Luxury destination weddings in Marrakech

Worlds Greatest Wedding Venues

CASINO ES SAADI

When I was invited to review Es Saadi Palace Gardens & Resort in Marrakech it really didn’t take me long to say yes. In fact, one visit to the website and I was hooked! To be fair, anyone in their right mind would hop on a plane tomorrow to soak up such luxury, and luxurious ladies & gents I assure it is. To hit the top spot of my Worlds Greatest Wedding Venues series you need to be pretty spectacular and this venue truly deserves it’s position at the very top of the A-list pile.

Designed in 1966 by Jean Bauchet, the Palace has been passed down through the generations and is now run by his grandson, Jean-Alexandre Bauchet and his wife Caroline. Known as the most glamorous venue to be seen at in Morocco, the venue certainly lives up to it’s reputation and has played host to icons including: Princess Margaret, The Rolling Stones and more recently Leonardo DiCaprio. Even our very own Kate Moss has graced the casino. Quite simply, Es Saadi oozes sophisticated fifties star-style glamour that is near on impossible to replicate. An authentic Moroccan experience that guarantees to deliver a memorable celebration unlike any other.

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My adventure began with what I can only describe as one of the most spectacular of welcomes I have ever experienced in my life – a poolside party at one of the Palace’s 10 private villas. Not only a sensational location for a private dinner, but an incredible space to choose for a pre-wedding celebration with loved ones, or even a wedding breakfast. Something I always treasure in a venue is a flexible approach to hosting parties and this is where Es Saadi Palace delivers a first class service. The food btw, was to die for! The traditional lamb Tagine with all the trimmings I sampled on this particular evening was something not to be forgotten in a hurry!

Es Saadi palace breakfast

After the night before it was time to explore Marrakech, kicking off with a gorgeous breakfast with my fellow travellers. The view poolside from this location is just stunning and again, makes a gorgeous spot for hosting a drinks party on your big day. To be fair, you could pick any spot within the grounds to say ‘I do’ and it would be incredible. On that note, my room was rather fabulous too, with lots of lovely personal touches including handmade truffles on arrival and an indulgent body scrub to delve right in to. Hello I am in heaven!

Biggest pool in Morocco

An aerial view pool side – The 2400 metre swimming pool is the largest in Marrakech &
includes a swim-up bar!

SENIOR DELUXE SUITE_Es_Saadi

A Senior Deluxe Suite at Es Saadi Palace & Gardens

Now clearly I couldn’t come all this way without checking out the World famous souk markets & ancient Palaces of Marrakech. Abdul our knowledgeable guide gave us a whirlwind tour of the key sights and even managed to throw in a few beauty treatments along the way too! Morocco is renound for its incredible mix of herbs, spices and healing oils. And I guess ultimately all these Ancient Moroccan traditions are the true Wonders of Marrakech – beyond the fact it is only three and a half hours from London and the sun is always shining – that and Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle which was honestly a highlight and worth a visit in it’s own right.

Exploring Marrakech

Exploring Marrakech with our brilliant tour guide Abdul

Jardin Majorelle in the summer

A view of the spectacular Jardin Majorelle – home of the late Yves Saint Laurent.

Next up, it was time to hit the five star spa at Es Saadi Palace – the perfect way to relax, unwind and prepare for a party! Showcasing the very best in luxury treatments, the spa boasts a cutting edge mix of hydrotherapy treatment systems, one of only two Dior Institutes in the World offering professional make-up services and an in-house salon to get you big day beautiful before the wedding. At the heart of the spa is a 100 year old eucalyptus tree that symbolises renewal and transformation – everything this incredible spa stands for. And the best bit? Well, I am thrilled to be previewing an exclusive first look at the new couples spa treatment room, which is due to open at the end of 2015 and quite honestly, is out of this world…

Couples spa at Es Saadi Palace

Es Saadi Palace couples spa room

So, all dressed-up and ready to go post spa indulgence, it was time for a big night out with a sumptuous dinner and a cocktail or two at the stunning L’Epicurien bistro & lounge bar. And to really get the party started we hit the dance-floor post meal and popped some bubbles to celebrate Es Saadi style! A dream location to toast any occasion – especially a post wedding party – that guests can continue into the early hours at the TheatrO nightclub. Literally all your entertainment needs are fulfilled and exceeded on-site to the point you don’t ever have to leave the resort! You can move between the various spaces on offer at Es Saadi and each one feels like you are somewhere different. When it comes to the wow factor, it doesn’t get bigger than this. And without doubt, this is what really makes Es Saadi stand out above and beyond the rest. The Palace even plays host to Africa’s very first casino too. A hugely popular attraction for both residents and tourists alike. When I said, everything is catered for I wasn’t joking!

