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Discover the mark of a true luxury hotel stay

You know a luxury hotel when you see one. Perhaps it’s the location, an estate nestled against a shoreline or against a city skyline. Maybe it’s the in-room amenities, well-lit spaces and elegant furnishings which elevate every moment. It might be the service, the friendly faces of always-available concierge who seek to satisfy your every need. Truth told, a luxury hotel will expend every amenity in its arsenal to deliver a stay unlike any other. Ideally, luxury hotels succeed in combining world-class facilities with reliable affordability, equal parts financial feasibility and upgraded excellence. Don’t allow the luxury hotel experience to evade you any longer. Learn how to identify and experience the finest in indigenous hospitality, with the following criteria for a truly luxurious hotel endeavour.

1. Ease of Interaction

True luxury hotel stays will optimize the guest experience without your request. Interaction with any luxury hotel outlet should be streamlined and efficient; ultimately, the best luxury hotels can actually convey their core values and brand through each interaction, no matter how miniscule.

Interaction starts at the booking stage; look to experience an uncomplicated, straightforward room booking process. If a “luxury” hotel offers an unclear booking process or a poorly navigable website, they have yet to consider the fact that a guest deserves easy interaction. You should be afforded multiple booking options, ideally both online, over the phone and on-site at the hotel itself.

It goes without saying that while you stay at the hotel property, your interactions with the luxury hotel should be both easy and minimal. However, a luxury hotel is truly offered the chance to show its true colors when it’s time for the check-out process. No one enjoy waiting in a lengthy line to conclude their departure. Luxury hotels who expedite the check-out process, even removing lines and replacing check-out by hotel attendant with a kiosk, understand the value of time to a departing guest.

The Dar Ayniwen Garden Hotel in Morocco prioritizes ease of guest interaction. It’s a luxury hotel that extends efficient interaction options, especially during the check-in and check-out processes, for an enjoyable stay from arrival to departure.

2. World-class, onsite cuisine

Many hotels offer some sort of onsite restaurant option, offering guests the option to dine in. However, the difference between a typical and a luxury hotel is often found in the quality of their associated culinary options. Where nondescript hotels will cut corners in delivering average food products to famished guests, luxury hotels like Morocco’s Dar Ayniwen Garden Hotel will offer a wide assemblage of meal options, courtesy of a talented chef team.

Look to discover organic dishes, and fresh takes on local and international cuisine. Luxury hotels often offer reservation options, so guests can stroll into the establishment expecting a table. Local ingredients is also a plus, not only for food quality, but for acquiring an authentic taste of regional output. Experienced luxury hotels also seek to satisfy their guests’ morning needs, in expansive continental breakfast spreads. Bonus points to any hotel location that goes so far as to offer cooking classes through their kitchen!

3. The in-room experience

Luxury hotels deliver on their promise of industry-leading in-room hospitality. Many guests spend the majority of their time at the luxury hotel in their rooms, especially at the end of each productive day. As such, rooms must include amenities that allow guests rejuvenation and relaxation opportunities, regardless of the room’s price tag. Luxury hotels learn how to deliver a unique experience to each and every guest, in their ongoing drive to provide a holistic, world-class experience.

The Dar Ayniwen Garden Hotel is one such establishment, which pairs upscale in-room furnishings with a selection of valuable amenities. Rooms are fitted with elegant window views of the surrounding landscapes, and soft, rich carpets for a full sensory experience. Sink into intimate bedding, in a temperature-controlled hotel space. Select rooms also include terrace space, flat screen televisions and laundry provisions, together with complimentary Internet access. A luxury hotel that offers guests access to a heated pool and a free airport shuttle is a hotel that has considered and responded to the most pressing needs of each guest.

4. Therapeutic spa auras

There’s something about a spa that’s uniquely relaxing. The therapeutic effects of a spa on even the strictest traveler are not lost on luxury hotels. Many luxury hotels make their spa the epicenter for social activity and seek to drive hotel guests to experience the spa grounds with offered discounts and enjoyable spa packages. The Dar Ayniwen Garden Hotel is not exception to this renowned practice.

