A Night in Morocco


Just returned from an overnight stay at El Morocco Inn & Spa. A perfect getaway, an oasis, a jewel in the desert, a paradise. Exotic, magical, and romantic described our experience from staying here.

Entrance to El Morocco Inn

Entrance to El Morocco Inn

Nestled in the foothills of Desert Hot Springs (DHS), the city is located within the Coachella Valley in Riverside County: 12 miles to Palm Springs, 112 miles southeast of Los Angeles, 140 miles northeast of San Diego. It has the finest natural hot mineral water aquifers, which made this place a premiere tourist destination since the 1950. A true spa experience, tranquility of the natural desert environment and therapeutic benefits of the mineral-rich waters are the reasons visitors frequent the spa zone of DHS.

We came to relax, soak in the mineral rich spring water for its restorative effect.

We came to relax, soak in the mineral rich spring water for its restorative effect.

These two came for the visual and sensual experience.

We came for the visual, sensual and romantic experience.

So close, yet so far away. Tucked away in an unexpected  residential neighborhood, El Morocco Inn & Spa looked unimpressive from the outside. Once inside, it magically transported us to a different world, a far away, exotic country in North Africa, called Morocco.  Small and intimate, this boutique-type hotel is a Moroccan-theme inspired luxury inn; adorned, decorated with authentic decor and furnishings the Owners had shopped for during their multiple travels to Marrakesh.

The Inn has 12 guest rooms referred to as  “chambres” each one uniquely designed, and assigned an exotic name like Arabian Alcove, Berber’s Boudoir, Sultan’s Playpen, Pasha’s Paradise, Sheik’s Retreat, and so on. Moroccan sofas or chaises (some are built-in), ornate lamps, framed artwork featuring different parts of Morocco, canopied bed, brightly painted tables…all add to the ambience and authenticity of the room. You’ll think you’ve checked into one of the Riads in Fez, Casablanca or Marrakech (popular cities of Morocco).

We stayed here, one of the largest room with two bathrooms.

My husband & I stayed at the Sahara Suite, the largest room with two bathrooms.

A separate living room at the Sahara suite.

The separate living room in our suite.

Canopied Cal-King beds are featured in each room.

A canopied Cal-King bed is featured in every room except the Sultan’s playpen which has a round bed.

A round bed is featured at "The Sultan's Playpen" chambre.

A round bed is featured at “The Sultan’s Playpen” chambre, perfect for honeymooners.

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Some rooms have built-in seat similar to this.

Feast your eyes on so many visual delights at this hotel. In keeping with its theme, special touches and attention to details are evident everywhere you look; no space or corner are left void.

Moroccan-inspired touches are seen thruout.

An brightly painted and ornate door.

A pair of camel statues welcome guests on the way up to 2nd floor.

A pair of camel statues welcome guests on the way up to 2nd floor.

Rich textiles and beaded curtain on doors.

Rich textiles and beaded curtain on doors.

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A sample of the many ornamental and intricate lamps used in this hotel.

A very ornate lamp hangs in the lounge room.

A very ornate lamp hangs in the lounge room.

Each space or corner of the property goes with the theme.

A loft, seating area just outside of the guests rooms on second floor.

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The housekeeping storage room nicely concealed.

The focal point of the property is the courtyard with a swimming pool filled with mineral-rich spring water with temperature around 85 degrees. Plenty of lounge chairs to relax, bask on the sun, daydream, etc.

The Courtyard

The Courtyard

Plenty of comfortable lounge chair around the pool area.

Plenty of comfortable lounge chair around the pool area.

The hotel does not allow guests less than 18 years old, making this place perfect choice for special occasion such as honeymoon, anniversary or a romantic getaway.

Comfortable lounges to relax and bask in the sun.

Comfortable lounges to relax and bask in the sun

Other option for your pleasure (whatever it may be) are two comfortable, decorated day beds. One placed under a shade, the other exposed to sun. Read, take an afternoon nap or check your emails. Yes, there is wi-fi and it’s free.

One of the two daybeds by the pool.

One of the two day beds placed under a shade..

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For warmth and comfort on cooler nights, the lit gas fireplace and fire pit provide inviting ambience for guests to gather, meet and make new acquaintances.

A gas fireplace adds warmth on chilly nights.

A gas fireplace adds warmth on cooler nights.

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Or find a private corner and have a romantic evening as you watch the flickering flame.

