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Souks and the City: Two Divas Takes on Mysterious Marrakech

marrakeshedit0192Linda Covello takes a camel ride in Morocco….

 marrakeshedit011Photography by Linda Covello  (

 lindaA little over-exposed, but cool, shot of Linda Covello….

The Divaonthego has been to Marrakech a few times–most via cruise ships. While Octogone Terre was not in my intinerary I did bed down in ultra-posh, wildly opulent La Mamumia–Sir Winston Churchills favorite vacation haunt. I also did the obligatory souck excursions and soaked up the atmosphere as did globetrotting photographer Linda Covello–one of New York’s finest in the field–who provided her take and fotos from her most recent trip.  First read the press release, then Linda’s recap. Interesting.
We both agree it’s mysterious, bustling, crowded, claustrophobic, dusty with incongrously  posh, with incongrously posh,  swank hotels and resorts just far enough from the fray providing decadent delights fit for royalty.

Marrakech, Morocco (November 11, 2008)
Octogone TERRE Resort & Spa in the stunning Palmeraie Desert knows a thing or two about romance. Named one of “Morocco’s Sexiest Hotels” by, TERRE provides a luxurious sanctuary complete with exquisitely decorated rooms, impeccable hospitality, a gorgeous pool, creative dining, and a tranquil spa for guests. The management of Octogone TERRE has created a list of the most romantic things to do in Marrakech for honeymooners and couples wanting to experience the spellbinding romance of Marrakech.
For couples seeking a romantic getaway that’s different from the usual trip to Hawaii or the Caribbean, Marrakech offers a hypnotic and magical atmosphere straight out of the Arabian Nights. Its fabulous palaces, lush palm groves, wonderful restaurants, tranquil gardens, ancient city walls, and colorful bazaars combine to weave a magical spell that charms and seduces visitors.  Amidst such seductive surroundings romance is sure to heat up.

Watch the sunrise or sunset over Marrakech floating in a hot-air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of the city with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and expansive desert as the backdrop. Don‘t forget the champagne!
Visit for the complete list of the “Top 10 Romantic Things to do in Marrakech.”  All activities can be arranged through TERRE Resort & Spa.
Octogone TERRE (Earth) Resort & Spa is a secluded luxury five-star getaway located at the doors of the famous palm grove “Palmeraie” just 7 kilometers outside of Marrakech and on the road to Casablanca.

Everything at TERRE — from the architecture to the cuisine — is an innovative blend of old and new enabling guests to step into the past and be immersed in true Moroccan style while being pampered with all imaginable present-day luxuries.

The 52-room luxury suite property is set on almost 12 acres of land in its own small village. Facilities include three restaurants, a full-service spa, an infinity pool, tennis courts, a fitness center, golf putting area, and access to a nearby world-class golf courses.

For reservations, call: (480) 503-8022 or (800) 915-4012 or visit the website:


• Indulge in a couples hammam spa treatment at TERRE’s Sultry Spa, where the unique octagon-shaped hammam is the only one in Marrakech that allows couples to experience the centuries-old steam bath ritual together. Enjoy a signature Octogone Royal Hammam and Floral Bath ritual where couples unwind in the steam of the hammam, before a relaxing ginger scrub followed by four-hands body massages using essential oils and fresh mint. The treatment is capped off in a bath scented with rose petals while sipping pomegranate and lemon juice cocktails.

• Using Marrakech as a base, set out on a camel trek across the stunning Sahara with a crew of Berber and Tuareg guides

• Pack a picnic lunch and go on a day excursion to the Atlas Mountains visiting picturesque villages and artisans markets along the way or head towards the sea to explore the coastline of Morocco and the charming beach in Essaouira.

Take a sunset ride through the West Palmeraie desert in a calèche (horse-drawn carriage).  TERRE can prepare a pre-dinner cocktail or mint tea and Moroccan cookies to enjoy during the ride.


And now for Linda’s take on Marrakesh….”So funny how words and pictures can create the illusion.  Marrakesh was an amazing place, but it’s so interesting that when you have to sell a place to tourists all the embellishments that go into it.  And leaving out all the ugly realities!  The vast poverty and destitution all over the place, the market stalls with the spilling entrails, the pushy souk sellers, the mud, the sewage.  The funniest bit was the part about the berber souks in the Atlas Mountains.  I have never witnessed a more frightening and unwelcoming situation in my life!  To wade into the roil of the desperate and the impoverished…No Thanks!  And the fact that every kind gesture expects a monetary reward.  I don’t resent that, but it’s uncomfortable and it really makes you conscious of the great economic divide, and there is guilt that goes along with that.  I found the Palmerie to be sad and dried up looking, with near emaciated camels lounging in the mud and flies swarming about.  The state of the resort’s horse stables was criminal.  I loved the place, but I also feared it.”

About Patti Pietschmann

I'm Patti Covello Pietschmann, a travel diva and proud of it. I've been all over the world. I prefer luxury travel (penthouse suites, fine d

3 responses to “Souks and the City: Two Divas Takes on Mysterious Marrakech

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