The Hen Weekend Is Back!

The Hen Weekend Is Back!

We predict that 2011 will see the return of the Hen Weekend, whether it be at a local UK hotel with spa treatments and country walks, or an exotic jaunt to a balmy city for cocktails and poolside posing. To whet your appetite, a member of the Brides team reports here on her recent adventure with a group of hens to Marrakech.

"Just back from the most amazing and sophisticated hen weekend you can imagine. 12 of us flew out to Marrakech (very) early last Thursday morning, but we were sunbathing on our private roof terrace by 10am. We had hired the whole of Maison mk, one of the most stunning and luxurious riads in the heart of the medina. It is the perfect location to explore Marrakech because everything is so close - although it was hard to drag ourselves away because it was just so perfect. 

Six gorgeous double bedrooms all set around the courtyard (we felt like we were in a private home, no one locks their doors), stunning décor, really attentive staff, a gorgeous roof terrace for sunbathing/eating/sipping rosé, and a full hamman wet room. We felt totally cosseted, but did manage drag ourselves away for numerous shopping adventures in the souks.

Wow, you could get lost here, there's just so much to see and buy. And buy we did! We also found time to be scrubbed within an inch of our lives at the spa in Hotel Les Jardins de la Koutoubia - an incredible experience and highly recommended. We had a lovely lunch here and then collapsed around the pool before venturing out again that evening for yet more food. Dinner and a little bit of dancing followed at Bo Zin, a really cool restaurant a taxi ride from the medina. Maison mk organises all transportation and advises on anything and everything you should need so no worries there.

As there were a few sore heads on Saturday morning half of us stayed on the roof terrace - a big breakfast and killer view soon soothed the killer hangovers - and half of us hit the souks for some more retail therapy. We then regrouped before heading out to Nikki Beach for lunch. Not quite the ambience of St Tropez but we had a brilliant afternoon. You can't beat a bit of dancing poolside in your bikini on a hen party!
All in all it was an absolutely brilliant weekend and I cannot wait to go back. Although a slightly calmer weekend with my husband might be in order, but definitely at Maison mk. It is a truly special place and definitely worth a visit."

Find out more at www.maisonmk.com

Travel info: Fly with Easyjet from Gatwick, approx £176 return each. All transfers were arranged and covered by Maison mk.

Gift List Lust: Jigsaw Home

Gift List Lust: Jigsaw Home

Bring a new look to your bedroom with chic linen. The new jacquard double duvet cover (£90) and pillow cases (£18 each) by Jigsaw Home are 100% cotton and a great wedding gift choice. Just as you'll appreciate the girly romantic bird motif, your groom will definitely approve of the smart grey and charcoal palette. Add some scatter cushions with texture for a stylish contrast and then schedule in some post-honeymoon duvet days. Jigsaw Home is available at House of Fraser www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Isle Be Back

Isle Be Back

Just visited the Scilly Isles. Idyllic little place. It's 28 miles from Lands End but feels so cut off from the outside world (I couldn't even get a phone signal). Two thousand people live there - but leave the main island of St Mary's and people-spotting becomes a bit of a joke. And (the best part) it's even got its own microclimate, so while London was being lashed by rain, my cheeks acquired a rosy glow on a boat trip round the islands.

We stayed at Hell Bay (www.hellbay.co.uk) on rugged Bryher island. Hell, though, it ain't; the hotel's a delicious slice of island heaven with a three AA Rosette restaurant (modern dishes; local ingredients) and cool New England-meets-Cornwall décor. It was a cosy base for exploring the other islands, including Tresco (www.tresco.co.uk), home to world-famous botanical gardens; St Agnes with its crystal-clear waters; and St Martins, which has some of the best white-sand beaches.

On the flight back, a couple mentioned they had honeymooned in the Scillies the previous year. I wasn't surprised: the islands are close to home (one-and-a-half hours by tiny propeller plane from Southampton; I watched us land through the windscreen!) but feel remote enough to let you really unwind - there's nothing to do other than walk, eat and sleep. Bliss.

When to go: the season runs from April to late October.

Tropical Tablecentre

Tropical Tablecentre

For a striking tablecentre, fill a tall vase with limes and slices of star fruit (leave room at the top). For the floral topper, take a brick of Oasis large enough to sit inside the top of the vase and soak in water. Insert the stems of tropical flowers and foliage into the Oasis until it's completely covered and position the arrangement at the top of the vase.

Arrangement of calla lilies, anthuriums, cymbidium orchids, dendrobium orchids, phoenix palms, aspidistra leaves, large anthurium leaves and croton leaves, from £250 (includes hire of vase), Inwater. Limes, 30p each, Sainsbury's. Star fruit, £2 each, Fortnum&Mason.

As seen in the May/June 2010 issue of Brides.