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, January 18, 2010

Best of Morocco Blogs



I received an email today that perked me up. It was to tell me that I had been nominated in the Best of Morocco Blogs.

What I need you all to do now is click on Best of Morocco Blogs and vote for me please, maybe I will get an award.

I have to tell all you cold people that it is 27 degress in Marrakech today. I feel like we have gone into summer without winter. I'm still waiting for some decent snow in the mountains so that I can go skiing. Maybe I should fly to the UK.

Get over to Marrakech and get some rays!
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

On the way up the Atlas - Moroccan Mountains

Jumped in the car we were off! This shows you the route out of Marrakech to the Atlas, they are really close.

From the pool to a winter wonderland in 1 and half hours.
The pretty pine forest at the top. We are going to be walking in the sunshine in the Atlas (not this high) we will be visiting Berber Villages to on our Zamzam Retreat and Spa on 28 January. Just one of the things in our exciting programme. Email Emma for information zamzamriad@gmail.com (Special offer now only £500 per person all inclusive)
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Skiing in Morocco - The Journey to the Top

We woke up rubbed our eyes stared out the bedroom window and low and behold there were the stunning Atlas Mountains sparkling in the brilliant blue sky back at us. Right I said get your gear on, we are off - we have a special bag full of ski gear just for these moments so that we can jump into our salapets and snow boots and whizz off. Marrakech to Oukaimenden is about 1.5 hours drive of superb scenery. Our daughter used to suffer terribly from motion sickness on the windy mountain road but, this time she seemed fine which was great as it shortened our trip.

There was great excitement in the car as she had a new toboggan for Christmas and was desperate to try it out, I also had new skis and boots so was equally eager to get up there.

This winter has been incredibly warm in Marrakech unlike the rest of Europe. We have been waiting for snow in the mountains and haven't actually had much. It was beautiful up there but very warm and bright - you need serious sun glasses for the glare. In the morning the skiing wasn't much fun as it was complete ice and rather like skiing on rocks. It got hotter and the snow got softer and more enjoyable to ski on. Oh by the way if your going up there to ski, be careful of the second button lift, I thought my arms had come out of their sockets as I was jettisoned into the distance I nearly left my boots behind as I took off!!

It was exhausting walking up this huge hill in deep snow to shoot down it on toboggans but what a view! Spectacular. Friends were up there having a picnic and a glass of wine. It doesn't get much better than this. You see living in Morocco can be really tough but it has its moments that more than make up for the less impressive.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

SPECIAL OFFER ZAMZAM RIAD - Yoga and Reiki Retreat now only £500

Calling all adventurers - There is now a SPECIAL PRICE of £500 if you book on our magical retreat. The retreat is all inclusive of yoga, reiki, Medina Tour, Marrakech Desert, walking in the Atlas Mountains and Spa with massage and hammam. Come and explore the exciting Medina and souks where Emma will help you purchase some special handcrafted goods.

Enjoy the energy of the Atlas and beautiful surrounds of Kasbah Toubkal where we will stop for lunch. Chill out in the Marrakech Desert with the spectacular back drop of the Atlas, dine under the stars in a traditional Berber Tent.

Aisha will be leading the yoga, it is suitable for all levels and not only loosens your body and flow of energy but detoxes through the breathing. Rebecca Hutley is our Reiki Master visiting us from Spain to do the retreat. You will find her Reiki truly life changing.

Photo of precious purchases from the souk, Emma can advise you on shopping and magical historic sites.
Lastly enjoy the comfort and Moroccan style of Zamzam with fresh organic food prepared daily.

Email me now to take up this special offer of £500 for 5 nights and 4 days. Starting 28 January - 2 February all inclusive.
Emma - zamzamriad@gmail.com or phone me to discuss 00212 661215062
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Years Eve Party at Zamzam Riad Marrakech

We had a fantaaaaaaaaaaastic evening at Zamzam. The musicians were superb, the dancer was a real treat and after my Zamzam cocktails everyone was well in the mood. It was really nice to get up and have a dance between the numerous courses of food, it also meant the evening was well paced.

We had great guests and everyone seemed to love the Moroccan celebrations.
Luckily New Years day was hot and sunny as most of them rolled out of bed and onto a sunbed on the terrace. Bliss!
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Great Carpet Debate - Berber Carpets, Zamzam Riad

Happy New Year from sunny Zamzam, the January sales are here! Click on the Zamzam Boutique to see the full stock of vintage Berber Carpets and Blankets, all now heavily reduced. Email Emma at zamzamriad@gmail.com for more information.
Stunning Bouzart Carpet from North Morocco.
See my stock of gorgeous vintage Beni Ouarain Carpets, they look great in any space.

Don't forget too the Zamzam Yoga and Reiki Retreat on 28 January. It is all inclusive with an exciting itinerary from Traditional Moroccan Spa to Reiki and Yoga in the Marrakech Desert. Come and join us for and exciting 4 days. Prices start at £650 for 5 nights all in.
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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!