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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Beni Ouarain rugs - Morocco

These are the gorgeous Beni Ouarain rugs i have been promising you. The Beni Ouarain tribe are famous for their cream and brown rugs. They are made with 100% beautifully soft and supple wool. The highest quality being supple enough to wrap round you. These fabulous rugs are getting harder and harder to find, especially the old ones. They are actually collectors pieces and have a huge following. They look fabulous in contemporary loft spaces or ancient oast houses. Conran has also copied these, using brown background and cream lines.

The photos below are a selection of antique rugs for sale at Zamzam Boutique. I have prices, sizes and most shipping costs, just drop me an email if you are interested in owning one of these beauties.

My husband loves the subtle ones where you can just see a hint of the diamonds, where as i love the bolder ones seen here. The patterns on the back are wonderful and in the summer i turn them over which is also what the Moroccans do. It's a great way to clean them!

You will see superb examples of these Beni Ouarain rugs when Zamzam Riad opens in the summer.

You find once you own one, the beauty of them consumes you and you become slightly addicted to them as i am, each one with it's own magic and personality.

This is a new Beni Ouarain rug, you can tell as it doesn't have the sheen and length of pile that the old ones have. Nonetheless it is still stunning. This one has been sold but i can source similar. It is smaller too which is unusual measuring just 2 meters by 3.

These rugs are numbered and catalogued when they are bought. They all have a unique number. The new rug shown here actually has the date and name of the maker woven in. You can see it at the bottom.
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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!