Stay Where Daniel Craig Unwinds When He’s Off 007 Duty
November 14, 2016
Set in the heart of Tangier’s Kasbah – an inner citadel, which overlooks the Mediterranean to Spain – La Maison Blanche is one of Morocco’s best-kept secrets. Or was, until Hollywood’s “Spectre” team used the hotel as a green room for the actors during their latest 007 production and gave the hotel flattering reviews.
What was Hollywood’s opinion? A member of the staff made an online comment that the hotel was “deemed perfect for our actors and VIPs – all of whom loved being there. Please don’t stay anywhere else in Tangier – you won’t find better!”
Naturally, we decided this hotel would be of interest to our readers, so we took a trip there for a few days ourselves.
A Snapshot of La Maison Blanche
The owners, Pilar and Aziz Begdouri, had a vision to convert this 14th century riad (a traditional Moroccan villa with an inner courtyard) into a luxuriously appointed nine-bedroom guesthouse.
In the lead up to their launch in 2013, they spared no expense in sourcing the finest materials for their dream – including Parisian fabric wall coverings from Pierre Frey, artisanal furnishings, hand-crafted tiles and the highest quality marble.
Nevertheless, the true charm of La Maison Blanche is that it is still small enough to remain unpretentious and homely. What’s more the owners have gone out of their way to accentuate this feeling by placing a welcoming scent of rose oil and fresh roses throughout the residence, a soothing water fountain in the patio area and a highly personalised service.
The Hospitality of a Home
As the owners are life partners, being greeted by them immediately makes a homely and personal impression. Pilar and Aziz are very welcoming and with their extensive tourism experience, they have managed to present a very natural, yet attentive service approach.
Our suites were always immaculately cleaned with fresh bouquets of roses at the entrance and within the bathroom. Aziz, being a tour guide himself, was also eager to make recommendations, which proved to be very sound tips. In addition, he oversaw breakfast, explaining the traditional Moroccan delights that were on offer. The other members of the team also made a good impression, from Pilar’s welcome to the ironing staff who made sure my shirts were always in shape.
The Sleeping Spaces
While the overall theme of the suites are in line with the traditional Moroccan riad, each has its own unique style and is named after a prominent individual who is associated with Tangier.
My suite, Régis Milcent was named after the French interior designer who also happened to oversee the overall design of La Maison Blanche. Not only was this suite the “designer’s room”, but it was also the room that Léa Seydoux was appointed as her personal green room during the “Spectre” shoot. This added a sense of charm and mystique to the already intriguing room.
The room itself contained a carved cedar wood entrance (consistent with the rest of the hotel), high ceilings, hand-carved wooden furnishings, an appealing hand-painted coral motif on the walls, an inset Arabic-styled arch featuring a painting behind the bed, and wide windows, which appeared to transport us to the smells and sounds of the vibrant Kasbah.
The bathroom was also a standout feature of the suite, containing handmade tiles, a grand marble bath and custom-made amenities sourced from Morocco using natural ingredients (including an outstanding rose bath gel, which was the perfect addition for a relaxing foam bath).
Importantly, to ensure the traditional charm does not limit the comfort of the guest, the rooms are also equipped with all of the modern conveniences, including a flat screen television with satellite, a wireless Internet connection and other expected necessities.
One of the highlights of La Maison Blanche is the included breakfast. Served on a roof terrace, which overlooks the port of Tangier, it is truly a delight for the senses.
The breakfast includes traditional Moroccan specialties, such as the sweet mint tea, an Arabic-styled pancake (Msamen) and doughnuts (Sfenj), argon oil and peanuts, an omelette of the guest’s choice, as well as French options, such as croissants, jam and fruit.
There are also further extras, which guests can look forward to, including private tours run by the owner Aziz, exposing guests to the fascinating splendors of Tangier.
And that, in a nutshell, evokes the sentiment of a La Maison Blanche stay quite aptly: an intimate experience, which is a very comfortable springboard into the vibrant sights and sounds of this beautiful Moroccan city.
Written By Rob Wetton