Now Marrakech has an Oberoi too!

Talking about imperial cities that are popular amongst world travellers, Marrakech ranks quite high. In the Kingdom of Morocco! We have been eyeing this country for a while now and imagine the excitement when we heard The Oberoi group is opening a new luxurious property there!

The land of mosques and souq, Morocco is a truly breathtaking locale and offers visual treats probably like no other city, with its beautiful patterns and designs you see often n Instagram! This week, The Oberoi Group announced the highly anticipated opening of The Oberoi, Marrakech.

Grand Canal View - The Oberoi, Marrakech

A luxury resort with warm hospitality and picturesque views of the Atlas Mountains that will open to guests  on 1st December, 2019.

Grand Canal - The Oberoi, Marrakech

The property is located in twenty-eight acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, fragrant citrus orchards and olive groves with spectacular views of the snow – capped Atlas Mountains. The resort is located twenty five minutes from the Djema el-Fna square and the ancient walled city which makes it super easy to explore the various sites around.

The design of this luxury resort has been inspired by the magnificent history of Moroccan architecture. The courtyard of the main building incorporates the design of the historic Medersa Ben Youssef, built in the 14th century and one of Marrakech’s most famous historic monuments.

Medersa Ben Youssef Marrakech

Medersa Ben Youssef Courtyard

The Oberoi, Marrakech has 84 spacious and luxurious rooms, suites and villas; seventy-six of which have large private pools and private gardens. The rooms and suites have been thoughtfully laid out for maximum privacy.

Announcing the opening of the resort, Mr. P.R.S. Oberoi, Executive Chairman, The Oberoi Group, said, “We are delighted to announce the opening of The Oberoi, Marrakech. We look forward to extending The Oberoi Group’s presence in one of the world’s most exotic destinations. Several Oberoi Hotels & Resorts have been recognised as amongst the best in the world. I am confident that The Oberoi, Marrakech, with its exceptional location, aesthetic design and committed team will offer the distinctive Oberoi service to travellers from around the world.”

The Oberoi, Marrakech has three restaurants featuring diverse International and Moroccan culinary experiences. The bar and the terrace overlook the extensive gardens and the Atlas Mountains. That sure gets us excited to visit and take in the pleasures of everything Morocco has to offer!

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The Oberoi Spa with an indoor pool is located on a natural water body and is surrounded by orchards. The spa has private therapy suites offering authentic Moroccan and Ayurvedic treatments. Guests can also experience the Hammam and herbal therapies. But we can’t wait to see the pictures from this place when the property opens!

Hospitality is for everyone and hence the kind folks at Oberoi have built a children’s activity centre within the premises for families travelling with children.

Additionally, it also has a 300 square metre function room and smaller meeting rooms for social and corporate events. The resort claims to offer authentic Oberoi Experiences to enable guests to explore the best of the destination’s vibrant culture and historic monuments.

Unparalleled luxury, exquisite design and Oberoi Hotels’ legendary service have impressed travellers world over, again and again. It will only be a little before The Oberoi, Marrakech becomes the preferred choice for discerning travellers looking for a unique and personalised way to experience Marrakech.

If you are planning a trip to Marrakesh, you can use the comprehensive resources at Lonely Planet to start with.

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Goa Travel Guide: Experience culture with these Art cafes

Living in Mumbai always posed one silver lining to both of us – its proximity to Goa! Despite being the most frequented holiday destination in India, Goa holds a very special place in our hearts. You must be wondering why Goa of all places is special to us when we have visited so many other, supposedly more exotic locations. Well, it is a unique love story between The Moonchasers and the offbeat Goa through our tinted glasses.

Goa happens to be the birthplace of our blog, vlog and everything that we do today for travel. It might sound like a fairytale but sitting on a deserted fishing boat, parked loosely in a tidal creek, watching as the moon casts its light on the shoring phytoplanktons is one of our favourite things to do in this union territory.

Today, tourists are taking a deeper interest in understanding the culture of the natives in Goa and engaging with them while on vacation. Nearly 80 lakh tourists visited Goa in 2018* and according to Goa Tourism, the numbers have jumped tens of lakhs every year since 2012.

