Saturday, February 19, 2011

Palais Donab, Marrakech - an exclusive riad

The impressive entrance area of the Palais Donab
Marrakech has accommodation for all wallets. Backpackers may find inexpensive rooms at a much higher standard than in Europe. For those of you with a comfortable bank balance, there are wide range of luxurious hotels and riads, as the Palais Donab close to where we stayed in January this year.

Breathtaking pool area
When walking through the narrow streets of the medina, you would never know that behind the gray, partly decaying walls you will find small and large riads, courtyards bought for the traders and merchants of the city of Marrakech.

We stayed at Riad Libitibito, that I will return to later here on the site. It caught our eyes, through a menu for a restaurant and a hotel displayed in the street. The  sign was tempting enough for us to look at the hotel, as well as taking a bite in the restaurant.

The Palais Donab was built as a private palace. The first owner was, according to our guide, a friend of one of the Morrocan kings.
Restaurant interior
Now the Palais Donab is owned by a wealthy American.

The Palais Donab offers a small number of rooms, from a tiny budget single room, perfect for a lonely traveler looking for a bargain, to a Royal Suite at the ground floor with direct access to the beautiful pool area. 

After one of our two meals at the restaurants we were so thrilled that one of the staff gave us a private guided tour of the palace. We watched the illuminated, sparkling blue water in the beautiful pool area in the mild Morrocan night. The pool area is open to the non-guests as well, at a low fee.

Then we were given access to the splendid Royal Suite with large comfortable sofas, a huge bed and the most beautiful bath room I have ever seen in my long life. It can be yours from €250-350 per night depending on season. Not a bad idea for a honey moon, if you ask me!!
Ornate architectural features

The single room can be yours for €50-70 per night, perfect for a single travelers looking for a low-priced room in an exclusive hotel. Double room is hardly a rip-off at €130-160 per night. Rates for junior suites will vary from €160 to 200 during low season, and €200-270 during high season.

And at the end of the day, you can sit down and enjoy good food in the opulent restaurant.

See all rates here

Marrakech offers high-standard accommodation at much lower prices. Due to this Palais Donab is a riad I would not consider staying during a ordinary trip to Marrakech, but I would for a special occasion. For those of you that think these rates are comfortable low, I suggest you check out the website for more information. 
Palais Donab
53 Dar El Basha Bab Doukkala
Marrakech 00345
, Morocco

Approximate location of the Palais Donab

As google maps are difficult to use to locate sites in Marrakech, this is the approximate location of Palais Donab on my map of Marrakech. Contact Palais Donab in order to get exact location of the hotel.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More duck confit - with dried figs

Making duck confit is probably one of the most stress-free dinners you can think of. In spite of this, you will be seriously acclaimed by your guests for this dish, as this is one of the finest dining experiences I know. 

You only need duck thighs, and seasoning. I use a roasting bag as this prevents stain in the oven, as well as preserving the meat moist and tender. The third ingredient is time, lots of time. Leave the duck in the oven for 4-5 hours on low heat before removing it for a crisp finish under the grill. In the mean time you can wind down before the guests are arriving. 

And delicious dried figs

I am running out on delicious dried figs I bought at Saluhallen in Göteborg last spring. I have found that they will keep their form, even through a long roasting process. I placed 6 of them in the roasting bag and allowed them to simmer for hours. Delicious juices from the confit made them swell. The gentle sweet spicy aromas combined with the salt, pepper and garlic. Perfect to the tender, delicious duck.

More food with figs 

Salmon sashimi - a light starter

Succulent sliced salmon sashimi with sesame oil, soy and wasabi

Japanese food is getting mainstream, as the eyes of more and more of us are opened to this delicious cuisine. Even I am getting brave enough to make Japanese-style raw dishes at home, as this plate of Salmon sashimi served as a starter a few weeks ago.

When preparing dishes from raw seafood, make sure that you get as high quality ingredients as possible. I used a loin of salmon marked as "Sushi quality". The other important thing is a very sharp knife, in order to get those thin, delicious slices. I used a Japanese ceramic knife, that my nephew bought for me in Japan a few years ago.

Place the salmon on a clean cutting board and start slicing the fish in very thin slices. You will need around 250 grams (9 oz) high quality fish for three plates. Pour 1-2 tbsp soy sauce on two breakfast plates. Arrange salmon on top. Sprinkle fish with some sesame oil.  Do not use too much, as this oil is very pungent and may overwhelm the subtle taste of the fish.

Place some wasabi on the rim of the plate, and serve immediately.

Place more soy, sesame oil and wasabi on the table so the guests may help themselves to more seasoning.

More on Japanese food on Enjoy Food & Travel   

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

BMI launch two non-stop flights to London-Heathrow April 2011

Photo: Arpingstone
British Midlands International is a new competitor on the Norwegian flight market. The company will offer competition on flights from Norways west coast to London from April.

London is a short flight from Stavanger and Bergen, the two major cities on Norway's west coast. Lufthansa-owned Airline BMI will start daily flights from Bergen Airport and Stavanger April 1st starting at GBP 63 per flight.

Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airline and Ryanair already operate flights from airport on Norway's west coast, making BMI the fourth air carrier to offer flights to the UK from this region.


London - Bergen:
  • BD551 Departure: 2:05 PM GMT arriving 4:55 PM  CET (Monday through Friday and Sunday)
  • BD551 Departure: 2:25 PM GMT arriving 5:15 PM CET (Saturdays) 
Bergen - London:  
  • BD 552 Departure: 5:30 PM CET arriving 6:20 PM GMT (Monday through Friday and Sunday) 
  • BD 552 Departure: 5:50 PM CET arriving 6:40 PM GMT (Saturdays) 
London - Stavanger: 
  • BD 537 Departure: 8: 55AM GMT arriving: 11:50  PM CET (Daily)   
Stavanger - London :  
  • BD 538 Departure: 12:30 PM CET arriving 1:25 PM GMT (Monday through Friday and Sunday) 
  • BD 538 Departure: 1:10 PM CET arriving 2:05  PM GMT  (Saturdays)  

View FEBRUARY 2011: All non-stop flights from Stavanger Airport Sola in a larger map

More flights from Norway's west coast
More on Bergen Norway