Morocco in January for a smattering of winter sun couldn't be more perfect as a get away. I was very spoilt when hubby decided to take me away on a mini adventure, I was even more excited when I got to chose where we stayed! Spending so much time on Pinterest and Instagram on a daily basis as a designer I am constantly stumbling across images of some of the most beautiful locations and interiors of the world. So when an opportunity arises when I can explore, I like to seize the opportunity with open arms and immerse myself in the splendour of others creations.
First up we spent a couple of nights in Marrakesh at an incredibly chic Riad called Riad Tarabel. Hidden away down a little back alley in the heart of the Medina, you open the door to reveal the most stunning Moroccan Riad which oozes a colonial Parisian chic, a classy little paradise on the doorstep of Marrakesh's bustling souk.
Riad Tarabel was opened ten years ago with just four rooms, since then the Parisian owner, has been slowly extending his site as various adjacent buildings have become available, knocking them down and with great vision created three linked courtyards. Beautiful carved archways in soft charcoal greys sit beautifully against the off-white of the Moroccan polished plastered walls. Huge murals adorn the walls and relaxed day beds on verandas with stunning gilt mirrors create an opulent yet relaxed feel. The Riad now has ten rooms, the last were just being completed while we were there in January, they are all beautiful and all slightly different and the owner is currently building a Hamman behind the Riad.
We loved our two nights stay at the Riad Tarabel, where we dined on the most delicious Moroccan salads and chicken tagines by candlelight, with a roaring fire looking over the courtyard with flaming candles burning around the pool. Our room had two decadent baths and a brilliant, powerful shower and underfloor heating to boot, in Marrakesh can you believe it! At night we had a fire lit in our room, so romantic! A perfect place to base ourselves for a couple of days while we saw the sites, shopped the souk and sourced some interior requirements.
After a couple of days we made our way to Essaouira for the next leg of our mini adventure. where we were going to stay at the stunning Villa Anouk. A very different place to our Riad in Marrakesh, the Villa was set in the hills above Essaouira. This superb Villa has been created by Anouk Beguery who moved over from New York 3 1/2 years ago to get away from the fashion world in which she worked.
Villa Anouk quietly opened its doors in Spring 2016 and unsurprisingly has been incredibly popular, with no official marketing, I stumbled across this 7 bedroom beauty on Instagram. Its charm is in the stunning decor, Anouk wanted to create a place of escape where you could be anywhere in the world. You could just as easily be in the foothills of Ibiza with its continental vibe. Boasting the only indoor pool in the Essaouira area (apart from one private house) this creates quite a majestic focal point. The relaxed seating areas dotted around the villa all have a different feel. My favourite spot being outside where we ate breakfast every morning with the sun rising on our faces and a big outdoor fire keeping the night chill at bay. The rooms are simple but all with exquisite details, from outside showers, to painted ceilings, all decorated with gorgeous Handiras (Moroccan wedding blankets) and greenery from the gardens.
Anouk was an amazing hostess passing on all sorts of gems of where to go and what to buy in Essaouira. From amazing Haik's in Ave de I'Istiqlal, the best place within Souk Jedid for Handiras, the freshest fish for lunch near the gate of Bab El Minah and with a lovely long walk along the beach to walk of our lunch we managed to find a little sun-trap for some winter sun and a refreshing beer at 'Beach & Friends'. After a little more exploring around the town in the afternoon we stopped for a sunset drink at Taros Cafe to end the day.
I would certainly recommend Morocco as a mini break for anyone. I didn't feel in the slightest bit hassled or harassed and loved visiting out of season. Making Marrakesh feel like it had just as a relaxed vibe as Essaouira.
If you want to check out these places to stay, check out their websites:
Villa Anouk http://www.villaanouk.com/