Goa tourism arrival statistics

Source: Goa Tourism

You may want to not recognise that despite all the charm, Goa also attracts a strange segment of rowdy tourists who visit with zero respect and responsibility for their actions, demeanor and impact on Goa. They go for the nightlife and cheap booze, with shady intentions of misbehaving with women and with a sad motivation of sleeping with a foreigner woman during his stay. You read it right, we are saying it aloud. Goa attracts uncouth travellers too, who not only stop at being rowdy but cause enough problems for those around. We have made such wonderful friends with people we have met, stayed with, travelled with and explored with in Goa that it deeply saddens us to hear about their experiences with such crowds, quite alarmingly frequently!

This blog post is to provide insights to the better traveller on what’s new in Goa that can make for a great holiday destination still very much! Trust us when we say, Goa continues to be our favourite beach destination in India and will be for years to come!

In our 17 or so visits to this gorgeous beach state, we have explored more than 30 beaches, ate at homestyle cafes and made hundreds of friends who always welcome us with warm hearts and epic Goan food. More and more locals are opening up their homes to guests, taking cooking classes for them, or showing them around the fishing villages from the view of a native or simply helping them find Instagrammable spots on the mountainous terrains or lush village roads. Goa is not about just the beaches any more. Goa has evolved.

In this article, we bring to you 6 cafes that will make your trip to Goa extra special just by their simplicity and craft. If you visit any of them after reading this, don’t forget to tell us about your experience!

Artjuna Cafe, Anjuna

_Shakshuka

Artjuna cafe is a hub for expats in the North Goa area and is located on the road to
Anjuna Beach and Wednesday flea market. The café is situated outside an old
Portuguese style house in a beautiful garden, with a trendy lifestyle store inside the
house and a popular covered event space offering regular yoga, mixed martial arts
and other workshops. Their coffee is a good accompaniment to the delicious desserts they serve in partnership with couple run Patisserie Delicieux. It remains open in the monsoon and people come in regularly for activities such as mixed martial arts, yoga classes, movie nights and a well stacked bookshelf. 

Our choice: Shakshuka and Chia Seed pudding with Watermelon feta salad for an appetising breakfast.

artjuna cafe goa smoothie

Jamun Smoothie for a healthy breakfast

Cafe Bodega, Altinho, Panjim 

This cafe is not only a cafe but an art house offering classes for children to adults. The beautiful courtyard and gallery housed within a Portuguese bungalow makes for a great space for conversations and art appreciation. Do check out their fresh baked desserts for your sweet tooth!

Bodega UrmiBodega wall

Caravela Cafe & Bistro, Sao Tome, Panjim

A hidden gem in the heart of Panjim! Run by a father-son duo, Caravela Cafe is cosily tucked in the by lanes of Sao Tome and also has a beautiful homestay, on top of the cafe that serves the best coffee and amazing food. Try out the prawn rissois or beef xacuti to taste the sensationality of their recipes! When at Caravela, say hi to Carlos Uncle and ask him to give you a little tour of Goan history. His warmth and knowledge makes us go back every time we are in Goa!

Saraya Goa, Porvorim

Saraya was created to be a space which touches the Goan community, by helping young aspiring artists, spreading awareness on alternatives and new ways of living , by being an example on how new structures and ideas of living can be even more beautiful and enjoyable as most people are stuck with copying the tried and tested ways of construction, eating , living , etc. which are proving to not only be harmful for the Earth but are also dry and boring.  It is essentially a space created to inspire change. It is still a work in progress and  the owners have many more ideas on making this place even more harmonious with Nature, one step at a time. Founded by Architect and INterior Designer Deeksha Thind in 2014, Saraya hosts numerous workshops and events throughout the year.

the-project-cafe

The Project Cafe, Assagao

A gourmet cafe and living space that originated from an idea of a design consortium of creators, The Project Cafe is one of the best places to take in art in the setup of a 130 year old Portuguese Bungalow. It has a residential space as a melting pot of ideas and inspiration fro creators and artists.

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The Project Cafe: Interior

Carpe Diem, Majorda

A true art gallery cum cafe, Carpe Diem houses some of the best artworks by artists from different genres. An old Goan bungalow with phenomenal artwork lining the walls, it opens up to a beautiful indoor garden serving as the cafe area. In addition to the space that serves as an Art Gallery, are a small courtyard behind the chapel, a couple of rooms, a kitchen, a larger landscaped backyard and even a stage area that go to form space that can be used for creative learning experiences of all sorts.

