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.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Making Moves - Finishings to Zamzam Riad

Some update photos of the Riad. It has been like getting blood out of a stone working with our carpenter, so this photo celebrates railings he has put in that we have been waiting a year for.
The stairs are done and evened out which is great as they are much easier to go up and down. Riad stairs are very steep so we used bejmat on them so that no one slips.
You can see here our celebrated Menzah, which is a cedar balcony on the master suite. You can also see the columns now tadelakt in brown and the hand rails have gone on.
Some of the Khokas have gone in, they are solid and pretty heavy. They had to be attached to my beautiful sculpted plaster work which made me nearly pass out, as the carpenter with a hammer in his hand walked over. STOP I shouted. God knows what he would have done if I hadn't been there.

Choosing paint colours now which I find so difficult, it is so easy to end up with the same colour everywhere. Full steam ahead now for our first guest 22 October. All toilets now working, pool and fountain tested yesterday as well, all working. Now awaiting final tadelakt, sealant for the floors and then the fabric finishes. So much to bring together now and with Ramadan starting next week. School also starts though so I will have more time to charge around.

I added some stunning wedding blankets to the Zamzam Boutique yesterday, so click in and have a look!
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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!