Yoga & Meditation | History, Culture & Cuisine | Bird Watching & Water Sports
THE MARVEL & MYSTERY OF MORROCO:
Exotic Marrakech, Aït Ben Haddou (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Oualidia ("Morocco's Best Kept Secret")
Oct. 23 - Nov. 3, 2022
This retreat includes four locations/segments: You're invited to join one, two, three or all four segments! Each segment includes daily meditation and yoga, delicious and nutritious meals, cultural experiences and ample free time.
Space limited by the number of bedrooms (4-7) at each villa or riad (and room choice determined according to sign up order), therefore early registration recommended.
All activities and yoga practices will be optional.
SEGMENT #1: EXOTIC MARRAKECH: Oct 22-26 (four nights)
Join us for a luxurious stay and genuinely Moroccan experience at a stunningly beautiful and chic renovated 17th century “Riad” (palace built around an interior courtyard garden) with outstanding staff and hospitality, traditional architecture, handicraft decor and a touch of minimalist modern—a peaceful oasis located in the quieter Mellah (old Jewish enclave) within the walls of the Medina, away from the hustle bustle but only a few minute walk from the historic main plaza, Jemaa el-Fnaa. One of Morocco’s four historic “imperial” capitals, the Medina is a historic walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire. You’ll sense how religion and spirituality permeate the rhythms of daily life here each time you hear the sonorous call to prayer that echos from the famous12th-century Moorish minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque five times a day.
Following the morning call to prayer, we'll begin each morning with a silent, 30-minute meditation on the terrace, breakfast, a luxuriously long yoga practice (with break-work) on the terrace.
Daily yoga, meditation and breath-work and delicious, nutritious meals will be enjoyed on the luxurious rooftop terrace with views of the Atlas Mountains. Afternoons will be for exploring the Medina and sacred sites; hamman (traditional spa) treatments or massage; souk (or souq) shopping; tea time; and visits to art galleries, Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, El Bahia Palace and Yves Saint Laurent’s Les Jardins Majorelle which houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakesh, the Berber Museum, and the recently opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Each evening will be a special occasion to dine together at the Riad or a nearby stylish restaurant to enjoy local flavors and healthy, delicious plant-based cuisine.
After experiencing the exotic sights and sounds each day, we’ll conclude with noble silence from bedtime until breakfast.
For those who would like to shop in Marrakech, we recommend you fly into and out of Marrakech, and join us for the closing Marrakech segment, Oct. 31 - Nov. 3 (see details below). Plan to do your shopping during these dates.
SEGMENT #2: AÏT BENHADDOU (UNESCO World Heritage Site) | Oct 26-27 (one night)
Aït Benhaddou is a historic ighrem or ksar (fortified village) along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
Located in a stunning red desert landscape and a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco, Aït Benhaddou is a frequent filming location for historical and epic movies like "The Mummy," "Gladiator," "Alexander," "Prince of Persia," "Kingdom of Heaven" and, most recently, "Game of Thrones."
We will stay within the historic walls in an authentic, off-grid, candle-lit, Berber castle or Kasbah (fortified house in pisé, or "rammed earth," with four towers) that has been fully renovated in compliance with traditional technique of construction and materials. Owned by the same family for over 300 years, it includes various "Berber lounges" with beautiful views over the valley and natural setting where a number of movies were filmed.
In this incredible setting we'll enjoy an evening yoga practice followed by a traditional candlelit dinner on the roof terrace, noble silence from bedtime till breakfast, and a guided walking tour of the ancient village before heading to Oualidia.
(There is WiFi in the dining area and an electrical outlet near the front door to charge devices.)
SEGMENT #3: OUALIDIA (“Morocco's best kept secret”) | Oct 27-31 (four nights)
"After Marrakech, Go to Oualidia, the Montauk of Morocco" (Vogue Magazine)
Often referred to as “Morocco's best kept secret,” and “Morocco’s oyster capital,” Oualidia is a small fishing village located on the edge of a protected, natural lagoon in the Casablanca-Settat region of the country’s Atlantic Coast that has long been a popular destination for wealthy Moroccans and is home to flamingoes, warblers, storks, egrets, oystercatchers, spoonbills, curlews and many other marine birds. Famous for its oyster production, seafood and bird watching and named after the Saâdian Sultan el Oulalid (whose 17th-century kasbah sits in ruins on a wooded hillside overlooking the lagoon), Oualidia offers an off-the-beaten-path relaxing retreat that’s a two-hour drive from Casablanca (Morocco’s largest city) and 2.5 hours from Marrakech. Oualidia is also known for its water sports, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and surfing. The gentle waves of Oualidia’s lagoon make it an ideal surf spot, especially for beginners.
Our home for this segment of the retreat will be a modern and stylish, peaceful villa ideally located at the edge of the lagoon, just above the summer Palace of King Mohamed V, with stunning views of an infinite white sandy beach that changes size, shape and colors each day and where marine birds are in abundance. A short walk along a flowering path and eucalyptus trees leads to the beach where it’s possible to swim, sunbathe or stroll on the sandy dunes or take a boat around the lagoon.
We will enjoy daily morning meditation, yoga and breath-work on the terrace overlooking the lagoon, take a guided bird safari, have a dreamy picnic on the beach, take a 10-minute boat ride across the lagoon to hike the cliffs with stunning panoramic views, dine together at the villa and observe noble silence from bedtime till breakfast each day. On our last night together, we’ll dine at the seafront restaurant of Oualidia’s only 5-star luxury hotel. The schedule will allow ample free time for hammam spa treatments, beach time, surf lessons, shopping the soups, reading, relaxing, etc.
