Lunch with a prince in Morocco
Let’s just say you have decided to go to Morocco.
Drop what you are doing and get in touch with Prior Arrangement.
The company run by Carol Prior specialises in travel, holidays and vacations to Morocco.
They can organise any pursuit from Mountain trekking, golf, cookery, bird watching, fishing to lying on a beach.
“Try a city break in Fes, Marrakech, Essaouria, Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, or Meknes. We arrange accommodation in Riads, Dars, hotels or Villas to satisfy your needs,’’ says Carol.
“We are able to provide private cars, 4X4s and other forms of transport that you require. Morocco by Prior Arrangement also helps many communities with schooling, medical and social skills.’’
And once you have decided to go to Morocco, you must go to Marrakech and stay at La Maison Aribe, run with style and panache by ood-loving Italian aristocrat Prince Fabrizio Ruspoli.
I managed to catch up with Prince Ruspoli, or Fabrizio as I call him, the other day when he was in Sydney to spread the word about the cuisine from his adopted home country Morocco.
In Sydney, executive chef of Patisse, Vincent Gadan and Out of Africa chef and owner Hassan M’Souli rolled up their sleeves for a unique sweet flavour of Morocco demonstration.
“We are so excited to have Fabrizio visit Australia to promote his beautiful property, its cooking school and Morocco as a very exciting and exotic holiday destination,” say Prior, whose company can arrange a myriad of customised luxury experiences to Morocco.
“It’s the first time Fabrizio has visited Australia, and judging by our urge to learn more about Morocco’s cuisine, it won’t be his last. Food and travel, of course, complement each other very well.” says Carol.
The family background of Fabrizio Ruspoli is as fascinating as the hotel the family owns in Morocco – La Maison Arabe. His parents were Prince Mario Ruspoli di Poggio Suasa, an Italian aristocrat and important filmmaker in the 1950s-60s, and Claude Delmas, from a prominent French shipping family.
In the late 1950s, Fabrizio fell in love with Morocco when he and his brother began spending their summer holidays at their archaeologist grandmother’s home in Tangier, Morocco.
After graduating from La Sorbonne, and before becoming a hotelier in Morocco, Fabrizio had his own headhunting firm, and was later an antiques dealer in Paris, specialising in 18th century French furniture. He moved to Morocco in 1992, and three years later bought La Maison Arabe, which had been a famous restaurant in the medina of Marrakech, started by two enterprising French women in the 1940s.
After two years of renovation work, he re-opened La Maison Arabe in January 1998 as the first boutique hotel in town.
In 2001, Fabrizio launched the first cooking school in the Kingdom of Morocco. A half-day cooking workshop at La Maison Arabe has become a “must do” activity for visitors to Marrakech. Fabrizio has a passion for music, and is actively involved in organising important classical music and piano recitals in Marrakech.
The story of La Maison Arabe began in the early 1930s, when two enterprising French women, Hélène Sébillon-Larochette, and her daughter, settled in Marrakech.
In 1946, the pasha of Marrakech granted them the right to open the first restaurant to foreigners in the medina, and provided a servant from his nearby palace to teach them the intricacies of Moroccan cuisine. Winston Churchill, who came often to Marrakech in his later years, would dine regularly at La Maison Arabe.
In 1995, the property and an adjoining riad were purchased by a descendant of a noble Roman family, prince Fabrizio Ruspoli.
After three years of renovation, during which time he was responsible for every detail of the craftsmanship and decoration, Fabrizio reopened La Maison Arabe in early 1998 as the first riad-hotel in Marrakech. The hotel has grown over the years, and in 2008 doubled in size by adding an adjoining property that had been the stables of the pasha’s palace.
Since 2000, guests can take advantage of the hotel’s Private Casbah Gardens, 15 minutes outside the city by complimentary shuttle, and reserved exclusively for guests of La Maison Arabe.
Today, La Maison Arabe has grown to boast 26 guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, two swimming pools (either on-site in the medina or at the Private Casbah Gardens), a new spa/hammam, and a world-renowned cooking school.
Despite a rapidly changing hotel landscape in Marrakech, La Maison Arabe remains among the most prestigious and sought-after hotel and restaurant addresses. Both the hotel and its cooking school have been praised in the international travel, design, and food & wine press.
In 2009, it was included by the prestigious L’Officiel Voyage magazine among “The 110 Most Beautiful Hotels in the World”, and is described by Frommer’s as “the epitome of Moroccan elegance”.
Morocco by Prior Arrangement
LUXURY CUSTOMISED TRAVEL
+212 5 24 42 24 91
+212 6 61 42 24 90
La maison Arabe
1 Derb Assehbé
Tél : (+212) 5 24 38 70 10
Fax : (+212) 5 24 38 72 21
Short URL: http://www.lunchmag.com/?p=5363