I don’t normally choose to write blog posts about our shorter breaks but something happened yesterday that compelled me to capture a few thoughts about our trip to Marrakech. We came here last year too and had a lovely time so much so that when we were trying to decide where to go for some Winter sun this year..we came back. We are staying in a different hotel this year, The Medina Gardens. It’s still with Thomsons and we chose it because it is closer to the souks and because it has a heated pool. Last years hotel, the Riu Tikada Palmerie, had the most amazing huge pool but it was like taking an ice plunge and in fact I was one of only about a handful of people who ever went in. So this place seemed a better option. It is also a ‘Couples’ hotel. Now this is an interesting concept when you’re a gay couple. I had been slightly nervous that we might be arrested and thrown into a Morrocan Jail (now that would make for an interesting blog post..) but that hasn’t happened yet. However, I must say, I feel rather out of place. There’s something slightly odd about being with a group of people who choose to segregate themselves from others. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it but it does make the place seem quite calm which is good.
Anyway it was our first day yesterday and we decided we needed to visit the spa. The nice lady had all sorts of packages on offer and I think we were a little mesmorized or jet lag perhaps? I doubt it seeing as it only takes 3 hours to get here!! We chose the Bledi package for a 3:30pm visit. After a nice lazy day by the quiet pool (which isn’t heated) it was time for us to go in. This was going to be a Hammam experience, apparently, although we didn’t know what to expect. So let me tell you…
First of all you are asked to strip down to your bikini or pants in our case as no one had mentioned bikini. Then you are taken into a rather hot, steamy room and the nice lady throws lots of buckets of warm water over you. Interesting..
Then you are invited to lie on you back on a slab of concrete covered with a big, kitchen sponge pad. Then we were washed down with some black soap. Funny thing was it wasn’t actually black but it did smell of Eucalyptus. Then we were left for about 20 minutes just staring up at the ceiling. I’m sure normally this would enable one to examine the beautiful patterned tiling of the Hammam but in our hotel it meant staring at a mouldy white ceiling waiting to feel the cold drips land on your body. It was around about now that I got a fit of the giggles and decided not to take the whole thing too seriously.
Next up the nice lady came back and gave us eye pads which smelled rather floral but were quite stingy. This now meant that we had even less idea what was going on. I could hear that something was happening to Jane and so asked her what was going on. She said that she was being rubbed down with a brush which didn’t sound too good especially as I could hear that it sounded quite vigorous. However, when it came to my turn it was really rather nice and in fact it was a rough flannel rather than a brush. I felt well and truely exfoliated.
Next we were covered in mud and sand or rather ‘clay’ as they like to call it. By now we could see what a state each other looked like and we laughed to see each other covered from head to toe in dirt . It was quite oily and felt as if it must be doing us some good as we were left for another 15 mins. Now I began to realise that lying on a concrete slab wasn’t very comfortable.
The lady came back in and made Jane sit in a white plastic chair whilst she threw more buckets of water at her to get the mud off. Then it was my turn and after this we got sent out of the steamy area to sit in a dry area in our robes.
To finish off we then had one of the best massages I have ever had with lovely fragrant oils and just the right amount of pressure and pokiness. 50 mins of total bliss. Lovely. And I have to say that by the end of it I had never felt so clean!