I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say that at some point most girls wanted to be a princess. Maybe some of you wanted to be space cowboys or firefighters or rather Wonderwoman, but I’d guess princess was on the what to be when I grow up list for a majority. At least it was on mine until I actually did grow up, looked at the real royals, and realized that this princess business is actually a lot of hard work. But when I was little it seemed like a great profession and so I practiced. Unlike other girls who looked to Lady Di for inspiration though, I found mine in Arabian Nights, in India and Africa, and my mother’s closet which was filled with jewelry from far far away.

Practice makes perfect and I am delighted to put all my training to good use at last, when I got invited to stay at La Sultana Marrakech. La Sultana quite literally means the sultan’s wife and really where else would a Travelette/modern-day princess stay than in the sultan’s wife’s palace?

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Tucked away in a little side alley off the main road in the kasbah, the area the sultans used to inhabit since the 12th century, I immediately feel a bit royal too once I step inside. While I’m dusty and slightly sweaty as one gets in the Marrakech medina, I am very pleasantly welcomed and led to the poolside to do check-in formalities. Of course paperwork is done much better with complimentary pastries and cold orange juice.

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La Sultana offers 28 rooms and suites that are arranged riad style, overlooking a centre pool and terrace. I am led to Riad Scheherazade and squeal in excitement when I’m given my room key: the elephant room it is! I don’t think it got the name purely because it is decorated with elephants, but also because it is big enough to fit a whole herd. I put on my best ‘I’m a cool, calm, collected traveller and see things like this every day‘-face while the concierge shows me the free minibar and my private jacuzzi. Yes, you read correctly, I have my very own, marble jacuzzi.

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When she leaves I squeal some more and, first things first, I jump onto the bed that is bigger than most New York apartments and covered in exquisite embroidered quilts and blankets. Then I go to check out the bathroom and of course I have to pull the one sole cord that is dangling over the jacuzzi. I am greeting with the hissing sound of eight air jets that are waiting to make bubbles. Obviously the water for this liaison is still missing and so I pull some more to turn it off, but to no avail. Just then the concierge is back with my passport and I try to hide my embarrassment – princess Kate wouldn’t just have pulled a random cord. She is nice enough to ignore it and just smiles; apparently the air jets will turn off by themselves in a few minutes, which they do as soon as she mentions it.

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Left to my own devices again, I carefully approach my balcony and to my delight I also discover a walk-in closet. It comes outfitted with leather slippers that are mine, no need to sneak them out, as the front desk clerk enlightens me later, and a pre-packed bag with towels and straw hat to take to the pool.

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After getting lost so many times, I enjoy hiding from the sensory overload that is Marrakech for a bit. La Sultana is the perfect place for hiding. Everything is hushed and calm, water is dabbling, the scent of roses hangs in the air, and I indulge in a very western burger with fries followed by a long nap. You will question my sanity that I nap while on a city trip i.e. waste time with sleeping, but in a bed that is big enough for me to spread all fours and not touch the corners a nap is actually a requirement. I take my welcome pastries and kindle with and disappear for a couple of hours till my dinner food tour.

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When I return I decide it is time for some exercise, my run at Fellah seems ages ago. Plus I can never resist an empty pool at night, especially not if music is coming from the roof and there are lanterns all around that make it look rather magical. I’m actually feeling a bit sorry for myself to not have a prince at hand for some late night skinny dipping. That feeling vanishes when I dip my feet in, it is too cold even after a day of steaming Moroccan summer temperatures. I take a quick plunge and decide that it is perfect opportunity to warm up in my jacuzzi. You would think that I have learned everything there is to learn about a jacuzzi earlier, but in case you don’t know: do not fill up a jacuzzi like you would fill up a normal bathtub. Because once it’s time to pull the cord and add the bubbles, your kindle and iPhone might just get wet, maybe even the entire bathroom floor. Again, Kate would have known that stuff and I think my princess education is seriously lacking. So I end up mopping the bathroom floor, feeling rather Cinderella-ish.

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Once floor and myself are dried off I join some commoners other hotel guests on the roof terrace. I’m just in time for the call to evening prayer, which is surrounding us from all corners of the medina one overlooks from here. The perfect setting for a nightcap outside; the scorching temperatures have gone and a light evening breeze is supported by fine water mist spraying all around.  La Sultana Marrakech Annika Ziehen Travelettes - 9

Sleep is as expected heavenly and I almost cancel my shopping guide the next day in order to stay in bed. But I’m set on finally conquering the souks and so I get up and make my way back to the roof for a breakfast of Berber omelette and the obligatory mint tea, which is expertly poured for me. The sun is out and it looks like another beautiful summer’s day in Morocco. And it is until…it isn’t. Getting caught in a downpour of epic proportions while out shopping, I try to sneak in a few hours later and not drip on the marble floors. I look more like a drowned kitten than a princess now, but I’m glad to realize that while I’m in a grand hotel, the staff doesn’t have the attitude that often comes with dreamy places like this. Instead of looking me up and down they give me a sympathetic look and a towel with my room key.

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Due to the downpour and the still looming clouds dinner is moved from the roof top to the terrace by the pool, which changes my plans of another leisurely midnight swim. Instead I decide to treat myself to a few glasses of wine accompanied by a sitar player and candle light to make up for it.

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Upon check out the next morning I’m tempted to ask them to organize me a carriage in true Cinderella fashion. After all there are a lot of carriages to be found in Marrakech so my request wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary. But as I always feel bad for the horses I decide that it’s time to return into the real world with a real taxi. And since I’m not one to wait around for a prince, I make sure to store my La Sultana slippers deep in my suitcase so I won’t lose one on the way out.

Thank you, La Sultana, for making me feel like a princess and for not minding when I failed at royal etiquette at times!
All pictures by Annika and provided by the hotel.

This post was written by Annika Ziehen who was a Travelette until 2019. Originally from Germany, Annika has lived in New York and Cape Town and now travels the world full time. She considers herself a very hungry mermaid and writes about her adventures, scuba diving and food on her blog The Midnight Blue Elephant. You can also find her on Instagram here!