Six Degrees of Separation – Jnane Tamsna, Magic in Marrakech

Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. As a result, a chain of “friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It is also known as the six handshakes rule.

This is how I met Meryanne Loum-Martin and her husband Dr. Gary Martin the charming owners of Jnane Tamsna (Big Garden), in Marrakech. I love a story; I love connections and this meeting has blossomed into a full-blown novella!

Before I departed last November on my Moroccan 19 Day Camel Caravan, an old friend asked if I was visiting Jnane Tamsna, I wasn’t sure, my Journeys are greatly mapped out and sometimes don’t leave much time for impulsiveness in my schedule. A week in the chaos that is Marrakech had me begging for serene settings, gardens for late afternoon lunch. Amangena is always on the top of my list as is Royal Mansour and La Mamounia…when I remembered Jnane Tamsna, voila!

Arrive and meet the stunning proprietress, Meryanne, a striking natural beauty. Extending my enormous, gilded business card, I mention my bay area friends and I am quickly cloaked in a hug! Oh, you are friends with Jenny’s parents? My husband Gary was in their wedding in Berkeley!  Yes, I knew the background – I was now practically family!

Mosey through the beautiful wild gardens, and nosh at the edge of the pool on a sumptuous salad and yummy ice cream for dessert. Meryanne and Gary return to chat, she mentions she is leaving soon for Paris- Me too!  My son was planning to meet me for Thanksgiving and mounting Covid cases sent him home early. I mention I have reservations for the Alain Ducasse Pop up Dinner and the Louis Foundation exhibit – Meryanne checks calendar, and we have two dates in Paris next week! We add a delightful and delicious rainy-day lunch at Pavilion de la Reine as a guest of her friend, the owner, Jérôme Chevalier.

The story continues as I plot a month of working from Morocco before European spring travel. Three days stay at Jnane Tasmna and Meryanne consulting with one of my visiting clients. She has a design studio in the souk where one can purchase local décor, pieces which she has designed or had made by her legion of fine local craftsmen. She has an impeccable eye and amazing resources – and is frequently involved in community projects for local businesspeople.

I realized when I returned home, her book, Inside Marrakesh: Enchanting Homes and Gardens was in my library.

Jnane Tamsna blends Meryanne Loum-Martin’s splendid interior design and Gary Martin’s serene nine-acre garden. Integrating 5 houses, 5 pools and a tennis court, this unique boutique property offers 24 individual rooms, scattered about between five private villas with pools and gardens and can be reserved fully exclusive for private events. 

To describe this property as a hotel is not quite accurate, it is more like an extension of a gorgeous rambling family home. Multiple salons are connected by gardens and stunning sunny terraces. Cushy loungers, cozy corners for reading, napping or working. At six pm, an assistant wanders through the property, lighting hundreds of candles and all the fireplaces – it’s truly a magical transformation. Bubbly is served and all is well in the world at Jnane Tasmna!

Wander the paths of the botanical garden, enjoy a refreshing swim in one of the five swimming pools and savor a delicious lunch in the shade of the elegant date palms… all part of a refreshing and rejuvenating day at Jnane Tamsna. Ride a camel through the date palms, improve your back hand at tennis, cruise the medina in a sidecar …or simply lunch and lounge around the pool. My clients arrived in a horse drawn carriage for a romantic private dinner in one of the candle lit salons.

This is a very relaxed atmosphere, I could have moseyed about barefoot, but I didn’t! Located in the Palmeraie, the historic palm grove that borders Marrakech, town is not far, but the jumble of Marrakech is left behind in the quiet garden oasis. The entire property feels like a large secret garden.

The rooms vary in size and are impeccably decorated in an eclectic combination of colorful textiles, African art, all with Meryanne’s elegant boho chic sense of style. A delightful mix of Moroccan crafts with Middle Eastern furnishings and bright colorful walls, it’s beyond comfortable. Many rooms have fireplaces, most have deep soaking tubs and spacious bathrooms. It’s abundantly clear they share a deep passion and deep knowledge of Morocco and its culture.

All the 24 rooms are light and airy, and open out onto verandahs that overlook the gardens. Decorated with Meryanne’s impeccable and eclectic style, with an amazing collection of African textiles, reflecting the Martin’s wide-ranging travels and interests. Meryanne’s flawless style is present everywhere throughout the property.

Gary Martin, a respected ethnobotanist, tends the ever-changing garden, Meryanne, a French-Senegalese designer, is responsible for the interiors and the elegant meals and an abundance of ever-changing floral bouquets.

