I don't normally devote an entire post to a hotel-stay, but if there is ever a place where I wish I could spend another day or two (or ten), it is L'Ma Lodge in Skoura, a unique, well-designed riad that combines the best of Morocco with the best of France.
I must admit, when we arrived in Skoura and made our way to the riad via a narrow dirt road in what didn't look like the best of neighborhoods, then pulled up in front of a mud wall that didn't look very promising, I was feeling a bit disgruntled. I'd just spent two nights in a tent in the Sahara, for heaven's sake!
But like all our riad experiences, when the front door opened it was like leaving Dorothy's tornado-tossed little gray house and stepping into Oz, a metaphor I've used before but which was never more true than at L'Ma. L'Ma means "water" in Arabic and pays homage to the critical role water plays in this desert region. The owners are a French couple who had been living in nearby Ourzazate and had purchased the property and then built it from the ground up.
Rather than a single building with a central courtyard, the typical riad architecture, L'Ma is two stand-alone buildings surrounded by gardens and enclosed by an adobe wall, creating an environment meant for strolling, exploring, and relaxing.
The lodge, where we checked in and where we ate dinner and breakfast, was a cross between a luxury ski lodge and a Moroccan palace:
It included several areas for lying lazily about, sipping juice and popping olives into one's mouth. Unfortunately, we arrived just before 7:00 p.m. and had plans for an early departure the next morning.
We made our way to the guest house, which includes four regular rooms and three suites. I love the wooden railing on the stairs: