"Thoughts from the rooftop"

Mel Glass who stayed at Chez Max in August 2017

Before this trip I’d visited Morocco twice ; Marrakech and Oualidia, on the Atlantic coast, and loved the whole experience. Well that’s not quite true. There was an exception. The food, for the most part was uninspiring. This year I’ve got good news. At Chez Max the food is pretty damned impressive. We’re talking fabulous salads, fragrant chicken with pickled lemons and olives, warm bread wrapped in gingham cloth, slices of tooth-achingly sweet caramelised banana tart and iced glasses brimming with refreshing, chilled lime mousse floating over lime sorbet (surely 2 desserts in one!).

Speaking of food we are baking here. The warm jumpers that each of us packed for when the temperature drops at night time have remained in the suitcase. 105F yesterday. Yes, F! And dropping to a barmy 102 today. The pool is our saviour. And AC in the rooms. Night time temps must be cooler, surely, but not so’s you’d notice.
I’m writing this at 5.50 am sitting on a flat topped adobe wall skirting one of the the roof terraces at this surprisingly spacious house. The sky is just turning from black to bruised blue over the eastern horizon. Stars are fading, dogs barking, cocks crowing, goats shuffling. The sulphur street lights in the village switch off…all at once. I imagine that’s someone’s job, then he crouches on the dusty roadside and leans against a shady wall until his next task; switching them on again at night.

Saida, the maid will be in the kitchen soon, preparing breakfast for our tummies still full from a 4 course, delicious meal last night. Somehow, I’m not putting on weight. Or is that image in the mirror a mirage? No booze here; our choice although somehow it seems respectful to observe local customs.
The girls rode camels yesterday. Afterwards we drank mint tea with the lads, sitting on palm logs covered in Moroccan rugs shaded by palm leaves. So I’ve bought one. Yes I bought a rug, not a camel, in Morocco. Today’s task? Figuring out how I get it home! It’s a tough life.

My early morning Chez Max roof-top meanderings lead me to reflect on life as it used to be in the North of England when I was a kid. Cars were a rarity. We played in the street until sunset, kicking a ball or chasing and screaming. Safety was never an issue. Parents stood at doorways or gates and watched and chatted. The corner shop sold what we needed but nothing we didn’t need. It was so quiet we could hear church bells ringing from across town. Folks like me remember those times fondly, tell our children that we were all happier then, not like today’s iKids.

What’s the relevance? Well substitute Chez Max for ‘back in the day’ and you’ve found those same happy times again. OK so the kids aren’t outside until after sunset, around 8.30pm (it can be too hot otherwise) and the church bells become the call to prayer of the muezzin but the rest is as it was. As it is. Here at Chez Max. It’s a happy place.

Warning to readers: at Chez Max you may find yourself examining your state of mind and your life choices. Why do we put up with all that hassle back home? This place is so easy to live in. Seems to me that Morocco is a liberal Muslim country, respectful of the Koran (most mornings we listened to children reciting) but aware of the changing world. It has some catching up to do but is definitely travelling in the right direction. As will you be, if you visit this warm, friendly, strikingly, colourful and beautiful country.

Thoughts that may pass through your head as you leave the main road and head towards Chez Max on the track to the village:

I’m sure I’ve seen this route on the World Rallye Championship.

Gosh, it’s biblical.

Surely 1 donkey can’t carry all of that?

We must be lost.

Are we really in the middle of a quarry?

I wonder who lives in that castle?

She could be the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever seen.

I’m sure he smiled and waved at me.

We are stopping here? Really?

Then……WOW!!!!!

"Traumhafter Aufenthalt, der in Erinnerung bleibt."

Stayed at Chez Max in November 2015

Wir haben uns mit 2-jähriger Tochter entschlossen, im November einige Tage in Marrakesch zu verbringen und waren auf der Suche nach einer ruhigen und kinderfreundlichen Unterkunft etwas außerhalb des Trubels. Unsere Erwartungen wurden bei weitem übertroffen: schöne Lage in einem typisch marokkanischen Dorf, tolle Architektur mit vielen versteckten Ecken und Rückzugsorten, verschiedenen Dachterrassen mit herrlichen Ausblicken und – das wirklich Einzigartige am Chez Max – die wunderbaren Gastgeber Bettina und Kevin, die es möglich machten, dass wir uns ab der ersten Minute wie zu Hause fühlten. Danke auch an Saida für das hervorragende Essen! Hoffentlich ändert sich nichts am Chez Max in Zukunft, wir fanden es perfekt. Bis bald!

