M O R O C C O
September 3-8, 2023
“To visit Morocco is still like turning the pages of some illuminated Persian manuscript all embroidered with bright shapes and subtle lines.”
Intoxicating souks, mysterious doorways, lush, tranquil courtyards, the call of the muezzine echoing over the main square where fortune-tellers, monkeys and snake charmers await passing tourists... Marrakech is as alluring as it comes. A curious place where old world meets new and ancient is mixed with modern, where to wander its streets feels as though you're witnessing a strange historical glitch, one in which the world both stayed the same and also changed with the times.
For better or for worse, Marrakech is heady, exhilarating, overwhelming, and, highly addictive. It can be a lot -- even for the seasoned traveller. Which is why we designed this retreat. During the week we'll maximize the city's pleasures -- flavors, textures, colors, art, design and culture -- while also providing a respite and an escape from the city's incessant, enviable energy. During this retreat we see to it you will feel at ease in this country so well known for its warmth and generous hospitality.
Marrakech has long been a favorite haunt for creatives. Everywhere you look you'll find the mark of craftsmanship by local artisans: tapestry and rug weaving, painting, jewelry-making, woodworkers, leather workers, metal workers... every detail has been beautifully constructed by someone's caring, talented hands. And while many of the unique textile patterns look beautiful and creative, they are not random. They have meaning and tell their own story. Thanks to our local experts, we'll be able to take a deeper look inside the wonderfully rich culture of craft, story and magic Morocco offers.
Guiding us through the medina will be celebrity tour guide, Mustapha Chouquir who will lead us through the winding alleyways, souks and shops. Also joining us will be designer, author, hotelier and humanitarian Maryam Montague who will give a talk on magic and symbolism, two predominant themes in Moroccan culture, before leading us on a design safari. (Maryam has led design private tours for Tory Burch and Martha Stewart.) With Maryam's expertise and relationship with the local vendors, we'll enjoy a one-of-a-kind Moroccan shopping experience in the souks. We'll also be sure to get fair prices for all those gorgeous textiles and goods you'll no doubt be tucking away in that extra suitcase!
When we're not perusing the endless markets, we'll enjoy a cooking class complete with a tea ceremony and wine pairing at La Maison Arabe, an outing to Yves Sant Laurent's home and gardens, Jardin Majorelle, a traditional hammam, and an unforgettable desert excursion complete with a sunset dinner overlooking the vast Saharan desert. There will be just enough scheduled to keep you entertained with plenty of downtime to take a dip in the plunge pool, read a book on the rooftop or exploring the city.
When dining at the riad, meals of local specialties will be prepared and served daily our private chef.
We will stay in a traditional Moroccan riad, located in the beating heart of Marrakech's timeless medina. Just a few minute's walk from the hustle and bustle, the riad is tucked away down a quiet, safe street. Fully staffed and for our exclusive use, we'll enjoy the use of the plunge pool, jacuzzi, several lounge areas, a living room with a fire place, a fully stocked bar and a hammam. Beautifully decorated, plush rooms (complete with WiFi) face the bright, picturesque courtyard. The rooftop terrace boasts sublime views of the Atlas mountains in the distance and is the perfect place to be entranced by the muezzine's daily calls to prayer.
“And how astonishing to feel this sheer bliss, for here she was, not doing and not going to do a single unselfish thing, not going to do a thing she didn't want to do."
- Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April
ABOUT ISSY & REGINA
Brought together by the amazingness of the World Wide Web, Issy and Regina discovered they're cosmically connected, part of some kind of 'Sliding Doors' sisterhood, each living out the other's alternative reality. Issy is English but is married to a Texan and lives in Texas while Regina is Texan but lives in England and is married to a Brit. Among the many other things they have in common (aside from loud laughs and toothy grins) both have one son, both are travel nuts and have built lives and careers around their wanderings. Naturally, they decided to have a week-long party in Marrakech celebrating all this, welcoming anyone else who's ever had an inkling to wander (or haven't but wish they had) to join them. Where better than Marrakech, a place known for magic?
