Lock Down in Marrakech
Sunshine greetings from the serenity and calm of Palais Aziza and Spa in Marrakech.
It is quite interesting how time flies when supposedly one has not much to do during lock down when sadly all our guests and our team are confined to their home and home countries.
Personally, I do value the extra time given which allowed me to spend more quality time with my husband and my daughter but also to engage in my first virtual yoga detox retreat on Zoom, as well as finally establishing a daily Yoga routine into my life – no more excuses- and an attempt at learning Thai Chi, praise be to you tube. To round it up I have been basking in all the fantastic webinars on wellness and healing that are on offer from the Global Wellness Institute which are highly inspirational…I hope all of this will come in handy soon and give me the right dose of mindfulness and Zen when business resumes.
Professionally we have been working extensively on how we can turn this forced lock down into something positive of which everyone, our guests and our team may eventually benefit.
Back in March, just before the lock down and right in time for the very first trial of our future ILA healing retreats at Palais Aziza we had finished an extensive renovation of our 700m2 spa and wellness area. The official launch of our cooperation with ILA (of which we are immensely proud) sadly had to be postponed. Thus we took this pause to stop and rethink how we do business and how we can welcome back our guests and staff after this period into a safe and secure environment with an even more meaningful and profound offering of services.
I think we came up with quite a strong game plan in reviewing and preparing jointly with ILA and our very own Wellness Manager, Marie-France, our holistic offerings at the hotel. Amongst the highlights for me are the ILA healing retreats for both individual travellers and groups up to 10 participants, as well as the launch of our new ILA SPA and wellness menu including private yoga, meditation, breathing and sound healing classes coupled with fresh, nutritious and enticing culinary offerings which accommodate special dietary requirements and preferences provided through a daily supply of fresh organic produce from our friends at Domaine Sauvage.
While still in lockdown our aim of course is to ensure that Palais Aziza is well maintained and ready to come out of hibernation and reveal her beauty once again when borders reopen.
We have five acres of extensive gardens which are now even more beautiful, lush and flowery than ever and I am monitoring closely with our gardeners where to trim a little here and there so we won’t be completely overgrown by the time we get back. Besides the gardens there are our four hungry resident cats to feed, Olive, Tajine, Carrot, and Halib, as well as looking after our peacock families and their nine new little offspring which blessed us during this period, there is even a white one which is rare and surely must be a sign of good luck.
We’ve been tearing down walls opening more window space in the reception and library for enhanced views into the gardens and improved air circulation and we added two more spa cabins while we were at it even though this wasn’t planned until 2021; we have been upgrading rooms and repainting all the wood work as we annually do thus the list is endless and the day has hardly enough hours..
We are keeping closely in touch with all department heads and respective teams, these are difficult times for everyone and thus it is important to keep the moral up and maintain a sense of belonging and support in lending a helping hand where needed. We still have a technician, housekeeping , accounting and gardeners and security on property and other services such as reservation and sales and marketing activities are handled from remote.
One of the great new additions which I am very proud of is that once we’ll reopen there will be wellness and healing for all, including the staff. Each day we will begin with a 15 minute staff wellness routine in the morning so that everyone who comes to work may release all stress and tension before starting the actual work day. In the evening, we will equally offer a 15 minute winding down session so we release our people from here refreshed before returning them back to their homes and families. It is an optional program but I am optimistic that the majority of our team will take part, there is a big curiosity here in what we are doing together with ILA and a strong desire to learn and expand. I am excited to see how together we’ll develop this further in the future.
We have been following closely the WHO recommendations in regards to the pandemic and luckily the Moroccan authorities and hotel association have been a great and constant source of information and guidance during these critical times. We decided to sign up with Cristal International to have our already high hygiene and safety standards tested and certified to provide everyone with peace of mind.
We have put a hygiene committee in place which includes our Wellness Manager, Head Technician, Housekeeper, Human Resource and F&B manager as well as myself to steer the process and once the hotel reopens will meet daily to ensure the follow through and adherence to the additional standards pertaining to Covid 19 to ensure a safe environment for our guests, staff and business partners.
I am an eternal optimist thus I see the future bright and full of promise with a great opportunity to rewind and adjust course.
For me environmental consciousness and responsibility, a sustainable approach, as well as being considerate to myself as well as all others are not just empty buzzwords but key to the way forward.
Our planet is suffering from exploitation and this pandemic hit us unannounced. It unambiguously provided a glimpse of how fragile and how connected we all are. We are not outside of nature in some safe tech environment we are part of it and thus we have a responsibility to treat our planet, ourselves and all that we encounter and surrounds us with respect and dignity. Coming off the fast lane, while certainly hard for many has also proven to be a gift to reconnect, providing a sense of freedom and balance which we aim to nourish and stimulate further here at Palais Aziza once our gates reopen.
– Daniela Skopnik, General Manager of Palais Aziza and Spa