MOROCCO

Women's Health (UK) - - WELL TRAVELLED -

WHERE? Es Saadi Palace, Mar­rakech, Morocco WHY? To recharge in style HOW MUCH? Three nights from £866 per per­son, in­clud­ing flights and trans­fers; clas­sic-col­lec­tion.co.uk WHO? Vic­to­ria Arch­bold, WH con­trib­u­tor I’m for­ever recharg­ing things: my phone, the por­ta­ble charger for said phone, my lap­top, the bloody Dyson – yep, even do­mes­tic ap­pli­ances get more care and at­ten­tion than my own well­be­ing. So I de­cided to set aside some time for a spot of recharg­ing of my own. In Mar­rakech. Be­cause why not. I stayed at Es Saadi Palace, set glo­ri­ously in eight hectares of tran­quil green­ery in the lux­u­ri­ous district of Hiver­nage. Just a five-minute walk from the old town, the ho­tel is ideally lo­cated to reach the hus­tle and bus­tle of the Me­d­ina but se­cluded enough to feel like a peace­ful re­treat from the city. The fo­cus here is to­tal well­ness: from cui­sine – with pro­duce sourced from the fam­ily’s or­ganic farm – to fit­ness – with a well­stocked gym boast­ing car­dio ma­chines, free weights and a stu­dio host­ing a va­ri­ety of classes, in­clud­ing daily yoga. Break­fast and lunch are taken in the pool­side restau­rant; com­plete with the kind of salad bar that wouldn’t be amiss in a top UK deli, and juices as nu­mer­ous as they are de­li­cious. Din­ner is a rather more deca­dent af­fair in La Cour Des Lions restau­rant on the top floor of the ho­tel. It boasts panoramic views of Morocco which, on a clear day, ex­tend as far as the At­las Moun­tains – best viewed with a drink in hand on the ter­race. With a full pro­gramme of spa treat­ments to try out, my tax­ing sched­ule kicked off with a tra­di­tional ham­mam ex­pe­ri­ence: a full body scrub with black soap that washed the city grime from me (along with a layer or two of skin), fol­lowed by a hot wa­ter cleanse and cold rinse. This weekly rit­ual of the lo­cals left my skin feel­ing so good, I’ve tried to keep it up ever since (it’s not quite the same in my bath­room back home in Blighty, though). Next up: a to­tal-re­lax­ation mas­sage. I tend to go for the kind of mas­sages that feel akin to be­ing beaten up (all the masochists in the house, raise your hands), so I was a bit du­bi­ous. But I was wrong. The long sweep­ing hand strokes were in­stantly re­ju­ve­nat­ing and made my tight mus­cles feel looser and length­ened. Feel­ing brave, I also opted for an ab­dom­i­nal mas­sage, where the ther­a­pist ap­plies pres­sure in small cir­cu­lar mo­tions from the base of the ribcage down­wards in a gen­tle but firm man­ner. It was a lit­tle, er, un­com­fort­able at times, but af­ter the ini­tial ten­der­ness it started to of­fer the re­lease it promised. I’ll leave the finer de­tails to your imag­i­na­tion. My fi­nal in­dul­gence was a Miche­line Arcier Aro­math­érapie fa­cial and body brush­ing treat­ment, which left my skin so ra­di­ant and buoy­ant that, when I got home, sev­eral friends ques­tioned whether per­haps my treat­ments had been more in­va­sive than I ad­mit­ted. Obvs, I told them this in­ner tran­quil­lity and out­ward glow are just those of some­one who has cho­sen to stop for a short time. Sim­ple. So sim­ple, in fact, I won­der why I didn’t do it sooner.

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