Every year, as soon as Christmas is over I start thinking about blue skies and sunshine. I wasn’t built for the cold or the rain, and absolutely adore the feeling of warm sun soaking into my skin and bones. While going through some old photos I realised I never did a post on our time in Marrakech. So to give you a little break from our house and all the DIY we’ve been doing, I thought I would share one of our most recent sunny holiday destinations.
We went a year ago in late October and stayed at Riad Due. The place is situated just off the centre of the medina, and has 3 suites plus 1 luxury double for rent. Even though the markets are nearby, once you’re in the house the great stone walls shut out all the noise and keep it completely quiet. It’s a welcome little haven to relax in after a morning of bartering with shopkeepers or dodging the many motorbikes that speed up and down the small alleyways.
The rooms were all tastefully furnished with immaculately tiled floors, carved mahogany furniture, thick drapes to shut out the sun, soft cotton sheets, and even softer lighting. It was the perfect place to hide away and re-charge. Because this was our one holiday, we booked the luxury suite complete with a copper tub that was more like a small swimming pool. I soaked in it every day, and then doused my skin in amazing oils that we’d found in the markets.
Because there are only four suites, most days it feels like a private house. In fact, whenever we had breakfast, dinner, or sunbathed on the roof terrace, we generally had the place completely to ourselves. The food was a stunning mix of French and African spicing with loads of delicious pastries, fresh produce and juices (I’ve never tasted better orange juice).
The weather was perfect – just hot enough during the day, with amazingly fresh and crisp nights. Most meals were eaten by candle light, and all of our restaurants had over 100 candles scattered around in lanterns and chandeliers. It made for a very romantic and relaxed atmosphere.
The city is so enthralling, and such an exotic mix of cultures that it captured the heart of Yves Saint Laurent. When he died, his ashes were scattered in the 12 acre botanical gardens (Majorelle Garden) that he and his partner rescued and restored.
While we wouldn’t need to stay a full week in the city again, we would certainly venture back for a long weekend and another hunt around the markets. Filled with hammered ironware and silver, hand-painted clay pots, spices, leather goods and lovely hand-woven and dyed textiles, it’s not typical shopping but there are some great finds if you’ve got a good eye and can haggle in French. When it comes time for us to redo our garden, we might take inspiration from our time in the city and create an outdoor space like the one above, complete with bright clay pots, loungers and smooth stone tiling. Easy to maintain, and even easier to relax in. I also love the use of bright color, intricate ironwork and geometric pattern. Just the right balance of robustness with a delicate touch.
Writing this has made me crave a little February sun-filled adventure. We went to Rome two years ago and ended up in the middle of their first blizzard in ten years, so perhaps this time I’ll look somewhere a bit further south. What do you do to break up the winter months? Any holiday destinations that you would recommend for a long weekend?