Issy's love of travel started as a child, with her favourite book being an old, beat-up atlas given to her by her grandmother - a direct descendent of Captain James Cook. So it was inevitable that lineage and plain lust would be what would propel her on her happy globe-trotting adventures throughout life, some supremely five-star, others on a shoe-string, but all etched a permanent love for travel in her heart.
With twenty-five years in International Sales and Marketing, Issy’s professional world was born of being raised in a family of avid unapologetic travellers, and so if it wasn’t going to be “international” in nature, it wasn’t going to be. She thrives on positivity, story-telling and re-runs of classic British sitcoms. And shoes. Always shoes. She’ll take you by the hand and lead you to tiny tucked away corners of enchantment in whichever beautiful land you find yourselves.
Regina's childhood excitement for travel revolved around the interminably long thirteen-hour plus family road trips from Texas to Mississippi and Indiana to visit her grandparents. As soon as she was old enough to fly the coop to see what was beyond interstate travel, she did and landed in Spain to study which set into motion a whole series of life events that would unfold as the topsy-turvy life as an expat. After thirteen years in Italy and a brief stint in New Zealand, she's finally put down roots in the UK where she's lived for eight years now where she lives with her very tolerant husband Ben and their toddler, Luke. The opportunity to connect with new people and experience all the sights, flavors and smells the world has to offer while is what lights her up. (That and her toddler, of course.) Regina has led retreats around the world for the better part of the last decade. Marrakech remains one of her absolute favorite places.
Prices are per person, in Pounds Sterling and include:
Five nights’ accommodation in a fully staffed luxury riad in the heart of Marrakech’s medina for our own exclusive use. Roundtrip airport transfers to and from Marrkech's Menara airport. Welcome drinks and canapes included upon arrival. Daily breakfasts and dinners including wine. (Lunches will be at your leisure and are available at the riad upon request for a supplemental cost.) All excursions and activities are included: an English-speaking guided tour of souk/medina with celebrity tour guide, pampering spa experience, a one hour talk on magic and symbolism plus a guided shopping experience with “Marrakech by Design” author Maryam Montague, three-hour cooking class at Maison Arabe (followed by lunch), desert excursion with sunset dinner.
FIVE NIGHTS' ACCOMMODATION AT PRIVATE, FULLY-STAFFED RIAD
ROUNDTRIP AIRPORT TRANFERS TO AND FROM MARRAKECH'S MENARA AIRPORT
WELCOME DRINKS & CANAPES
DAILY BREAKFAST WITH COFFEE, TEAS & FRESH JUICES
ALL DINNERS INCLUDING WINE
ENGLISH-SPEAKING GUIDED TOUR OF MEDINA BY CELEBRITY TOUR GUIDE
DESIGN SAFARI WITH AUTHOR, DESIGNER, HOTELIER AND HUMANITARIAN, MARYAM MONTAGUE
ENTRANCE TO YVES ST LAURENT HOME AND GARDEN JARDIN MAJORELLE
COOKING CLASS LUNCH WITH TEA AND WINE PAIRING AT LA MAISON ARABE
DESERT EXCURSION WITH SUNSET DINNER
All rooms face the riad's quiet courtyard and have spacious private ensuite bathrooms. Deluxe rooms are larger than regular single rooms.
SINGLE DELUXE ROOM £4100
SINGLE ROOM £3900
SHARED DELUXE ROOM £3700 - SOLD OUT
SHARED ROOM £3500 - SOLD OUT
If this retreat resonates with you and you'd like to secure your place, a nonrefundable £1500 deposit is required.
Limited spaces available.
Please note that if for any reason this retreat does not run or is cancelled you will be refunded in full.
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
“There’s only one very good life, and that’s the life that you know you want, and you make it yourself.”
- Diana Vreeland