Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Three days before the end of our trip, the airport closed as a result of the new Covid virus. The team didn't miss a beat and took care of us for 3 days until we could get a flight out
Lindsey Stewart | December 6, 2021

PANDEMIC TRAVEL My husband and I just returned from two weeks in Morocco. We used Radia and Hicham to organize the trip. They did a spectacular job. During the planning phase, they were truly interested in our interests and incorporating them into the itinerary. They also had recommendations of their own which were spot on. We were met at the airport by a greeter who fast tracked us through the official process and led us to our personal guide and driver waiting for us outside with their Mercedes van. Totally seamless. The vehicle, driver and guide were top notch. Our guide, Husan, was outstanding. Perfect English. Knowledgable. Great sense of humor. The boutique hotels were all great. Flexible itinerary if we wanted to return to, say, a particular shop, or linger at a particular attraction (such as the YSL museum and garden). Three days before the end of our trip, the airport closed as a result of the new Covid virus. The team didn’t miss a beat and took care of us for 3 days in Casablanca until we could get a flight out. Really felt safe and cared for. We ended up having a great time in the modern city of Casablanca (which was a surprise). Morocco is a fully functioning, multi-cultural, diverse society that offers so much to the visitor. People are very friendly. Most speak English. Shopper’s paradise for any budget. We highly recommend Morocco as a destination and Radia and Hicham as the people to make it all happen for you!

I love Morocco and I wanted the first-timers to experience the magic and feel the same way. Mission accomplished!
Patricia Campbell | October 31, 2021

PANDEMIC TRAVEL We returned from our family trip to Morocco on October 17. It didn’t really feel that much different to me than a trip taken before Covid. When we were in a crowded store or surrounded by people in the open, some of us put our masks on; but overall, it felt quite normal. And yes, our guide and driver wore their masks at all times, making us feel very safe around them, in the van and elsewhere.

Radia and company were extremely helpful when it came to the overall planning. She suggested great experiences that everyone loved, and the hotels and restaurants were superb. My biggest gripe were the rooms at Villa des Orangers – and that was a place that I wanted! Ha! Here’s what I’ll say about it: the public spaces are beautiful, the staff is lovely and the 12 year old was enchanted with the pool! But the rooms need a serious facelift. The lighting is horrendous, there are not enough electrical outlets, and the rooms all just look tired and worn out. In fact, I’m very surprised the place still gets such high ratings. But again, that was my pick so any complaints I have are my own fault. The last hotel in Marrakech, Palais Ronsard was absolutely exquisite. Everyone was in love with their rooms (once again, the 12 year old was gleeful over the gorgeous pool) and that hotel was one I hadn’t even heard of. Kudos to Radia on that one!

And again, Radia picked some fantastic restaurants. Each night we had delicious food in glorious settings. And our guide, Miloud Chacha picked fabulous places for our lunches. We were all wowed by the food experiences!

And speaking of our guide – he told us to call him Chacha – he was simply fantastic. My husband and I had a wonderful guide on a Moroccan trip we took several years ago, and we were convinced that no one could live up to the high standards of that guide. Well, Chacha proved us wrong. He was everything you could hope for in a guide: knowledgeable, entertaining, personable. The 12 year old just adored him (actually we all did) and had big tears in his eyes when he realized he was saying goodbye to Chacha and wouldn’t be seeing him again. I can’t think of a better compliment to pay to a guide! And our driver, Deress (I’m sure I’m spelling his name wrong) was also lovely. Len and I were alone with him when he ferried us back to Casablanca (we had stayed one day later than the rest of the crew) and we had the opportunity to chat the entire way from Marrakech to Casablanca. He was also a fount of knowledge and entertained us all the way.

Radia checked in with me, by phone, when we were a few days into our adventure: just to make sure everything was going OK. There was miscommunication about PCR tests (cost for coming to the hotel and the fact that they required a cash payment) for 5 of the crew, so there was so scrambling and ATM searching. But “the scramblers” said that in the scheme of things, it was not a big deal and they were fine with it all.

