As-Salaam-Alaikum

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.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

A trip to Villa Maroc - Essaouira

Beautiful sunset out of our bedroom window.



Bar area for drinks.


Off we went to Essaouira to have a look at the place with my folks, who were still thinking that a place by the sea for winter sun was a good idea. I really thought it was going to be cold as it can be very windy, so i made sure everyone took lots of jumpers. We were booked into Villa Maroc, just for 2 nights. I had heard a lot about the place over a number of years mainly from people i bumped into in London, after all it was one of the first, if not the first riad guesthouse in Essaouira Medina.

The drive was great, blue skies, mountain ranges. We followed the snowy atlas the whole journey, they really are spectacular as i keep mentioning. I will never get tired of them. We arrived over the customary hill top and started our decent to the beach with shouts of 'i can see the sea' reminding me of my childhood all over again. This time though enjoying hearing the shouts of my daughter.

Villa Maroc was really charming, a little disorganised but then hey, this is Jimmy Hendrix territory, so i decided to just chill. The weather was glorious and a hot 20 degrees, much hotter sitting in the sun having coffee and the air was clean and gorgeous. I love the sea air. My daughter and i had a charming room, actually it was two which was nice as we didn't have to sleep together. Just as well as the beds are a standard double, quite small by today's standards and so high i needed a stool to get out. No jokes please i am actually 5 foot 2!!
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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!