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And an after-effect of feeling amorous..."luv ya Mr G."

Besides the pool, there is also a covered spa set to 103 degrees temp. that seats up to twenty people. The night we were there, our group (nine of us) practically had the entire property to ourselves. The only other guests were the couple from Toronto, whom we befriended so they won’t complain about our noise. I even invited them to join us for dinner (typical Filipino hospitality).

The spa felt a bit hot when you 1st go in, but after few minutes was OK.

The covered spa

The covered spa.

Guests are free to use the spa late into the night. The management only request is to keep the noise level low in consideration of other guests. After dinner we soaked in the spa to soothe and relax our sore muscles. A prelude to a restful sleep, or so we thought. The hotel is old and has no central AC. The window AC unit makes a lot of noise every time it turned on. Hey, I never said the place is perfect besides we all did manage to get some sleep after all.

FYI, the place offer massage and other spa treatments.

We used the spa until 11:30pm.

We used the spa until 11:30pm.

The hotel offer so many amenities and extras. Snacks and beverages are available all day long. French-pressed coffee, chilled water, lemonade and soda. Dates, dried apricots, and fresh fruits for snacks..

The self-serve "kitchen-area" for snacks & breakfast.

The “kitchenette” where beverages, snacks and breakfast are served.

A bowl of dried apricots offered for snacks.

Dried apricots (and dates) for snacks.

Breakfast is included in our room rate. Its healthy, hearty and ‘all you can eat”. There’s bagel, cream cheese avocado, boiled egg, yogurt, cereals, fresh fruits, orange juice and apple juice, French-pressed coffee.

Our breakfast

Our breakfast

The place thought of everything. A library full of DVD’s, games, books kept us busy and entertained.  A lounge with a big TV that plays continuously the movie “Casablanca”. A soft piped-in background music constantly playing, genre in keeping with the theme, of course, but not obtrusive and just right for the mood.

The movie "CasaBlanca" being played continously at the lounge.

The movie “CasaBlanca” being played continuously at the lounge, but there’s a collection to choose from.

If you’d rather play games, you have many to choose from. If you want to read and learn about Morocco, they have them at the library or in your room.

There's the game of chess.

There’s the game of chess.

My sisters playing srubble.

My two sisters playing word scrabble.

Read books on Morocco to learn more about this country.

Read books on Morocco to learn more about this country.

A time-honored tradition in Morocco is eating with their bare hands, so they do a “hand-washing ceremony” before eating. They use a kettle filled with water scented with either, rose or orange. It was fun to experience such tradition, and our hands not only came out cleaned but smelled really good.

Kettle with rose-scented water for "hand-washing" ceremony.

Kettle with rose-scented water for “hand-washing”
ceremony.

The hand-washing ceremony before  Happy Hour.

The hand-washing ceremony before Happy Hour.

The happy hour which was from 5:00 – 6:00pm was so enjoyable. They served their specialty drink, “Morocco-tini“….sooo good we asked for refills again and again! Florence happily obliged to share the ingredients: orange juice, cranberry, dry vermouth and sake.

 "Happy Hour" is served at the bar everyday at 5:00pm..

“Happy Hour” served at the bar everyday at 5:00pm..

Florence preparing their famous drink, Moroco-tini.

Florence preparing their famous drink, Moroco-tini.

This drink is so light and very refreshing.

This drink is so light and very refreshing.

CHEERS!

CHEERS!

El Morocco Inn & Spa has no restaurant on site. The choice for dining outside is very limited (most will deliver to the hotel) to mostly fast-food, pizza, Mexican, a Thai place and a Chinese restaurant.  We ate lunch at the Chinese place before we checked in. The restaurant is very close to the hotel, and their food is delicious and reasonably priced. If you prefer fine dining, then take a 20 min drive to downtown Palm Springs.  We did not want to waste time going out to dinner, so I brought food. The kitchenette, in one of our rooms, made it easy to prepare and assemble our dinner. Our meal consisted of shrimp & watermelon salad with lime vinaigrette for appetizer and Mexican carnitas bowl for main course. I pre-cut everything, and just needed to warm up the rice & carnitas.

Our 1st course, Shrimp & Watermelon salad, which was a hit.

Our 1st course, Shrimp & Watermelon salad in lime vinaigrette, which was a hit.

The perfect place to gather and have dinner.

By the fire pit, was the perfect place to gather and eat our dinner with enough space to accommodate all nine of us.

Good eats, good company and good place.

