From North Africa, the land of coucous, tagine, lamb, prunes, dates, figs and apricots: We moved from the cozy, neighborhood riad on a busy street in the Marrakech medina near the crush of the souq and Jemaa el-Fnaa square to an oasis about 15 minutes beyond the city center.
The Mosaic Palais Aziza & Spa driver fetched and spirited us away in a new Rolls Royce to a neighborhood of gated palaces, mature date palms, lush gardens, climbing pink bougainvillea and aromatic jasmine. We entered a refuge, a rose-colored enclave of repose and serenity. Luxury and 5-star boutique hotel only begins to describe where I landed, thanks to Judith Reitman-Texier and skin care and lifestyle company La Bedouine.
Marrakech is a desert sanctuary. Known as the Red City for her mandated salmon pink buildings, travelers come to experience her legendary romantic appeal, great craftsmanship, outstanding food, and focus on personal health.
Spa life is an integral part of desert culture where both men and women of all economic levels take a weekly cleansing hammam. Small guesthouses, luxury boutique hotels, and grand international hotels all offer spa treatment services. Here beauty is more than skin deep. It is a meditation whose source comes from deep within for spiritual and emotional cleansing and purification.
Mosaic Palais Aziz & Spa is a perfect spot for the frenzied. There’s not much to do here except lounge on pristine white divans on a patio outside the room or at the pool and swim. Take your time. North Africa is slower paced, just like Mexico. Enjoy a spa treatment, take a turn in the fully equipped gym, and sleep at any hour of the day. Reading a book seems to be the preferred entertainment for guests stretched out around the two pools.
You can dine at two extraordinary restaurants where Daniele Tourco, director of food and beverage and chef de cuisine, ensures that guests have the best fresh-made Moroccan and Italian specialties.
Have you ever had scorpion fish? Karim el Ghazzawi, President and CEO, recommended I try this last night. Otherwise, I would never have ventured there with a name like that. I know scorpions. I find them in my Oaxaca casita and I would never eat one! I step on them. But, the name belies the delicacy and Morocco is famed for her fresh fish and oysters.
There is even delicious Halana brand merlot available at the hotel that is made in Morocco to sip at your leisure.
Arabian Nights architecture and decor, lemon, olive, date and pomegranate trees heavy with fruit surround me. I’ve just emerged from a four-hands massage (imagine that). I feel so fortunate to be here at this moment, far away from stress and the decisions at hand.
I did venture out on my own on Day Two, stopping periodically to consult a map, with no difficulty. Though Morocco is an Arabic and French-speaking country, I found myself able to get along in both Spanish and English, using Spanish as my primary language. In tourist areas and hotels, most people speak enough English for basic communication.
Now, for another glass of mint tea before dinner! I’m six hours ahead of you.
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