Jnane's Blog: Oasis Lifestyle in Marrakech

Meryanne's picture

Joanna’s jewellery

Sun, 04/28/2013 - 04:00 -- Meryanne

I am never blasé about the incredible creative energy Marrakech attracts and generates.Ever since the iconic figure of Moroccan interiors, the American Bill Willis, came here in the 1960s, hundreds of visitors have come, stayed or returned to be part of the incredible design crucible rooted in this millenary cultural crossroad.  

I found new evidence of this creativity last week when I went to the Four Seasons Resort, where a new gallery is showing the jewellery of Marrakech resident Joanna Bristow. I have known Joanna for over 16 years; we were selling her work in Ryad Tamsna, a gallery I had in the Medina from 1999 to 2004. It is intelligent, tasteful and elegant. Chic design whose elegance is international and whose ethnicity is modern and timeless. It made me feel like reincarnating my gallery at Jnane Tamsna (stay tuned!).

Gary's picture

Jnane maquis

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 16:53 -- Gary

My latest garden project is to cultivate a maquis – a Mediterranean shrub landscape – in front of the main entrance of Jnane House. Against a backdrop of Moorish arches, dwarf fan palms and majestic date palms, I had planted jasmine, lavender and rosemary, which made for a beautiful and fragrant combination for a number of years.  Because the lavender and rosemary had become woody, and the jasmine invaded by weeds, I decided it was time for a spring cleaning and replanting. 

Meryanne's picture

African choir

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 10:08 -- Meryanne

I was in Rabat last week at the Fondation Orient-Occident founded by our remarkable friend Yasmina Filali. Over 500 refugees, who have fled Iraq, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast and the Congo, find purpose for their new lives in the Fondation’s welcoming building.  On their long journey to Morocco, during months and years, they would wake up to a day of uncertainty, with miles to walk from civil unrest, abuse, rape and no future. People from these very diverse places have a space to cook, embroider, learn, play, sew, sing and perpetuate the creativity that is in their veins, spirits and souls. The Fondation allows them to have a social life, recreate a community and cling to hope for their culture.

Gary's picture

Baby vegetables

Sun, 04/07/2013 - 11:25 -- Gary

It’s thinning time of the year in the Jnane Tamsna gardens.  From seed sown in December, we are now pulling fingerling Chantenay red core carrots, hollow crown parsnips, Mantovano fennel and plump purple top turnips.  Instead of thinning and throwing in the compost, we use these tender vegetables as a side dish, mixed with young fava beans. 

Although it is a bit labor intensive to clean all these organic roots and shoots – and husk the favas – they are a hit with guests.  Our chef Bahija Lafridi has just the right touch: she poaches the carrots, fennel, parsnips and turnips in salted water for three minutes, and then blends in the green faba beans and lightly stir-fries the mix in Jnane Tamsna’s own olive oil. Fresh from the garden, they keep their color, flavor and crunchiness. Guess what’s on the menu tonight?

Gary's picture

Easter pink

Sat, 03/30/2013 - 07:27 -- Gary

Although our garden is mostly zen - subtle variations on greens and whites - we have the occasional splash of color. As an Easter special, we are livening up our Facebook page with a series of pink and pinkish-red flowers currently on show in the nooks and crannies of our grounds. We began with Cercis siliquastrum, commonly known as Judas tree or European redbud, which we grew from seed in 1996 and then transplanted to Jnane Tamsna in 2001.

Meryanne's picture

Gardens of Marrakech

Mon, 03/25/2013 - 07:14 -- Meryanne

In April, the first book on Gardens of Marrakech will appear with the spring flowers, written by Angelica Gray and illustrated with gorgeous photos by Alessio Mei. The reviews are glowing, including one in The Independent. We are thrilled that the verdant entrance of Jnane Tamsna, our Marrakech boutique hotel, was chosen for the front cover.

The photo captures the magic of our lush courtyard. I designed the house around the date palms that had been on the land for centuries. As they were too big to be moved, we left one is in the middle of the front entrance as you may see here, through the Moorish arches! The first riad courtyard – from where this photo is taken – was planted around another robust date palm.

Meryanne's picture

Magnet for creative spirits

Wed, 03/13/2013 - 17:06 -- Meryanne

Stefani Greenberg and Desirée Gruber, the founders of Theodora and Callum, the very cool fashion company, were recently visiting Marrakech on what they called  “a voyage of inspiration.” I was honoured to be asked by their public relations company to organise a dinner where they could meet creative locals.  From the fields of architecture, fashion, furniture, interiors and jewellery, I assembled a dozen Marrakech-based designers to meet with these brilliant and achieved New Yorkers.

Gary's picture

Mediterranean diet

Wed, 03/06/2013 - 17:04 -- Gary

Our friend Dr. Tom Carlson, a pediatrician and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, sent us an article that just appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Entitled ‘Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet” the paper notes that a traditional diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of heart attack and stroke.

At Jnane Tamsna we practice what of the Spanish authors of the paper preach: a regional cuisine “characterized by a high intake of olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals.”

Although our main purpose is not to prevent of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet, we are pleased that a stay at Jnane Tamsna could be good for your heart and soul.  The olive oil we pressed last November is on offer daily at lunch and dinner, as are French and Moroccan wines (in moderation).

Meryanne's picture

Sunday brunch

Sun, 03/03/2013 - 14:36 -- Meryanne

Looking for a good place for Sunday brunch in Marrakech? Our recommendation is Crystal Restaurant Lounge, at the end of the Boulevard Mohamed VI, an area of Marrakech that features new hotels and nightclubs. While it may be best known for its vibrant nightlife, we like going late on a Sunday morning. Fati will greet you at the entrance and seat you in the beautiful outdoor terrace; and don’t hesitate to ask for Ludovic, the general manager, who is always on site.

Some of our favorites are the carrot gazpacho with courgette and feta, the star anise-flavored braised quince and the saumon en croute (salmon with olives and vegetable in a pastry shell). There’s a sinfully attractive dessert buffet to top it all off. We didn’t indulge, but the chocolate macarons look decadent.

The well-chosen music – contemporary afternoon lounge – adds to the relaxed chill out atmosphere. The pool is available for a dip, making it a great place to bring the whole family.

Meryanne's picture

Philanthropy @ Jnane

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 05:18 -- Meryanne

Jnane Tamsna is always happy to support good causes connected to culture, education, environment, health, leadership and other issues. Giving long weekend stays for charity auctions allows us to meet the successful bidders and their friends, always socially-engaged people!

For example, we just welcomed Winthrop and Annie Ruml who prevailed at an auction supporting the Harlem Academy, an independent school in New York City that prepares bright, motivated students for success in top secondary schools and lifelong learning. Jnane Tamsna has been supporting the Academy by giving inclusive stays at our boutique hotel for auction during their annual fundraising gala.


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