The Easter holidays are over and the kids are back at school, so I am finally finding some peace and calm to be able to sit down and write about fabulous Marrakech.
I have never been before and didn't know really what to expect. After a short 3 hour 10 minute flight from London, picked up promptly by a driver and immediately finding ourselves driving around the ancient walls of the Medinah, I knew immediately I was going to love it. There is a hint of magic about this city, whether it is from the snake charmers in the souk or the Berbers in their mysterious dress, it is intoxicating.
However, this might also be down to the fabulous place we stayed in. As we drove around the ancient city, the car suddenly entered a much greener and calm oasis - the Palmeraie. A few more corners turned on the dusty tracks and we pulled up outside large, rustic gates which slowly opened before us, we had arrived at Jnane Tamsna.
Beautiful lanterns light the paths and you start to see the clever interior design touches that Meryanne Loum-Martin (the owner along with her husband Gary Martin) have created. Like this beautiful ancient carved door - accessorised by www.honorbeach.com of course!
The 9 acres of gorgeous gardens, created by Gary, had 5 pools discreetly dotted amongst them. The children were able to roam freely and soon found plenty of friends amongst the other guests. We also loved the food. It was so refreshing to just be served lunch and dinner without the hassle of a menu. This also came with or without wine deciding on how you felt and was always fresh and delicious. There is no wine list and it isn't needed, we tried the rose, white and red and would love to have been able to buy them all in the UK. Unfortunately you can't, it is Morroccan and only available there. It was also delightful to eat under the palm trees with the stars twinkling through.
We lazed our way through the holiday tending to lie by the pool during the day and make excursions in the afternoon. The children particularly loved the camel ride. It was a lovely touch that they were bought into the hotel before taking us on a small tour of the Palmeraie. I enjoyed the trip to the hammam for a scrub and massage and also the hustle and bustle of our trip to the old town. We stopped for drinks on the top terrace at Cafe de France, full of old school charm and great for views across the square to the snowcapped mountains beyond.
Our last night came around too quickly but bought a lovely end to our trip with an evening drinks party hosted by Meryanne and Gary. Acrobats were provided along with another little trip on a camel beside the pool (definitely a first). Surely the thing that sets great hosts apart is their ability to make you feel welcome, relaxed and to be treated as a friend. This is no easy feat and effortlessly achieved by the Martins and all the wonderfully warm staff. You just need to read other reviews of Jnane Tamsna to know many people feel the same way.
Jnane Tamsna is a place where you need to switch off and go with the flow. It is as if you have been invited to a friends fabulous house party and like Marrakech, it slowly works it's charm. So the coffee at breakfast might arrive a few minutes late but who cares - you are in Morrocco and on holiday. This is an escape from hectic city lives and rightly so. It is definitely a special place which works it's magic and if it sounds as though I am a little bit in love - it is probably because I am!
Finally, don't be fooled into thinking this is a secret destination, anywhere on Mr & Mrs Smith's books must be good and you only have to see the film of Hugh Jackman dancing by one of the pools to know it has been charmingly discovered! www.jnane.com
PS. A top tip given to me was to eat at Al Fassia, run by a women's co operative and serving delicious food. Sadly we left it too late and couldn't get a booking, if you go please try it for me but call first!