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.



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Marrakech Boutique Hotel with Spa - huge discounts

Enjoy a relaxing hammam followed by massage with argan oil.


Our wonderful bathrooms with stunning lights for max atmosphere.

 The Rose Bathroom - with a special rose marble bath and rain shower.  Enjoy the Orange Blossom body wash - simply divine.
A favourite spot to listen to the birds, drink mint tea and enjoy your book.


Zamzam is full of antiques and character pieces to be enjoyed.
Our stunning Palm Suite for honeymoons and special occasions.


Come and lay in the sun and enjoy blue skies and excellent service - email Emma - zamzamriad@gmail.com
or telephone 00212 661215062

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Adventure yoga and energy holiday - Morocco


Its that time again when we are starting the get excited about our Sahara Retreat next March 2014.  Combined with energy work and relaxation at Zamzam Riad this is a wonderful Moroccan Spa Retreat.  The Zamzam team of yoga teacher, reiki master, chef and Spa pack up and in luxury land cruisers make our way over the spectacular Atlas Mountains in convoy to the magical town of Ait Ben Haddou.

At Ait Ben Haddou we do a yoga track, starting with some stretching yoga before heading off on a trek around the wonderful Kasbahs of Ait Ben Haddou.

The second day we drive to the ancient city of Mhamid - last town before the Sahara and we start an exciting drive through sand dunes.

We meet our wonderful team of Nomad Berber who await us with camel caravan, ready to camel trek to our Luxury Camp.

Arriving at the stunning camp in total serenity we enjoy a mint tea before being shown our tents with luxury beds, linen, carpets, leather arm chairs and bathrooms with toilets.  Absolutely luxury away from it all.

The days on the yoga holiday at the Luxury Camp Sahara are filled with yoga, reiki, sand boarding, trekking, massage and pedicure, reflexology with Daisy and peaceful time to relax and enjoy the scenery.  

Evening are spent dining together under the stars before drumming and dancing around the camp fire.  The night sky is spellbinding and followed by deep sleep in your luxury tents.

Trip of a lifetime - don't miss it
Email Emma for information at zamzamriad@gmail.com or see our website www.moroccoretreats.com

Sunday, September 8, 2013

TEDex Marrakech 2013

Very excited about the next TEDex Marrakech, but absolutely gutted that I cannot go!!! I'm catering for 150 people wedding dinner on the Saturday which is the main day of TEDex Marrakech.  The wonderful new British Ambassador Clive Alderton will be there as well as Josh Shoemake probably talking about his recently launched book on Tangier.  Mamoud Chouki my favourite Moroccan musician will be playing and there is also a speaker form the High Atlas Foundation.  Lastly I wanted to meet my neighbour Andrea Kolb owner of Anayela our neighbour riad who kindly shares her wonderful guests with us.  Oh well, I will have to book Marcus a ticket instead!  Be there and be round, book your ticket now!

If you need to book a room or lunch we are next door at Zamzamriad@gmail.com - www.riadzamzam.com

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxMarrakesh, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxMarrakesh event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.




What to expect:
  • Innovative thinking
  • Ideas worth spreading
  • Exclusive networking
  • Open-minded discussions
  • In one of the most historic places in the world: The Medina of Marrakesh
  • Two international hosts Andrea Kolb & Vanessa Branson
  • 100 carefully selected guests 
  • 10 mind blowing, inspiring speakers

Vanessa Branson • Host
Riad el-Fenn
contact@riadelfenn.com
00212524441210

Andrea Kolb • Host
andrea@andreakolb.de
491749208641

Alia Radman • Event Director
Alia@animusmarrakech.com
002126033344182

Monday, September 2, 2013

Our Future - Made in Africa Foundation and the African Development Bank Gala at the Taj, Marrakech


During The African Development Bank Conference in Marrakech this fantastic Gala Dinner was hosted by the Taj Palace.  It was an amazing evening with music from John Legend, Youssou N'Dour as well as a spectacular fashion show celebrating creative talent from three of Africa's top designers.  At the event the Made in Africa Foundation presented a special award to Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank.  Ozwald Boeteng was interviewed that evening by BBC World News and he also launched his film 'Our Future, Made in Africa.  You can view the film on U-tube or The Made in Africa Website.


The extraordinary amount of work that went into this show was overwhelming and the performances outstanding.  It was fantastic that Marrakech was chosen to host this important week of inter country relationship building, knowledge sharing and debate.

Being born in Uganda and growing up in Nigeria, my life has been effected by African politics and I have been involved in many discussions on how this great continent can inter trade and harness its wealth.  After all I was made in Africa!  It was fantastic to be able to be involved in this inspirational week and hear new views and opinions from different generations.  
Watch this space as Africa goes from strength to strength and better road, rail and airlinks are developed.

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!