Follow by Email

Thursday, August 22, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 12

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Morocco has spent a lot of money restoring this village and keeping it perfect.

Both for the tourists who like to visit the premises and for the movie opportunities coming all the way from Hollywood.

--Culture Trip

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 11

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Ait Ben Haddou is mainly popular among big Hollywood producers who love to shoot films there, as it makes a timeless visual that is difficult to find elsewhere. 

More than 15 movies have been filmed here, as well as parts of the TV show Game of Thrones. 

One of the most popular films to have been shot in Ait Ben Haddou is Gladiator, in particular the scene in which Russell Crowe is sold into slavery.

--Culture Trip

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 10

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The village was an incredibly harmonious place: small homes, a public square, a mosque, a caravanserai and both a Muslim and Jewish cemetery for the coexisting communities. 

It was the home of several families who lived in the village for a while before deciding to move to a more modern village across the river. 

Today, only 10 families remain in Ait Ben Haddou.

--Culture Trip

Monday, August 19, 2019

Accessibility shouldn't be an afterthought - hospitality | Magazine

Story is about oversees rules and responses, but core information is super relevant in the USA and throughout the world:

Accessibility shouldn't be an afterthought - hospitality | Magazine: Almost 20 per cent of Australia’s population is living with a disability. What’s your venue doing?

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 9

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Ait Ben Haddou is an almost 1,000-year-old ksar (fortified village) located on the route to the Sahara Desert. 

Previously used as a meeting point for travellers from Sudan on their way to Marrakech, it is now an iconic Hollywood film set.

--Culture Trip

Sunday, August 18, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 8

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO

In comparison to other ksour of the region, the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou has preserved its architectural authenticity with regard to configuration and materials. 

The architectural style is well preserved and the earthen constructions are perfectly adapted to the climatic conditions and are in harmony with the natural and social environment.

-UNESCO

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Little Havana Me Importa Revitalization Master Plan

Proud to have played a part in this:


#urbandesign 
#urbanplanning 
#urbanmobility 
#urbaninnovation 
#Parks
#Resiliency
#contextsensitivedesign 
#historicpreservation 

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 7

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO
All the structures comprising the ksar are located within the boundaries of the property and the buffer zone protects its environment. 

The earthen buildings are very vulnerable due to lack of maintenance and regular repair resulting from the abandonment of the ksar by its inhabitants. 

The CERKAS (Centre for the conservation and rehabilitation of the architectural heritage of atlas and sub-atlas zones) monitors, with difficulty, respect for the visual integrity of the property.

-UNESCO

Friday, August 16, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 6

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is an eminent example of a ksar in southern Morocco.

It illustrates the main types of earthen constructions that may be observed dating from the 17th century in the valleys of Dra, Todgha, Dadès and Souss.

The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou illustrates the traditional earthen habitat, representing the culture of southern Morocco, which has become vulnerable as a result of irreversible socio-economic and cultural changes.

-UNESCO

Thursday, August 15, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 5

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Architecturally, the living quarters form a compact grouping, closed and suspended.

The community areas of the ksar include a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts,.

It also features a fortification and a loft at the top of the village, an caravanserai, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish) and the Sanctuary of the Saint Sidi Ali or Amer. 

The Ksar of Ait- Ben-Haddou is a perfect synthesis of earthen architecture of the pre-Saharan regions of Morocco.

-UNESCO

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 4

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The oldest constructions do not appear to be earlier than the 17th century.

Although their structure and technique were propagated from a very early period in the valleys of southern Morocco. 

The site was also one of the many trading posts on the commercial route linking ancient Sudan to Marrakesh by the Dra Valley and the Tizi-n'Telouet Pass.

-UNESCO

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 3

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The defensive walls are reinforced by angle towers and pierced with a baffle gate.

Houses crowd together - some modest, others resembling small urban castles with their high angle towers and upper sections decorated with motifs in clay brick.

There are also buildings and community areas. 

It is an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques. 

-UNESCO

Monday, August 12, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 2

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Located in the foothills on the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the Province of Ouarzazate, the site of Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley. 

The Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. 

The ksar is a mainly collective grouping of dwellings.

-UNESCO

Sunday, August 11, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 1

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. 

The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. 

Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco.

-UNESCO

Saturday, August 10, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 10

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
Failing to freshen sheets on the sofa bed -- despite request a month in advance – is poor service.

Faulty curtains and door that would not close...there is much room for improvement.
I honestly want half of what I paid refunded.

I booked, for my 30th wedding anniversary with my wife who uses a wheelchair for mobility while managing pain, based on a pair of modern, fully-functioning elevators.

I only got half of what I booked. 

When a person with a disability dreads not having 2 elevators, it negatively impacts their trip. 

Bottom line, if you pre-order 2 boards of charcuterie and they bring out 1 -- you get half your money back. 

We made a full faith, months before arrival full payment for 2 elevators (notes with the hotel manager underscored this). We got 1. 

Because of that, and the other listed negative issues, I am seeking a 50 percent refund.

Friday, August 9, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 9

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
So I am divided. I like the manager as a person and professional.

I love the lobby, redone from my previous stay, complete with the kitchen, scooter and other useful items for free borrowing.

Plus the once Spartan as a dorm, now warm lobby has bottled water, sodas, snacks and more for sale at reasonable prices.

But nothing worthy of the Accor brand can go two weeks with one of the two elevators broken down....and the large part of one day with none working.


The dropped ball on wakeup call and no housekeeping requested was unworthy of the Accor parent brand.

This is sad, because after my September 2018 stay, I gave the property a 10 out of 10 review on booking.com -- the service I used to reserve the Aparthotel Reuilly.

