We’re still working on this, and probably always will be. It’s not enough to have used as much as possible natural and recycled building materials, or that we turn our waste and grey water into compost for soil regeneration, or that the house is designed around rainwater catchment and storage; there will always be new ways to reduce our ecological footprint and to pro-actively benefit the local environment and community.
Sustainable Use of Resources
The electrical grid arrived here in 2012 and the The Serai is on it, which means we can still be solar powered, but without batteries. With a combination of solar panels and homemade wind and gravity generators our aim is for the meter to be running backwards so fast during the day that we are, over all, a net supplier of electricity to the grid.
10% of your money goes into local community projects.
As a principal generator of funds for The Fertile Roots Foundation, this contribution is pivotal to our project to assist local farmers switch over to sustainable agriculture. With less and less rainfall each year this this is vital and difficult work, and we don’t have much time left..
Listening to visiting teachers, we are building this alternative space to allow a seperation between ‘work’ and ‘play’. The Temple is a little behind schedule due to Covid-19 but will be ready for autumn 2021. With large French windows to the East and West its 6x11m wood floor will be bathed in golden light at sunrise and sunset. Solid buttresses will support a huge vaulted ceiling.
The House & Around
With or without the ‘Temple’ the house was designed for groups, having indoor and outdoor stages, the vaulted saloon, an enormous flat roof, the sunset deck and front terrace. There are also prepared spaces in the garden and previous groups have made much use of the beach, which at low tide is huge.
Celebrating natural lime plasters and time-worn, recycled wood, bedrooms are unpretentious and uncluttered. Large glass doors and cleverly angled windows fill every corner with light and reward every glance with a view. Hammam style bathrooms of exposed, handmade brick and rich tadelakt plasters lend a deep warmth to the space.
The North Wing
The Family Room
Accessed via the central courtyard, this room features a king-size double, or twin beds, and makes use of a higher ceiling to offer a mezzanine space for 2-3 children (or adults), accessed by a spiral staircase. There’s an en-suite bathroom, and French window opening onto a south-facing patio.
The Tower Library
En-suite double / twin rooms
These 3 rooms are similar in size (26sqm)and layout, each offering a king-size double (or twin beds), en-suite turret bathroom, and a French window opening onto a south-facing patio. The SouthWest bedroom, however, also features a huge, west-facing French window opening onto another patio with outstanding views down the coast and over the ocean.
The kitchen, dining room, hall, and saloon with its stage and tremendous vaulted ceiling, are all open plan but can be seperated as required with sliding doors and curtains. There is a sound system and projector in place, with which to enjoy the superb acoustics of the saloon or watch a movie.
The courtyard is the beating heart of the Serai. Arranged on three levels beneath a natural roof of vines, honeysuckle and jasmine, it features a natural plunge pool cleaned by a border of wetland plants. At the western end there’s a bar area and steps up to a roof terrace with more shaded and comfortable seating. Elsewhere around the house, small, shaded seating areas abound, all with a great view.
Nadine Rossner is an Essaouira-based chef specialising in vegetarian menus with a ‘wild garden’ theme. Her delicious dishes and smoothies are a celebration of colour and texture. A yoga teacher herself, Nadine’s cooking is especially appreciated by ‘wellness’ guests seeking a thorough but pain-free detox. Contact us to connect with Nadine and discuss your menus.
Eating together is an intimate experience; beautiful food with beautiful people in a beautiful setting. The dining table not only has views out over both the courtyard and kitchen garden but sits in the middle of a 22m long, open plan space stretching from the kitchen door to the north wing. The sensation is more that of banqueting than merely dining. For lunch, however, the cool, green shade of the courtyard is unbeatable.
This part of Morocco is semi arid, bordering on arid. Average annual rainfall is a bare 15cms and Azrou Issa does not enjoy easy-to-reach groundwater. We do have a well but it produces very little each day, so the building is designed to harvest and store every possible liter of rainwater and then recycle as much of that as possible. We could buy in water, but that’s not a sustainable solution to the problem, so instead we use our reserves very carefully indeed, especially through the long summer drought. We ask that guests respect and remember this whenever they go to turn on a tap or take a shower. And whilst there are flush loos in all the bathrooms we also ask guests to consider using instead our beautiful vermi-compost toilets. To live sustainably in an environment such as this it is vital to ‘close the loop’ and feed back into the soil as much as we can.