 

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Carpe Diem Art Cafe with its cozy ambiance and gourmet menu provides the perfect opportunity to sit back and unwind with a good book.

While waiting for a coffee or a signature sandwich like the ‘The Meat Eater’s Club’ or a sweet/savory waffle, browse  through the lifestyle store with its wide range of offerings, from apparel and ceramic products to gifts and souvenirs.

Carpe Diem interior 2

Carpe Diem Cafe

Carpe Diem Interior

They are open 6 days a week, Tuesday – Sunday. 10 am – 7 pm. The outdoor stage provides a great space for performance based events here!

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Eco-friendly Grape County gives you a taste of luxury and beer in wine country Nashik

Grape County

What happens when an Architect comes across an intricately crafted space? I think they fall in love with their profession all over again!

This is what happened when we visited Grape County Eco Resorts in Trimbak, near wine country Nashik. On the lookout for eco-friendly stays around Mumbai, we found this Greenspaces initiative to exactly what we were looking for. Located just about 30 minute out of Nashik city, it is a quaintly crafted destination, perfect for mingling with the nature while enjoying a bit of luxury for your well deserved weekend getaway.

There is so much to say about the resort, which is spread across 150 acres, just adjacent to a vast area of reserved forest land. It is home to 35 different variety of birds and innumerable species of butterflies, in the specially built biodiversity park. Grape County is not just a hotel or resort; it is a getaway in itself. An artificially built lake, two large swimming pools overlooking the rolling meadows, multiple nature trails where you can spot a leopard print or two if lucky or come across a full grown Cobra (happened to us!) makes this place a treasure chest for bird watchers and naturalists.

lakeside

Staying true to their business, the property landscape was done by a famous design firm. One can take a bicycle ride or a pleasant evening stroll by the lake or have tea witnessing a gorgeous sunset from the watchtower!

 

View

We however want to talk about the fantastic hospitality first! Grape County is an eco resort and eco living destination, bringing together nature enthusiasts from different cultures to relax and rejuvenate amidst wilderness.

The rooms are tastefully curated for the vast variety of travellers – Premium and Superior rooms best suited for couples and small families. The Suite rooms are huge, making for a spacious yet private space for groups of friends, groups of couples and big families! They also provide luxury tents for the nature lover in you, which can be accessed with a fun buggy ride inside the biodiversity park.

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Grape County eco resort premium room

Premium Room overlooking the lake

Our personal favourite will be the view from the humongous bathtub though! The small things that screams good hospitality are the little additions to the room amenities and decor. Organic toiletries, glass water bottles instead of plastic, solar powered light furnishings – you will get that feeling of being taken care of the moment you step into your abode here.

Bath tub premium grape county

Bathe with a view

Grape County is the country’s first star rated eco-resort, accredited by TERI. What makes it so?

The entire property makes their own power using the man made water reservoir, recycles 70% of everyday water used in the operation of the property, houses a biodiversity park to provide home to birds and butterflies and the company has planted 35000 trees after the property was built adjacent to the forest land. The forest and the property are separated by fences that you can cross only with a certified naturalist. Guess what! You can have a blissful sunset all by yourself while kayaking in the pleasant waters of the lake too!

 

We loved the food at Flambé restaurant, where you can not only taste a variety of food especially with the regular food specials the chefs bring in; but taste a wide variety of wine and craft beer. Surprising us with the range of sheer amazing beers from Great State Aleworks, Moonshine Meadery and WhiteOwl Brewery, they also invited us to the second edition of Oktobrew – a two day craft brew festival with music, shopping and camping under the stars! Who expected a beer festival in the typically known wine country!

As you all know we are big fans of craft brews and we think it is absolutely fantastic that Grape County is building a platform for Mumbai and Pune beer enthusiasts to experience new tastes while camping in the Nashik valleys. The 5 kickass bands that will be performing on October 20th and 21st are a big bonus to be there too!

We are giving away two passes on our Instagram page. Head there for your chance to experience a happening beer fest to celebrate Oktoberfest!