Most memorable of all was the luxury camp in the desert where we had a delicious dinner then listened to an impromptu concert by the camp staff
Elizabeth Bantley | October 21, 2021

PANDEMIC TRAVEL Just back from Morocco and I can’t thank Radia and her team enough for her creativity and flexibility in planning our trip. We reached out to Radia in the fall of 2019 and were impressed with her plan for an 8-day tour. We booked our trip in December 2019 for April 2020 departure just as covid began to be reported in the news. Three weeks prior to departure, she contacted us about our lockdown and theirs. We rescheduled for April 2021 as we never imagined what would unfold. In January 2021 we asked for another reschedule. Our group – four women who are all experienced travelers – was able to book the trip for September of 2021. Through this, Radia was always available to answer questions and ease some last-minute anxiety.
Every aspect of the trip was wonderful. We asked to dine outside as much as possible and Radia and her team provided that and more. We enjoyed stunning views of the Fes skyline as the sun set during dinner. We dined at both a rooftop restaurant and by the hotel pool in Marrakech. And perhaps most memorable of all was the luxury camp in the desert where we had a delicious dinner then listened to an impromptu concert by the camp staff.
The hotels were luxurious and unique and extremely comfortable. The hotel staff were always wearing masks and often volunteered that they were vaccinated.
Our guide, Miloud Chacha, provided fascinating historical and political context for the sights we were seeing. He provided us with opportunities to meet locals while still being covid safe. One morning, we took a quick walk through a local market and bought local dates. Our driver Abdel managed to smoothly navigate dense traffic, scooters, and one afternoon, torrential rain. Our van was immaculate and well provisioned with snacks, water, and lots of hand sanitizer.
The local guides were great. The guides for the Fes food tour, the Roman ruins of Volubulis, and the Grand Mosque in Casablanca were knowledgeable and personable. One of the trip highlights was a visit to a Berber pharmacy where we were the only customers and our guide showed us wonderful teas, skin care, and spices.
Because of covid, there were few tourists in Morocco and we were able to go into the souks to do some shopping while still maintaining distance.
I just can’t thank Radia enough for our adventure.

I'd urge people not to shy away from visiting Morocco as soon as possible, before the hordes of tourists reappear
Marcia Wood | September 28, 2021

