Marrakech was everything I imagine it would be and more. If you’re a fan of laid-back, rustic glamour you’ll instantly fall in love with this bohemian north African bolthole. Just like I did. The magnificent Fawakay Villas are nestled in the desert, just a 15-minute drive from the bustling epicenter of Marrakech. As our taxi drove across dusty desert tracks the hustle and bustle of Moroccan city life faded minute-by-minute. On first view our home for the week was as private and secluded as it was beautiful and enchanting.
It oozed authentic, Moroccan glamour. Making our way up the drive towards the sun-soaked, tropical oasis we could see three huge villas, each stylishly adorned with traditional, rich African décor. Our two-storey villa Lak Lak was spectacularly grand, creating that perfect “wow” moment on first sight. It radiated romance. Inside we found a number of open fires, a decadent four-poster bed draped in white cloth, two stylish bathrooms with huge Moroccan baths and luxurious, rustic furnishings everywhere. We headed up to the roof terrace to find a private cabana, candle lit lanterns and a stunning view across the desert.
Downstairs we found an intimate dining room lavishly dressed with draped curtains and authentic silver wear.
We woke on the first morning (and every morning after) to sunshine seeping through the cracks in our traditional wooden blinds and the blissful sound of birds singing around the villa. I soon realised this was the perfect place to let your romantic side run free.
We spent the first few days just basking in the laidback vibes around our villa. You can be as private or as sociable as you want. The idyllic pool and bar area is huge and has no shortage of chic cabanas to lie on and soak up the sun, surrounded by flowers and immaculately, well-cared for gardens. As the sun cooled late afternoon we headed back to our villa and private garden to read in the hammock and drink peppermint tea in our private Berber tent. Bliss.
Adding to the whimsical charm of Fawakay you’ll meet friendly characters at every turn. Resident donkey Doris is as cute as he is photogenic. Famous with visitors worldwide, he was always ready to stop for a scenic hug and photo with us. The dogs, cats and family of peacocks also bring a relaxing and fun vibe to the tropical oasis surrounding you.
The staff at Fawakay are what really made our trip special, giving a perfect combination of private villa and boutique hotel. Each day our beds, baths and dining table were scattered with rose petals. You can request whatever you want… champagne, flowers, cocktails and candle lit dinners on your villa patio, roof terrace, Berber tent or at dusk around the pool. Most days we had lunch served while we lazed around the pool but mainly chose to have breakfast and dinner on our roof terrace and patio. After dark Fawakay transforms into a magical wonderland with candle lanterns lighting up the whole three-acre retreat. The perfect backdrop for loved-up honeymooners.
By day three we were ready to leave our blissful hideout and experience Marrakech, the owners happily organized a day trip for us. We took a horse and carriage ride around the centre soaking up the ambience and sights. We then headed into the bustling Medina and spent a few hours strolling, eyes wide open, around the fabulous souks. You can shop until your heart’s delight in a paradise of handbags, slippers, rugs, jewellery, silverware and beautiful leather goods. You have to see this place with your own eyes to truly believe it exists. Amazing. We ended the day with a late lunch in the square watching the snake charmers, monkeys and entertainers dance around us. We enjoyed the day trip so much we went back the following afternoon taking a taxi straight to Jardin Majorelle, a twelve-acre botanical garden designed by Yves Saint Laurent. It was simply stunning, packed with vivid colours and exotic plants, so peaceful and luxurious. Definitely worth a visit before you head into the madness of the Medina.
After a few days of sightseeing we spent the last night relaxing in our villa. The baths are big enough for two and cocktails from the bar are endless… what more could you wish for?
You can also hire the whole of Fawakay Villas for a lavish wedding. Owner Francis will marry you, while wife Dawn will organize dazzling tents with fire pits, lavish decorations, flowers, candles, food, musicians… they even tie ribbons off the donkey!! You can dance the night away in your very own private desert oasis and jump in the pool at sundown if you wish!
When to visit:
You’ll find the most desirable weather and smaller crowds in March to May and September to November. Summer months are very popular but temperatures can get brutally hot.
You haven’t experienced Marrakech until you’ve spent a few hours strolling, open mouthed, around the souks in the Medina. Have a traditional Moroccan hammam or massage at a spa. Take a romantic trip to the Atlas Mountains for lunch with spectacular views. Ride a camel in full desert costume.
Here is the honeymoon review I wrote for Wedding Ideas magazine: