BenHaddou is where many Hollywood films were filmed like “The Hills Have Eyes”, and “Game of Thrones”.

After traveling all day, as one would suspect, we were definitely looking forward to taking a hot shower, having dinner, and relaxing. Besides, we had yet another full day ahead.  We were surprised (and relieved) when we pulled up to the 300 hundred year old, majestic Ksar El Kabbaba.



To be honest, the Ksar El Kabbaba was not what we expected after driving through dry, deserted roads to get there.  What were behind the walls of this Kasbah were beautiful grounds with a lush garden full of organic vegetables that are used in the Ksar’s restaurant. There’s a beautiful pool, and lounge area that you must pass before you hit the gym and spa. 



After a tour of the grounds, we sat in the common area, which houses the only television at the Ksar El Kabbaba. There, we enjoyed Moroccan baked goods and Moroccan Mint Tea. Afterwards, we went upstairs to our room, the Cheikh suite, to prepare for dinner at the Ksar’s own restaurant.



Traditional Moroccan wood doors opened up into the beautiful 323 square foot Cheikh (or Sheikh) suite. The black furniture added a hint of elegance and luxury to the suite, especially with having the cream adobe walls as its backdrop. The bathroom was nice and modern, and we experienced, thankfully, hot showers both in the evening and in the morning. We needed it because the room was a bit cold. The room did have a heater, but due to its size, two heaters should have been installed to keep the room properly heated. Thank God for my hot-bodied husband.




Dinner at the Ksar El Kabbaba was great, and just like the breakfast, was included with our stay. They serve a pre-fix three-course meal, and on the night we visited, the menu consisted of Pumpkin Soup, Beef Tagine with potatoes, carrots, and eggplant as sides, and their version of tiramisu. Although dinner was included, alcoholic beverages were not, but that didn’t stop us from ordering a bottle of wine: Domaine De Sahari Reserve, Rouge. A beautiful red that went well with the Beef Tagine we were eating.



Dinner was filling. They give you a lot of food. I mean a lot. Even for breakfast we were given a lot of food, a lot of good food. For breakfast we were served fresh-squeezed orange juice, tea and coffee, yogurt, crepes, pancakes, bread, cheese, olives… a lot. We both hated having to leave left overs, but we definitely couldn’t finish what we were given.  If only we could stay there and eat! LOL



After spending the night at the Ksar El Kabbaba, we didn’t want to leave such a beautiful place. This place is seriously paradise in the middle of nowhere. I can see a gorgeous wedding ceremony taking place here. It’s just that pretty, peaceful and romantic. Staying at this historical Kasbah was definitely the break we needed from the chaos we experienced in Marrakech. Fortunately, our tour would lead us to more beautiful places like the Todra Gorge and an experience camping in the middle of the Sahara desert. I’m sure you’re going to want to hear about the latter.



We would definitely recommend staying at the Ksar El Kabbaba. The beautiful, peaceful grounds, wonderful and friendly staff, and amazing food made it a place we’ve vowed to return to on our next visit to Morocco.  If not having a television in your room, and spotty Wi-Fi aren’t deal breakers, I suggest looking into staying at least one night here in the Skoura Oasis.



Nightly rates for the suites at the Ksar El Kabbaba range from $122 - $140 per night for a single, and $150 - $200 for a double.


Check out Ksar El Kabbaba on Facebook


Huge 'Thank You!' to Your Morocco Tour for putting us up in some of the most beautiful places in Morocco.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

LELO TIANI™ 24k: The Valentine's Day Gift You to Enjoy Together

Disclosure: The LELO TIANI™24k was provided for review purposes. 


Valentine’s Day will soon be here. Of course you can gift flowers, perfume or even jewelry, but how about gifting a unique luxury gift that’s sure to heat things up between yourself and your loved one; something you both can enjoy. I’m talking about the luxurious TIANI24k created by the world’s leading provider of intimate lifestyle products.

"Immerse yourself in an ecstasy of gold with TIANI 24k. Worn by women when making love, this award-winning design features a decadent ring of 24 karat gold, marking it out as the most luxurious remote-controlled couples' massager in the world today. With 8 stimulation modes - two controlled via movement alone – the dual motors, one for internal stimulation and the other for external, deliver a fusion of luxury and pleasure that only gets stronger with time."


This luxury, gold-plated, couples massager in Obsidian Black is elegant, sleek and sophisticated.  Who knew a couple’s toy could be described in that way? I know I didn’t. 

The TIANI 24k is made of very soft biocompatible silicone, making it compatible with water-based lubricants, and great for those times in the bath or shower.


The TIANI 24k comes in very luxurious gift packaging and includes a USB cable, a sample-sized LELO lubricant, a 10 year warranty, a drawstring storage bag and two (2) AAA batteries for its remote control.