PANDEMIC TRAVEL  We just got back from a 2 week trip to Morocco that had originally been planned for June of 2020, but the world had other plans… We were put in contact with Hicham and Radia by Wendy Perrin for that original trip and kept in touch with them as we ultimately moved the trip to Sept. of 2021, thinking surely COVID would be behind us then. We worked primarily with Radia and largely revised our original itinerary but with a few tweaks learned from the interim. Radia from the very start was quick to respond, helpful and upbeat. She understood the kinds of things we wanted to do, that we wanted charming riads not big hotels and that we were willing to be active. I gave her a rough outline of the 5 places/areas of Morocco I was most interested in seeing and that this was to be a family trip with our grown children (ranging in age from 27 to 31). After all this meticulous planning, fast forwarding to the trip itself, it was a great sequence of places starting with landing in Marrakech, heading right to Essaouira on the coast the next morning for 2 nights, followed by a long drive (totally worth it and not to be missed) to the Sahara to a desert camp for a night, back to Marrakech for 3 nights, then to the high Atlas Mts for 2 nights and ultimately to Fes for 2 nights. Essaouira was perhaps our least favorite of the locations but still interesting and the most fascinating experience there was taking us to the docks as the sardine fishermen came in: a scene of mayhem, color, sound, smell, and unbelievable variety of sea creatures and since it had been a good catch, the fisherman were giving away lots of fresh fish to the poor who thronged around with buckets. We had a guide for the whole 2 weeks, Anouar, and a driver, Hafid, who were both terrific. Hafid drove confidently and well through absolutely harrowing roads that had my husband intensely thankful he was not driving, through mountains and city streets and was always waiting when we needed him. Anouar was a crucial part of the trip (both chosen by Radia, although he freelances) and a fount of cultural and historical information about his beloved country and even more beloved Fes (just for the record, everything is better in Fes). He steered us to wonderful quality shops, whether it was jewelry or fresh dates or leather goods and was willing to help haggle in Arabic, when needed. So much of this trip was different than what one might expect of a trip to Morocco in non-COVID times because tourist numbers were still way down. Rather than acting resentful we found Moroccans generally friendly, enthusiastic, willing to be of great service and places that were open (sadly many restaurants we might have wanted were closed, either temporarily for COVID or now permanently) rolled out the red carpet. For example, one of the absolute highlights of the trip was a night in the Sahara at a desert camp. It is a long drive (roughly 12 hours split over two days each way) to get there and our comfortable van with Hafid gave way for the last hour to 4-wheel drive vehicles capable of rough sand roads and ultimately just hard sand. Then we transitioned to riding camels into the dunes (actually dromedaries because only one hump in Morocco) for about 20-30 min but they would have let us ride longer, or not at all if one didn’t want to). Normally set up for about 8-10 full size luxury tents in this Berber camp, we were the only tourists there, and I think the first ones in almost 15 months, but they treated us with such warmth and welcome. Plentiful food, fresh orange juice brought up to the top of the dune where we were watching the sunset, a feast followed by music and singing on traditional drums around a camp fire with unbelievable stars. We got up to ride the camels again to see sunrise over the dunes. Another highlight of the trip was our hotel in the high Atlas Mts (near where some of Game of Thrones was shot) Kasbah Tamadot (owned by Richard Branson). They had gorgeous, extensive grounds with pools, nooks and crannies with appealing seats, lawns with games from grass tennis courts to bocce, ping pong, and showed the movie Casablanca on a big screen on the lawn with headphones that evening if one wanted to see it (was great fun). The physical, mountainous setting was spectacular. We also did a hiking afternoon with a local guide, Rasheed, who couldn’t have been better. One of us wanted a less strenuous experience but still to go, so Anouar accompanied me with Rasheed taking others in the family, and we had two mules for riding at times if desired. Our last stop, Fes, for two nights was wonderful and a good capstone. Anouar knew excellent shops for those of us wishing to purchase ceramics, leather goods, and fresh dates (quite a dizzying array of each available so having someone’s expert guidance for quality and price was invaluable). Fes normally would be clogged with tourists in its narrow alleys but because tourist numbers were down so much, we had much easier path through places. The riads we stayed in at each location of the trip were exactly the level of accommodation we had hoped for and Radia delivered: more like charming smaller boutique hotels with Moroccan history and art all built around beautiful interior courtyards, usually with fruit trees and fountains, with outdoor and/or rooftop dining. Our last evening in Fes was memorable because Anouar invited us to have dinner in his home with his family and had arranged with his wife to make a few of the dishes we had most enjoyed on the trip (e.g. chicken bastilla) and on one other occasion had a friend of his who owned a restaurant which was closed, open up with a private rooftop dinner for us with one of Marrakech’s speciality dishes served. – On one COVID related note as a warning, Radia had very nicely set up rapid Antigen testing at our hotel the day before leaving, required for us to fly back to the US. While they did come do the testing, they did not include our birthdays and passport numbers or stamp each certificate that they were supposed to email to all of us (and only 2 of the 5 of us got their emails), which Anouar ultimately solved. At the airport, the lack of this info on the test result caused consternation as to whether it was acceptable but ultimately Air Maroc let us fly. I don’t fault Radia in the least but if you need COVID testing, make sure the facility includes all that info on the results certificate. – All in all, it was a really terrific trip and I’d urge people not to shy away from visiting Morocco as soon as possible, preferably even before all the hordes of tourists reappear. So much of our experience was in open air that this also helped us feel safe in COVID times. We felt that going through Wendy Perrin who put us in touch with Radia who then hired out guide Anouar and driver, was a really successful way to have customized a trip that was exactly what we wanted and had ultimate flexibility and focus to our needs and wishes, with invaluable local knowledge and experience. Radia checked in with me by phone several times during the trip to make sure all was going as planned. Five stars all around! – Marcia Wood, Portland OR

Watching the sun rise from the basket of a hot air balloon and riding a dromedary through the desert are tied as my most memorable experiences
Lisa Lenow | September 24, 2021

PANDEMIC TRAVEL  On September 4-12, 2021 I had the pleasure of traveling to Morocco with three of my closest friends. Hurricane Ida just passed over the East Coast, the Delta variant of the coronavirus was spreading, and unruly passengers was all over the news, so my trip started with some trepidation. All was immediately eliminated with an easy and comfortable flight on Royal Air Maroc and a warm welcome from our guide, Miloud. He took exceptional care of us throughout the entire trip!

