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.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gypsetgirl, article on 'Restival' at Camp Adounia in November 2015

The Restival in Morocco’s stunning Sahara Desert in November is an event not to miss. Happening November 14 – 20, it’s a hybrid of a retreat, attunement with nature in a desert paradise and a chance to celebrate and connect. According to the festival organizers, “[It’s] for those who are looking for a digital detox, a break to inspire creativity, an opportunity to be in one of the most natural unspoilt places on earth.”
I’m super excited to be part of this festival’s premiere. It has the vibe of Burning Man, but better. Burning Man may be iconic, but it has grown into a huge festival with more than 70,000 attendees, hordes of motorhomes, noise, traffic and gas powered generators. It’s lost the intimacy it offered in the earlier years.
On the other hand, the setting of Restival is located in Moroccan sand dunes not far from the stunning Atlas Mountains. The activities are both thrilling and soul inspiring while the spa treatments are perfectly hedonistic. And the thought that I’ll be spending the nights in a beautiful, deluxe, bedouin style tent under the stars is a dream.
photo courtesy of
Here’s a close up look at what Caroline Jones, event founder and developer of the clothing and accessories brand Bazaar Bohemian has in store:


photo courtesy of
Sandboarding is available during the week to get your adrenaline pumped. And if you think flying down steep sand dunes is too much, you’ll wish you opted for sandboarding after you take a camel ride instead. Those camels are stubborn, temperamental creatures.


This is where Restival shines. After all, the goal is for festival goers to recharge and detox from the stress of hectic, daily life. The activities include:
  • Sunrise events 
  • Biodynamic dance
  • Kundalini and Hatha Yoga
  • Energy healing


There’s a variety of how to gatherings and workshops that inspire creativity, living simply and taking the Restival experience home and living it:
  • Creative writing workshops
  • How to juice
  • How to switch off and switch on
  • How to wear a turban and other desert chic styling tips
  • How to use essential oils


What makes the festival most unique is its setting in Morocco. The organizers have mini-trips planned to visit nomadic tribes and enjoy the final night’s sunset at Ait Ben Haddou, a fortified city protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The location has been famously seen in Game of Thrones, Alexander and Gladiator.


The weather in the Sahara is unpredictable. It’s sometimes hot and sunny, other times windy and nights can be unseasonably cold. Mix this with a day of sandboarding or sand golf and a girl just needs some spa time to recharge and get the sand out of all the nooks and crannies. Restival offers a full menu of spa treatments, hammocks throughout the eco site to chillax and a very special daily Hammam.
If you’ve never heard of a Hammam, you’re missing out. It’s an Arab or Turkish bath that has been a cultural and ritualistic tradition in the Islamic world for more than a thousand years. The Hammam experience entails soaking in pools of varying temperatures from warm to hot to very cold while sipping tea. It’s a quiet, spiritual experience. The purpose, according to Islamic traditions, is to purify the body before prayer. But the health benefits are great as well. The steam and distinct temperature changes are great for your skin and circulation.
a traditional hammam

The Nightly Grand Finale

The best close of all each night is brought to you by the universe. The festival location is in the middle of nowhere. There are more stars in the sky than empty space. To enjoy the stargazing with new and old friends, Touareg musicians play, sing and invite you to dance around the campfire.
photo courtesy of
The Restival is a well thought out and memorable event that caters to everyone with a love for the simple, good things in life. For more info on the festival, visit the Restival website. Who’s coming?

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!