L'EPICURIEN LOUNGE RESTAURANT

L’Epicurien bistro & lounge bar

TheatrO nightclub Marrakech

TheatrO nightclub – the best in Morocco

Diamonte camel Marrakech

How was I ever expected to resist a snap with a sparkly camel?!

Kate Moss outside casino Marrakech

More importantly, how could I say no to a quick swing in the cage outside the casino? Granted, I may not tick all the boxes of a traditional showgirl, but hey, when they told me Kate Moss had a go on a swing at the casino, not even security could hold me back! What a backdrop and what a night to remember.

Luxury destination weddings in Marrakech do not come bigger than this, in all honesty, I think you will be hard pushed to find such a treasure anywhere globally offering so much variation under one roof. It’s not a brand, it’s a family home and that’s what truly makes Es Saadi so special for a wedding. Steeped in a glorious history, there is an air of both majesty and mystique – a thrilling combination that is rarely found and cannot be faked. Es Saadi is the real deal. A place to make your own, where memories to treasure for a lifetime are made and dreams really do become a reality.

CHRISTIAN DIOR DINNER

Getting ready for a party – table setting for a Christion Dior dinner

To discover more about hosting a wedding or event at Es Saadi Palace Resort & Gardens simply click here to connect with their wedding team

Luxury castle wedding in Ireland

World’s Greatest Wedding Venues

Lough_Eske_Castle_night

Introducing LOUGH ESKE CASTLE

Nearly 20% of British couples now opt to say ‘I do’ outside the Kingdom and as this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon… I decided to pack my bags and hit the road to see what all the fuss was about. And yes, the options are endless if not a little overwhelming, but my quest in uncovering The World’s Greatest Destination Wedding Venues could not have started in a better place. And yes, there is a reason why they call it ‘The Emerald Isle’ – this is one adventure I am never likely to forget…

Bristol_Easyjet

And like any trip to a foreign land nowadays, it all kicked off with an early morning flight a la Easyjet. All aboard for a skylark both myself and trusty partner in crime Al McLeod proclaimed. We were having a ball already, pole dancing our way to the terminal gates. After all, when you’re not flying you should be dancing right?! In all fairness, I think the double shot latté had kicked in twenty minutes previous and perhaps the other passengers were not quite so enthralled with our early morning exploits as we were, but hey, you’ve got to try your best to entertain the troops right? I am a wedding fairy after all.

Peggy's Diner Ireland

Not one to shy away from a spot of spontaneity, we decided to road trip it from Belfast to Donegal. And what a hoot that was. A chance to take in the scenery, explore the sights and take a pit stop at Peggy’s Diner – still a highlight for us and probably our finest find en route to the castle! Turns out I am a MASSIVE fan of the Irish cuisine and it all kicked off with one of Peggy’s breakfasts. And some much needed mapping advice. We were a little lost at this point and only about 30 mins into our mission. Possibly I am more suited to a schedule rather than a free-stylin approach! Anyhoo the pic below was the snap that really got us excited… we were nearly there!

Lough Eske Castle route

The Wedding Fairy descending on a real life Fairy-tale castle sort of felt like it was meant to be. There was a majestic vibe in the air, although I suspect this was more down to the breathtaking scenery, rather than letting my imagination run wild with me. And who could blame us, the Lough (Irish spelling of Loch) totally blew us away en route! We hadn’t even arrived at the castle yet, made it up the drive in fact, and already it felt like we had arrived somewhere seriously magical… I am rarely lost for words, but the landscape of Lough Eske totally left me speechless.

Lough Eske scenery

And yes, we were a little giddy with excitement at this point!

