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.



Monday, September 22, 2008

Berber Textiles - large handira

These wonderful Berber wedding blankets have a flash of colour with the intricately woven kilim lines in them. They are also fabulously large 3x2m which means they are ideal for hanging over the bottom of your double bed. I love the fluffiness of this one, with it's unusual squares. I think the colours are gorgeous. Click on the Zamzam Boutique link in my blog to see my collection of carefully selected pieces.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Rare Tuareg Kilim - Zamzam Boutique

We are full steam ahead with the Riad, having only 5 weeks until we open with our first guests on 22 October. Trying to finish your riad in Ramadan is not easy and very frustrating, we are also having a hot spell making it even harder, today was 40degrees. My dad arrived today from France to help for a week, so I'm trying to be organised. Tomorrow we are going to buy all the towel rails, toilet roll holders etc for the bathrooms.
On my travels I found this wonderful kilim runner, it is made by the Tuareg's, nomads of the desert. The photos don't do it justice, in real life it is a true piece. I'm sorry to say that posting is a little more sporadic as I'm so busy charging around, but I will still be responding to Zamzam emails. Thanks for all your support!
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rare Berber Azila Carpet - Zamzam Boutique

I had a wonderful day today. I found some gorgeously exciting Beni Ouarain carpets, some stunning Kilim, 100% coton with intricate weaving and fine colours. I then found this really special Azilal carpet. Just look at the beautiful colours and patterns, so unusual. I just adore it. These Azilal pieces are really one of a kind.
What a show stopper, even in the photos you can feel the energy of it. This carpet was easy to photograph for once. The patterns are so abstract and I love the green and red dropped in, to an otherwise cream and black carpet.
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Monday, September 8, 2008

Fun for children in Marrakech - Oasiria water park

There is a wonderful water park in Marrakech, called Oasiria. The gardens are stunning. It is clean and well maintained, it has got activities for all ages. Above is the shallow pool and pirate's ship for little ones, including resident octopus. There are two restaurants one serving great pizzas and many other cafes. There is also a wave machine in the main pool which is great fun. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas if you want too and have them placed where you choose. The slide in the little ones pool. My daughter adores this. Zamzam Riad concierge will be advising and booking children friendly activities and trips around Marrakech, for clients. Details of the water park are, Oasiria, km 4, Route de Barrage, Marrakech Tel: 00212 (0)24 380438 www.ilove-Marrakesh.com The weather is perfect at the moment for a balmy day at Oasiria! The pampas grass is amazing at the moment, like little fluffy clouds everywhere.
There is a sandy area for beach volley and also a doughnut ride, where you can sit on a large inflatable ring and be taken under gorgeous flowery tunnels by a gentle current. Me and my daughter give this water park, 10 out of 10. I have never seen it over crowded which is a real bonus and the lifeguards are very vigilant. Zamzam Riad concierge will be advising and booking children friendly activities and trips around Marrakech, for clients.

Details of the water park are-
Oasiria, km 4, Route de Barrage, Marrakech
Tel: 00212 (0)24 380438 http://www.ilove-marrakesh.com/

The weather is perfect at the moment for a balmy day at Oasiria!

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Perfect little Beni Ouarain Carpets - Zamzam Boutique

Today I found some wonderful little Beni Ouarain Carpets, Berber carpets from the Middle Atlas tribes of Morocco. These ones are really nice examples so I have added them to the Zamzam Boutique. The standard Beni Ouarain carpets are 3m x 2m and these ones are about 2m x 1.4m, they are so useful for bedrooms or hallways or even a smaller lounge area underneath a coffee table.


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Monday, September 1, 2008

Ramadan Moubarak Said

It is Ramadan tomorrow, the air is buzzing. I wish you all a cool Ramadan!
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My Moroccan Heros - thanks guys

These are old photos, but nonetheless, photos of my two heroes, who have grafted and grafted the past year and a quarter, day in day out. I know it has been impossibly hard, and I could not have done it myself. Marcus you deserve a medal, and Ahmed what a great friend you have become. Well done boys and thank you so much, without you the dream that is about to be realised could never have been and without you great souls it would not have been. Many before you have not reached the finish line. You are triumphant!
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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!