We swapped clubs and cocktails for shopping and sunbeds – and discovered the perfect Mumscapade

Writer Aoife and four of her mum friends chose Marrakech for their getaway: Aoife O’Riordain

Like many of the best things in life, our Mumscapade happened spontaneously. Five of us (a journalist, a horticulturist, a designer, a teacher and an aspiring psychologist with ten children between them) decided that a break from the drudgery and drudgery of winter was in order.

Our calendars aligned, and so did our ideas. We needed sun, we needed groceries and we needed pampering.

There was never any discussion about where we would go. For us, Marrakech was the obvious choice and it felt like the right time to go there. The city was back on its feet, welcoming tourists after the devastating effects of the Atlas Mountains earthquake in September 2023, and there had also been a flurry of new openings.

We stayed in the heart of the Medina at Annex House, a self-contained addition to the recently opened and stylishly restored Riad Brummell Medina, within walking distance of the Djemaa el-Fna. Breakfast was delivered to our home every morning. In the evening we gathered on the roof terrace for drinks as we watched the sun set behind the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque. At night all was quiet except for the early morning call to prayer and the occasional fighting cat.

The group stayed in the stylish Riad Brummell MedinaThe group stayed in the stylish Riad Brummell Medina

The group stayed in the stylish Riad Brummell Medina

This was a trip that was unapologetically light on culture and heavy on retail. Shopping was top of our agenda and the souk, one of the highlights of Marrakech, was on our doorstep. Every evening we’d discuss what we’d bought that day, or make a mental note to return to a stall (including a stall owned by a basket seller we’d nicknamed Pharrell thanks to his flamboyant headwear).

In between browsing we found time to be thoroughly pampered in a hammam. The spa at the La Sultana Hotel in the Kasbah of Medina was the ideal place because of its underground pool and the prevailing sense of tranquility. Yet modesty was left at the door as we were led by our therapists into the steamy embrace of the room and lay down on the warm marble as they worked their magic, scrubbing our skin with hammam gloves and black soap and finishing with argan oil. massage. Later we emerged, blissed out and blinking, into the heat.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-twenties, a day at the pool was non-negotiable. To do this, we left the city behind and drove 40 minutes to the newly opened Farasha Farmhouse. It is the creation of Rosena and Fred Charmoy, the founders of Marrakech events company Boutique Souk, who have organized everything from a birthday party for Madonna to Dior’s catwalk shows.

Riad Brummell Medina has been stylishly restoredRiad Brummell Medina has been stylishly restored

Riad Brummell Medina has been stylishly restored

As you would expect, the farm is designed with fun in mind. It’s ultra-chic in an understated Morocco-meets-Ibiza way and comes with a breathtaking saltwater pool lined by olive trees and double sun loungers under crocheted parasols. Although there are four bedrooms, non-residents can visit on weekend pool days and get a delicious lunch: sleep in by the pool before heading back to town.

Food was one of our top priorities. Tucked in the medina with a boho rooftop terrace overlooking Marrakech’s alluring sprawl, L’mida was a favorite we returned to (even the Wi-Fi password, ‘ladiesfirst’, seemed like a message for our trip). On other nights we went to Guéliz, a 10-minute taxi ride away and full of reliable, buzzing dinner spots.

The recently opened Farasha Farmhouse is a great place for a day at the poolThe recently opened Farasha Farmhouse is a great place for a day at the pool

The recently opened Farasha Farmhouse is a great place for a day at the pool

Among them we found +61, an expat enclave during the French Protectorate era that now feels like Marrakech by way of Melbourne. Then there was Sahbi Sahbi, one of the newest openings in the area. With a zellige-tiled and wooden interior designed by fashionable architectural firm Studio KO, it has a menu that celebrates Morocco’s dadas (female chefs who cook for their community) with traditional recipes passed down from generation to generation.

Our four days together felt like one long, laughing conversation. We’ve tried every possible topic, ranging from air fryers to the best bingeable TV (The bear) to our children’s cell phone addictions and the inevitable menopause.

