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.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hanout - stunning design for women Marrakech

Today at last I managed to visit my friend Meriem's shop "Hanout" – which means ‘the shop’ in Moroccan. It is absolutely stunning.  A gorgeous range or clothes  with something for everyone and a grea mix of modern Moroccoan.

It is located underneath the restaurant - Terrasse des Espices with another selection of  pretty boutique shops so it makes for a good afternoon out shopping with lunch.

The address is No.8 Gallery Cherifia, first floor, Sidi Abdelaziz. (Tel: 0524 384366 / 0648 129738). It is open everyday from 10:30 / 18:30 except Tuesday when the Gallery is closed.

The shop sells her own ladies design collection - as well as other select designer clothes, hand bags and jewelry. I am really fussy on jewelry but her selection wa gorgeous and I am going back to buy one of her necklaces and spend more trying on as I was sadly with my husband!

Her collection includes a stunning range of beautiful kaftans, tunics, trousers all cut in silk fabrics and hand embroided – along with unique one–off pieces. These have been sold at Selfridges, featured in several magazines such as Sharq and Now, and have been worn on tour and featured in an album photo-shoot by the renowned singer / songwriter Natasha Atlas.

Meriem has studied at both the International School of fashion management in Amsterdam and Central St Martins in London, and the collection on sale is the culmination of several years’ diligent work. Other collections in the boutique include a select choice of Indian inspired pieces from ‘Anaya’ in London.

This boutique is a real treat for Marrakech get down there now!!

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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!