The best luxury hotel spas are entirely more than a location. They offer a one-of-a-kind sensory experience, the transformation of ailments of bodily needs into expressed freedom and pleasure. Discover true tranquility with offerings like a steam bath, sauna and assorted beauty treatments. Exfoliate your skin, allow your pores to breathe, and receive pressing foot and hand massage treatments that have you feeling your best. Organic remedies renew your energy and refocus your outlook. Luxury hotels center their spa offerings around expert in-house therapists, rendering the distance between guests and unique spa relief a short one.

5. Location, location, location

Simply said, the best hotels have the best locations. Luxury hotels succeed in delivering a stay that for each guest can rival the quality of their site, no matter the attractions that exist outside of your front doors. As such, optimal hotels like the Dar Ayniwen Garden Hotel also allow guests to schedule their next social function, wedding or high-class event on the premises, effectively capitalizing or an ideal location and ready-made luxury. Enjoy avenues of palm trees integrated into the hotel grounds, for a true coastal vibe impossible to fake. Luxury hotels also seek to align their operations close to a center of town, no more than a short drive away. The closer a luxury hotel can orient local attraction to the hotel itself, the better.

World-class hospitality lives in Morocco.

Among those rare stays which can deliver all of the benchmarks for a luxury hotel stay is the Dar Ayniwen Garden Hotel in Morocco. An outright standard in local and international hospitality, the property allows guests to capitalize on the ideal luxury hotel experience. Delectable Moroccan dishes are available for your appreciation, and a resident therapist can replace your worries with a smile at the onsite spa. Stay in the Bamboo or the Mucha Room, or choose from Junior of Premium Suites, for an experience that meets and exceeds your expectations. Contact accommodating hospitality staff today, and pair your vacation aspirations with a worthy luxury hotel solution. For more destination guides and accommodation reviews, hotels and vacation rentals, check out https://trip101.com

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QUÉ VER EN MARRAKECH, MARRUECOS, by Alfonso Morales & Beatriz Jiménez

A great story about our favorite city, thank you for mentioning us among your numerous adventures.

  • Cuando ya hayas visitado la medina, vale la pena tomarse un tiempo para salir de las murallas históricas de la ciudad y adentrarse en el Palmeral de Marrakech como parte de qué ver en Marrakech.
  • Este lugar es un espacio natural en el cual podrás apreciar más de 100 mil palmeras y una gran cantidad de árboles por los que puedes pasear, descansar y relajarte. Esta enorme zona, se permite visitar en coche, pero también se puede hacer su recorrido en carruaje de caballos, sin duda merece la pena sobre qué ver en Marrakech.
  • Nosotros aprovechamos para alojarnos en el Hotel Dar Ayniwen, situado en el Palmeraie (palmeral), y es que después de todo el día por los bulliciosos zocos, la plaza de Jemaa el-Fna y sus locas calles, no hay nada mejor que encontrar un lugar de verdadero relax. Y en el Hotel Dar Ayniwen encontramos un auténtico oasis a tan sólo 10 minutos del centro, donde un “transfer” gratuito conecta el centro con el hotel cada 30 minutos pasando de la locura al paraíso. Piscina climatizada, jardines, tortugas viviendo por el hotel y gran cantidad de pájaros exóticos. Sin duda uno de los más lujosos y mejores hoteles de Marrakech.
Read more Less http://www.thewotme.com/2016/12/que-ver-en-marrakech-marruecos/

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TRAVEL&DESIGN by Lorenzo Liverani: DAR AYNIWEN VILLA

Dar Ayniwen has often been mention in the design and decoration magazine for its particular style and feel. It is very nicely told in this story, enjoy the read and come to visit us.

