When Jo set up Co-Women, she had a particularly big dream: to organise a holiday abroad for members who wanted to travel. This month, it’s been fulfilled in fine style as seven of us jetted off to Marrakech in Morocco.
Flights, transfers, and a gorgeous private riad (more on that later) were arranged for us, and in true British fashion, departure day dawned with snow flurries. There may have been just a little bit of excitement about the fact that we’d all seen that the weather in Marrakech was a very different 32° and sunny!
Everyone had different reasons for joining the trip, with two of the group using this as their first international travel opportunity since the COVID pandemic had first begun. For me, it was special as I’d been due to be in Marrakech when our original lockdown was implemented. I was one of those people who, as well as staying safe, spent the early days of the first lockdown chasing around for flight and accommodation refunds, having sadly packed away a guidebook and watched an itinerary fall apart.
So we were all relieved to take to the skies, and feel the air temperature shift around us! Marrakech is a shorter flight away than you might think, and in a little over three hours, we touched down in the warmth of Morocco, the Atlas mountains seeming within touching distance.
Our riad was situated just inside Marrakech’s medina – the walled part of the city is so old and narrow that few vehicles can navigate it, so the final part of our transfer was undertaken on foot. Whilst I’ve been to many countries, this was my first trip to a nation in northern Africa or the Middle East, so I was excited to visit somewhere so different and I wasn’t disappointed. The walled warren of the city was a cool experience, walking past all of the wooden doorways made me wonder what was behind them – I’m used to having windows to peer through!
We stayed at Riad Altair, which we’d booked with exclusive use and it was beautiful, with fantastic hosts who helped us relax and enjoy our trip. There are five spacious rooms at the riad, each with unique décor and en suite bathrooms. The ground floor of the riad also has a small cold pool, which several of us used to literally chill out after a hot day of exploring. From the riad’s sun terrace, we could see the mountains and the city, making the most of the clear skies.
The trip was arranged to be relaxing as well as exciting, so our group activities were minimal in order to allow flexibility. We had all wanted to visit the famous Jardin Majorelle, and did so on our first morning, taking a stroll to the gardens and enjoying wandering around before the crowds got truly busy. Later in the trip, we all appreciated trips around the souks and smaller hidden gardens, plus a trip to a traditional hammam which was literally two doors away from our riad. There was also a fair amount of time spent lounging, chatting, and soaking up the sun on the riad’s roof terrace.
The food offerings in Marrakech were wonderful: we visited another riad for dinner, as well as a former-riad which is now a hotel, and was famous for being a favourite of Winston Churchill! It certainly looked as if it would comfortably be the set of a Bond film, with opulent décor, musicians playing throughout our meal and attentive staff.
We were sad to have to pack our things and leave – and we all now know who to ask when we need to pack a lot of things into a small space, as one member of the group managed to fit a tagine AND a considerably-sized rug into their cabin-sized luggage with apparent ease! – when the time came to say our goodbyes. We’ve also decided that regular doses of sunshine are a must for our shared wellbeing, so we’re hoping to plan another trip to a gorgeous location too. Got a request for our next destination? Join us, and then get in touch and let us know where you’d like to go!