It does not get any better than this…good amabience, good eats and good company.

But wait, there’s more to tell about this place. Two years ago, they added and designed a beautiful garden to be part of the hotel. The garden provides more space for guests to spread out, more seating, a private nook. There are two hammocks that will sway & lull you to sleep. Or play a game of  “boce” (not sure if correct name) or be challenged playing a game of chess using giant pieces. If you are so inclined, the big tent set up on the middle of the garden is for yoga, exercise or meditation. The big, tall trees give  much-needed shade outdoor, and with a gentle breeze, a cool respite from the hot weather. Not sure though at triple digit temps, esp. in summertime, if the garden would be comfortable enough.

This is one of the seating arrangements provided in the garden.

This is one of the seating arrangements provided in the garden.

A giant chess board  set up in the garden.

A giant chess board set up in the garden.

A big tent to exercise, do yoga or meditate.

A big tent to exercise, do yoga or meditate.

There's a potpourri of antique looking pieces scattered in the garden providing visual interes besides the landscaping.

There’s a potpourri of antique looking pieces scattered in the garden providing visual interest besides the landscaping.

Tall trees provide much needed shade and breeze.

Tall trees provide much needed shade and breeze.

The morning of our departure I met Bruce, one of the Owners, who was so friendly and a proud owner of this unique place.  We had a long chat, his travels to Morocco and how his whole family helped in creating the ambience of the hotel.  He told me why peacock feathers are commonly found and used in Morocco. Two giant vases filled with peacock feathers sitting on both sides welcome guest upon entering the inside of the property. Supposedly, when guests walked/brushed thru the feathers it removes dust from their hair & clothing.  He also pointed the two massive old doors that adorned the DVD library and shared how he acquired them. He had to sit, chat and drink mint tea with the owner for over three hours to convince him to sell. He declared it was worth it!

From right to left: Bruce, Florence (one of the Staff) and me.

From right to left: Bruce, Florence (one of the Staff) and me.

Peacock feathers used to dust off guests as they enter a room.

Peacock feathers used to dust off guests as they enter a room.

All things good or bad must come to end. Surely, we had a wonderful, relaxing and enjoyable time we lingered for as long as we can. Check out time is at noon, we checked out at exactly 12:00pm.

Thank you El Morocco for everything. We hope to be back again.

Thank you El Morocco for everything. We hope to be back again.

El Morocco Inn & Spa is a hidden gem, jewel in the desert.

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16 thoughts on “A Night in Morocco

  1. Hi Ade,
    Wow ! As in WOW!!! Very Moroccan, indeed!
    Thanks for sharing with this beautiful place with us. You did another great job of putting this piece … certainly the next best thing to being there…!
    I do hope we (SNWKs) will have a chance to see the place one day.
    Cheers to more creative works , and thanks again !!!
    Nina
    P.S. I like you hairdo with the bangs …. !:)

    Like

    • Hi Nina,
      Glad I succeeded in taking you along with me for this experience. I do hope someday, we, the SNWK’s can enjoy this Moroccan experience. Thanks for your compliments, always greatly appreciated. Take care..

      Like

  2. Thanks Ade. Once again I enjoyed your blog. Showed it to my cousin who is in the process of finishing our China trip. Looks enticing.

    Ignie

    Like

  3. Ade, that’s a nice one….part of your wish list to do was done. I remember you asking us one time to do this . Some of the the pics remind me of Istanbul.

    Like

  4. Sent: Tue, Oct 8, 2013 8:36 pm
    Subject: Re: A Jewel in the Desert
    Wow! Experiencing Morocco without leaving California. Looked like a lot of fun.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Evs

    Like

    • Hi Moonswoon,
      Thank you for finding my blog about Morocco Inn interesting. T have yet to visit Morocco and has been on my bucket list. My plan to go there on my 6oth birthday did not panned out for the tour was sold out.
      Best Regards.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wish I have more time to write but I always make it a point to share my travel experiences…and my biggest reward is being appreciated by people like you! It’s a joy knowing that you’ve enjoyed reading my blog. Thank you so much again!

        Like

  5. Hi Moonswoon, I know what you mean about not having enough time. I’m so behind with my blogs and just started completing and publishing trips on queue (saved as drafts). There’s so much to share, and so much to write…and not enough time. Why do we do it? If we have readers who enjoy and could benefit from our experience.
    Happy travels and happy blogging….

    Liked by 1 person

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