  • Hi guys! as you noticed from my Instagram and Facebook channels, a few weeks ago I travelled to Marrakech, city of typically Moroccan colors and smells that make you lose yourself into the real Moroccan lifestyle. I had the pleasure to be a guest in the amazing Villa Dar Ayniwen, a true paradise, with the traditional Moroccan refined design, where the peacefulness and the singing of the variety birds, that are collected in the beautiful garden by the owner of the place, isolate yourself from the loud and colorful Medina. A perfect place where luxury, relax and design meet each other. The first thing that comes to your mind when you enter in the Villa is a “Home feeling”, a sensation that is difficult to feel when you’re hosted in hotel, but thanks to the building magnitude and the few suites is almost impossible to bump into other guests, in order to maintain oneself privacy. The perfect paradise to whom wants to alternate between the colorful and loud Moroccan lifestyle with some pleasant and peaceful moments.
Read more Less http://yourmirrorstyle.com/traveldesign-dar-ayniwen-villa/

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A Tranquil Paradise – Dar Ayniwen, Marrakech, by Mrs Joanne Lewis

Finding the right place to stay for the first time away as a family, and we got it perfect.

A HOME AWAY FROM HOME.

This was my second time visiting Marrakech (see previous posts here) and I knew what to expect within the City. I knew it was busy and surrounded by hustle and bustle. I also knew the swimming pools tend to be cold – too cold for the baby.

So when I found Dar Ayniwen, an exclusive five star hotel with only ten rooms based away from the old City centre in Palmeraie and with a heated pool, I was very eager to visit.

I booked the trip for Adam’s birthday, our first holiday abroad with our 12 week old, Pollyanna.

The hotel is surrounded by 2 hectares of gardens, each part of the garden offered something different, it felt like walking through different countries. With a huge selection of wild life – turtles and birds, its another great bonus for children.

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THE FAMILY SUITE.

With only ten rooms in the family home, you can expect big things in each. We were lucky enough to stay in two very different rooms throughout our five nights in Marrakech.

The first room was a very modern room, with a hot tub inside with modern marble shower. They are going to be adding a private swimming pool right outside the front door too.

The second room was our favourite because it was more traditional. It is great that they offer both as I know a lot of people prefer modern.

However our traditional Moroccan suite included our own private pool, which is perfect when you are travelling with a baby I hate to feel like I am disturbing anyone.

It also included our own living room, with tv, and a perfect round bed for the three of us (a cot was provided but we had her sleep with us).

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Mrs Dawn Bulchandani at Dar Ayniwen

Every summer we go trough our boxes and found this great reportage about Dar Ayniwen made by Co-muse Travels, we are delighted to share it with you.

  • http://comusetravels.com/blog/2016/2/24/imlsnunqsv1y4q4huiqrgbu46nvo3q
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  • Dawn on the grounds of Dar Ayniwen :: Photo Credit: Comuse Travels
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Miss Grace Montana at Dar Ayniwen

My name is Grace and I’m a Berlin based fashion- and lifestyleblogger. mydailycoutre was founded in 2016 and features many niche clothing brands, talented jewelry designers and my experiences with natural cosmetics. I have a thing for outstanding designs and stick to a vintage inspired way of editing and composing my photos. My signature look is a combination of different styles and trend movements. My aim is to encourage my followers ad readers to dress outside their comfortzone and try out new clothes and products.

Being a blogger these days isn’t just about your local trends or the ones that are typical and therefore mainstream in your country. Digitizaion and globalization enable us to discover so much more beyond and force us to be more open minded across-the-board. Being a socalled influencer for others means to be open for influences by other people and things at the same time. This can happen through people you see walking pass your café or even a special building, a catching song or a certain place.

Traveling is the most refreshing thing to do to get out of my usual comfortzone, breathe in what different countries or cultures have to offer and incorporate the impressions into my work.

