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Monday, December 3, 2007

Hotel La Maison

This post is for Wes and Susan. Their last comment to us before leaving for Bamako "Tell us about the food at that 'four star' hotel you will be staying at."

"No problem." I said. "I'll take pictures".

Except for one short excursion with Bouj to visit the Alamaine Choffee library (see next post), and another to Poulet D'or for lunch, we spent the day at Hotel La Maison, recovering, relaxing, eating, drinking, and taking pictures.

The Hotel:
Entryway / Lobby

Central foyer / decorative pool

The room.

Rooftop lounge / dining room

The Meals:

Breakfast - great coffee, fresh yogurt with honey, breakfast cake and fresh bread.

La Maison does not serve lunch, so we walked down the street to one of Wes' guidebook recommendations - Poulet D'or. Beef brochette and steak frittes. Very good.

While I was busy in the rooftop lounge absorbing the content of the Marq DeVillier's book "Timbuktu" through abdominal osmosis, I was offered this melon as an afternoon snack.

Dinner was a classic three course French meal - appetizer...

main course...

... dessert (forgot to take the picture before inhaling the home made ice cream sundae with chocolate syrup).

Our dinner companions are Hamidou and Mohamet, associates of my brother working on a manuscript digital archiving project. Over dinner we planned our excursions for Tuesday.

Between Sigrid and I, we literally took thousands of pictures on this trip. The most astonishing thing, is to discover that we did not take enough. The real story of Hotel La Maison, are the proprietor/owners Awa and her mother, and we managed to get pictures of neither. Awa runs the hotel, and her mother runs the kitchen. The two of them purchased this residential property on a back street of Timbuktu, and acted as the general contractors, architects, and interior designers renovating it into a perfect boutique hotel. They expected the project to last four months, but it took eighteen. The challenges of two women managing local craftsman in this patriarchal society were not trivial. Awa told us she would never do anything like this again. From our perspective, the result was incredible. This is not just the best hotel in Timbuktu, but a wonderful boutique hotel that we would be delighted with if it was in Paris, or London or San Francisco. Without any advertising or promotion, it has been booked solid since it opened a year ago. Not surprising. The food and hotel are first rate.


It is a gem in the dust.


armando said...

Hello Mike-
Thanks so much for the e-mail information. I will try contacting them and will remember to send out a hello to Awa from you. Again, thanks.
Best regards, Armando

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if they are closed the month of June 2009? We were supposed to stay for two nights but when we arrived we were advised by our guide that it was closed and had to stay at another hotel which was not impressive and rather cold. Thanks!

mw said...

It has been almost two years since we stayed at the hotel for three nights. I have no more recent information about the hotel other than what is in this post.

However, if I were to make a guess, I'd say your story sounds a little fishy. I sincerely doubt that they would just close the hotel for a month. I expect your guide was paid a kickback from the hotel he took you to -or- whoever you made the arrangements through to stay at Hotel La Maison... didn't - or both. You should have just gone to the hotel and asked yourself. Timbuktu is not that big a town.