November 8 to 13, 2019
Cost: $3900 - $4600
We imagined the most delicious 6 days EVER and we're inviting you to come with us. Picture yourself in absolute technicolor, life changing Marrakech heaven.
In a far away land of intricate patterns, saturated colors and secret gardens, join artists Mati McDonough and Faith Evans-Sills on the exotic journey of a lifetime. This will be our fourth retreat in Marrakech, we have come to love the energy of this magical place and can't wait to share all of our favorites with you! We imagined the most delicious 6 days EVER and we're inviting you to come with us. Join us in Marrakech, Morocco for a 6 day/5 night escape full of opulent luxury, guided shopping, cultural exploration and workshops bursting with creativity and inspiration gathered on location as we journey in this exotic land.
This retreat will be a luxe, ALL INCLUSIVE experience. We've gathered the best of the best from our last 3 visits to Marrakech and brought them together for you, this trip will be a dream. Picture yourself in absolute technicolor, life changing Marrakech heaven. We’re pulling out all the stops!
If Morocco has daunted you, but its been on your must visit list for years, we've got you covered! Consider this your gentle entry point, right along with us. Its all here for you: all the color, inspiration, exquisite dinners, hammam spa & massage, painting in our roof top studio while listening to the call to prayer, exploring secret gardens and palaces, camel riding in the desert.....not to mention shopping at our favorite sources. Included are all meals, lodging, transportation, spa, expert guides, entrance fees, art & inspiration gathering workshops.
This will be a time to nurture the whole self, to slow down and soak in the environment with all of your senses. Mati & Faith will lead you through workshops on capturing inspiration with watercolor paint, providing you with the opportunity to meet the projects wherever you are in your art practice.
Inspiration Gathering with Watercolor Painting will be our jumping off point as we delight each of our senses together.....with fresh food, exotic tours, field trips down secret alleys, guided shopping, henna parties and so much more.
Consider this your invitation to join us on the dream adventure of a lifetime in Marrakech, Morocco, november 8 to 13, 2019*.
*Please keep in mind that we will not offer a Morocco Retreat in 2020.
(If you paid a deposit only at registration, your balance is due by June 15, 2019.)
WE WILL BE STAYING AT THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE...RIAD YASMINE
NESTLED IN ITS OWN PRIVATE GARDEN OASIS, RIAD YASMINE IS A STYLISH, CHARMING AND HOME-LIKE BOUTIQUE RETREAT THAT IS LOCATED WITHIN MARRAKECH’S MEDINA, IT IS THE PERFECT LOCATION FROM WHICH TO EXPLORE MARRAKECH ON FOOT. FOUR GUEST ROOMS ARE SINGLE OCCUPANCY (THESE ROOMS ARE SOLD OUT), OTHER GUEST ROOMS ARE DOUBLE OCCUPANCY.
THE RIAD IS A FORMER PRIVATE HOME WITH MOORISH ROOMS AND SUITES OF REFINED ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY DOWN TO THE SMALLEST DETAIL. IT COMBINES AUTHENTIC CHARM, DISCREET LUXURY AND A CONTEMPORARY ATMOSPHERE. ENJOY THE DIFFERENT RELAXATION SPACES THE RIAD OFFERS. FROM THE ROOF TOP TERRACE ENJOY BREATH-TAKING VIEWS OF THE MEDINA AND THE SNOW CAPPED ATLAS MOUNTAINS IN THE DISTANCE. THE WIDE SOLARIUM IS EQUIPPED WITH LOUNGE CHAIRS, TOWELS, HATS, GIVING YOU THE OPTION TO UNWIND IN THE SUN OR IN THE SHADE OF A PARASOL. IN ADDITION TO THE SPACIOUS LOUNGE AREAS, THERE ARE SEVEN DOUBLE-OCCUPANCY, AND FOUR SINGLE OCCUPANCY, GUEST BEDROOMS EACH WITH SPACIOUS EN-SUITE MOROCCAN TILED BATHROOMS. THE ROOF TOP AND OTHER COMMON AREAS WILL ACT AS OUR CENTRAL MEETING SPACE FOR RELAXING, GATHERING, ART MAKING OR EATING. THE CARVED STUCCO AND MULTIPLE BALCONIES THROUGHOUT, CREATES A BEAUTIFUL EXOTIC ATMOSPHERE WITHIN THE INTERNAL COURTYARD AND CENTRALLY LOCATED TILED SWIMMING POOL SURROUNDED BY LOUNGES.