If after Valentine's Day, your relationship doesn't last, don’t worry because the LELO TIANI™ 24K comes with Couples Insurance! Yup! If you break up with your significant other, within a year of owning a TIANI™ 24k, you can return it to LELO and choose from a selection of LELO’s bestselling luxury pleasure products. The TIANI™ 24k is insured for one year after purchase. But, because the TIANI™ 24K will bring you many, many amazing times, breaking up is not going to happen!



This Valentine’s Day, give the gift that will bring both you and your partner joy by gifting them the LELO TIANI™ 24K.  After all, “It ain’t no fun if you’re partner can’t have fun, too!” Although a little pricey, at $399, it's currently on-sale for $199 as a 'Thank You' from LELO to it's loyal customers. Afterall, joy, pleasure and happiness are all priceless.


The LELO TIANI™ 24K Luxury couples massager is available in three colors: Obsidion Black, Deep Rose, and Hot Cerise. More information on the luxury TIANI™ 24k can be found at www.lelo.com/tiani-24k.



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Disclosure: The LELO TIANI™24k was provided for review purposes.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hotel Review: Riad Turquoise in Marrakech, Morocco


The husband and I began our eight-day anniversary trip with a two-night stay at the Riad Turquoise. If you’ve read my Morocco Travel Tips post, you’ll know that I prefer staying at a riad while visiting Morocco versus a hotel.  Riads offer the comforts of a hotel that's shrouded in Moroccan tradition.

After our flight from New York, we were anxious to get to our room and relax. Our driver, which we scheduled through the Riad’s manager, was waiting for us as we exited immigration. The driver was friendly, and happy to tell us about Marrakech, and pointed out landmarks. One thing he didn’t have to point out was the wall of the old Medina. Large and rugged, with an archway for everything from cars, people, motorcycles, donkeys and bikes to navigate through, what we saw was the gateway to the chaos and magic of Marrakech that we were about to experience. 




The ride to the Riad Turquoise from the airport was no more than 15-20 minutes. After entering the Medina, our van drove through narrow “streets” that were akin to alleyways, to finally stop at the mouth of the street where the Riad Turquoise was.  As with most riad locations in the old Medina, the narrow streets inhibit door-to-door service; therefore, we had to walk about two minutes from the van to the riad.

Moroccan Mint Tea and a great book! 


A light knock on the traditional Moroccan door of the Riad Turquoise resulted in a quick, warm welcome by the riad’s manager, Georges and the beautiful scent of amber. We were then shown to a beautiful sitting area on the main floor where we were offered, in genuine Moroccan fashion, good ole Moroccan Mint Tea and pastries. While we sipped our tea and ate the delicious pastries, Georges provided us with a map of the Marrakech and the Medina, and explained to us how to get to the different main attractions from where we were like the Jemaa El Fna Square, Palace El Badi right next door. It wasn’t until later that we realized that any of the maps given to us from here on out were pretty much useless.


After our review of the map, Georges showed us to the Grise Junior Suite, a private room located on the terrace of the Riad Turquoise.  Our room was on the larger side in comparison to rooms at other riads. It was beautifully decorated in shades of deep gray and black with red accents.  We loved the d├ęcor, and got a little inspiration for our bedroom. It was the romantic opening to the trip that we needed. Plus, being on the terrace with a sitting area, and jacuzzi made our few nights there even more special.

The gift basket we received.

One of the concerns people have when staying at a riad is whether or not there is running hot water. The water at the Riad Turquoise was hot and plentiful. We didn’t have any issues. One thing we did come across that might be a problem to some was that the television wasn’t working. It didn’t bother us because we were on vacation, and we were in Marrakech to explore. Plus, sometimes it’s good to detox a little from the junk on television.

The bathroom

Speaking of exploring, the Riad Turquoise is just a 10-minute walk to Jemaa El Fna Square, and about a 5-minute walk to a pretty good restaurant called Le Tanjia, where we had our second helping of Moroccan Whiskey. There’s a cool video on my Instagram.

Breakfast


Riad’s have one thing in common, and that’s breakfast. Out of the many riad’s we stayed during our trip, Riad Turquoise had the best breakfast. It was plentiful, and full of delicious, carb-filled foods. The fresh squeezed orange juice was amazing, and the coffee made me forget I even liked commercialized coffee brands.  The best part of it all was sitting on the terrace, and enjoying it privately with views of the medina, and over good conversation.

Terrace seating area

We loved our stay in the Gris Junior Suite at the Riad Turquoise. We plan to spend at least one night there during our next Morocco trip. 


The Riad Turquoise is a six (6)-room riad located at 14, Derb Jdid, Marrakech 40000, Morocco.  Average nightly rates range from $119 US - $875 US. Check out more at: http://www.riadturquoise.com/