How do you thank your staff for a year's hard work running one of the top guesthouses in Morocco? If you are the owners of a riad like Riad Laaroussa, you close your business for a a week and take all the staff on vacation. Last year it was to Paris, this year to Istanbul.
|Riad Laaroussa staff on holiday in Istanbul|
And it is not just the executive staff and managers, it is everyone, including the riad's driver and the "carossa man" - the luggage carrier.
The original plan had been to take the staff to New York, but they ran foul of the overly-paranoid American officials who refused visa's for a majority of the staff members, and so, instead of calling the holiday off, Fred Sola, Riad Laaroussa's owner, switched the venue to Turkey and departed on August the 11th for a week in Istanbul.
Rather than staying in some cheap hotel, they rented a beautiful colonial house "Villa Naya" on the gorgeous Princess Island, just thirty minutes from the heart of Istanbul. Every day commuting by boat to explore the city was a delight.
Together they explored the Blue mosque, Sainte Sophie and the Grand Bazar, where the women spent most of their time bargaining like mad to buy clothes.
For many this was their first trip on a plane and all found it exciting and rewarding. It was also remarkable how they adapted to such an open-minded culture with opportunities to dress in modern clothes. And an eye-opener that many people in Turkey did not even observe Ramadan fasting.
After so many great moments together everyone is back at work, motivated and preparing for the holiday next year. Hopefully more riad owners will learn the lesson from Riad Laaroussa that a happy staff is the secret of a great guesthouse.