It may not be the obvious choice for a family holiday, but the magical Moroccan city of Marrakesh is full of memor- making moments that will capture the imagination of children of all ages.
This is something I discovered by the bucket load or should I say the Fez load (in spades) on our trip there to shoot the SS18 Scamp & Dude Sundowners campaign featuring our veteran Scamp & Dude models – my sons Sonny and Jude, and their cousins Jasper and Georgie-Rae AKA Girly. And yes, they’re expensive but they’re worth it!
We chose Marrakesh as the location for our shoot thanks to the very manageable three-hour flight and almost guaranteed sunshine on arrival – a big deciding factor. But we needed to find a place to stay that would provide the perfect backdrop for the collection, which comprises of a playful selection of super soft candy striped towelling separates and introduces a new super cool tiger print.
Luckily we struck gold with the beautiful villa Dar Zitouna. It has magical charm, with stunning dusky pink walls and an incredible setting looking over the snow-tipped Atlas Mountains. I knew that the crisp white and ice cream colours of the Sundowners collection would be set off to perfection by the blush walls of the villa and the beautiful turquoise pool, not to mention that it would make a fantastic base for the family and I to chill out after a hard days shooting. Oh, and the supermodels approved too!
Dar Zitouna exudes a discreet glamour and this luxury and fully-catered holiday villa has been designed to create a true Moroccan home from home. Outside there is a beautiful large and luxurious pool set in large sub-tropical gardens. I’ve never heard so many birds tweeting and if you look carefully you’ll see tortoises wondering round the grounds. We didn’t have time, but while staying at Dar Zitouna you can have camels brought to the villa for a little ride or even take them for a day trip with picnic up in the Atlas Mountains.
But it wasn’t all work…
You absolutely have to visit the souks if you visit Marrakech. The city is renowned for its richly stocked markets, each stall selling something different, from woven baskets, brightly coloured rugs and ornate tiles to wooden snakes. It is chaotic but it has a really magical charm and is such an eye-opening, memory making adventure for kids.
I was apprehensive about taking the boys at first, thinking it might be a little too intimidating, but they loved the mayhem. We took them to see the snakes and the monkeys, and before we knew what was happening Jude had a monkey placed on his knee in his buggy!
We loved the adventure of making our way through the maze of the souks and the kids still talk about their trip. Unfortunately, one of Sonny’s long lasting memories was seeing a chicken’s head on the floor. Anything goes in Marrakech.
Some other ‘must visit’ places for families…
Yves Saint Laurent Museum & Majorelle Gardens. A vision in blue and a peaceful oasis in the city.
Anima Garden by world famous artist Andre Heller. Our children LOVED it there. Lots of art installations amongst stunning sub tropical gardens.
Kasbah Bab Ourika is very lovely. A stunning, luxury yet rustic retreat nestled in the Atlas Mountains and only 20 minutes away.
Beldi Country Club. Have lunch under one of the many enormous olive trees by the swimming pool. Rustic chic and they have a family-only pool so you can relax and not worry about boistrous children annoying the quiet sunbathers.
Terrasses des Epices. Lunch at this restaurant above the spice souks is not one to miss and they do great food for children.
Riad El Fenn is owned by Vanessa Branson and is very quirky. It has a great terrace for lunch with the kids or dinner a deux.
La Mamounia. Evening drinks at this legendary palace are a must. Then go for a wander around their incredible gardens.
Jnane Tamsna. This boutique hotel is great for lunch with kids, and will give you a taste of the Palmerie.
Dar Zitouna villa can be booked through Marrakech Holiday Villas