Farasha Farmhouse is from the founders of the events company Boutique Souk in MarrakechFarasha Farmhouse is from the founders of the events company Boutique Souk in Marrakech

Farasha Farmhouse is from the founders of the events company Boutique Souk in Marrakech

We also ended on a high, treating ourselves to a final night out at the La Mamounia hotel, a beacon of glamor for over 100 years. We renamed it ‘La Mumounia’ and started with a drink on the orange blossom-scented terrace of the Majorelle Bar. Dinner was at Le Marocain, a restaurant buried in gardens of tall palms and delicate roses. Under the guidance of the musicians, we were reassured enough to try lamb’s brains, alongside less challenging dishes such as tagine and couscous.

After dinner, none of us were in a hurry to go home. We took a final group selfie in the flattering light of the hotel bathroom and then wandered through the quiet streets, skirting the edge of the Djemaa el-Fna, where even after midnight smoke rose from late dinner stalls and Berber musicians played for groups of revelers . This break was exactly what we needed – so much so that we have made an appointment to return at the same time next year. See you then Marrakech, thanks for the Mumories.


Ryanair (ryanair.com), British Airways (ba.com), EasyJet (easyjet.com), Wizz Air (wizzair.com) and Royal Air Maroc (royalairmaroc.com) all fly to Marrakech from airports in the UK. A night at Annex House costs £342 for up to four guests and £513 for up to eight people, including breakfast (00 212 524 38 58 06, riadbrummell.brummellprojects.com). A day ticket to Farasha Farmhouse costs £47, including use of the pool, towels and a three-course lunch (farashafarmhouse.com). Le Marocain and The Majorelle Bar in La Mamounia (mamounia.com) are open to non-residents. A hammam at La Sultana Spa costs £40 (lasultanahotels.com).

Six more mumscapade destinations

Nice, France

Thanks to a large number of hotel openings and an old town that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nice is no longer just a gateway to the Côte d’Azur. The new Anantara Plaza is a good place to stay (doubles from £440, room only; 00 33 4 93 16 75 75, anantara.com).

Lana, South Tyrol

Does your group enjoy brisk walks more than booze? The pretty town of Lana lies at the foot of Mount San Vigilio in the Italian Dolomites: the summit, reached by one of Europe’s oldest cable cars, is lined with hiking trails and is ideal for hiking. Stay at 1447 Reichhalter, a historic inn in the city center (doubles from £154, room only; 00 39 0473 051 050, 1477reichhalter.com).

Lisbon, Portugal

With atmospheric, rattling trams criss-crossing the city and plenty of easy-to-reach attractions, Lisbon has the perfect formula for a few days away. Stay at AlmaLusa Alfama: In a restored 12th-century building, it’s the latest opening from a chic micro-hotel group and has a real sense of place (doubles from £195, B&B; 00 351 21 877 0200, almalusahotels.com).

The Taybank in Dunkeld hosts a number of events throughout the yearThe Taybank in Dunkeld hosts a number of events throughout the year

The Taybank in Dunkeld hosts a number of events throughout the year

Dunkeld, Scotland

Dunkeld is one of the prettiest Highland villages, situated on the River Tay with an eclectic high street. There are also seemingly endless hiking trails here, with breathtaking panoramas of spectacular landscapes. Stay at The Taybank, which has five bedrooms, two apartments and an atmospheric restaurant serving gastropub-style food (doubles from £170; 01350 677123, thetaybank.co.uk).

Athens, Greece

No longer just a pit stop to tick off ancient wonders like the Acropolis and the Parthenon, Athens is having a moment too. It is buzzing with new energy and a burgeoning creative scene. Stay at Ergon House (doubles from £138, B&B; 00 30 210 0109090, house.ergonfoods.com).

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastián is an ideal group holiday for people who pay attention to food. It’s a place to explore pintxos bars in the Old Town and cycle around the surrounding coast and countryside. Stay in Room Mate Gorka overlooking Plaza Guipúzcoa (doubles from £82 per night, room only; 00 34 843 98 42 00, room-matehotels.com).


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