Hi, i'm writing this blog page to share information with all you wanderlust souls out there. Living in Morocco comes with lots of bizarre and unexpected events, which i thought you may enjoy reading about and sharing in the laughter.

My family and I moved to Marrakech 11 years ago from London. The beginning of a huge adventure for us. Choosing which country was right for us to live in had been an extremely long and tiring process. Having made a choice to move to Marrakesh, was in itself a big box ticked. We had two criteria lists, one for our business (opening and running a guesthouse) and one for personal.

Phase two of our journey then began. Setting up home in Morocco, also a non English speaking country with a very different culture to ours. Marrakech is a real melting pot of; languages, tribes, rich, poor, city slickers, country peasants. It sometimes reminds me of that place Luke Skywalker went to, to buy that space ship, with all those different intergalactic aliens. (Any one know what it was called?) After months of beauroctratic paperwork, rendez vous with people who don't turn up and renting from an unpleasant woman for a large amount of money, we bought ourselves a villa. This was not in the plan as we didn't want to tie up our capital in a home. I now realise it is one of the best things we could have done. When you've had a really difficult day here to be able to close the door and relax in your own place really balances you.

Zamzam Riad & Spa was eventually created out of love and we hope you will come and stay and be pampered in our luxury boutique riad.

Friday, November 16, 2007


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Zamzam development

Wow a new vaulted ceiling in the hall! Halid is a clever man thank god we managed to find him. The hall now has three vaulted sections each which will have a beautiful hanging Moroccan light.

It's gradually taking shape, thank god for Marcus and his clever design.

A 40th Birthday Lunch at the Barrage

What a fabulous spot for sunday lunch, the Relais du Lac at the Barrage. Only 30 minutes from Marrakech, on a balmy November day this really is the place to eat. A set menu consisting of a delicious salad, warm bread cooked on site in a kiln clay oven followed by vegetable tagine and barbequed meat. The crowning glory has to be the heavy berber cake pudding with a glass of mint tea, just what you need to send you straight into siesta mode!

The lake is at the edge of the atlas, during winter giving stunning views of the huge mountains covered in snow.

The water was incredibly low, but you always get this at the end of the summer, before it fills up again from the mountain snow. We had very little rain this year too.

Moroccan patterns

Choosing moroccan tiles for the riad, not an easy task as there is soooooooo much inspiration. The problem being that there is so much to choose from regarding textiles, tiles, lanterns etc. You have to be careful as if you have it all no one thing looks very special, mind you i'm all for the eclectic look.
The Bejmat are the clay fired tiles they come in all shapes. I like the square ones the best. The pictures above show the glazed bejmat tiles, which are nice in that they always look shiny. The clay tiles however look for authentic. Dear oh dear my heads spinning from looking at them all, what i love in isolation may not be what i love in contrast!

Creating the Guest House

We had decided to buy land and build a country guesthouse as per our business plan, about 10 double rooms and suites. The dream was to create a holistic retreat and build our house on the same plot. We were going to have an organic vegetable garden and provide a Moroccan Spa.

Land in Marrakech at that time, went mad. Prices going up daily, lots of people fishing but not really wanting to sell. There is also a problem here of title. ie not much land is titled and to buy land without a title is very difficult, unless you have a lot of time on your hands and like a gamble. We looked at more land than you can shake a stick at, drank more mint tea than you can imagine and got totally no where. It can take weeks to even get a price. You may be being shown a piece of land that isn't for sale or has already been sold. After a year of this we said 'that is it!, we are buying a riad!'

I had a total nervous breakdown and couldn't talk to anyone for three days. He then said this doesn't have to be the end....... It wasn't I have now built an Ecological Camp Adounia in the Sahara Desert!