With visions of tagines, fresh couscous, and dishes spiked with preserved lemons occupying our thoughts pre-trip, we booked a session to learn more about food characteristic of the region. Class price (550 Dirham, or approximately $63.00) includes a three-course meal prepared under Bahjia's tutelage, wine, coffee/tea, and access to the pool for sunbathing or a tour of the gardens post-class.
We opted for the latter, which seemed the natural choice after reading up on the organic philosophy on which the estate was founded. Owner Meryanne Loum-Martin and her husband, ethnobotanist Gary Martin, have committed themselves to cultivating a landscape and lifestyle that reflects indigenous horticulture and local traditions. In other words, you won't find plains of unnatural grass around the estate, but you will find stalks of wild asparagus, mâche, amazingly fragrant celery, jasmine, and a bounty of produce that is plucked and used in dishes served to guests.
Gary showed us around after a leisurely lunch of homemade lavender bread, various tagines, and lemon sorbet, pointing out all manner of local plant life and escorting us to a few rooftops for stunning views of the Atlas Mountains. Meryanne, meanwhile, told us about an upcoming seven-day VIP program at Jnane Tamsna around the Marrakech Biennale, including special access to various events, guided tours of the city, and gallery excursions, among other exclusive perks. The Biennale will be held from February 29th through March 4th, and you can contact the hotel directly for more information.
[Photos: Heidi Atwal for Hotel Chatter]