"Entspannte Tage zwischen Hohem Atlas und Marrakech"

Stayed at Chez Max in October 2015

Das Chez Max ist der perfekte Aufenthaltsort zwischen dem Hohen Atlas und Marrakech. Zwischen einer Trekking Tour auf den Jbel Toubkal, Bummeln durch das faszinierende Marrakech und einigen Tagen am Meer haben wir uns von Bettina und Kevin verwöhnen lassen. Danke euch Beiden für unvergessliche Tage in diesem wunderbaren Land. Eure Warmherzigkeit und Aufmerksamkeit gegenüber euren Gästen macht aus dem Chez Max etwas ganz besonderes. Das sehr persönlich geführte Haus gibt auch Gelegenheit, sich mit Gästen aus anderen Nationen auszutauschen, ganz toll.

Wir kommen auf jeden Fall wieder und freuen uns schon jetzt auf das Wiedersehen mit Bettina und Kevin.

"Chez Max – comme à la maison!"

Aude F who stayed at Chez Max in October 2015

Nous avons séjourné 4 nuits avec nos 2 enfants (7 et 4 ans) chez Max cet automne. Dépaysement total à quelques km de Marrakech! Un village berbère authentique avec son berger et ses moutons. Une maison incroyablement charmante avec ses multiples cours intérieures et des terrasses en hauteur permettant d’admirer un paysage bluffant et des couchers de soleil incroyables.

Outre la beauté de la maison et l’environnement, l’accueil, la chaleur et le dévouement de Bettina et Saida ont fait de notre séjour un moment précieux rempli de douceur. Bettina a été aux petits soins pour nous tout au long du séjour et Saida nous a gâté avec sa délicieuse cuisine!

Recherchant toujours l’authenticité et le plaisir de découvrir de mieux en mieux la culture et les traditions marocaines, nous avons aimé se sentir comme à la maison chez Max. Aller en cuisine demander à Saida quelles sont les épices qu’elle met dans sa délicieuse omelette berbère, demander à Bettina de nous conseiller sur l’achat d’un plat de tajine…et hop on se retrouve chez son vendeur de terre cuite au bord de la route…avec de vrais prix marocains et tous les précieux conseils de Bettina comment préparer et utiliser le plat! Génial!

Enfin, nous avons fait 2 excursions pendant notre séjour (désert de Marrakech en jeep et une petite marche dans l’atlas avec repas chez l’habitant). Bettina nous a organisé tout ça comme une cheffe à notre arrivée le premier jour.

Un très très grand merci à Bettina et Saida pour cette belle aventure Chez Max qui restera longtemps dans nos coeurs.

Nous recommandons mille fois cette magnifique maison d’hôtes!

"An exceptional place."

Stayed at Chez Max in October 2015

My boyfriend and I have just got back from the most wonderful stay of five nights at Chez Max. We were looking for a place to escape from it all, that wasn’t far from Marrakech and we found exactly what we wanted (and more!). Chez Max is a stunning property, we spent the first couple of days getting our bearings in amongst the numerous pretty gardens and courtyards and terraces dotted around. This is a space with private spots and corners to relax EVERYWHERE, in the sun, shade on sofas or on sun loungers. There’s a pool to cool off in if you need a break from the sun. The hardest decision of the day was which spot to plant yourself in with your book.

The house has a lot of soul and character; beautiful rooms and pretty, rustic and antique furniture. The bedrooms are tastefully decorated with comfy beds and stylish, earthy bathrooms. The lounge where you can relax and eat dinner has amazing high ceilings and a colonial feel to it, with fire places for the winter.

What we loved about Chez Max (and surpassed all our expectations) was the personalised service, and that we felt so at home m; we could have breakfast and dinner at times that suited us-what a treat to be able to stick to our timetable! We were lucky enough to have the house to ourselves and felt like royalty; Bettina who manages the house is a warm and wonderful host, she makes every effort to get to know what you like and cater to you; it’s these kind of details which made the stay exceptional-nothing was too much trouble. We ate most nights at the house, feasting on the most beautifully cooked Moroccan food made by their chef Saida, three courses created from delicious and seasonal local produce with slow cooked tagines made just for us and tropical fruit salads – all so reasonably priced.

We chose Chez Max to escape the UK and largely just hung out at the house, but it is also very well placed for trips into Marrakech, the coast or the Atlas Mountains. It’s situated in a Berber village where life of everyday Moroccans goes on around you; the call of the mosque, the cluck of the hens and the sound of school kids playing. With the 6 rooms it would make for a perfect getaway for a break with friends or family, but as a couple on our own
we would wholeheartedly recommend a stay there;
It’s romantic, magical, peaceful and a perfect place to get away from it all and experience Morocco.

We hope to be back soon, thank you Bettina, Saida and Max for an unforgettable holiday!