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.



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Casa Botanica - Marrakech out and about

I was invited by my friend to go and meet her family for brunch at a new nursery. I had read that it had a cafe and area for children so off we went - the changing faces of Marrakech.

What a great surprise, it was like being back in a Portobello cafe. There were different kinds of quiches with salads, choose your own fruit juice list - oh it was just great at last great home cooked food but out of your home! I had the broccoli and blue cheese tarte and an apple and ginger juice. I'm a terrible food critic and is was very good, even the pastry. There was a nice children's plate for my daughter with potato and cheese cakes, with homemade tomato sauce a yogurt sauce, served with home grown organic baby tomato's and fresh apple juice.

To follow we had home made cakes a particularly good one with flaked almonds.

It was very relaxing surrounded by gorgeous plants on a 3 acre site, covered with huge cloths of red, blue and yellow.
We spent ages there, it is a long time since I have had a proper brunch time on a Sunday like that.

It is easy to find as you will see the vast colours from the road. It is just 3k on your right past the Royal Golf (another nice place to go for lunch if you have young children who want to run around)

Casa Botanica
Route de Sidi Abdellah Rhiatt
Marrakech

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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!