I was embarrassed, in front of my wife, for the property's level of service dropping so much when I booked a larger room for our two-week stay.

This deserves compensation.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 8

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
We found the staff, not the manager, to be rude upon our arrival. 

Because I knew I would be sleeping on a sofa bed -- to accommodate my wife's disability needs on the large bed in the bedroom -- I emailed many weeks in advance to have the sofa bed made up as a bed for our arrival.

I knew that the sheets on it might have not been changed for years, as it would rarely be used as a bed.

When we arrived, of course exhausted from the transcontinental flight, we found the sofa bed as -- a sofa.

I asked for the bed to be made with clean, not stale sheets, but the desk person that came to the room refused.

If any of our advance emails would have been respected, housekeeping would have deployed the sofa bed as a bed, with fresh linens, before our arrival.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 7

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
 
Another issue -- and we've stayed in hotels more than 1,000 cumulative nights in our lives and NEVER experience this before -- is the door would not close several times.

I had to kick a plate on it, hurting my foot.

One day, nothing worked and the front desk sent up two non-uniformed handymen. 

They had a knowing look, like they knew this is a perpetual problem ignored in the capital repairs.

They basically, with steel toed boots, kicked the same plate a bunch, till the door to our room would shut.

How can something that is part of Accor, in the city the hotel flag is based in, have such a faulty item causing trouble -- with no funds dedicated toward a permanent solution?





Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 6

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
During our stay, were returned to find the cheap, stained curtain had fallen in the main bedroom. 

With bright daylight in June starting just after 5 a.m. and lasting almost till 11 p.m., we needed to block the sun.

The manager himself had to come up and fix this.

Because we customize my wife's bed, with several extra pillows, blankets and equipment we bring from home -- to accommodate her disability and constant pain -- we like the idea of no daily housekeeping intrusions.

Though we were due one cleaning midway into our trip, we explicitly told the front desk several times that we wanted no maid service.

Despite this, on Sunday when we were sleeping in before brunch, a housekeeper woke us up knocking on our door.

We informed the manager and he said he would have the staff deliver a fruit basket as an apology.

We said it would be more practical to apply the cost of the fruit basket to bottled water for sale in the lobby, as my wife used it to take medications.

We got neither the basket nor our preferred credit toward sundries.


Monday, August 5, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 5

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
The next big problem is with the staff. 

The day before our departure, we left a handwritten note asking for a wakeup call at 4:30 a.m.  

The staff person said yes, that would be no trouble.

We understand the Adagio is not meant to be a 5-star, full service hotel. 

We like that concept.
But if a wakeup call is not available, by all means tell us to our face right then so we can make alternate plans.

No wakeup call was made and the consequences were (because we had to get to CDG early to work with the wheelchair access) we had to skip breakfast, skip showering and we accidentally left 6 articles of unpacked clothes.

We realized this only after getting on plane home to Miami. 

That is not acceptable.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 4

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
We had planned to come back midday to shower and nap in the air conditioning to get out of the sweltering sun.

We were in the middle of a record heatwave.

Temperatures normally with highs of 75 shot up to nearly 100 in Paris.

We could not escape the sun because the elevator repairs dragged on till the late afternoon.

We kept in contact via email with Mr. Rakotoarivony....but it was impossible to enjoy the day.

Imagine, about 2/3 of the way into a two week trip -- with all your clothing, food in kitchen, shopping bags etc all spread out in comfort -- worrying all day that you might get moved to another hotel because if the repairs failed, you would be 7 floors up with zero elevator in service.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 3

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
The broken elevator had a piece of letterhead paper taped to it with the larger letters “HS.”

I presume that means out of order. The note was only on the ground floor.

One day, leaving our 7th floor room, with the typical disorientation that comes from jet lag and being far from home, we got in the broken elevator.

Would it be too hard to clearly mark the out of service one on each floor?

And while the staff is at it, plug out of service into a translate app, so the clear meaning is spelled out in at least a half a dozen languages?

Also, in the peak of a Paris heatwave with temperatures near 100 degrees, the only working elevator went out -- right while we were on it. 

I had to force the door open with all of my might to get my wife out safely at the lobby.

Friday, August 2, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 2

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
General Manager Rakotoarivony seems to work every day of the week and long hours.

He checked on us many times and was warm, friendly and sincere.

The problem, and I blame the Adagio line within Paris-based hotel giant Accor for this, was a lack of repairs.

The entire time of our stay, one of the two elevators was out of service -- a big sign taped to it said so, though the sign was only on the ground floor so one day we got in the wrong elevator and almost didn't make it to the ground floor.

For a wheelchair user, staying on the top floor, two elevators is a must.

I had stayed at this property in 2018 and the reason I booked it was I knew there always would be a backup lift.


But since one was always broken -- that was not the case.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 1

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
Tantely Rakotoarivony, the director/general manager of the ApartHotel Adagio Access Paris Reuilly, is a good guy who emailed me back and forth a dozen times prior to our visit.

We basically needed two beds in a large apartment, but with bath bench and knowledge that one would be a wheelchair user not using accessible unit.

Tantely did great for this before and during the stay. I think he may be fighting an uphill battle due to a poor staff under him and maybe not enough budget to make needed repairs.

Let's start with the positives. The room, on 7th floor, was one of the most quiet we've ever stayed in.

The price point for a nearly 400 SF room was incredible for Paris.

The fridge, stove, coffee maker, cups, plates, flatware, etc is all very convenient.

The wet room style shower is wonderful for my wife, who uses a wheelchair for mobility.

The bath bench already being in the bathroom was helpful.