We always like to think we’re the experts when it comes to scoping out luxury villas throughout the world, and that our passion for travel shines through in all the properties we pick. That passion is pretty evident in our co-founder Oliver Bell, who recently went to Morocco with his wife and daughter – but it wasn’t solely for the sun, sea and sand! He took time out of his schedule to tell us all about the trip.
Tell us where you’ve been…
I’ve just come back from 2 weeks in Morocco with my wife and daughter (and 2nd daughter in utero!) We spent the first week in a private villa about 30 minutes drive from Marrakech and the second week at a boutique resort on the beach not far from Essaouira. Both destinations were visited with a view to adding them to our portfolio – a test drive, if you will!
What was the highlight of the trip?
I’d say that the highlight of the trip was the fact that we could have a genuinely relaxing holiday with a toddler in tow. The first villa was enormous with a very large garden and huge pool that meant we could sit by the pool and watch Matilda explore, knowing she couldn’t get in to any trouble. The villa also came with a maid and cook (fairly standard in Morocco) so this really ramped up the relaxation factor.
What and where was your best foodie moment?
The food overall was excellent – tagines, salads, cous-cous and fresh fruit and veg. However, the food was particularly good at the beach resort and the chef there prepared a different 3-course dinner every night which you could eat in your villa by the pool or on the roof terrace under the stars. The Moroccan BBQ night stands out as our best meal of the trip.
Favourite property that you saw and why?
The first villa we stayed at was our favourite as we just couldn’t believe the amount of space that you got for your money. Throw in the service element (including daily massages!), views of the Atlas Mountains and the surrounding desert and there was no way to top it.
Any stand-out traditions or cultural observations made in the area you stayed?
The souks in Marrakech are a sight to behold. They aren’t as stressful as some people make out but after a few hours you’re definitely ready for your gin and tonic. Matilda loved all the buzz and colours so we did think it was a great experience for a toddler.
For anyone travelling to Morocco, what can’t they miss?
If you go to Morocco I think it’s great if you can do more than just Marrakech. It’s a great place but it is tiring. I’ve heard great things about the Atlas Mountains but we only saw them from afar as we didn’t have time. For us Essaouira was the place not to miss as it was a really charming city that was more laid back than Marrakech. There is a great roof top restaurant just off the main square that has views over the port and sea. Highly recommend for lunch.