Gary, wanders through the property greeting guests, and has an impressive CV as a cultural anthropologist and ethnobotanist. A former University lecturer, he is the founder of the Global Diversity Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports local communities along with agricultural, biological, and cultural diversity. Gary oversees farm gardens off property which grow herbs and crops for local restaurants.

Dinners in the salon or on a private terrace make the most of sun-ripe vegetables and pungent herbs plucked directly from the organic gardens. Meals are never in one prescribed location, and the tables are beyond spectacular in settings and décor. It’s magic, truly! Every meal I’ve enjoyed has been fresh, creative, and delicious.

 Jnane Tamsna is an enchanting oasis just outside the city of Marrakech and is far from a typical hotel property in Marrakech. Creature comforts abound, casual chic style and effortless dining in stunning salon locations or amid the garden palms, poolside. Highly Recommend for short or long visit, I can envision moving in for a month or longer!

What Makes a Country Home England

A meandering drive through the English countryside reveals quaint cottages and charming farmhouses tucked into rolling hills and green valleys. Inside, these historic spaces master the mix of refined and rustic décor with a determined dash of flair – think: a polished pair of candlesticks on a weathered wood table or a 200-year-old antique against an aged brick wall, with the most iconic and well-known British dog  breed, the Old English Sheepdog snoozing in front of a roaring fire.

Another lovely elegant Country House available for our refined clients! A unique country home privately tucked away in famous Bibury. Bibury is a village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England. It is on the River Coln, a Thames tributary that rises in the same (Cotswold) District. The village center is 6+1⁄2 miles northeast of Cirencester. Arlington Row is a nationally notable architectural conservation area depicted on the inside cover of all British passports. It is a major destination for tourists visiting the traditional rural villages, tea houses and many historic buildings of the Cotswold District; it is one of six places in the country featured in Mini-Europe, Brussels.

While trends in architecture and decor come and go, the eternal appeal of the English country house is one that perennially remains. And for those who have been lost without their weekly dose of Downton Abbey, this utterly cozy and charming ‘cottage’ will encourage relaxation and walks through the casual yet stylish sculpture studded gardens.

A home decorated in English cottage style is one where sofas are made to be sprawled out on, favorite books and keepsakes are always close at hand, and signs of wear proudly speak to a lifetime of happy use. … The creamy white walls and red plaid kitchen sets a quiet mood in this cottage-style abode. An utterly charming Country House with wonderful gardens and tucked away in a quiet corner of the world renown village of Bibury. It has many unique features, the main one being it is a ‘longhouse’ the main living space is one long room comprising cook’s kitchen, sitting room, dining room and a drawing room with two open fires down its length. There is a separate study as well. Sleeps 10 in 5 Bedrooms. Bathrooms 3. Dogs Allowed. Tennis Court. A classic ‘longhouse’: open plan kitchen, sitting room, dining room and drawing room.

Wonderful very large gardens leading down to River Coln (gated). Eclectic contemporary art & garden sculpture collection. Tucked away and quite private property. Walking distance of pubs and restaurants

The gardens are really delightful and one of the jewels in Carter’s Close’s crown, lawned, wooded, wild flowered and home to an eclectic selection of sculpture which lead down – via a gate – to the River Coln. There is a tennis court and the house does welcome well behaved dogs; subject to conditions. There is a self-contained one-bedroom staff cottage next to the house that might be available on occasion subject to request. There is external CCTV provided by the owner for your and the property’s protection which is only reviewed in case of issue or complaint.

For those who don’t yet know Bibury, William Morris described it as “the most beautiful village in England” Huffington Post name checked Bibury in its “The Most Charming Towns In Europe You’ll Want To Visit ASAP”. The village is known for its honey-colored 17th-century stone cottages with steeply pitched roofs, which once housed weavers who supplied cloth for fulling at nearby Arlington Mill. Until the 1980s, that building also housed the museum of Arlington Mill with a collection of period clothing, before it was shifted to Barnsley House. The Mill is now a private residence.

The place where the wool was hung to dry after being washed in Arlington Row, was known as “Rack Isle”. Today, this water meadow and marshy area, which is seasonally flooded and surrounded by water from three sides, is an important habitat for water-loving plants and birds including mallards, coots, and moorhens; it is also a National Trust Wildfowl Reserve.

The world’s first horse racing club, The Bibury Club, was formed in 1681 and held race meetings on Macaroni Downs above the village until the early 20th century.

And there are pubs and dining spots in walking distance as well as the eponymous Bibury Trout Farm.