THE BEAUTIFUL DINING ROOM ON THE GROUND FLOOR, WHICH CONTAINS A LARGE MIRROR REFLECTING THE PATIO, IS FRAMED BY A LIVING ROOM IN THE MOROCCAN TRADITION WITH LOUNGE AND FIREPLACE, AS WELL AS AN EQUIPPED LIBRARY.
FOUR OF THEIR GUEST ROOMS ARE LOCATED IN THEIR NEWLY RENOVATED, ULTRA EXCLUSIVE GUEST HOUSE NEXT DOOR. IF YOU ARE LONGING FOR MORE PRIVACY, CALM AND QUIET, PLEASE REQUEST THESE ROOMS THAT WILL BE OFFERED ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS.
MODERN ETHNIC GLAMOUR IS THE THEME . ATTENTION TO DETAIL EMERGES AT EVERY TURN IN THE HAND-PAINTED DECORATIVE CEILINGS AND INTRICATELY CARVED PLASTER THROUGHOUT THE HOTEL ON THE BALCONIES AND FIREPLACE IN THE MAIN DINING ROOM, AS WELL AS IN THE CAFTAN-FABRICS CONVERTED INTO CUSHIONS.
Cost: $3900 (double occupancy) - $4600 (sold out) airfare not included
$1000 NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT REQUIRED TO HOLD YOUR SPOT. TOTAL BALANCE IS DUE June 15TH, 2019. PAYMENTS PLANS ARE AVAILABLE, PLEASE SEE FAQ'S BELOW FOR DETAILS.
DUE TO HIGH AMOUNT OF INTEREST, WE EXPECT THIS RETREAT TO SELL OUT QUICKLY. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO PUT YOUR DEPOSIT DOWN EARLY, THAT WAY YOU'LL HAVE THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME TO COMFORTABLY SPACE OUT YOUR PAYMENTS.
ONCE WE RECEIVE YOUR DEPOSIT WE WILL BE IN TOUCH AND SEND YOU TIMELY UPDATES AND TRAVEL TIPS AS NEEDED.
OUR LUXURIOUS ALL INCLUSIVE ITINERARY:
friday, november 8 (day 1) - arrival, orientation and opening circle
Arrive in Morocco, transportation from the airport to Riad Yasmine will be provided. You'll have a chance to refresh yourself and settle into the beautiful Raid, take a dip in the pool, relax on the roof top terrace, or explore the neighborhood. The Retreat will begin with an Opening circle at 6pm, followed by a three course welcome dinner at Riad Yasmine.
saturday, november 9 (day 2) - painting workshop, tour of marrakech and guided shopping
Breakfast at Riad Yasmine, along with an inspirational workshop on Watercolor Painting. Then its off for some adventuring! Guided tours of the Marrakech medina (old city) and souks will be taking place, along with excellent guided shopping. We’ll visit the Dar el-Bacha Palace, and eat lunch together at magical Le Jardin. That evening we will enjoy dinner together served at Riad Yasmine.
sunday, november 10 (day 3) - painting workshop, henna party, majorelle garden, ysl museum, optional camel riding desert adventure
Breakfast at Riad Yasmine, followed by a continuation of our Watercolor Workshop: Harnessing Local Inspiration with Watercolor.
Lunch at Riad Yasmine will be served family style on the Moroccan tiled terrace, where local women will join us to paint our hands with Henna patterns. There will also be free time at Riad Yasmine to enjoy the grounds and pool and an afternoon trip to the Majorelle Gardens and inspiring YSL Museum followed by optional Camel Rides in the desert at sunset.