We had a wonderful time seeing the sights of cities and towns, including the desert, and sleeping in lovely hotels along the way. The food was delicious everywhere we ate and I really appreciated the complimentary goodies left for me at several of the hotels. Miloud educated me and made me feel immersed in the culture, which is what I was seeking. Highlights included the Casablanca mosque, tasting our way through Fez, tagine cooking in Marrakesh, and shopping at the ceramic cooperative and tannery. Watching the sun rise from the basket of a hot air balloon and riding a dromedary through the desert are tied as my most memorable experiences.

I can’t say enough about the communication before and during our trip. They quickly replied to all of my emails and checked in (twice!) while in Morocco to ensure my satisfaction. The trip I enjoyed via Hicham and Radia exceeded my expectations!

Radia notified them about Morocco's impending shutdown of the skies way before other tourists heard from their booking agents
Priscilla Eakeley | March 24, 2020

PANDEMIC TRAVEL I can’t thank Radia enough for taking such phenomenal care of my daughter, her husband, and their children (age 10 and 12) as COVID-19 rearranged the world order this past week. My family even reported back that, despite the tumultuous situation on the ground and the fact that their 10-day trip was cut short by three days, they had a terrific time. But for me, it was their safety that mattered most. While hotel after hotel was closing its doors (including three that my daughter was to stay in), Radia’s team arranged excellent alternatives. As their super comfortable van (with wi-fi!) passed shuttered restaurant after restaurant on the five-hour drive from the desert to Skoura, their guide, Mohammed, contacted his Berber connections who opened a restaurant just for the six of them—incredible! And, most important, Radia notified them about Morocco’s impending shutdown of the skies way before other tourists heard from their booking agents, allowing them precious time to secure seats on an emergency flight arranged by Britain to transport stranded visitors back to London (don’t get me going on the shameful lack of response from the US government . . .). “The best of houses is the house where an orphan gets love and kindness,” according to the Prophet Muhammad. This mother of four temporarily orphaned family members is forever indebted to Radia and her team, and I look forward to returning to Marrakech and Dar Ahlam as a family and seeing this beautiful country through Radia’s eyes.

They found excellent lodgings in a very high travel season that we were not able to find on our own
Gina Davis | February 5, 2020

My husband, 22-year old son and traveled over the holidays to Marrakesh, Atlas Mountains and Fes. Our Travel Planner did an excellent job of preparing an interesting itinerary and iterating upon it based on our feedback. They found excellent lodgings in a very high travel season that we were not able to find on our own.

Felt like they really understood our M.O.
Bernardine Wu | December 10, 2019

Excellent responsiveness and trip planning. Felt like they really understood our M.O. Presentation of options and recommendations visually easy to understand. Pre-trip communications were great. Availability, responsiveness, proactiveness during the trip were also great, including some unforeseen local changes – such as upgrading our hotel when the hotel was overbooked. Local guide, driver and van were all top notch. Guide was especially great in knowledge, tempo, friendliness and adapting to us. We felt safe and cared for. We recommend one guide for the whole trip, too, because then we got into deeper discussions about religion, government, extremism, family. We were extremely happy with the specialists, especially as seasoned travelers, and would recommend them to others.

Jam-packed but not rushed, which was perfect
Cynthia Kounaris | November 29, 2019

We had only 5 days for our visit. The planner worked with us to arrange 5 full days to cover what we were interested in, at the pace that we wanted. I felt that it was jam-packed but not rushed, which was perfect.

Our driver was very good and accommodating. Our guide was great; very knowledgeable, interesting, very pleasant, and went out of his way to make the trip great for us.

I had hurt my knee prior to the trip and all TE walking and climbing exacerbated it; the team was as accommodating as possible, including a last-minute change where a car was arranged to take us up into the high atlas mountains.

All the accommodations were top notch.

Also, this was a fairly last-minute trip, and the team was very responsive so we were able to do this with a quick turnaround.

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