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.



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Concierge.com - Conde Nast - Zamzam Riad

I got an email from a lady last week saying that she had heard about Zamzam and loved the photos. Was it true that children could really stay free? Would we mind if she did an article for us for the Conde Nast Traveller website. I nearly fell of my chair. Any how I sent her some pictures and information on how we are kids friendly and how I used to be a Montessori teacher and today here is her article.

Affordable Family Vacations - Conde Nast
by Nicola McCormack

MARRAKESH FOR FAMILIES
Some destinations are magical enough to appeal to all ages, which pretty much sums up Marrakesh. The low costs of traveling to Morocco are equally bewitching right now. Airfare can get up there, but the on-the-ground costs for food, shopping, and accommodation are where you'll make your savings. For parents, the maze of souks is a place to hone bartering skills; for youngsters, it's a mysterious labyrinth of (inexpensive) treasures, exotic aromas, and glowing lanterns. Early evening is when the main square, the Jemaa El Fna alive with gnawa musicians, tumbling acrobats, snake charmers, and the infamous "dentists" who proudly display the rotting fangs they've hauled out—tooth brushing may never be an issue again. Eat at one of the hundreds of smoky open kitchens, where tasty chicken kebabs (under a dollar apiece) and desserts drizzled in honey will satisfy even the most finicky eaters—although it's probably best not to point out the cooked sheep heads until the kids have finished their food. Stay in a riad—a traditional Moroccan house-turned-hotel with a central courtyard—for an authentic experience; the Zamzam is a beautifully restored seven-room riad in the Medina. Room start at $173 a night in low season; the child-friendly amenities range from babysitting services and high chairs to kids' meals and extra cots (youngsters under 10 can stay in their parents' room for free). There's also a pool and a hammam where even kids can benefit from a jet lag–relief massage.

Just to let you know we also do cooking classes for children and they are really successful. At the moment I am compiling a list of things to do and restaurants that are family friendly. Come and stay and let us organise something for all of you.


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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!