‘Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans’ John Lennon
Owning and running a guesthouse was never on my ‘to-do’ list. When I sold my Recruitment company in the Netherlands we anticipated retirement in France and the ‘togetherness of twosomeness’. Instead we bought a ruin in Tarifa and rebuilt it as our home but before we could move in my husband died.
‘To stay or not to stay?’ – that was the question. I came back from Marrakech where I had been staying in a delightful ‘dar’ (a series of suites grouped around a central patio) to find the ruin next door was up for sale. ‘ Maktoub’ (in Arabic)– ‘it is written’. Once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur, so here was the golden opportunity offered to me on a plate – I could build and run a ‘dar’ in Tarifa.
We are now 15 years further and Dar Cilla has been fully operative for ten years. Together with Martina (I knew her as a baby – the daughter of our former neighbours in The Netherlands) we have created what many of our guests call ‘a home from home’ for travellers who appreciate style and comfort.
I lived and worked for many years in Africa, including Egypt, the Sudan, the Congo .... My first visit to Morocco was in a camper van driving from The Netherlands to Cairo (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia,Libya, Egypt) with a 14 month old baby. I fell in love with Morocco and resolved to return. Now, every morning I wake up in Spain to look across the shimmering sea to the shoreline of Morocco, only 35 minutes away by ferry. I have the best of both worlds! No wonder I am enthusiastic to become part of Special Lodgings, linking guesthouses/dars ‘with a difference’ in Southern Andalusia and Northern Morocco. It is a privilege and a joy to link up with like-minded aficionados who love what they do, love where they have chosen to do it, and genuinely want their guests to love it as much as they do.
English by birth, Dutch by marriage, international at heart!