WEEKEND READING - Inspiration from Marrakech

Le riad Yasmine



on instagram. This one is still on my own 'must visit' list!

article by Marlène Pauly

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by Marlène


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Weekends, het moment bij uitstek om een beetje doelloos naar mooie inspirerende foto's te zoeken.  Boeken, koffie en internet zijn een beetje mijn zondagse bezigheid.  Vandaag staat daar een reis naar Essaouira bij op het programma.  Een heerlijke drie uur om te lezen, een planning te maken voor de volgende week en te dromen van de Oceaan.  Voor jullie hab ik eindelijk een collectie van mooie instagram ontdekkingen om weg te dromen naar Marokko. 

The Spa in the

Royal Mansour



on instagram. We had the best spa treatment ever there!

Weekends, ideal moments to let your mind wander and search for inspiration.  Interior magazines, coffee and the web, they are my Sunday companions.  Today, another favourite will be added to this list.  A three hours drive to Essaouira.  The moment to make my planning for next week and dream about my walks beside the Ocean.  For you I finally listed some of the most beautiful Instagram discoveries.  Dream away to Morocco!

The Sunday market in Essaouira



on instagram. I miss out on this one today. My favourite place to buy all my veggies and fruit, straight from the farmers.

Dar JL



on instagram. Another one on my 'To Do' list :)

Riad UP



on instagram One of our favs. no more, no less. You have to experience the zenitude

The colourful world of

El Fenn


garment modern

on instagram. 

Chambres d'Amis



on instagram. A most wonderful area of the medina and a  s u p e r  rooftop!

Riad Palacio de las Especias



on instagram.

Why was I not there yet???

Vila Anouk



on instagram. Experience the ultimate berber chic at stunning Villa Anouk!

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During the five years I'm living and travelling in Morocco, the Sahara had reveiled itself as close as M'Hamid to me. There was this call from the sand dunes and the red golden sunsets,  for some reason however,  when I went down South, the sun was hiding and big sandstorms were stopping me mentally from going all the way into the desert.

My intention was that I simply HAD to experience this part of Morocco, and after some procrastination I thought September would be the perfect month to make it all the way. And so I booked.  
The camp was way passed Merzouga and the most South into the Sahara. I was promised breathtaking views and an amazing sunrise, together with all the luxuries a luxury desert camp has to offer.
And so we finally made it to Erfoud, one stop away from our final destination. The second night in Erfoud I woke up and heard the wind. Stronger and stronger it became and early morning when I went out on the terrace the Sahara sand was like a golden filter on everything outside. 
The streets of Erfoud remembered me of desolate cities in Texas that I used to see in cowboy films and big clouds of sand were terrorising everyone outside. 
My hope on golden views on the famous dunes were fading away for every hour the wind was getting stronger and I was getting disappointed on yet another missed Sahara experience everyone else but me seemed to be able to enjoy.
Until I realised the deeper meaning with this hide and seek...
There was a reason for me to have to return, time after time again, to this amazing always changing desolate land of sand dunes...
At that point my perception changed and I enjoyed!
I enjoyed the camel ride covered in Hamid's turban.
Due to the mist of sand there was no sunset to enjoy, no red coloured sand dunes to take your breath away!   I took it as an invitation to come back once again!
I loved the night outside with a small group, making music with the sound of the wind guiding us through the night.
That same night out in our tents, the wind was stronger then ever before and the heat was unbearable.  We opened the entrance to get in some fresh air.  The next morning we were completely covered with sand and when we came outside we hardly recognised the setting from the evening before. 
The wind had thought us all a lesson. A lesson of deep respect. Respect for the power of nature , and also respect for the people running this camp as well as their battle to get the place ready for new clients every day again....


Last week was about travelling all the way South to the Sahara with public transport.
Checking out different hotels and testing to reach Merzouga on a budget by taking busses and grand taxi's. It was an adventure but one to start over soon again!
Just be careful in your choice of transport depending on the specific destination.

We left Marrakech at 8.30, or at least, that was the plan. About 1.5 hours late we were taking the route with Supratours. Passing the Tizi'n Tischka felt like there was only one option that was safe enough and that was Supratours.
First destination on our 7 days trip was Tinerhir, (Tinghir) hotel Tomboctou.