Being born and raised in Berlin is quite entertaining, diversified and chaotic. So many different inter-nationalities and a wide rage of individuals make this historical city a remarkable place. Yet, I still love to get out of this hectic city to actually discover completely different areas and calm down.

http://www.my-dailycouture.com/2018/07/20/marrakech-outside-jungle-feeling-at-dar-ayniwen-villa-hotel/

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Kimyana Hachmann at Dar Ayniwen

Exploring the world means everything because different cultures are making our world a special place. Kimyana studied Journalism und Mass Communication in Germany and Thailand - very different cultures, but one goal: exploring every part of the earth and writing about the impressions. Visiting different countries is a meaningful part of Kimyanas´life and it is her job of choice now - after hustling in PR Agencys in Berlin for two years. Articles, reviews and meaningful content is so much more than just sitting infront of a laptop and typing texts all day long, it Is about the places we see, the people we meet and the feelings we have.

"In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes", Andy Warhol.

http://www.fifteenminfame.com/marrakech-travel-guide-dar-ayniwen/

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Dar Ayniwen a nice step on Miss Taylor Demonbreun world Trek

Dar Ayniwen offers 5-star level in the very exclusive resort of only 10 suites. Dar Ayniwen provide a concierge service, a tour desk, and free shuttles into town each day. The friendly and discreet staff strives to provide the best service possible to ensure that a stay at Dar Ayniwen is truly unforgettable.

Dar Ayniwen was an actual haven and one of the top hotels that I have stayed in on my travels. Dar Ayniwen is located about ten minutes driving time outside of the center of Marrakesh but that is what helps to make is to spectacular. The entire giant property is so secluded and serene it feels like being on a different planet when compared to the chaos that can be Marrakesh. Dar Ayniwen provides a free shuttle both for the airport and into town and it was such a nice service to have readily available.

I arrived late at night and was greeted with a warm welcome and a great tour of the property. It was originally built as a family house by Stephane - the manager’s - father. And boy, was it something. It honestly felt like I was on the set of a movie. It was so perfect and so unique in all of the best ways. The house was filled with artifacts and collectibles from around the world. My room was on the second floor and I truly couldn’t believe it when I walked in.

I had not one, but two balconies, one of which was an entire patio area with multiple chairs. It looked like an incredible place to just sit and relax. The second balcony was smaller but had a view of the gardens outside. The room itself felt very Moroccan in the best ways. It was very nice and also very comfortable. My bathroom was across the hall and was truly stunning. I’ve seen some nice bathrooms, but the tilework in this one just made it so visually appealing.

After a great night of sleep breakfast the next morning truly set Dar Ayniwen apart. It was my first time seeing the property in the sunlight and it was truly breathtaking. Eating breakfast by the pool in the huge garden area behind the house it actually looked like paradise. The weather was perfect, the Moroccan version of pancakes were quite tasty, and I realized I could spend weeks enjoying this perfect hotel.

After taking the shuttle into and back out of the city I was very glad to have a nice and quiet place to come back to. In the evening I met with Stephane, the manager. It was so interesting to learn about Stephane and his history (he went to University in the US) and also the history of Dar Ayniwen. It was very cool to learn that most of the items in the house were actually collected by his father when he traveled. Some of the items were so unique, like a Syrian wedding bench, that they probably belong in a museum instead of a hotel. The property is very eco-friendly and is home to many animals. My favorite were the birds, which Stephane was inspired to start collecting after visiting living in Florida. We had a really great conversation and it was very enjoyable to learn about such an incredible hotel.

I decided to eat dinner at Dar Ayniwen after a long day out and about in Marrakesh. I informed the kitchen a bit late, but luckily they did have vegetable kuzkuz available. I had never had it before so I gave it a shot, and actually enjoyed it! It wasn’t my favorite dish ever but it wasn’t bad and is not something that I can have everyday at home. I’m very glad that I tried it and, like with everything else, Dar Ayniwen did a great job with it.

It was very hard to say goodbye to a property that I so quickly fell in love with and one that I would love to come back to and enjoy for more time in the future. I had another great breakfast the next morning before I was gifted with a necklace as a keepsake and then driven back to the airport. I cannot Dar Ayniwen enough. If you are visiting Marrakesh, and especially if you are a bit wary of staying in the heart of the Old Medina like I was, it is the perfect paradise just a ten minute drive away. It was one of my best stays ever and I cannot thank everyone at Dar Ayniwen, especially Stephane, enough!

