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, April 27, 2012

Organic Natural Henna in Marrakech, Morocco

We trotted off to find the new Henna Cafe in Marrakech as my daughter had won the Henna Design Competition and was to be treated to a supper of her choice and a Henna Tattoo by the world famous artist Nic Cartier from Boston.

You can see her design which is now printed on postcards at the henna cafe.  She chose all her favourite fruits and vegetables for a lovely designer salad with creamed goats cheese and olives.  She was in heaven being treated like a princess!

The Henna Cafe is a superb not for profit cafe which has been opened to educate poor Moroccans and specifically the Moroccan ladies who do Henna.  They have just finished a number of courses with ladies showing them how to make their own henna cones utensils and to use Eucalyptus oil instead of any harsh solvents when they mix their henna to a paste. 

The cafe have also made fantastic mits and socks to go over the henna once it has been done so that no henna designs become imprinted on sheets and pillow cases overnight.  I know this is something the riad community will be pleased to know.  Their Henna is natural and organic and the tools made from re-cycling cellophane.

The Henna Cafe upstairs is a calm little room for lunch and also has a nice little terrace on the roof

Having her own gorgeous bespoke Henna Tattoo done by Nic.

For anyone who knows Marrakech they are situated in the alley of Moustapha Blaui or you can visit their website

The finished henna tattoo with added blue sparkles as well.

I urge you to support this worthwhile little cafe and support the people and artists of Marrakech with you visits and donations.  Come here and have the real henna tattoo and experience.
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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!