Thursday, 5 July 2007

Designer hotels in Mali

There are several interesting new hotel ventures in Mali that visitors with a bit more disposable CFA will want to know about. One of the nicest, with great touches like homemade bread, real coffee and chilled millet beer, is the Djenné-Djenno, just outside Djenné (left), whose anglo-Swedish owner blogs about life in Djenné – and Mali in djeneral. Highly reocommended. In Mopti you've got La Maison Rouge and and in Timbuktu, or Tombouctou to use the local spelling, there's La Maison - both the work of a Parisian architect. Actually, I say these are likely to appeal to better-off travellers, but in fact the rooms at the Djenné-Djenno, for example,are incredibly good value in European/North American terms – as in £18 ($36) for a twin room [corrected by owner's comment as now £25 or $50 as they're all air-conditioned].
The "Maison" hotels are £35 for a double or twin ($70) which, considering they're good Hip Hotel candidates, is remarkably inexpensive. They make some of the other places that have been around for years look pretty poor value. And yet these new establishments are walking a tightrope with local authorities and vested interests. It's a wonderful sign of Mali's growing confidence and success that people want to put their money there – so long as that vote of trust is matched by sensitivity to the plight of local people at the bottom of the heap – for whom a £20 hotel room would represent a month's work, at least, if they had a job – and all the guides and wannabe guides who compete for enough cash to get by on. So far, however, it looks like the new hotels are having a very positive impact. Do leave feedback if you try them.


  1. Hello from Hotel Djenné Djenno!
    Just a couple of little changes there- the home mede bread id in the pipe line, but not yet a reality. However, Djenné bread is delicious.
    Also, all our rooms are now air conditioned, therefore no longer at 18 pounds stirling, but at 25000 CFA, or about 27 pounds. Still, good value I think you will find.
    Thanks for that, Richard, and hoping to see you one day soon
    Sophie Sarin,
    Hotel Djenne Djenno

  2. Thanks for the correction Sophie. It's still incredibly good value compared with the miserable guesthouse I stayed in last Saturday in Cambridge which was too embarrassingly expensive to even mention.

  3. Hi Richard

    Great to see your post. We actually have a group of 11 passengers plus myself who will be staying at Djenne-Djenno, La Maison Rouge and La Maison this coming November. Want to join us???

    Keep in touch.

    Best Regards

    Spector Travel of Boston, Inc.

  4. Ah. . .I'd love to June. I wish.

    In fact I'll be in Marrakech at the end of October. . .not so very far away!