Check out my blog post from Morocco to read more about my stay: https://www.trekwithtaylor.com/dar-ayniwen

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Yoga by Perumal Koshy Dar Ayniwen

Perumal Koshy, born in New Delhi, India began teaching under a Kung-Fu master while living in Los Angeles. A ten year martial arts life lead into a yoga journey returning to his ancestral roots of Kerala, India followed by England, Italy and Morocco. Perumal’s international teaching experiences captured the heart and values of the world’s yoga styles. His method is a practical and easily comprehensible. A method implemented successfully to varying practitioners from the very young to the elderly. Yoga with Perumal adapts to the elderly with joint preparation exercises, light stretching and meditation and yet remains poised to deliver sequences typical dynamic yoga enthusiasts.

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Sylvia Chuku at Dar Ayniwen

If you've ever wanted to experience what living like a Moroccan royal and experience life in the luxe lane, Dar Ayniwen Hotel is the place to make it happen. Based in what I call the Beverly Hills of Marrakesh (La Palmeraie), this 5 star hotel is the perfect haven to recharge after exploring the intense and chaotic souks in the old city of Marrakech. It has it all - glorious architecture, fine dining, a spa and rooms worthy of a king, beautiful lush gardens, and exceptional customer service; at a reasonable cost.

The Hotel has only ten exclusive suites which allows for staff to make sure that each guest is catered to. When we arrived, Aziz gave us a tour of the Hotel and explained it’s history before showing us to our rooms, serving us tea and mapping out for us what we must see and do during our short stay in Marrakech.

No visit to Dar Ayniwen is complete without a visit to its wellness centre. The traditional Moroccan Hamman and signature treatments using exceptional local products like argan oil, ghassoul, and savon noir were highlights. After you indulge in one of their treatments, take a dip in their heated pool to unwind.

When you first walk in to the hotel, you’re blown away by the grand high tall ceilings, the beautiful chandlers, and the exceptional Moroccan interior decoration. Each room has such amazing character, the paintings in each room tell a story, and you actually feel a sense of being in another world, which is pretty awesome.

For dining, you have the exceptional food experience at the Hotel’s Moroccan restaurant, which also has a great choice of food for guests not particularly interested in the Moroccan cuisine.

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT- THE LAMB TAGINE IS THE BEST!

Dar Ayniwen Hotel represents every Moroccan fantasy and daydream you've ever had - and then some. There's decadent food, there's glamour, there's exceptional service, and a luxurious spa; what more could you ask for? It is definitely a place you'll want to spend at least one afternoon treating yourself.

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Georgina Hopkins at Dar Ayniwen

Our recent guest Georgia Hopkins, the founder of travel site it’s beautiful here (Instagram @_itsbeautifulhere), is an Australian native who decided to quit her high-flying corporate job working in investment banking at the age of 32 to embark on an adventurous life on the road. The now-38-year-old has been leading a fulfilling life out of her suitcase after travelling to more than 55 countries and visiting up to 350 cities since leaving behind her everyday luxuries five years ago. The globetrotter - who creates travel content for her own travel website as well as for other brands and travel outlets - came to stay with us at Dar Ayniwen last week. Georgia lists Marrakech as one of her favorite travel destinations in the world thanks to the city’s constant creative inspiration - the colours, the sounds, the chaos, the calm, and the call to prayer.

When asked about her stay at Dar Ayniwen, Georgia said she loved the beautifully serene setting of the hotel. Georgia loved being away from the hustle and bustle of the medina, out in the Palmeraie, to relax amongst the five-acres of manicured gardens, under olive and orange trees and our beautiful palms, here at Dar Ayniwen. Georgia also loved the color and unique interiors of our Arab-Andalusian style villa, and the delicious breakfasts on the poolside terrace each morning. Georgia said she can’t wait to return! And we can’t wait to welcome her back!

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You can follow Georgia’s adventures here: on Instagram @_itsbeautifulhere and on her website: itsbeautifulhere.com.

