Straddling a ridgeline between two tiny fishing and farming villages, the Serai stands like an ancient sentinel over the patchwork of terraced fields and drystone walls dropping gently towards the beach 800m away. With the forested hillside behind, the Atlantic in front and long clear views up and down the coast, the location is magical.

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Celebrating natural lime plasters and time-worn, recycled wood, our rooms 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.

4 beautiful, en-suite bedrooms of lime and wood and, if required, an extra two beds in the tower library.

What’s a big house for if not the bringing together of people?

The original vision behind the Serai was “an inspiring and visually compelling space for teachers of art and healing to bring their students to”. Reception areas for events and group activities of all natures include indoor and outdoor stages, an auditorium seating up to 110, wood floors in the Main Hall and sunset deck, a bar and several prepared spaces in the garden. Previous groups have also made much use of the beach, which at low tide is huge.

Slow Food

All meals are, as far as is possible, created using fresh and organic produce from our own garden or our neighbours' farms. Local ladies are our cooks and traditional Moroccan dishes their speciality, although their international repertoire is growing. Fruit and veg is kept fresh in an ingenious larder, which uses a solar chimney to draw in cool air from an underground pipe below the north wall of the building.

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This beautiful space of 133sqm (7 x 19) is protected from strong winds and sun by a 5m high vault of cane, over which is growing a natural living roof of honeysuckle, jasmine, Virginia creeper, and vines. Late afternoon sunlight through the western arch reflects off the pool to dance upon the surrounding walls. The courtyard is popular with local wildlife and by day and night our resident frogs are joined by birds of all kinds, bats, tortoises and chameleons.
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 get at least two, and even three, uses out of each and every drop. It is not currently possible to buy in water, nor will we ever want to, so we must 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 ask guests to consider using instead our beautiful compost loos. 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. Our vermi-compost loos use worms to create a rich compost from our waste.