A Moroccan experience for young Indians

When Young Indians (Yi), an integral part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), decided to hold a conclave and indulge in some brainstorming, they chose the exotic Morocco as their destination. And what an experience they had. The programme was high on energy and delivered some unforgettable and exclusive experiences.

The Yi membership includes young progressive Indians between the age group of 21 and 40 and comprises entrepreneurs, professionals and achievers from different walks of life. Their vision is “To become the voice of young Indians globally.” For the Yi Retreat, 15 professional, extremely knowledgeable, tech-savvy and well informed achievers travelled for seven nights to Morocco from Kolkata in January for a week-long conclave.

Rohit Patni, director of Rohit Ferrotech and one of the participants, said: “We enjoyed great choices of properties and the scheduled plans for the day were well executed. Also the Scarabeo camp is really good in this weather and was so much fun to experience. The whole itinerary was well planned and was in tune with all the participants’ needs. We were able to commune as planned and emerged richer by the experience. Aircom has given us some wonderful memories in the land of Morocco.”

Anjani Dhanuka, director of Aircom Travels, Kolkata, who managed the event and logistics of travel, said: “It was a challenge that we met with good research and understanding of the client’s brief as they are themselves achievers in their own field and very knowledgeable with distinct preferences. The Young Indians achieved their brainstorming objectives during their shared experiences as well as during the varied dining experiences at a variety of exquisite venues. We are happy that we helped them to achieve their goals through this trip to Morocco.”

On the evening of their arrival in Marrakech, they were driven from the airport and checked in at Hotel Riad Dar Sara. Next morning after breakfast, the group was taken on a tour of Marrakech a city history and culture that has stood for close to a thousand years. They witnessed a fascinating sight of sandstone buildings, dusty streets and towering minarets against deep blue skies. During their guided visit of Marrakesh’s monuments they visited Majorelle Garden, Museum Yves Saint Laurent and Palais Bahia. They had lunch at Le Nomad restaurant. Post lunch they carried on to see Menara Garden and Palais Badii. Even after a busy day, the group was enthusiastic enough to explore Jama El Fna square and evening market – a multifaceted square known for its shows and the cosmopolitan character of the crowds that frequent the venue with snake charmers, acrobats, musicians, actors, herbalists, and astronomers! Dinner was booked at the exclusive Bo Zin restaurant and lounge bar while the overnight stay was at the Hotel Riad Dar Sara.

On the third day, after breakfast at the hotel and checking out, the group was transported to Atlas Mountains. On the way they stopped at Lake Lalla Takerkoust for a tea break and then drove their way through a Berber village. Finally they arrived and checked in at the hotel, Kasbah Bab Ourika. Lunch was served with the à la carte menu, which changed every single day with fresh vegetables served from their own garden and the local market. The day’s activities included a traditional hammam (communal bath) followed by a lesson in making Berber tea.

The evening was free, with shisha always available in the hotel. Dinner was arranged at a Lebanese restaurant, Azar à Gueliz. After overnight at the hotel, the next morning at 5 am, the group was transported for a hot balloon flight in the Atlas Mountains. Breakfast was served before with a snack after the hot balloon flight in a Berber tent.

Lunch was served in an authentic restaurant with vegetarian tagine and vegetarian couscous at Chez Juju. At 1.00 pm, the group departed for Oukaimden where they were given lessons on how to ski with monitors. Although the snow had begun melting early this year, still there was enough for lessons for beginners. At around 6 pm, they returned to Kasbah Bab Ourika. For dinner, the group enjoyed some accompanying entertainment at Comptoir Darna and returned back to their hotel.

On the fifth day, after breakfast at the hotel, the Young Indians of CII were transferred to Scarabeo Camp in the Agafay desert, for a nomadic experience, but with luxury trappings – an Oriental-African adventure in a stone desert. A hilly barren landscape in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, the Agafay Desert is a playground for quad bikers, buggy enthusiasts and camel rides against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. The group indulged in activities of their choice. Lunch comprised salads, Tajine vegetarian and Tajine of fish and chicken, vegetarian couscous, hummus, Moroccan salad, Mechouia and dessert. It was a mesmerising evening of star gazing and dinner in the desert camp, around a fire with a guitarist serenading them, shisha and two belly dancers. They spent the night in the desert at Scarabeo Camp’s superior tent.

On the sixth day, after breakfast in the camp, the group was transported to Casablanca. They checked in at the Gray Hotel before a city tour of Casablanca, the economical capital of Morocco, with its central market, the Habbous district, the royal palace and the Hassan II mosque.  Lunch was at Le Cabestan restaurant. The afternoon was spent shopping at the Souk of Casablanca. The finale was the experience of an unforgettable dinner at Rick’s Café, the venue immortalised on celluloid in the movie Casablanca, by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

On the seventh and final day, most of the group was transferred to the Casablanca airport for departure back to India while four members of the group left for a day-long exploration of the city of Fez, thus bringing down the curtain on an extremely participative retreat of young thinkers in the Indian industry.