  • Photo Credit : Atelier Doré
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Yoga & well - being - Dar Ayniwen

Last week one of our guest booked mrs Stéphanie Bentiére Yoga teacher and was so happy about her, that we asked her this litlle introduction text to share with you. She can be booked directly, ( see contact info )

  • I started to discover yoga more than 10 years ago after arriving in Marrakech in 2004 and have a diploma from Yoga Alliance International.
  • Along the years, I have studied and practiced intensively with various schools, especially Ashtanga, Vinyasa and flow yoga and have expanded and deepened my practice of Qi-‐Gong and meditation (Mindfulness and Tibetan). Drawing on these experiences has allowed me to create my own style combining postures with breathing and energy.
  • I have also enriched this practice by a sound knowledge of the body and its energies through training in Chinese medicine.
  • With an emphasis on a healthy “yoga” lifestyle, my classes are focused on stress management, healthy living and well-­‐being.
  • Each class is personalized and varies according to each student’s level, his or her expectations and the number of sessions undertaken. There is particular emphasis on breathing and feeling.
  • Yoga is a progressive discipline that through practice can bring you to self-­discovery and perfect harmony. drawing on the various tools at our disposal including the asanas (postures) and pranayama ( controlled breathing) we are able to harmonise and balance the different levels of our being.
  • uniting the physical, psychological, mental,emotional and spiritual to find deep relaxation both in the physical body and soul.
Read more Less Classes in French and English : - Energy awakening (movements focused on the energy flow and meridians) 1H15 -­ Vinyasa Flow yoga 1H15 -­  Equipment provided. Stéphanie BENETIERE, Marrakech Tel : +212 (0)6 61 08 20 41 kecheventsmaroc@gmail.com

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Dar Ayniwen Villa Hotel experience by Ajda Sitar

Back in freezing Ljubljana, I am ready missing colourful Marrakech. The past year has been crazy for me travel wise, and I am ending it with a Morocco blogger trip with my friend Tesa (Magnifique blog) and photographer Katarina. What we’ve been up to, you will be able to discover in the following few posts, today I am sharing with you our stay at the amazing Dar Ayniwen.

Located in the Palmeraie of Marrakech, Dar Ayniwen Villa Hotel represents a peaceful getaway.

In 1972 Stephane Abtan’s father bought the land, which was around half the size it is today. He wanted to build a dream house. 10 years later he finally decided to build it, while on the break of the millennium the opportunity came and he bought the land right next to it as well. Being quite big, they decided to build a guest house, a pavilion to be exact. That is the same pavilion we stayed at. Since then, Stephane has developed the concept of a genuine home hotel. Instead of a typical riad or a hotel, Dar Ayniwen Villa Hotel offers the completely different experience. Located in the Palmeraie of Marrakech it offers a peaceful and relaxing getaway, while still being close to the bustling Medina (which you can explore whenever you want, they organize a free transfer to the city on your request).

The Roman Pavilion, the sound of the birds singing, the fascinating wildlife and flora… this might be paradise!

Dar Ayniwen is more than just the usual hotel. Spread over 2 hectares with only 8 suites and 2 rooms, you get plenty of space to enjoy the fascinating flora and fauna in peace and tranquillity. Exploring the garden (and getting lost there) is true pleasure, as well as swimming in the heated outdoor swimming pool or relaxing on the Moorish patio underneath the palm trees. The main attraction is definitely the bird sanctuary with some truly fascinating species. Dar Ayniwen is a five-star hotel as a home concept in mind, which means you get the best combination of luxury and personal experience (the service is superb – personal but discreet. We were warmly welcomed with some Moroccan tea and sweets then escorted to our pavilion. The Roman Pavilion with 70m² (and a 100m² private terrace and garden with jacuzzi) offered a true place of peace and relaxation. Decorated by mixing Moroccan pieces and antiques, each item was picked by Stephane’s family. Keeping the environment green, with ecology in mind, the whole place is heated by burning olive nuts, they have a special water system (using the wastewater to water the plants), overall they keep our nature in mind on every step.

