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 28, 2008

Moroccan Fountain Fiasco

I never had time to show you these photos of the Moroccan Fountain fiasco. It arrived and took about 15 men to carry it all huffing and puffing, it was the weight of about 2 grand pianos. The pool was full of water with two pathetic planks of wood that Marcus had placed for the guys to work off while fixing the fountain. This should be interesting I thought. Didn't comment for fear of death as I could feel the tension in the air.

This is the first fountain Yahya has made and it has taken an enormous amount of planning and testing. Planks of wood now moved i hasten to add, but ladder probably made in china now over the pool, like some run the gauntlet programme. Anyhow there was a happy ending, which there usually is in Morocco only after an enormous amount of hurdles and heart ache.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TJ Smith Photographer - Morocco

I thought I would share some of Tim's photos with you, they are so great. I love the way his shots are filled with mood. It is as if you are looking out of a window at a view rather than staring at a photo. I know how difficult this is, I have worked with many a Creative Director who has spent hours briefing photographers to get across mood and an exact feeling from a photo. It is also difficult as like a painting, different shots evoke different emotions in people. Many times the person cannot even express what they are feeling they just know they love it or hate it. Our whole personality is an accumulation of experiences and hence emotions.
This shot is one of my absolute favourites, It evokes magic, mystery, tales of goblins, hero's, tough tribal civilisations. I suppose I feel awe when I look at this shot and I think about times gone by when I see this last standing piece of Kasbah.
Kasbah of the camels - a land of voyagers and traders.
For further choice of shots visit TJ Smith
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

T J Smith International Photograper, Morocco

We had a busy photoshoot with professional photographer Tim Smith. Tim is based in the UK but travels extensively shooting fabulous shots. Zamzam Riad are going to be exhibiting some of Tim's Moroccan shots. We were lucky enough to get him to come and photograph the Riad for us.
Tim in action in Zamzam. If you would like to commission Tim or buy gorgeous framed shots from around Morocco have a look at his website Tim can be easily persuaded to travel for an interesting job, but don't tell him I told you. I'm tryin to convince him to do some photographic holidays at Zamzam Riad, but I'm still working on that and it is so hard to get him at the moment. If you would like to work with Tim give him lots of notice or you maybe dissapointed.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dining a la Maroc - luxury dining Zamzam style

Yassim and I managed to produce a fabulous Moroccan dinner for the 13 travel writers and two resident guests. He worked really hard and produced an amazing meal. The travel writers were so impressed they came back on Sunday to congratulate us, so all the hard work was definately worth it!! I'm really excited about the food at Zamzam and Yassim and I work so well together testing new recipes and flavours in the kitchen. Above you can see the salon where our dinner took place. This is a fabulous winter room with the roaring fire and dimmed chandelier.
On friday night we turned the Bhou into a romantic dining area and our resident couple ate up here which worked really well, as they were able to look onto the patio where the wonderful lute player chanted soulful music into the evening. Zamzam was so magical and really came alive.
We also have the terrace with spectacular view of the snowy Atlas mountains. Fantastic for breakfast or a lazy lunch.

For dinner or lunch a la Zamzam give us a call to reserve a table - +212 24387214
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beni Ouarain - Berber carpets, Morocco

Fabulous Berber carpets at the Zamzam Boutique. These pieces were purchased recently after waiting quite a time to replenish my carpet stock. These stunning double hatch pieces go in any house or room, contemporary, traditional you name it. The quality of the wool in these carpets is so good they make any space look plush.

This is a real beauty.

The cost of shipping by EMS courier is included in these prices and if you order them now you can have a little Zamzam in your life for Christmas!

email me -
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zamzam SPA - Marrakech, Morocco

journalists for dinner and the chef and I are busy cooking up a Moroccan feast. We know they have been to Morocco before so we are carefully selecting unusual dishes that we are sure they won't have tasted. We are starting with Yassim's fish soup, because it is soooooo good. Then we have lamb and quince tagine, because they are in season and then a Jewish Moroccan tagine with chicken and orange. Finally we are finishing with cumin creme brule and rose water and cardamom ice cream.
We also have four Italians staying who have gone off to the Jemaa and want hammam when they get back at 12pm! so I thought I would show you some photos of the Zamzam Spa. The hammam and the massage room. Hope you will all be visiting soon?
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 17, 2008

Beni Mguild, Exceptional Berber Carpets, Marrakech

I have just bought this fabulous Beni Mguild carpet. I was lucky to be the first person to see it as it came into Marrakech. It was obviously meant to be. It is much prettier in real life, the pinks and dusky aubergine colours are yummy if that is a technical term. It is in great condition and the wool is high quality.

What a find it measures 3m x 2m. Drop me an email if it has your name on it.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beautiful Beni Ouarain Carpets - Zamzam Riad

I have been waiting and waiting to find some Beni Ouarain carpets to replenish my stock at Zamzam, when at last I found these. I'm sure you will agree they were all worth waiting for. I have added these gorgeous pieces to the Zamzam Boutique so if you are interested go and have a look for sizes. The quality of the wool and the weave in these Berber rugs is fantastic.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Magnificent Moroccan Lights

I wanted to share with you the gorgeous lights at Zamzam Riad. We are so happy with them they are just stunning and everyone who stays falls in love with them. Thank you Yahya for your contribution to the Zamzam interiors.
The riad comes alive at night and looks like a fairy kingdom.
The reflection of the beautiful fountain above the plunge pool.

If you would like to contact Yahya Creations, details are as follows;

Yahya Creations
Rachid or Maryem
Magazine 49
61 Passage Ghandouri
Rue Yougoslavie

Telephone - +212 (0)24422776
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Zamzam Boutique - African Antiques

I don't know whether African Masks are your thing, I know they are not for everyone, but they really are my thing and have been for ages. I am totally addicted to them. The problem is the ones I love Marcus tells me are scary, so I have had to change my buying head for the Zamzam Boutique.
Having grown up with African art, I love it and know it. I should at this point tell you that it has always been my intention to go into the African Arts, but not quite as soon as this. However I have been approached by a knowledgeable partner from abroad who wants to get going now. I have also by chance and hard work of course, found two great suppliers.
So here you have the first exhibition - Zamzam Masks. I adore these two, they are the King and Queen. I will be shortly adding them to the Zamzam Boutique with descriptions of their history. Let me know what you think?? Watch this space for more African pieces.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Zamzam Riad, Marrakech - NOW OPEN

Hurrah after a year and a 1/4 of really hard work, we are open. We are really pleased as everything is working well and we have had fabulous feedback.
These curtain tie backs are actually Kaftan belts. I had them made in our Zamzam brand colours.
The Zamzam logo which I am really pleased with - thanks Tom.
Fresh orange juice anyone! I love this time of year, the brilliant winter sun. I hope you will all come and stay with us and enjoy the place as much as we are. We have a fantatic chef too! Also at last the hammam is now fixed and we have four lovely massage ladies. Just pulling the website together now, so I will let you know when the full site is up and running.
Posted by Picasa

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!