Tomboctou is an old Kasbah built in 1944 by Sheikh Bassou Ou Ali, the first dweller of Tinghir.
The Sheikh Bassou lived in his Kasbah until 1978, then he left it for a new concrete house he had built near it and where he died in 1993.
1993 also was the year they began restoration work of the Kasbah, led by the Spanish writer Roger Mimó after praising among all its heirs. The objective was to transform the old housing in tourist accommodation.
Staying here on our first night, in this building with such a rich history was setting the tone for much more unexpected beauty to cross our path....

interior: ***
food: ***breakfast / *dinner
ambiance: ***
price /quality: ***

We felt very welcome and had a wonderful, yet too short time here. The next day mr. Mimó and his wife were so kind to offer us a ride to another passion of them, Ksar El Khorbat in Tinejdad. But more about this in the next post....


I feel blessed! My dear friend, art collector and artist Kathy Godin asked me to stay in her house in Essaouira to take care of her two lovely dogs. I couldn't have thought of a nicer place then this one to spend part of my summer. But more is there to come, On Wednesday another good friend in Marrakech, Synnove Holte and I are going to make a road trip to the Sahara by public transport. I love this idea and I am sure it will inspire me for some hilarious, yet authentic and pure moments to share with you. We are checking out on different hotels and resorts for my selection on yoga venues and for my tours. At the same time we are going to check up on the date-farm Synnove is supporting in Merzouga.
Here are some shots on this nice house I'm spending my time in right now. It feels to me as a blend from Essaouira and L.A. clear, vibrant saturated colour splashes and one of my Boucherouite carpets!


About a year ago I had the first meetings in this hotel. Not often it happens that owner and designer have a same view, and this was one of these rare moments. Things move on slow but for every piece that is accomplished, there is the joy of looking at it, being happy it turned out to be as visualised or even better.
can't wait for the pool to be ready
the romantic room with this O SO romantic bathroom
the ocean suite
the colonial room

Creating a place of authenticity that re-invents Moroccan tradition and mixes it with pure whites and greys...


Some months ago when I was looking for nice and less known locations to visit while driving to Kasbah Tamadot coming from Marrakech, I stumbled upon an artist residence in the small town of Tahanaout. A  concept resembling the spirit of the  Villa Medici, settled in the middle of olive trees in Tahanaout. Al Maqam, a little bohemian oasis created by  artist/painter Mohamed Mourabiti, one of the contemporary Moroccan painters with several individual and group exhibitions both in Morocco and abroad. In  2000  Mohamed Mourabiti chooses to install his atelier and showroom in Al Maqam and the place quickly takes on the appearance of a literary lounge. 
Its  vocation: to provide artists the conditions and the  means to develop their art and accompany them in their process of creation. Thus, all forms of art have right to quote : painting, music, poetry, sculpture,  photography,  literature etc. Al Maqam also offers a restaurant open to visitors on reservation, while strolling in the garden, the bookstore, the workshops, or wandering into the gallery with exposed the work of Mourabiti and other contemporary Moroccan artists . The whole concept creates a fertile alchemy if one is to judge by the number of encounters and experiences that took place there.


One month ago, I was travelling between Marrakech and Taroudant. Passing Asni with a quick visit at Kasbah Tamadot where the setting of the Kasbah was simply impressive. The next day while passing Asni we suddenly got sight at the Barrage Ouirgane in the most wonderful blue colour, water ever revealed to me. I was hypnotised and the only thing I could think of was to be in a hotel with a view like this.....

Little did I know...

Until I arrived at this wonderful spot tucked away in the lower hills of the High Atlas mountains Yesterday....There it was, my dream under construction. Sleek cubistic architecture where traditional Moroccan techniques, design and materials are being brought together in a totally contemporary mix. Impressing me most was the vision from the designer. Inside and outside reinforce each other with amazing views throughout the hotel, the infinity pool and the panoramic suites. The terrace is definitely the most amazing place I have been on for a long time. It feels like floating somewhere in the sky between the hills with backdrops of the High Atlas and the Barrage Ouirgane in the valley.
But there is much more to it!
13 villa's built in the same contemporary style, designed to harmonise with both the hotel and surrounding nature.
Private plots that can use the facilities of the hotel.
The last 3 villa's, two 2-rooms and a very exclusive 3 room will now come on the market and we are lucky enough to be able to offer them to you! 10 villa's are already purchased by an international public that saw the  potential already from the very beginning. They will undoubtedly see there investment increase when the hotel will open for public early 2016.
These last three villas are on the market as of £329,000 with 148m2 on ground level, 1360m2 plot Full ownership, full property management available a.o. !
More info HERE

Why we believe in this concept:
Everything starts with a vision. This vision is about sustainability and durable entrepreneurship.
We at Coco-Morocco love projects like this because creating a win-win situation is what it is all about when starting a project in a protected area.
Preserving the balance between environment and the impact it has to do well for the locals is an ongoing process, one that the developers are willing to take, to continue with and to expand.



