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, August 26, 2013

Love Locks on the Pont des Arts in Paris

We came across these wonderful lock bridges in Paris this summer.  My daughter was desperate to do one so off we went and bought one and then decorated it with our nail varnish.  They really are amazing to look at all with their tiny messages on them.

For those of you who haven’t heard of them, here's the story. A couple writes their names on a padlock and locks it onto one of the bridges. They then throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their undying love.
The locks on the Pont des Arts near the Louvre were cut off, reportedly by the government. But romance beats politics in Paris and the locks can now be seen on two Paris bridges: Pont des Arts and Pont de l'Archevêché.

However, there is a difference on which bridge you pledge your love.
Some say the only way to break the seal of love brought on by this love lock act is to find the key and unlock the padlock. Of course, that is nearly impossible, since the keys lie at the bottom of the river. This reality induces many brokenhearted individuals to return with bolt cutters to try to chop off the padlocks. So, on second thought, maybe it wasn’t the government after all.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

African Development Bank Conference and The Made in Africa Foundation - May 2013 Marrakech

Zamzam were lucky to host the BBC World News earlier this year including Zainab Badawi.  The whole week was fantastically interesting.  Zainab hosted a number of interviews with key African Movers and Shakers.  Sera of London was in charge of Zainab's Rendezvous set design.  She used interiors from Zamzam which you can see in these shots.

The Zamzam Set - BBC World News - Marrakech
Later during this high energy week.  The Bankers Awards were held with dinner and concert at the Taj Hotel in Marrakech.  It was a stunning evening hosted by Ozwald Boateng from The Made in Africa Foundation.  Ozwald hosted an amazing fashion show at this event with a selection of his Saville Row Designs.

Below you can read a press release on the amazing Event and by joining Made in Africa on Facebook you can get updates from the Foudations work.

Our Future, Made In Africa
Film Premier, Fashion Show and Concert
29 May 2013
Marrakech, Morocco

Internationally-renowned designer Ozwald Boateng OBE curated a stunning fashion show featuring four designers from Africa or its diaspora communities, wowing guests at his Gala event Celebrating Africa’s Progress, in collaboration with the IC Publications Africa Bankers Awards, in Marrakech, Morocco.

The thrilling designs of Amine Bendriouich (Tunisian), Pierre Antoine Vettorello (French Ivoirian), Samantha Cole (British-Nigerian), and Mimi Plange (Ghanaian-born Californian) were brought together for the show, featuring 30 models, including Sessilee Lopez and Sonja Wanda, by Mr Boateng as his Made in Africa Foundation celebrated the enormous positivity coursing through the African continent and its diaspora in terms of creativity and commerce.

The Gala event also featured electrifying musical performances by:

John Legend, r+b superstar;
Senegalese Minister of Culture, Youssou N’Dour, one of the most celebrated African singers in history and the top ranked musician in the Forbes “40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa” list;

Chart-topping Akon, who as well as being the first artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice, also produces for others such as Lady Gaga and Leona Lewis; and

Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), conscious New York rapper, acclaimed actor and long time supporter of the Made in Africa Foundation.

That’s four artists with 10 Grammy awards and over 22 Grammy nominations between them.

Made In Africa premiered the new film by Ozwald Boateng, entitled “Our Future, Made In Africa”. The Film was simultaneously broadcast live in Marrakech and on the internet to a world wide audience on Made in Africa’s newly launched YouTube Channel.

Earlier in the day, the Made In Africa’s principle of bringing together the continent’s skillsets to co-operate towards progress bore significant fruit with the signing of the Marrakech Undertaking by the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation – a recognition of the foundations’ mutual obligations to assist in the development of the continent, focusing on transformational infrastructure projects.

The event was attended by 400 leaders of the world’s banking and investment community, gathering in Marrakech for the African Development Bank’s annual summit, concentrating on creating progress and investment across Africa.

"Africa has been the inspiration of all great artists such as Picasso and designers like Yves Saint Laurent. As Africa rises and we see the African century our creativity in all the arts will be clear."
Ozwald Boateng, co-founder and Trustee of the Made in Africa Foundation

"For Africa to reach and exceed the growth rates needed to feed and house all of our people and become the powerhouse of the globe that it could be, needs a meeting of the minds of its creative genius and its finance gurus - this extraordinary event is the first of many!"
Chris Cleverly, CEO of the Made In Africa Foundation

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!