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, May 25, 2009

L'Amandier Project - Ourgaine Villas

A while ago, December actually I got a phone call from a couple of ladies, Jen and her sister Mikaela who wanted to talk to me about Villa Interiors.

They came to the riad and we all had a long chat and got on very well, I showed them around the riad and they seemed to like it. It turned out that their wonderful project was 16 villas in the Atlas Mountains.

The small villa development in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, just an hour’s drive from Marrakech, L’Amandier will be a luxury development of privately owned villas, a large swimming pool, a tennis court, plunge pools, and gardens peppered with Bougainvillea, almond and citrus trees.

It sits on a plateau surrounded by the magnificent snow-capped Atlas Mountains, a short distance from Sir Richard Branson’s luxury retreat, Kasbah Tamadot, and other established spas, hotels and restaurants.

This is somewhere one can’t help but relax, unwind and enjoy the clean air, unspoilt panoramic views, tranquillity and space.
With 300 days a year sunshine and an aggressive national policy to boost tourism from 2 million to 10 million a year by 2010, Morocco has become one of the key hotspots for property investment.

For full details of this stunning development see:

They also are writing a wonderful blog which keeps you up to the development of the villas and the sites as they are being built. The blog is well written and a good read -

We had a wonderful day visiting the site, the plot is absolutely breathtaking. Not far from Marrakech either but excellent as a retreat or to do some wonderful walking in the mountains.
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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!