Nothing speaks more about the glorious past of a country than an old, melancholic and yet still charming hotel in the middle of nowhere. As soon as you step in Hotel Saghro Tighir, in Morocco, the dazzling French-style elegance intertwined with Moroccan hospitality hits all your senses. The sad reality is – all this greatness is now in the past!
Hotel Saghro was one of the out-of-the-beaten path places we visited during an eleven-day trip to Morocco. We found it almost by accident and spent a very short time there. But the place is deeply imprinted in my memory and still alive in my imagination. Indeed, we remember better emotions than facts.
Tinghir, In Search of the View
After a day spent in the desert, we were on the road to Ouarzazate. It crosses the town of Tinghrir, a clay-coloured settlement snuggled in the valley between High Atlas and Little Atlas. It is de facto a thirty-kilometres long and four-kilometres wide oasis. Nearby is one of the tourists’ favourites – Todra Gorge (also written as Todgha). Apart from its desert beauty, the town looked uninteresting and uneventful.
On top of the hill, we saw a building with a view to the entire valley – red dust, green palms (also covered with dust) and red cubes of clay houses. So, we’ve decided to check the place.
Hotel Saghro Welcomes You!
Pleasingly for us, the building turned out to be a hotel. A sleeping cat was the only thing occupying the empty parking lot. The main entrance led us to a large lobby with a long reception desk. The salon adjacent to the lobby was also empty. A strange feeling started to bring questions in our minds. I have felt the same sensation only in one other place. In the French castle that is (in my mind) the place where the story of Sleeping Beauty took place!
Searching for the view, we crossed the lobby. The filled with water azure pool surprised us. And just as we were looking around, a middle-aged man appeared with a wide smile on his face. His “Welcome!” was so warmhearted that we immediately forgot the emptiness we had found earlier at this place.
He invited us to take a Moroccan mint tea on the terrace, as he obviously knew what unexpected guests like us come for. The iron garden tables and chairs were painted in bright chartreuse, the large flower pots were hidden from the sun in the shadows. The terrace was overlooking at palm and orange trees.
In Hotel Saghro Tinghir, Time Cease to Exist
We forgot about the many miles on dusty roads waiting ahead of us that day. It was sunny, the air vibrating from the midday heat. And as always in Morocco, the tea – refreshing. Unusual noise attracted our attention. Below us, in the city centre, a crowd of angry and shouting people were gathering. Their number increased as time went on and our hotel friend couldn’t explain what was the din about.
Rather it seemed, he didn’t want to tell us. Every country has its problems. Too often, these problems are on ethnic and religious grounds that corrode their welfare and undermine its future. This is the world in which we live. And probably we couldn’t understand the discontent of these people as their problems are not ours. Their customs and traditions are far from what we are used to. So, we waved with hand and continued enjoying the view.
Where Are the French??
Yet, (let’s name him) Mohammed was more talkative about the hotel and its history. Indeed, history was more interesting than the current state of the place. In the past, the hotel was full of life and gleaming with luxury. But now was distressed despite the obvious efforts of the staff to keep it clean and in good condition. As far as we understood, around the 50s Hotel Saghro flourished. It had mainly French clientele that has left a mark on it; the same way the French presence left a cultural mark throughout the whole country. The blend of Arabic comfort and French chic always has been irresistible to foreigners.
Eclectic, Quirky… or Simply Moroccan? Interiors in their Most Colourful
Mohammed showed us around – the rooms, the restaurant … I did a lot of pictures. Not because the building is an example of splendour but because the colours and materials in the interior enchanted me. There were typical examples of Moroccan style, though not the most harmoniously selected and combined. There were also plants and paintings showing the local customs.
Every building has its story. Especially compelling to me are those that were thriving but later remained empty, like abandoned children. When you visit such a place, you can feel the subdued pain but also hope, concealed too.
If you are interested to stay here, check prices and availability for Hotel Saghro.
This is what I felt in Hotel Saghro. Even its name sounds like melancholic music to me. Space is lovely, the view – stunning with its Moroccan countryside reality. Take time to sit and enjoy your cup of Moroccan tea. But be aware! If you stay longer, the melancholy will inhibit you. And then, you might wish to run away from there. Or, maybe, it will be so bitter-sweet that you will want to stay more. Still, if you pass by Tinghrir, stop to experience the past greatness and beauty of this historical hotel pitched high above one of the most beautiful oasis towns of Morocco!