Our start of the trip at Dar Ayniwen was a true blast, it gave us energy and power to fully explore the city of Marrakech.

photo: Katarina Veselič and Ajda Sitar

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Dar Ayniwen New Google + page

Check Dar Ayniwen last news, new publications, new pictures, video, experiences and much more on our Google Plus page.

  • https://plus.google.com/+Dar-ayniwen
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The COP22 in Marrakech

Dar Ayniwen is very proud to see the COPP 22 in Marrakech.

At Dar Ayniwen we have now a Biomass boiler to heat our pools, for the heating system, waste water treatment plant, LED lighting, ...

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Marrakech

Visiting the Koutoubia Mosque: Everything You Need to Know

The Moroccan city of Marrakesh is one of Africa’s most famous cities. Home to some of the best Islamic architecture in the region, including palaces, mosques and madrassas, a stunning kasbah, and one of the largest traditional Muslim marketplaces in the world, it’s perhaps best known for the magnificent Minaret of Yaqub Al-Mansur at the Koutoubia Mosque.

This historical masterpiece is one of the highlights of any visit to Marrakesh. Although it isn’t possible to visit the interior of the mosque unless you’re a Muslim, there are plenty of opportunities for you to see this stunning structure from the outside.

Read on for all you need to know about visiting the Koutoubia Mosque…

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Marrakech

The Koutoubia Mosque

The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh, and the tallest structure in the city. Situated in Marrakesh’s Djemaa el Fna Square – a bustling square at the heart of the city, and one of the world’s greatest meeting places – the stately minaret of the mosque towers over its surroundings.

This isn’t because it’s particularly tall, standing at 69 metres – although it was an engineering feat when constructed – but because of regulations dictating that the buildings in the surrounding medina cannot be higher than a palm tree. For this reason, it’s one of the city’s main landmarks and is visible from afar.

Five times a day, it isn’t just the minaret that rises over Marrakesh, but the voice of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer from its top. In the evening, as the lights flicker to illuminate the snake-charmers, fruit-sellers, and henna-painters in the square, and people meet for supper while cooking smoke fills the air, this is one of the most magical times to visit the area.

These sights and sounds have greeted visitors to Marrakesh for over 700 years, as weary travellers arrived via caravan across the desert to reach the centre of the city.

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Marrakech

A Little History

Construction on the Koutoubia Mosque began around 1150, shortly after the Almohad conquest of Marrakesh. Its location had historical significance – it was the site of a late 11th century kasbah, the Dar al Hajar, home of the Almoravid leader, Ali ibn Yusuf.

The Almoravids, previous rulers of Marrakesh, were staunch enemies of the Almohads. After the Almohad conquest of Marrakesh, the new leaders set about the complete destruction of all religious monuments and significant buildings in the city, believing the buildings to be tainted as they considered the Almoravids to be heretics.

The original mosque was completed in 1157, but there was a miscalculation in the construction that meant its orientation was incorrect – all mosques are supposed to point in the direction of Mecca, indicated by the mihrab, the prayer niche. Although a relatively minor issue – because the faithful could correct this under the direction of the imam by turning to face the correct direction – a decision was made to build a second mosque, the present day Koutoubia Mosque.

The two mosques were identical in everything aside from orientation, and they coexisted for 30 years, the original mosque most likely serving as a type of annexe to house the large religious population. Eventually the older mosque fell into ruin and was demolished. Its existence can be seen by the bricked-up spaces on the northwest wall where there were connecting doors, while excavations confirm the misalignment of the original structure.

The Koutoubia Mosque is known by several different names, including Jami’ al-Kutubiyah, Kutubiya Mosque, and Kutubiyyin Mosque. Its various names and associated spellings are based on the Arabic word, koutoubiyyin, which means bookseller – the mosque’s name is translated as ‘The Bookseller’s Mosque’. This is because originally up to 100 booksellers worked in the souk at its base

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