You know those people, maybe you dont - they are REALLY rare - who just LOVE to host, spoil, give love, care, appreciation, tips, endless travel advice when asked, in the nicest and most harmonic way possible? This is Anouk. Yes, Villa Anouk is owned and created by one of the most caring and giving people I have ever encountered. Anouk wants to meet you, she wants to know your story, she wants to share her infinity for Moroccan culture, food, hospitality, and story. She wants you to feel soooo at peace and ease in a place that she has completely crafted together with her team of artisans, builders, and collaborators. When I tell you that every single piece of furniture, chair upholstering, lamp, pillow etc was not only well thought out but created by her vision I am telling you the facts. French country Moroccan chic is best way to describe Villa Anouk - colors of white, cream, beige, taupes, and a glimmer of silver on moroccan wedding blanket embellishments and upon fixtures and vases. A pop of bright pink or rich peach in a bunch of wild roses. Worn in brassy tones against cream on the claws of the hand made tub in our bathroom - and ivory against dark rich wood on our elaborate mirror in the bathroom. Imagine all of that - with warm speckles of light piercing through her Moroccan chandeliers and light fixtures. To me this kind of light is pure magic. All of that contrasted with the turquoise of her indoor pool with in and outdoor lounging against the white hand laid and carved brick of the stones.
Mmmm.... literally the coastal home that my Pinterest board is made of. I swear I manifested this place - because Its been in my minds eye ever since I discovered this perfectly color palated scenario on the like.
Villa Anouk is located Essonieria - a small town about 3 hours away from Marrakech near the coastline. Its has a cultured town area with an authentic Moroccan Medina which has the contrast of its famous street foods, delicious gastronomic cuisine - and everything in between. Shopping, strolling, and eating are what lies ahead.
This is all great and lovely to see - but I mostly appreciated my/our time at Villa Anouk on her property, and that around it.
Upon our arrival, her and her beautiful and graceful staff welcomed us with fresh mint tea and offered us drinks. I said yes, a glass of Moroccan rose sounded lovely after the long drive. Her and her staff had prepared a late lunch for us since we arrived at around 3 - fresh caught fish from the ocean a couple of miles away - a Tagine with garden vegetables, and a traditional diced Moroccan salad. Before that, we started with a puff pastry filled with seafood. Delish! Just when we thought it was over we were delighted with a trio of desserts, one of which was a giant chocolate macaroon. Allie and I divided the giant macaroon and then drifted into chocolate heaven . . . With the light french conversing from the kitchen and the macaroon - I really went somewhere else for those moments. We were blown away by the whole experience and thoughtfulness of it. Anouk being the producer of it all, we were instantly inspired by her gracefulness, attention to detail, and appreciation. I'll never forget it - the way the table was set up - the tight bundles of roses, the scents from the kitchen, the gold plated serving wear - its imprinted.
Up some rocky roads and set of a giant piece of land and secured by a guardian, we were totally safe walking around the sparsely and sprawled out habited (inhabited) surrounding areas. Nice homes are built all within the area - on huge plots of land. The large hand set white brick style homes - reminding me of castles - juxtaposed the dim blue skies with the quiet of the area made me feel like I was in an era of medieval times. The smell of the ocean and the salt air made me feel safe and at ease. Allie and I ended up going on a walk to the beach, which Anouk said would take around an hour, a couple of miles, to get to. (Its a 10 minute car ride in case you were wondering). Her property lies amongst 40 miles of virgin beaches - pure white sanded, and perfectly wild. Her two BEAUTIFUL dark grey italian mastocks (which match her villas perfectly) insisted on joining us, and they were an incredible asset to our experience. We ended up walking, wandering down sandy and some-what unbeaten paths (typical of us) amongst the trees. We ran into some free ranging cows along the way, which were beautiful and of course had a totem message for us to unveil. We ended up walking for many hours, fell into deep vortexes of elevated conversation, which opened the book for ideas and planted the seeds for some incredible callings and action ahead of our lives. During our walk, many things became clear to us and in those moments it all made sense our- meeting, our trip, and much more that lies ahead in the future. Its all so amazing and I have to say that this was one of my top 3 moments on the trip. We got to a giant rock formation and sat watched the ocean with the dogs and had many moments of quiet and peaceful gratitude. It was the perfection buried deep within our spotenuity.
