Daily Mail, by Dom Joly (Aug. 18, 2012) — What to do when you have to go on holiday and satisfy the needs of two children, your wife AND your mother-in-law?
This was the problem I was faced with when deciding where to go on our latest family holiday. We had only a few days and needed somewhere sunny, not too far away and with enough going on to keep my high-maintenance entourage happy.
There was only one solution: Morocco. Just three hours’ flight away, it’s a totally different world – a veritable attack on the senses, with awesome food and pretty much guaranteed sunshine.
And it just happens to be one of my favourite countries in the world. Normally, I love driving around Morocco as the country is so extraordinarily diverse – from the lush Atlas mountains to the buzzing medieval cities of Marrakech and Fez; from the moody Atlantic towns such as Essouirah to the stark, dry beauty of the desert.
We chose Marrakech as we had only five days and wanted to stay in one place. I wanted to give my family as good an introduction as possible to the city, so I chose two different places for us to stay in.
We started off in the Palmerie, a vast, dry palm grove just outside the city in which are located some seriously impressive palaces and villas. Ours was the wonderful Dar Ayniwen, a former family villa of the Moroccan diplomat and avid collector Sidi Aziz. It is now run by his son Stephane and we were welcomed into the beautiful central hall with glasses of mint tea and huge smiles.
As our bags were whisked away up to our rooms, my wife and mother-in-law were shown the steam bath and the kids whooped and hollered around the gorgeous garden. There are several secluded garden cottages, ideal for honeymoon couples or tortured poets, but we had been allocated the entire top floor of this two-storey building.