We invite you to one of our special Spa treatments

' that was the message I got from the Royal Mansour Spa in Marrakech.


Sounds good

' I thought while getting my focus on ONE thing. Getting around the place and making lots of pictures to share with you!

I should have known....

'Some secrets are for whispering'... in other words..., the moment you enter

this magical place,

(oh YES, I still remember the magic), you become overwhelmed and under the spell...

It you like me, love design, distinguished style and service or,  just simple privacy, it is all part of the secret. There is a certain scent in the air, a certain 'je ne sais quoi' that makes you feel like "let's just enjoy and we are here to take care of you".

After I got my massage, the massage is worth a blogpost on it's own because magic happened again and I can honestly say that while I 'm not able to afford this luxury weekly, I SURE am going to book another one soon!  I went through all kinds of physical states after having a deep-tissue massage given to me by lovely Pramuk, who I want to say 'thank you' for all the great care and attention she put into it.  The result is that I feel rebalanced again! My hip problem is almost gone and this after just one treatment.


And several months later, after taking care of my body, the problems I had are gone!!!

I Love Royal Mansour!!

So sorry everyone for not having more pictures on this wonderful magical 5 star resort so well hidden inside the Medina walls, but this gives you an idea on how this place really does what it claims.

'Some secrets are for whispering'...

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Beauty and architecture, is there a difference? I guess not, and if there were then they are both running through my veins :). 
When I 'm not out there somewhere in Essaouira or Marrakech, I 'm hunting the internet and (YES, there goes my time)  ALWAYS happy for every little gem I discover.

So one day I found Kasbah Gousteau, among another Belgian pearl in the Taroudant region and I got an invitation from the owner, who is running also a guesthouse in Bruges - Belgium. It took me one year but finally, on our latest ladies tour, WE MADE IT!!!
And boy what a welcome! We were received like queens by Abdel who was speaking almost perfect Flemish (Limburgs?!).
The Kasbah, rebuilt some 6 years ago with a lot of attention for detail offers 5 rooms, a swimming pool with jacuzzi area, magnificent terraces, inner gardens and all is so beautifully styled with art collected from all over the globe! Every room was a discovery and the evening at the candle-lit terrace was a perfect ending of a perfect day!


Als je van luxe houdt, gecombineerd met oude patina's en diepe dramatische kleuren, dan is Riad Dar Darma in Marrakech absoluut iets voor jou.
Oude architectuur details zoals gedecoreerde houten plafonds en deuren (zouak), tadelakt, verbleekte antieke textielen, het hoort er allemaal bij!
Meng dit met gouden en messing decoratie objecten en je hebt Versace in Marokko!
Geniet en verlies je in de deatils...

For more pictures and bookings visit:  HERE
picture source: riad Dar Darma


I want to invite you to enjoy the following pictures on a Medina property for sale. Just off the main tourist road, in a small alley this house is fully equipped to become a one of a kind restaurant. The restaurant scene in Essaouira is starting to bloom and trendy spots are lifting this lay-back seaside town to a higher level when it comes to dining. So right on time this property is there to join this select group of fine culinary places.
This French owned riad is for sale and has all necessary permissions for exploitation.
If you want more info,look HERE or a visit please contact me.
Asking price: 390 000 Euro NEW Price: 315 000 Euro

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Until we meet over a minttea!
X Marlène

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Villa Josephine in Tangier... Ik viel er als een blok voor toen ik het zag...
De sublieme locatie met adembenemende uitzichten. De grandeur van de architectuur en de Coloniale stijl van decoreren...
Gebouwd in het begin van de jaren 1900 was de villa eigendom van onder andere de Brit, Walter Burton Harris (1866/1933). Buitenland correspondent voor de Times en enfant terrible tout court, wiens levensloop en avonturen aan de grondslag lagen voor de legendarische figuur van Indiana Jones!
Het gebouw heeft zich door de jaren heen weten staande te houden als toplocatie mede dankzij de mengelmoes van Franse Mediterane charme met een subtiel parfum van 'Out of Africa"
Give me more of this please ...

Villa Josephine in Tanger... as close to my dream as I can get...
Breathtaking views, intruiging history and perfect location...what more can one want?
A perfect harmony between the architecture and the colonial charm of the interior.
Built at the beginning of the 20th century the villa seduced some inspiring men. No less then Brittisch Walter Burton Harris (1866/1933). Correspondent for the Times and 'enfant terrible' who's life and adventures inspired George Lucas to create Indiana Jones.
De building has been at the top of most wanted locations all these years thanks to the perfect mix of French Mediterenian charm and the right touch of 'Out of Africa'
Give me more of this please ...