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Moroccan Adventures | A Riad with a View

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Our 10 days in Morocco couldn’t have come at a better time. What with recently going freelance, Jamie’s magazine publishing its 3rd issue in a flurry of stressful weeks, and more than a few sleepless nights, we badly needed a getaway. Thankfully, the trip was everything I hoped for and more, my only regret is we didn’t go for 3 weeks or even forever…

A huge thank you must go to i-escape.com who organised the whole thing and treated us to one of the best holidays we’ve ever had.  We’ve booked through the boutique hotel specialists for personal holidays before, namely Goa and Tulum, and really trust their taste and judgement so knew we were in very safe hands. We were excited for each and every new chapter of the trip and even now, back in rainy London, I really couldn’t call which bit was my favourite.

Our first stop  was the vibrant, hectic, souk-mecca of Marrakech, where we stayed at the beautiful, design-focused El Fenn. I’ve been to Marrakech before but stayed outside the city in a fairly soulless resort with the sole ambition of getting a tan with a girlfriend. El Fenn couldn’t be more different.

Unique, arty touches everywhere you turn, three pools, a huge roof terrace covered in pastel kilim cushions and cool, quiet courtyards filled with palm trees and tortoises make this place a real haven. I could have stayed for a week and still found a new reading spot everyday. The staff were a real highlight too, helping us book restaurants, taxis and taking the time to walk us through a map of the medina before tackling the souks. Riads can sometimes feel quite claustrophobic, like there’s nowhere to stretch your legs or escape from other guests, whereas we always felt El Fenn was spacious and calm while still having a nice, buzzy atmosphere for breakfast, lunch and sundowners on the roof.

We’ll be back El Fenn, that’s a promise.

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The huge courtyards made for a pretty special entrance. We spent a good half an hour just staring up in awe at the orange trees and down at the little plant-strewn ponds. And anywhere with a hammock or two will get along just fine with me….

I’m wearing ASOS dress (similar here and here), Ancient Greek sandals, Bakchic clutch and Raybans.

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The light in the riad meant there was pretty much a photo opp everywhere you went (the perils of being a blogger!) while the little touches like hand-painted ceilings, vases of fresh roses and books to read in the rooms satisfied the homebody in me.

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When we weren’t in the souks, the roof terrace was our base. Alternating between sunbathing by the plunge pool and drinking mojitos in the shade of the terrace when the sun got too much, it was our favourite place to start and end the day.

I’m wearing the Harriet bikini from Varley with friendship bracelets from Monica Vinader and Lucy Folk, necklaces from Lumo, sunglasses from Rayban and hat from HnM (similar here). Also, Stripe vest from T By Alexander Wang and silk trousers by LNA.

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Every morning, tea and coffee would be left on a silver tray outside your room so you could have a cup of something hot in bed before venturing up to the roof for breakfast. Such a great idea.

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Making friends with the hotel’s resident tortoises and tomcat. Jamie looks set to single-handedly destroy the cat lady stereotype….

Again in my Ancient Greek Thais sandals and the nail varnish is Amsterdam by Mavala.

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Morning paddle in the plunge pool – essential in the 35 degree heat.

Wearing bikini bottoms by Beautiful Bottoms, bikini top from ASOS, Hat as before (similar here).

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The hotel really came into its own at night, with candles and tea lights making everything just a bit magical. The last two pictures are from PepeNero, an Italian/Moroccan restaurant we went to while in town, but I couldn’t resist including them. The food was so-so but the setting was really lovely…

I’m wearing the H&M Conscious Collection waiscoat. It’s now soldout but these by East and Day Birger Mikkelsen on Vestiaire could be good alternatives if you like the vibe.

There’ll be more from El Fenn in the my next post, as well as lots from Marrakech’s colourful souks….

All photos by myself and James Wright using a Fujifilm X100, Leica M Series and Lomo L-CA.Thanks again to i-escape.com for the trip.

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