Dinner will be served at Riad Yasmine upon our return to Marrakech.
monday, november 11 (day 4) - spa treatments, lunch at a palace, free time, afternoon painting in a secret garden
After breakfast at Riad Yasmine, today will be all about relaxation and being treated like a queen during traditional hammam and massage treatments at a local spa. After our spa experience we'll eat a relaxing lunch outdoors together in the courtyard at the stunning Palais Donab. You'll have the afternoon free to explore the city as you wish, along with an optional group trip for painting at a secret garden! Dinner will be served at Riad Yasmine.
tuesday, november 12 (day 5) - painting workshop, guided shopping, carriage rides, closing dinner
Breakfast at Riad Yasmine, followed by a continuation of our Watercolor Workshop: Harnessing Local Inspiration with Watercolor. Lunch will be served family style at Riad Yasmine. After lunch Mati and Faith will continue painting with the group for the afternoon at Riad Yasmine. In the afternoon there will be the option for a second guided shopping trip to the Souk markets. Dinner will be served at Riad Yasmine after a beautiful rooftop art show and celebration of our work from the week & time together. We'll end our night with a horse drawn carriage ride through the streets of Marrakech, ending in a night time visit to Jemaa el-Fnaa, the bustling main square at the heart of Marrakech’s old city.
wednesday, november 13 (day 6) -farewell & departure
Breakfast at Riad Yasmine before our farewell and departure, check out will be at noon. Shuttles will leave for the airport as needed.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS OUR PROSPECTIVE ITINERARY. SMALL CHANGES MAY BE MADE DUE TO WEATHER, DESIRES OF THE GROUP AND UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES.
:: FAQ'S ::
Are there payment plans?
Yes! Upon receipt of your $1000 non-refundable deposit you may divide your remaining total into up to 2 separate payments. Total balance is due June 15th, 2019.
What does the cost cover?
5 night stay at Riad Yasmine
Airport Transfer and Transportation to and from all destinations
Guided shopping trips and sight seeing in Marrakech with our expert local guide
A Welcome Gift Bag full of goodies upon your arrival.
Harnessing Local Inspiration: 4 Watercolor Painting Workshops with Faith & Mati
5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners Included
Spa package: massage and traditional hammam treatments at a local spa
Camel Riding in the Agafay Hills outside of Marrakech
Admission to the Dar el-Bacha Palace & Secret Garden
Evening Carriage Ride through Marrakech & night time visit to Jemaa el-Fnaa
What isn't covered in the cost?
Your airfare, all tips and any alcohol you choose to purchase, are not included in the retreat cost. Transportation & lodging outside of the retreat dates, should you choose to arrive early or stay later in Morocco, will not be covered. Anything you buy in the markets or on various trips will not be covered as well as any extra tours or excursions that you choose during your free time if you choose to go.
Do I need travelers insurance?
We highly recommend it.
How much money should I bring for spending?
That is totally personal and depends on how much shopping you plan to do. ATM's are available to you and credit cards are taken at some major retailers.
Do I need immunizations?
Please see the CDC recommendations here.
Do I have to share a room?
Yes. Riad Yasmine is a luscious and intimate retreat space, we will have both of their entire two properties at our disposal. Each of their rooms are uniquely beautiful with en-suite bathrooms. Four of their rooms are single occupancy, which will be given on a first come first served basis (sold out). Their other rooms are double occupancy with two beds per room. We will do our best to pair you up with someone we think you'll match well with. On our retreats the sharing of rooms has fostered close bonds of friendship within the group.
What kind of food will be served, can food sensitivities be accommodated?
Riad Yasmine never uses processed foods and all meals are prepared the old fashion way – from scratch. Vegetarian options are available if we inform the hotel before hand, other food sensitivities can not be accommodated. They provide a fixed daily menu that relies on fresh and organic ingredients.
Breakfasts - daily made bread from the local communal bread oven, homemade jams, eggs made to order, yogurt, fruit, just squeezed juice, coffee and tea
Lunches – light and fresh (soups, salads, quiches, etc.) served with cookies or fruit for dessert
Dinners – three delicious courses, served by candle light
How do I get to Riad Yasmine from The airport and back again?
