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.



Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beni Ouarain - Zamzam Boutique - Berber Carpets

arpet After our last Reiki and Yoga Retreat, two retreaters asked if I would take them carpet shopping. They bought this stunning subtle vintage Beni Ouarain Carpet. Doesn't it look superb with their gorgeous London flat??

If you would like one too, click on the Zamzam Boutique link in the right hand column of this blog otherwise email me at boutiquezamzam@gmail.com for more stunning hand made pieces.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stunning Vintage Handira - Zamzam Boutique - Marraekch

I have these beautiful vintage wedding blankets just in! Not only are they stunning pieces they are immaculate condition.

This one is to die for, very pretty indeed. Click on the Zamzam Boutique link to see sizes and photos also my stock of Beni Ouarain and Azilal carpets. Email me at zamzamriad@gmail.com for prices.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marrakech Weddings - Morocco

There are some fabulous weddings happening in Marrakech and I am pleased to let you know that with Sonia's help we will be able to organise a fabulous wedding for you at Zamzam. Being an events producer in a past life I will also be helping Sonia on the ground in Marrakech by showing clients round and helping negotiate their budgets for the big day.

Sonia Day owns an online company called Marrakech Weddings http://www.marrakechweddings.co.uk/ +44 (0)7974 249 356 she is very successful and has organised a great deal of fabulous weddings in Marrakech for all styles and budgets.

She visited Marrakech a few years ago, promptly fell in love with the place and came back a few months later to buy a riad in the medina to renovate with her now husband.

She worked as an updater for the Hedonists Guide to Marrakech, so was shown all of the lovely riads and got to know many of the owners. She also returns to Marrakech regularly to look after the riad and to catch up with old friends!

Sonia helps couples from the UK and all over the world plan their weddings in Marrakech. She meets clients in the UK or speaks to them to find out exactly what they are looking for and then helps to arrange viewings and meetings with the owners and managers of places, with food tastings. Once the venue has been decided, Sonia can help to arrange all the other bits that are needed for the wedding, such as photographers and cakes. She is available to you at all times and reviews what you will have at the wedding regularly with both the clients and the managers, to ensure a seamless, perfect day!

Have a look at some fabulous photos from weddings organised in Marrakech. We are very happy to be working with her at Zamzam.


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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reiki and Yoga Retreat - Zamzam Boutique Hotel, Marrakech

Superb Reiki Master - Rebecca Hutley joined us for the Journey of Awakening at Zamzam.  Not only did she give superb Reiki treatments but part of the Retreat was to learn, practice and achieve our Reiki 1 practitioners, which was very exciting.  The last time I got a certificate was for swimming 20 lengths with David Wilkie!
The Reiki practice on our gorgeous Beni Ouarain carpets woven by Berber shamans was a spiritual experience in it'self.
The loved up group at the end.
Our certificates on the last day.  I was practicing with Nova from Taiwan after she had given me Reiki I said, I had a strange picture of a vortex in my mind, she said oh thats what I was visualising!
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Atlas Mountain Walking Retreat - Zamzam Riad Marrakech Hotel

On the 3rd day we set off early to avoid the Marrakech Marathon. We were in the heart of the Atlas Mountains by 9.15am. The mountains were stunning with their snowy peaks but the air was surprisingly warm. We started off with a morning meditation together which was wonderful as the room had underfloor heating which helped the meditation nicely. We all felt the energy of being in these ancient mountains.

We set off on a two hour walk around Berber Villages and waterfalls. It was exhilarating and otherworldly.
Once back to the Kasbah we were offered Rose water to wash our hands and fresh dates. We walked up the stairs to the wonderful terrace with a spectacular view of the Atlas, where we had a delicious lunch of salads with fig and lamb tagine. The lunch was served with fresh spring water from the Atlas!

During the walk which was huge fun, two crazy retreaters stripped off and jumped in the ice cold water! Journey of Awakening it definitely was.
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Marrakech Desert - Retreat, Zamzam Riad, Marrakech

After an hours yoga in the morning we were rearing to go.  It was a glorious day and we all felt fantastic.  We drove to the Marrakech Desert 45 mins from Marrakech, jumped on horse and shot off over the hills.  The other horses and foals came with us and jumped in and out of us as we galloped down the dry river bed inbetween the arid hills.  The views were stunning!

We had a delicious lunch at La Pause, the eco-retreat as we were all starving after our busy morning.

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Journey of Awakening - Zamzam Reiki and Yoga Retreat Marrakech

Well we did it, our first Journey of Awakening Retreat in Marrakech! We had a blast it was a massive success and better than I had ever imagined. I had not envisaged how close we would all become practicing together for 4 days. No one wanted to go and it was sad to say good bye to retreaters who had become not only pioneers of the first retreat at Zamzam but great friends.
In the evenings we did yoga on the roof terrace which was really energising.
Towards the third day everyone had really limbered up and were becoming fantastic yogis with the help of Aisha a fantastic Ashtanga teacher! Aisha is an expert in Ashtanga and skillfully moved us all through the practice and breathing finishing with Meditation.
pretty impressive don't you think considering how we struggled to get going on the first day.
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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!