The Luxury Channel skips the chaotic streets of the Medina to stay in Rocksure’s luxurious villa.
There are riads and hotels throughout the city (see this issue’s Luxury Channel Marrakech Guide), however, instead of stepping out into the bustling and stressful streets of the city, I have managed to find an alternative that gives me a fully-staffed private country home minutes from the city. If i want a private tour, the driver will whisk me in to meet a guide. If i want to chill out, the pool and 2.5 acres of land are more than enough. And if I want to indluge… There are plenty of wonderfully home-cooked meals awaiting me. This is because I have managed to sneak in a rented week at El Boura, one of Rocksure’s luxury Marrakech villas.
I say ‘sneak in’, because more often than not the villas are in use by the owners. Rocksure have properties throughout the world, all operating under a shared-ownership scheme. Properties are separated into ‘Funds’ each of which has a set number of investors are allocated a number of weeks a year to spend in any of the properties in their fund – or in properties in different funds.
Founder Director David Rogers is quick to allay any suspicions that it sounds a bit timeshare. “Investors in a Rocksure fund OWN 100% of the real estate between them” he argues, “so they are making a genuine property investment for the purpose of making a capital gain.” Unlike a timeshare purchaser, who owns nothing except the right to use the property, Rocksure shareholders actually own a fraction of each home. Funds have a finite end: after a set period of time, the properties in a portfolio are sold (although directors have a two-year leeway if they deem it prudent to wait before putting properties on the market) and the investors given their share of the profit. What makes this seem more attractive than simply owning and selling your own property is that the investment (and risk) are spread across different properties in different countries – and different currencies.
The reason people like me are allowed in to rent the properties for the occasional week is that Rogers and his Co-Founder, Desmond Patrick-Smith, want to keep running costs down for their investors. I’m glad they do – this is a completely different way to experience Marrakech. I have stayed in Riads, in Grande Dames and in country houses, but I’ve never had my own Moroccan country house and it is ultimately more relaxing.
The location is perfect – five minutes drive from the Medina and the airport, in full view of the majestic Atlas mountains – and the villa has been beautifully designed in a traditional style. El Bourra has seven en suite bedrooms and can easily accommodate 12 adults and 4 children. The main house is built around a cool central courtyard with a retractable glass roof, which provides a respite for reading or relaxing out of the harsh midday sun. The massive bedrooms in this building are both contemporary and classic Morocco – beautiful tiling in the bathrooms, comfy, draped beds and mod cons such as wifi. There’s even a specially designed kid’s room. Additional bedrooms are situated in two long buildings stretching back from the main house. These aren’t as pretty, but they are spacious and comfortable. Outside, a large pool is surrounded by loungers and trees, with the odd little shady alcove hidden away and filled with pretty sofas and cushions. This is just the place to while away the afternoon hours when it’s too hot for shopping and too early for the delicious, freshly cooked dinners.
Staff are always on hand to bring a refreshing mint tea, prepare a snack or organise a massage and, unlike a hotel, they will serve whatever meals you want – whenever and wherever you want them. That could be a traditional Moroccan dinner in the dining room, an al fresco lunch by the pool or a cosy winter supper in front of the fire in the sitting room. Ask nicely and they might even teach you how to cook it… Already, housekeeper Abdell has given me tips on where to find the best shoes in the souk – invaluable insider insight, as anyone who has ever stepped foot in the Medina’s labyrinthine streets of stalls will know. The driver is on hand to nip us in as soon as the baking midday sun abates, but for now, I’m happy to sit back, sip a cool drink and dream about being one of the lucky investors who get to call El Boura home.
El Boura rents from £4,500 per week.
Rocksure has three funds currently open for investors: the Capital Fund (which will eventually include 10 apartments in ten cities, of which Paris, Florence and Barcelona are completed), the Crystal Fund and the super luxe properties of the Quintessentially Platinum Fund, a joint venture with the high-end lifestyle and concierge company.