SEGMENT #4: AGAFAY DESERT OASIS OF TRANQUILITY | Oct. 31 - Nov. 3 (three nights)
Conveniently located 15 minutes from the airport and 25 minutes from Marrakech, you'll find our eco lodge, a desert oasis of peace and tranquility in the Desert of Agafay (desert of rocks). Three hectares of olive and lemon trees, cacti and agaves surround a gorgeous 25-meter pool and four beautiful villas, each with its own roof terrace from which you'll find breathtaking 360° views of the Atlas Mountains, Agafay Desert and stunning starry nights (no light pollution). Complete with a pool house, traditional wood hammam with adjoining massage room, and various lounging areas, this will be an opportunity to really slow down, unwind and luxuriate before the long trip home.
For this final segment of the Morocco retreat, we'll continue our daily schedule of morning meditation, a luxuriously long mid-morning yoga practice, delicious meals and noble silence from bedtime till breakfast.
For those wanting to shop, transport for day trips to Marrakech (and the airport) can easily be arranged.
PER PERSON PRICING & REGISTRATION
Single: $595/night; Double: $445/night
Not included: Airport and private transfers, some lunches, massage and spa treatments, laundry service, surf lessons, tips, etc.
To sign up, or for questions, please email Christy at email@example.com.
5-STAR REVIEWS FROM PREVIOUS GUESTS (of retreat accommodations)
"A beautiful jewel," "exotic," "absolute gem in the middle of the Mellah."
"A must for travelers who cherish a genuine experience and who want to be blown away by an incredible place."
"A magical place, close to the souk and the main square etc, but in a peaceful little enclave."
"The architecture and decor are so evocative of Marrakech."
"The location couldn't be better—just off the main shopping areas of the Mellah, yet still quiet and family-friendly."
"Location was great—very easy to walk everywhere from the Riad."
"A beautiful space for our wedding but what made it so special were the people taking care of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!"
"The location is perfect, central but still a quiet oasis when you return from the souks."
"The architectural details are stunning and the attention to detail throughout is wonderful!"
"A tranquil oasis in the beautiful chaos that is Marrakech. This Riad is a sumptuous palace restored with a great attention to detail."
"The Riad is a wonderful, peaceful oasis to escape the extremely busy streets and markets that surround it. It has been restored beautifully and is just stunning inside. We were served a delicious breakfast on the roof terrace every morning which consisted of freshly squeezed orange juice, pancakes, fruit, omelette, breads , jams and honey. Amal and her staff were absolutely lovely, nothing was too much trouble and they did everything with a smile."
Aït Benhaddou Castle:
"Staying in the Kasbah at Ait Ben Haddou is a once in a lifetime experience we won’t forget! The rooms are simple but very comfortable."
"I’ve been to Airbnb’s all over the world. This place is my absolute favorite! I’m sad we only stayed one day. Peaceful, friendly and beautiful. What an amazing experience. We enjoyed dinner by candle light and star gazing on the terrace. I highly recommend this experience."
"A donkey will ferry your luggage across the river bed before and then you'll be ushered into this lovely restored kasbah. The pleasures here involve watching the light change, hiking to the top of the hills and luxuriating with the fabulous company of your travel companions."
"Kasbah Tebi is more than just your regular Airbnb stay - it is an experience. We had a wonderful time at this family-run, 11th century home! Traditional Berber dinner by candlelight was an added bonus. Highly recommend staying here while in Aït Ben Haddou!"
"This place is insane. Totally worthy. You actually live in the old city and go back in time."
"To stay at an old traditional kashbah like Mohammed’s place is an adventure. He is hospitable and the house is more like a fantastic museum you can sleep in. It ‘s an experience. Thank you Mohammed."
"Magical place to stay. No electricity, totally cut off from the world with epic views and beautiful decor. Host was so friendly and the rooms were cosy and thoughtful."
"I hope electricity will never arrive."
"We were a group of friends, some with children, staying for several days. We loved this place!!! It is stylish, peaceful, beautiful. It has a very well stocked kitchen (appliances, dishes), stunning view, helpful staff, lovely spaces. We can't wait to return!"
"The views of the ocean were spectacular and Aziz and the house staff were very accommodating.... There were many personal touches—from fresh flowers picked in the living room, many straw hats for us to wear out in the sun, to the towel warmers in the bathroom."
"The house was very beautiful—stylish and spartan—and invited for relaxation. The only thing that topped it was the the gorgeous beach which changed size, shape and colors from day to day - we found a little eden here!"
"The house immediately felt like ours, decorated with simplicity and taste. We spent a delightful time on the terrace, walking on the beach, on a boat around the lagoon and eating tons of oysters. We cannot wait to come back!"
Agafay Desert Eco Lodge:
"The property is absolutely gorgeous and... the pictures don't do it justice. The pool is beautiful and refreshing, the lounging areas around the property are comfortable and peaceful, the villas themselves are big and well kept, and the stars at night are absolutely stunning. Along with that, the three owners of the property were extremely friendly and helpful and we truly enjoyed talking with them and having them around."
"The most incredible Airbnb you could stay in Morocco. The villas are incredible, the land is beautiful and spacious. The photos do not do it justice. The best part was definitely Irma and her staff, always willing to help and make your experience the best possible.... For a group of 16 people there was more than enough space. The rooftops ontop of the villas and the ambience of the estate are unmatched. Definitely stay here!"
"An amazing oasis... in a great and quiet place, we felt very connected to the nature in a very safe and luxurious environment. The property is very big and only for us, giving us a sensation of great wealth. There are lot of olive trees giving freshness, so much place for the kids to play around or for the adults to choose where to relax. The pool is amazing, the 25m length allowed us to really swim or play. The rooms are very big and have a lot of charm, bedding was very comfortable. The owners and people working there very committed and easy going, always making sure we felt the best possible and... totally at home. Really an amazing stay."