The common areas of Anouk's property are just amazing. She has outdoor sections, rooftop which was perfect for meditating, yoga, snapping photos (the lighting is ridiculous) , and just straight chillin' up there with the dogs. There was another family staying in one of the separate villas, they were from Brisbane outside of London. We ended up making great friends with the family - mom, dad, son, and daughter. We shared stories, travel adventures, cups of wine or tea, and nibbles with them. We are so grateful for our meeting- as travelers and adventures we all share an infinity for people of other cultures mostly so we can learn, and expand ourselves through our different experiences while here on this planet. We join paths not by accident- for there is always a reason. A lesson to be learned, a story to heard, an experience - something that changes us forever. Anouk attracts these types of people to her property. The people who appreciate, who know how to relax or at least are working at it, sit back, enjoy a good storm. No one turned on the TV in the large living room that I saw - not that they should or shouldn't - but the peace of another's presence or non presence was just perfectly the way it was supposed to be. Playing cards, writing, taking a dip on the pool, nibbling on olives or sipping on tea or a glass of local Moroccan wine....slipping off into our villa for a bubble bath or a refreshing shower on our stone terrace- everything just felt so natural. I literally felt like I was floating.
But lets circle back to the creator of this place. Anouk. Anouk's story is one that I resonated with deeply. Anouk is from the US- she lived in New York City for 12 years, working in a job that she excelled in - but at times an industry she felt rejected by. As a successful fashion stylist for TV shows, magazines, and the like, she found that because she wasn't a size 0 and strutting onto set with Manolo's (even though she could get her self any pair she liked) she was looked at differently, she wasn't taken as seriously. She worked a job she liked, but not the atmospheric vibe, for many years. She loved styling, designing, and she still does- she's freaking phenomenal at it! But the world that often felt snobby, and taken way way way too seriously was not the life she knew she was cut out to live. I can relate - I have worked fashion jobs before where I energy was thrown at me to make me feel small and inadequate. I always saw past all of the bullshit, people who want to create an energetic space and work environment that consists of gossip, constant dissatisfaction as if it's in vogue- demanding, draining - all pointed towards a purpose for what? Something so shallow as the surface - of how we look? I get it! And I have compassion for these types of people, because most of the ones who have been sucked into this world (or let them selves get swallowed by it- remember, no one is a victim, we ALL have the reigns to make change). If anyone tries to make you feel small its because deep down they feel inferior and out of control. They feel insecure, empty inside and in order to feed the belly of their own beast they prey on others life energy so that they can feel big. Well they are not big, they are tiny. And after a decade Anouk decided to cut the crap and follow her heart - to move to Morocco and create and environment opposite of what she had been immersed in. How amazing it is - we often get to learn what we DONT want - and by that we discover what is right for us in our hearts! And guess what - this place is warm, inviting, accepting, and of all things ladies and gentle man it is CHIC as it gets. This woman has class - she has lived in the nice parts of Paris, she's been around the block to the ritziest parts of the world and she knows what it means to be a woman of distinction. And she is that exactly. Anouk has created a world class environment for individuals, friends, couples, and families to go and cultivate comfort, relaxation, and joy within their hearts- whilst nestled in a luxurious yet cultural environment of Morocco. By creating this space, Anouk is changing the world. And for that, and for my memories which are forever like diamonds, I am grateful.
Anouk's current priority is her family in Morocco- boyfriend and her 1 year old baby - Lelia and her business. In the future she plans on designing clothing, accessories, and creating + curating interiors. I cant wait to get my hands on some of her designs - all backed up by the energy of the warmth and generosity of her heart.