Best family trip ever. Given the age ranges and proclivities involved, it’s not easy to gather our extended clan any time but Christmas, but it’s worth the effort. Cities work better than country cottages, and cash is tight. The answer this year was Marrakech — nobody had been, mind-expanding, guaranteed sunshine, and significantly less money all in, including flights, food, outings, everything, than the basic rental of a cottage in Scotland.
We stayed at Dar Zarman, in the heart of the Northern Medina. The whole Riad concept was ideal for us — Beautiful medieval house, plunge pool, air conditioning when needed, roof garden, and above all, kind helpful people. Peter Mercer bought the place a few years ago, and did a Grand Designs job on it — our tribe filled it for a week.
Ably aided and abetted by Hassan and Fatima, our hosts could not have been more helpful, fixing up everything that needed local knowledge to fix, getting stuff in, giving advice, helping us through, the occasional slap-up meal, but always with good humour, unerring reliability and a light touch. Help included haggling lessons, how to get around, how to use a local Hammam, tipping etiquette, the works.
This made our stay exactly the right level of adventurousness for a ten year old, fun for the twenty-somethings, relaxing for long-suffering parents. This was way and away the best family outing ever, and, final cherry on the cake, came in at forty pounds under budget — no debt on the credit cards, nothing lost, a lot of fun, plenty ventured and much gained...
(For now just pictures of Dar zaman — more of the place on weekends to come, perhaps...)