STORY Rabat Hotel in Morocco’s capital city of Rabat is a story of luxury and refinement. To enter into this boutique hotel is to leave the noise, chatter and chaos of the outside world behind. What sets the hotel apart is the attention to detail and service quality from everyone who works at STORY. Within the hotel’s grounds is everything needed for a fantastic stay – either business or pleasure.
There’s a restaurant, gym, pool, spa. Close to the hotel are golf, walking, shopping. Venture into Rabat for historical discovery or to see a city quickly changing and adapting new technology.
About STORY Rabat
STORY Rabat is in the sumptuous Ambassadors District in Rabat. The hotel was formerly known as Villa Diyafa (‘diyafa’ means ‘hospitality’ in Arabic).
After extensive redevelopment which was completed in 2019, STORY Rabat emerged with a fresh new look and feel. “The STORY brand has five hotels around the world,” explains Lina Ivaldi, STORY Rabat’s Marketing, PR and Quality Manager.
“STORY Rabat incorporates many flavours from around Morocco – from the colours used, to our restaurant’s menu, to the tiled pattern in our 25m pool. When guests come to stay with us, we hope that they create their own stories and memories with us. So, around us and through us are stories and so STORY seemed the best name for our new brand!”
The hotel has 27 rooms, 10 suites and one private villa. The hotel also has a restaurant, bar, gym, pool, library, spa and conference/ event facilities. The private outdoor guest areas feature lush gardens and greenery strategically lain throughout. The main outdoor sitting area resembles an Islamic garden, of sorts. There is a water channel (called a ‘Seguiya’.
It is a term used in the Maghreb and the Sahara. It originates from the irrigation systems used to water crops in the oases.) running down the path’s centre that ends in a fountain in front of the 25-metre long outdoor pool. The incorporation of the greenery and water lends an overall zen quality to the outdoor area.
Rooms, Suites and Hotel Accommodation Covering a full 80 sqm, the suite I stayed in was sweet (pardon the cheap pun)! It featured 12-foot ceilings throughout, floor to ceiling windows, an intimate two-person dining area, a sitting room, balcony, king-sized bed, small bureau, massive bathroom with his and hers sinks and a walk-in wardrobe.
While in the room, I guzzled coffee from the in-room Nespresso coffee machine with the news on the TV constantly (Joe Biden was inaugurated as President only a few days before my stay).
I’d finish each evening by drawing a bath before drifting off to sleep in the massive king-sized bed. Waking, I’d start each morning with a shower under the monsoon shower head enjoying products from Charme du Maroc.
The Hotel’s Amenities Again
STORY Rabat has everything a guest may need for a better stay. The building that houses the gym, spa and beauty facilities is located towards ‘the bottom’ of the hotel grounds.
Here, guests can find everything needed for a work out, spa and beauty treatment. I visited the hammam (not unlike a Turkish bath). Hammams are central to Moroccan culture. STORY’s hammam is exquisite! Over a 45-minute treatment, I was massaged, exfoliated and bathed into complete relaxation.
After my hammam visit, I floated back up to my suite utterly blissful ready for a nap in the king-sized bed! But, I rallied enough to visit STORY’s restaurant, Le Safran. Le Safran’s menu incorporates dishes and flavours from all over Morocco.
This is a major plus as the quality of produce in Morocco is exceptional as is the love of food here. Eating Le Safran’s food, either in the restaurant or getting room service, it’s a foregone conclusion of having incredible food. The tricky part is deciding what to eat! The entire menu looked good. After several minutes weighing up my choices, I was ready. Or, so I thought! On the cusp of making my order, the server told me the catch of the day was sea bass. And, I was thrown back into a state of indecision! Fortunately, sense prevailed.
I went with the sea bass and enjoyed a delicious meal. Walking from Le Safran back to the rooms is the hotel’s bar. And, simply because it’s there is the only excuse needed to stop for a nightcap from the very well stocked-bar.
STORY Morocco’s reputation for hospitality is infamous. STORY Rabat’s hospitality levels exceed an already high benchmark. As I learned through my stay, attention to detail is second to none with the decor and service throughout the hotel.
The hotel’s smaller size and excellent staff training means staff quickly learn who guests are. And, they take a genuine interest in ensuring a fantastic stay. STORY has two chauffeur-driven luxury Audi A8’s. These are for running errands, meeting appointments or anything else for a productive and enjoyable stay in Rabat.
What’s There to do in Rabat?
Rabat is Morocco’s capital city. Like much of Morocco, it’s preserved much of its traditions and culture. And, culture it has for days! Rabat was founded in the 12th century and has been occupied by different rulers across that time.
On a beautiful, sunny morning we began our tour of Rabat at Chellah – the old fort. Today, Chellah is home to landscaped gardens and remnants of Roman ruins. Because of Covid, the site was closed. But, we walked the perimeter walls. Several storks were elegantly perched in the surrounding trees or atop the walls giving an overall sense of calm. The site overlooks the Bouregreg river.
We even had a glimpse of the still-under-construction Grand Théâtre de Rabat, designed by the infamous, late Zaha Hadid. Next, we stopped at the Hassan II site. On its northern side are sweeping clifftop views of the river. Because of its beautiful views, Hassan II is a popular site for walking and photography.
The site itself is notable because when construction began in the 12th century, it was intended to have the largest minaret in the world (a minaret is the tower always seen on a mosque. It is used to call the devout to prayer time).
But, the caliph who commissioned the building died during construction and all progress stopped. It remains unfinished today – 900 years on. Our final stop on our tour into ancient Rabat was the Kasbah of the Udayas.
The kasbah even predates Rabat! It is enclosed in large defensive walls. It was the place to defend the city from ocean-based attacks and also from the frenemy enclave Salé located just on the other side of the Bouregreg not more than 500 meters away.
And, of course, there are the famous markets. Morocco is also famous for its handcrafted goods – leather goods, wood carvings, etc… Also, the spice markets are worth a visit. Many fragrances waft through the air. Not all of Rabat is ancient. The city is quickly modernising. Along the Bouregreg river is the new marina with plenty of restaurants. It’s a great place to come for food and people watching.
There are several beaches for swimming, surfing and all beach activities. Don’t forget, though, Morocco is a Muslim country and it is required to respect its traditions. Closer to STORY Rabat is the Royal Equestrian Sports Complex Tbourida Dar Es Salaam. Morocco’s King is an equestrian lover and has built the sports complex to bring horse riding to Rabat. Also, only three kilometers from STORY’s grounds is the Royal Golf Dar Essalam.
The club has three courses: The red course – reserved mainly for professionals and players with a good handicap. The blue course – an 18-hole course that is the most popular among club members. The green course – a 9-hole course Rabat is a great city with enough to do to keep anyone occupied, either exploring the city’s history and culture, getting into the entertainment district or enjoying sporting activities. STORY Rabat exudes an easy charm and luxury.
The peace and tranquillity of the hotel will quickly eliminate any stresses or outside pressure. It seems every employee’s goal to do everything they can to make a guest’s stay as comfortable as possible. The most difficult part of any stay with STORY Rabat is going to be leaving and having to come back to earth.
To book or enquire please visit https://www.story-rabat.com/
Words by Simon