Palais Amani: Suspended in the arms of Time.

Palais Amani: Suspended in the arms of Time.

This time last week, as the medical state of emergency was declared in Morocco, Palais Amani shut its doors. Or as shut as we can ever be, for our wonderful oasis just inside the medina in Fez can never be completely empty. The great cedar doors that under normal circumstances are opened by Ba Mohamed to welcome travel weary guests only shut from the inside, meaning that the building can never be completely left alone.

As I sit here, in my office at the end of my garden at home, I can picture our reduced workforce in the medina in Fez.

Abdel Aziz our chief technician and his three colleagues are working in relay to cover 24 hours 7 days a week making sure that the building is safe, that the gardens are watered, that the terraces are swept, and the pumps are ticking over. They are also re-varnishing the woodwork, replacing loose mosaic tiling, sorting out the workshop and repainting areas that need a new lick of paint. It goes without saying that all this is being done with the correct protection and minimum distance between each other. I’d like to imagine that that at five pm they stop for tea and sit around the fountain listening to the birds chattering, the water gently splashing and exchange news from their families.

Every morning and afternoon Siham and Fatima, two of our chambermaids who live closest to the Palais, alternate their shifts to air all the rooms and suites, to chase away the dust blown in on the Chergui winds from the Sahara and to ensure that the building is ready to go once we can open again.  I very much hope they too are taking a minute to pause in our oasis of a garden and enjoy warmth of the day and the kaleidoscope of colour dancing on the palace walls as the sun shines through the stained glass windows.

 And like Ilias our director, Abdelali, and myself, two of the reservation team are working from the confinement of their homes to reassure those of you that are rescheduling bookings by mail. Together we are working on getting ready for the time when we will be able to welcome you all again. For there will definitely be a post Covid19, but when and in what form, today we cannot say.

This unprecedented world situation seems very surreal, because whilst we are worried of how we can keep not only ourselves but also our businesses alive, so many of us are experiencing, (the medical corps and other essential workforces excluded, *) the wealth that comes with an abundance of time. 

Our days are a little quieter and a lot more mindful.  The whirlwind of the everyday has been replaced by a bizarre beauty as we experience more time with family members who are confined with us, more time to create beautiful meals, more time to read, more time to meditate. Any travelling we are doing is in our minds, and it would appear you are too.

We have already had some beautiful messages from past guests taking the time thank us for the indelible memories they have of their experiences with us at Palais Amani. They too are travelling back in their minds and reflecting on what really matters.  

Because what really matters, health and safety aside, is that we nourish beauty in the everyday, and take the time to enjoy it.

Our focus for now is to do all we can to preserve our haven so that you can come and enjoy it once this is all over just as Abdel Aziz and Selem, Siham and Fatima are doing right now.

So in this luxury of time, escape the anxious climate by travelling to past memories or future plans. Enjoy the beauty on the page and the warmth it brings to your hearts, and stay safe, stay well and keep in touch. 

Jemima Mann-Baha.

Co-Owner, Palais Amani.

*Medical corps, and emergency services, the army and suppliers of primary necessity goods, excepted. These guardian angels are about as far from the situation of meditative introspection, as they could possibly be.  Thank goodness they are there, the unspoken heroes of our societies. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.