The other day, a colleague of mine started telling me about her recent vacation. Occasionally, in situations like this, the urge can arise to instinctively switch off in self preservation. Either you yourself are longing for a holiday and don’t want the lack of one in your own rainy life rubbed in, or you just don’t want to picture your colleague (depending on your relationship with each other) in a swimsuit at the pool with an inclusive buffet and cocktails. But this time it was different, and I’m not just saying that because my colleague Kathrin Schiebler is actually my boss and will read this. This time I was told about the Moroccan hotel, (in Riad to be more precise) AnaYela, situated in the heart of Marrakech’s medina and its enchanting history.

THE LITTLE OASIS –
HOLIDAYS ON A FLYING CARPET

Category: Travel     Text: Wanda von Mandelsloh
The other day, a colleague of mine started telling me about her recent vacation. Occasionally, in situations like this, the urge can arise to instinctively switch off in self preservation. Either you yourself are longing for a holiday and don’t want the lack of one in your own rainy life rubbed in, or you just don’t want to picture your colleague (depending on your relationship with each other) in a swimsuit at the pool with an inclusive buffet and cocktails. But this time it was different, and I’m not just saying that because my colleague Kathrin Schiebler is actually my boss and will read this. This time I was told about the Moroccan hotel, (in Riad to be more precise) AnaYela, situated in the heart of Marrakech’s medina and its enchanting history.
Collage Anayela
In the rush of the Riad: “riyāḍ” means garden in Arabic, and the term is used for traditional Moroccan houses with a courtyard or inner garden. Today many of these hotels in Marrakech are Riads, which is why the term is also used as a synonym for this.
A KISS ON THE FLYING CARPET
Where should I even begin with describing the wonderful experiences I’ve gathered through Kathrin and my curious quest? I guess I should start at the beginning, the foundation and prehistory of AnaYela. Originally, this 300 year old, small palace was a private house in which, among others, a young woman named Yela lived. As renovation work revealed in 2007, she lived in a small room that remained hidden behind a wall for a long time afterwards. In this room there was an antique jewellery box which contained a small piece of paper inscribed on both sides in old Arabic calligraphy. The handwriting was that of Yelas, and she wrote of her love to a young man, to who, she revealed in the letter, she would eventually marry. The love story began when she sat on a red carpet on the roof terrace at night, that was when he climbed up to see her. The at first shy visits soon turned into long nights of shared love. When he finally kissed her, she described feeling as if they were flying over the roofs of the medina on that red carpet. The boy’s statement from their first night, that he could make the carpet fly in return for a kiss, had really come true.
Collage Anayela
WELCOME TO THE HOTEL ANAYELA
So what does this fairytale love story have to do with an article about a hotel, you may be wondering? Well, apart from the name, (“Ana Yela” translates to “I am Yela”) she practically is living on in the handcrafted walls of the Riad. Yela’s writings were carefully immortalised on the walls of the rooms by a famous calligrapher. Even the red carpet is still up on the roof terrace and not only does it invite guests of the Riad to indulge in the past, present and future, it also offers an inspiring platform for various sustainability events organised by Andrea Bury, co-founder of the hotel, among them, the TEDxMarrakesh. While we are on the subject of the founders, their history is also fascinating. Bernd Kolb was originally a very successful DAX manager, but eventually he converted into a “wisdom traveling” visionary. Andrea Bury also devotes herself to a meaningful life, among other things, with her sustainable label Abury, which manufactures accessories and shoes based on Moroccan aesthetics and traditions.
THERE’S STILL SO MUCH TO SAY
The only problem I have with Kathrin’s account of her holiday is that I could write endlessly about this wonderful and authentic place. I could tell you about how special and friendly the local service and hospitality were, and that all of the food was brought straight from the market and only on demand, to avoid food wastage. I would also describe to you, in more detail, the art of traditional Moroccan craftsmanship, which can be found in the walls as well as in the interior of the Riad, as it seems to also radiate a sense of sincerity and sustainability. And lastly, I could write a whole biography about the incredible lives of those two founders. But for now, I’d rather leave it at that and perhaps ignite a desire in you, to travel to AnaYela and see it for yourself. Even just for the epic vacation story you’d be able to tell all your colleagues at the office, a story to which everyone would actually listen to with excitement.
You can book your stay at the dreamy Riad here: www.anayela.com

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