The question we would not blame anyone for asking is
“how can they still be having a ball in Morocco when Kate is in
The truth is we spent hours trying to find flights out: Royal
Maroc not in the next two weeks and Ryan Air full flights of returning holiday
We have NOT been able to sail on for easier access flights
from Lanzarote as a force 9 was bearing down on the Canaries. We aim to leave
The hotel did not permit visitors to carry their mobile
phones outside their own rooms, we were an exception when we told them of
The lady owner in fact sought us out at dinner to ask after
Kate and to wish her well.
La Gazelle D’Or
In the book “1000 Places to see before you die” there are just
two hotels mentioned under their own title in Morocco. The first is La Mamounia
in Marrakech, this was closed for re-decoration but as it turned out we were
happier in the oldest Riad La Plein Sud.
The second in the book is La Gazelle D’Or, I will copy what it
“A lush, remote hideaway. Deservedly famous as one of the most
exclusive and opulent retreats in northern Africa, this former hunting lodge is
surrounded by its own luxurious oasis in the middle of the desert. Snuggled amid
the jasmine, rose bushes, towering lilies and hibiscus are thirty flower-covered
stone cottages in as many acres. Beyond them stretches a citrus plantation thick
with gnarled olive trees. Beyond that lies the desert and on the horizon, the
snow-capped Atlas Mountains. There is a riding stable on the grounds for sunset
forays, but most of the well-heeled British and French guests luxuriate in doing
nothing. A famous poolside lunch buffet of numerous Moroccan salads and
specialities draws non-hotel visitors. The dining hall is an opulent Moorish
tent-like space, where a five-course Moroccan-European dinner is served by
gracious waiters exotically dressed as if for some royal feast. The hotel is a
ten minute drive from the ancient town of Touroudant, once magnificent enough to
be called “Little Marrakech”. Hidden behind four miles of crenellated, 20 foot
high walls, the town has an excellent souk for some animated bargaining and
The main entrance to the complex is through a guarded gate, up
a very long drive, for the first time we handed the car keys over for the car to
be parked for us. To the left of the main building is this first look at the gardens. We
entered in through this unassuming, partly hidden door to main reception (on the
left) Expensive trinket shop to the right. I booked the hotel for one night as a
taster and could justify the cost as it has been so cheap to live in Morocco.
Rabat £3.00 per day, Agadir £12.00 per day. The Australian boat beside us paid
200 Euros to anchor off Sardinia for one night!!!
Right, what was it really like?
After filling in guest forms we were shown through the dining
room and out into the sunshine, the path leading from the
main pavilion to our room. Website for you to have your own tour
As soon as we settled Bear got on the phone
to speak to Kate, I took in the outside,
fingers firmly crossed, by the time our wine arrived Bear
felt able to relax a little. Kate had sounded quite bright and we felt
Beds with his thoughts sitting looking out toward the Atlas
Mountains, Bear doing the same and me sitting on our sun terrace deep in my own
Bear in the bath at the
end of our long corridor, away to his right was the toilet and bidet room, next
to that a walk in shower. Away to Bear's left was the double sided wash room
with 'his and hers' basins. It was a full 28 strides from my side
of the bed to the toilet! We both laid in the bath for a couple of hours, went
for a full body massage, a first for both of us. I slacked
out after a bottle of Rose Wine and we went for 5 course dinner at 21:00
in the stunning but muted dining room.
HISTORY (taken from the bedside reading wallet)
"In the years following the Second World War, the original
owner of the land conceived and created, over a period of nearly ten years, a
hotel with extensive grounds which finally opened, as La Gazelle D’Or in April
1961. At that time, there were just twenty guests’ cottages still numbered 1-20
(we were in number 13). The central clubhouse with its dining room and bar, a
small swimming pool, a little farm, and some young orange trees. After dinner,
guests were escorted to their rooms in the dark with oil lanterns, and telephone
calls tended to come through a day or two after the caller had left. But La
Gazelle D’Or became known to insiders as a sort of private club, where they
could rely upon convivial company, interesting food and a clement climate. The
original owner died in 1972, and his widow decided to relinquish their unique
creation in 1974: a local management partnership bought the property.
The current owner of La Gazelle D’Or came to stay for one
night in 1981. Despite its sadly run down state, she fell in love immediately
with the place, realising its wonderful potential, exotic appeal, and intimate
ambience, and was able eventually to purchase the estate. Then followed two
decades of labour and creativity devoted to recapturing the spirit, and
restoring the structure and fabric, of the hotel.
In 1985, cottages containing a further 10 rooms (including
two suites) were added together with a new dining room, card room, library,
stables, tennis courts, enlarged pool, hammam (traditional steam baths) and
massage rooms etc. Further refurbishment takes place every year when the hotel
closes for the summer, and particular attention is paid to the gardens and
grounds. The hotel farm is now entirely free of chemical additives and
processes, so all the fruits, vegetables, herbs, milk and other dairy products,
delivered fresh every day, are 100% organic and bio-dynamic.
La Gazelle D’Or does not attempt to present an image or make
a statement. Our aim is passively to provide guests with the quiet comfort and
discreet service that will enable them to relax and draw from these special
surroundings their own individual pleasure time and time again".
A banana tree is not what you
expect outside your back gate. The stunning heated pool
far behind this enormous pool was the massage rooms and
steam baths. Bear examining a Pomegranate. Our table decoration at
breakfast outside the pavilion at 11:00, you can request breakfast
before 06:30, by arrangement, usual service 06:30 to 13:00, you can choose to
eat in your room or on your sun terrace. Lunch 13:00 to 18:00. Dinner from
The resident dog came to visit us at breakfast and obviously
uses the garden feature as his own private water bowl, returning via a well
trod path through the beautiful flower bed.
I have never seen a bed of "Mother-in-Laws Tongue" grown
naturally, just as a single stem you buy from M&S as a pot plant. The
stunning Canna Lily, sadly time to load the car, safe in the car-port, and be on
our way from this heavenly retreat.
The view from our front terrace, looking to the snow-capped
All in all just as it said, this remote oasis lived up to its
blurb in spades. AMAZING. AMAZING.