As many of you know, us Mice love a good holiday. Between us we have been on an eye watering thirteen so far this year. I can hear my poor credit card weeping from my purse as I type this, whimpering to be left to rest!!! Not just yet Mr, I still have another two more for you to see me through. Poor old trusty MasterCard recently took a slight battering in Marrakech where I headed with my two uni pals, Hels and Lauren. Shockingly, our first holiday together after being besties for over ten years. Lauren sadly couldn't come for as long as Hels and I, so the pair of us headed out first to get the locals ready for Lauren's arrival!
Morocco has always been on the holiday hit list, but for some reason none of us had ever taken the plunge. We wanted to see as much of Morocco as humanly possible and therefore decided to split our time between the tranquillity of the countryside and the hustle and bustle of being right in the centre of Marrakech and all of its madness! In true girly style we had spent many an hour researching all the must visit spots and also uncovering hidden gems that the majority might never know exist. We had high hopes and a cracking itinerary to boot!
Hels and I touched down in Marrakech just after 4pm a few Saturdays back, eagerly anticipating what the first leg of our Moroccan adventure had in store. We whizzed through security in record time and were greeted by our friendly driver who scooped us up in his icy cool 4x4 - we had arrived!!!
Our first hotel, Le Palais Paysan was a 40 minute drive from the airport so we sat back and watched the Moroccan countryside speed by, our beady tourist eyes greedily soaking up every passing detail from rolling hills, plodding donkeys to swish roadside hotels. If you looked hard enough you could see the Atlas Mountains in the very distance, one of the very reasons we had cherry picked Le Palais Paysan as our first peaceful place of residence.
We arrived and were greeted by Hamada (who turned out to be one of our most favourite hotel hosts) and the charming hotel Manager, Mustapha. Introductions complete, we turned around to find our cases stacked perfectly to one side, check-in was bypassed because who wants to deal with that when you've just arrived in paradise and as if by magic we were transported to the modern Moroccan hotel lounge area where sweet mint tea and delish cinnamon treats were waiting for us. What a welcome...
After our refreshing tea break, we were whisked around the geometric inspired boutique hotel. First impressions = wow-oh-wow! Spectacular views overlooking the Agafay Desert, an inky blue pool edged with stark white parasols, a stunning spa (which we 100% planned on taking full advantage of) and sixteen beautifully comfy bedrooms each with bathrooms sent from heaven complete with his ’n’ hers sinks and the biggest rain shower I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
After our grand tour there was only one thing for it ... bikinis on, ready to soak up that last slice of afternoon sun by the pool with a gin fizz in hand. What an utterly perfect start to our break.
The drinking and merriment didn't stop there however, next stop was the open-air Jacuzzi overlooking the hotel’s jaw dropping valley views. We watched the sunset with limey G&T's and chatted into the early hours of the morning missing dinner in all of our first day excitement - cue sore heads the next day!
The next few days of uninterrupted calm rolled by in a delicious haze. We pretty much spent our time poolside, tipsy and drifting in and out of sleep! I must also mention at this point another very special member of staff, Hind who couldn't have taken more care of us. She made us feel like stars and nothing was too much trouble.
My birthday also fell whilst we were away, so what better way to celebrate than with a lazy lie-in coupled with a smidgen of present and card opening!
I was spoiled as per usual with gifts in keeping with my sunny surroundings ... a Marysia scalloped black swimming costume that us Mice have been lusting after for some time now - proof of our obsession is here if you don't believe me! I was also treated to a pair of Dior ‘So Real’ sunglasses that everyone is going cray cray for at the moment. One lucky ducky!
If that wasn't enough I was also showered with hundreds of happy birthday messages and the arrival of lovely Lauren! Hooray!
Plans for the day pretty much involved the bare minimum - sunbathing, sunbathing, snoozing and more sunbathing. Followed by gin, gin, a spoiling all over body massage and more gin!
The evening rolled in before we knew it which was beyond exciting for two reasons - Lauren was finally here and the hotel had arranged a fancy dinner on our own private terrace. Claps all round!
The path leading up to our table was decorated with flickering candles and our napkins each had a little flower delicately tucked into it. We started off the celebrations in style with a bottle of champers swiftly followed by a lip smackingly good starter and main.
The pièce de résistance however was still to come. I should have known something Birthday-fabulous was going down when I spotted a gaggle of staff heading straight for us – I turned to the girls and asked what was going on and Helen casually said ‘oh the staff do this every night at around 11pm, they go to the main gates of the hotel’ … my initial thought should have been ‘what the hell is she talking about, she hasn’t left my side the whole holiday so how would she know this weird and random fact which doesn’t even make sense’ but oh no I nodded along like the Churchill dog. A minute later I was met with a happy birthday sing-a-long in about 10 different languages and a mammoth Birthday cake was presented to me coupled with a speech from Hind wishing me ‘the best Birthday and the best life’. I heart my Le Palais Paysan family!
One of our most memorable days however has to be the morning we moseyed down to the hotel on-site farm and went horse riding!
We got dressed up in hard hats and very fetching chaps...
The phrase ‘all the gear and no idea’ springs to mind when thinking back to the moment in time because I had decided to embark on this horsey adventure wearing flip flops, silk short shorts and a lace trimmed vintage cami – here’s proof of how utterly ridiculous I am…
My horse fittingly was called Riad – he was a slow but sweet soul! We spent the next hour trotting around the grounds together soaking up the morning sun and taking in the spectacular semi-desert setting. An experience I won’t forget in a hurry … my bottom won’t be either for that matter … it turns out silk shorts don’t provide adequate cushioning! OUCH!
All in all, a fab start to our Marrakech getaway. Next week I’ll be boasting some more about the charming Moroccan riad we stayed at for the second half of our holiday and bringing you the lowdown on all the amazing places we visited from the YSL Majorelle Gardens to the Mamounia Hotel which according to the Conde Nast Traveller Awards is classed as the most exclusive address in the world. Stay tuned and have a wonderful weekend!