Feb 012015

Our journey to Marrakech involved a number of stages. We flew overnight from Bermuda to London, where we had a six hour layover, before a four hour flight to Marrakech. For some reasons British Airway didn’t see fit to provide any movies or reclining seats for a 4 hour flight, very strange.

Upon arrival, we found ourselves a taxi. Having read that the taxis have a tendency to take advantage of newly arrive tourists, we were careful to make sure we agreed a price before getting in. Of course, as soon as we pulled off that price increased, but it was still within what we’d agreed was an acceptable range.

Now, the thing about staying in the Medina of Marrakech is that it’s highly unlikely that your taxi will be able to drop you at your doorstep. As a result, you find yourself being dropped off with little idea of how far away your hotel is, or with any idea of how to get there. Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for a smiling man with a cart to appear who will carry your bags for a fee. They also know all of the hotels in the area and almost before you know what’s going on, you’re following this complete stranger you’ve given your bags to down weaving, narrowing alleyways.

Even once we thought we’d arrived, we walked through a door with the Palais Sebban written on it and were faced with a tunnel that still had multiple other addresses branching off of it.

After snaking around a few more times, we found the reception. Here we were greeted with mint tea and one of the most amazing lobbies I’ve ever seen. Below, you can see what we saw when we looked up.

View of frescoes carved in the plaster ceilings of lobby of Palais Sebban, Marrakech

Feb 212012

I was lucky enough to get to stay in the Ritz in London in January. I was recently asked what I’d been up to lately, beside feeding elephants and searching for vertigo. After checking in I was escorted to my room and shuddered slightly as I came out of the elevator and up to the edge. The height gave me a little rush to the head  – and I was only on the second floor. I arrived after my few days in Prague – a little hungover and really sleep deprived. I actually felt nervous arriving there. Hopping in a cab at Paddington and saying,”the Ritz, please,” felt pretty good. I’ve stayed in the area before and typically take the tube, but arriving on foot, with my backpack tripod and tiny rolling suitcase just seemed wrong. Even so, when the doorman opened the door and reached in for my bags my age, sneakers, corduroy’s and t-shirt probably sunk in. He stopped reaching for my bag and said, “are you checking in sir.”

After answering yes he was incredibly friendly. It was actually the most shocking thing about staying there. I expected them to be very up tight and snooty. It was the opposite, everyone that worked there was just incredibly friendly. It is a bit weird having so many people ready to help you – there are always two staff members per guest. After leaving, the standard ten minute wait to be acknowledged by the bartenders at the Red Lion in Gatwick seemed particularly shabby!

Most of the time I was there I chickened out of walking around with my camera and tripod photographing the place. On my last day, just before checking out I shot this photo. I was in a rush and didn’t want to set up my tripod as I didn’t know the policy on this, and it’d be a shame to survive 4 days at the Ritz and get kicked out on the last one. So, I shot handheld. As you can see the lighting was pretty low so I had to ramp my ISO up. This has led to a lot of noise in the image. Noiseware Pro made a noble effort in fixing this, but I won’t be displaying this one at full size any time soon. If you’re curious to see what I mean by noise you can click the image to go through to Smugmug and view the original size, just scroll around until you find the grainy bits

Next time, I’ll just break out the tripod.


Dizzy view down from the top of the spiral staircase in The Ritz, London with bright red, green and yellow decorative carpeting.