Outside Lough Eske Castle

Yay! We’ve landed. From Weston-super-Mare (home of Dismaland just in case you haven’t heard of it before!!) to Donegal via taxi, plane, hire-car and foot… done and dusted in 8 hours! Yes, a mild bout of hysteria may have kicked-in at this juncture. But we made it and my goodness we were glad we had.

Inside Lough Eske Castle

Booking-in completed, we headed to our suite where I promptly stripped and slipped into the gorgeous set of slippers and cosy robe that awaited me. Our room was utterly gorgeous and the little basket of fruit, hand-made truffles and delicate fancies that greeted us really was the icing on the cake. The heated floor in the bathroom was a proper treat too! You could not ask for a warmer welcome and for me, this is what really excels a venue from fine to fabulous – beyond the luxuries and natural beauty of a space. There was a sense of pride about the castle from all the team members we met actually and I think that is a really important touch when considering a wedding venue.

Lough Eske Castle bar

Next up it was onto the important stuff – hitting the bar! And a pretty impressive cocktail list it was too! I must say, having never been to Ireland before, the food in general was right up my street. Home-made, wholesome and utterly fabulous. I sampled a Donegal fish chowder earlier in the day next to the Lough, teamed with my first official pint of Guiness in Ireland – a pretty special moment. But I had no idea what was to come later in the eve… my first Irish lamb stew at the castle was to die for! As you can probably tell from said picture, the party started early and finished late for us. A proper Irish knees up. Just as it should be.

Lough Eske breakfast

Good morning! Yes the morning after the night before can often be a rather delicate affair, but on this occasion, all that was needed was a hearty Irish breakfast and a beautiful welcome courtesy of the restaurant team. We were totally set up for the days activities and put it this way, there is no fear of being under-fed at this particular hotel! The breakfast buffet was hands down the best I have ever seen. More of an event than a breakfast. You name it they had it. The freshly smoked salmon was simply divine. Breakfast done, I promptly headed back to said boudoir to slip back into the robe ready for my morning spa treatment. And again, the spa itself really was a treat. I have sampled many and am quite often left a little disappointed by the treatments in hotel spas, but on this occasion, my deep tissue massage really hit the spot. Actually it was up there as one of the best treatments I have ever had. And yes, a little dip in this beauty below was also very welcome to round off proceedings.

Lough Eske pool

Post lunch we hit the road again to explore the area and boy I am glad we did. The coastline is World famous and for good reason too. The stunning scenery draws tourists from all over and makes for a pretty sensational set of picture perfect postcards. I had a bit of a moment below and as you can see… I am certainly not over emphasising the point, which for me, is pretty unusual.

Donegal views

Back at Lough Eske Castle post road trip, it was time for us to dress for dinner, which for me always proves to be a highlight when away. I just love popping on my finest for a gourmet treat and that it really was. The relaxed approach to dinner was also a winner for me too. Quite often, fine dining can be a little stiff, but the ambience at Lough Eske Castle hits a really lovely balance between the two and for me, that really ticks all the boxes and is quite hard to find actually.

Lough Eske dinner

In all honesty, we didn’t want to leave the next morning! I was last seen grabbing onto the reception desk for dear life, before finally being evicted from the property by security. I am of course joking, but parting with my comfy robe and heated bathroom flooring was an emotional moment. But luckily our adventures didn’t just end there, we took the coastal route back to Belfast airport, catching the famous Giants Causeway before finally boarding our Easyjet for the flight home. Yes it was a whirlwind tour, but one I will truly treasure. And as for Lough Eske Castle, well, if you are looking for a 5 star service without a 5 star attitude, this is most definitely the destination wedding venue for you.

Lough-Eske-weddings

Built in the 17th Century and steeped in Gaelic history, Lough Eske Castle is licensed to hold civil marriage ceremonies and operates a one wedding per day policy which I love. Nobody would want to share such a space on their special day! The venue can cater for up to 280 guests, with food prepared by Donegal’s award-winning and Michelin trained chef, Philipp Henkes. There are a range of packages you can choose from, or tailor make your own. You can even do a castle take-over and exclusively hire the entire venue for your celebration… including the spa! For more on weddings at Lough Eske Castle just click here to visit the relevant pages on their website. Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed.

Mary & Darragh

5 star service without the 5 star attitude GUARANTEED

Lough Eske dinner