We will secure transportation to and from using a transportation service. When booking flights please plan your landing arrival between 1 and 3pm local time on November 8, for shuttle coordination from the airport. On November 13, our departure day check-out is at noon. If your flight is earlier that's not a problem, and if it is later in the day you are most welcome to lounge around Riad Yasmine as long as you need.
What airport do I fly into?
When booking your flight please fly into Marrakech Menara International Airport. We recommend booking your flights at least 90 days before the beginning of the retreat. Please try to arrive between 1 and 3 pm local time on November 8, for shuttle coordination from the airport.
What will the weather be like?
Weather in early November is likely to be in the high 70's. It is expected to be cooler in the evenings.
Is there anything special I need to bring?
We will send you a supply list two months before the start of the retreat. Art supplies will be minimal and will include two 8 x 10 cold-pressed watercolor paper pads, a travel watercolor set full of your favorite colors and a roll of watercolor brushes. We also recommend that you bring an extra bag (a collapsible duffle) to bring home your goodies you have collected on our shopping trips. Morocco truly has some of the best shopping in the world! The temperatures will vary, so don't forget layers, pack a bathing suit, sweater and a light jacket!
How should a woman expect to dress in Morocco?
We recommend modest clothing for your time in Morocco. During our previous visits, we felt most comfortable in clothing that kept us covered from our knees and elbows up. Long skirts, dresses, pants and layers will work fine! While Morocco is a Muslim country, women are not expected to cover their heads in public. You will see many people of all different styles of dress throughout Morocco. We found this article very helpful on what to pack.
I'm not an artist is this retreat still for me?
Absolutely! This retreat is much more focused on adventure and gathering inspiration, taking notice of your surroundings and approaching your life from a creative and holistic point of view. Painting is just one of the tools we'll encourage you to explore on this retreat.
I've never been anywhere this exotic, will I like it?
We ask you to approach this trip with a sense of adventure in your heart. We think you are going to love this retreat! We encourage you to do a little research on the area and how to shop before you come. There are many articles available online to help with this. Here is a great one on what its like to travel as a woman in Morocco, written on The Blonde Abroad Blog . Our Retreat will be a mix of laid back down time, exploration, pampering and immersion into a vibrant, lively culture.
Do you offer refunds?
There will be no refunds for this Retreat due to the planning and logistics involved. When you register be sure to know all you can about traveling to Morocco.
You've got more questions, we've got answers. View our extended Retreat FAQ page here.....
We love our retreat participants and so many have joined us more than once! We'll let them tell you about our retreats in their own words:
"I have had the privilege of participating in two Painting the Sacred Within retreats with Faith Evans-Sills and Mati Rose McDonough. Each retreat has been unique unto itself with the common theme being “you are most welcome here”. Faith and Mati understand that students are at all different levels and that we each have strengths and weaknesses. They are nurturing and confidence building and meet each student where they are rather than trying to force us all into one mold. The lesson materials for each class are very detailed and complete. Everything is spelled out and there is no need to try and guess how to achieve a certain technique. They are both generous and thoughtful with their insight and teaching. What’s most special about the experience is that their love for their craft and sharing it is most evident. Retreats are inclusive and while there are a number different items on the weeklong schedule, as students, we are encouraged to explore the location as a group or alone. There is no short supply of engaging activities and of course coming back to paint is welcomed. Every aspect of the experience is thoughtfully curated and each location has inspiring, wonderful qualities to offer. I would highly recommend a retreat with Faith and Mati, to get a taste of adventure, learn painting techniques, create beautiful art and celebrate friendship and womanhood."
- Myriam L., event planner, Omega Institute '18, Mexico '19
“If you are tempted to go on this Retreat DO IT!! So amazing, and so well run!”
-Amy F., Morocco Retreat ‘18
“Faith and Mati’s retreats are truly magical! The experience of travel and learning new techniques all while being a part of a super supportive group of women was beyond priceless!”
- Cassie B., Artist, Mexico Retreat '19
“What a week it's been. I feel so blessed to have been with such an amazing group of women artists during our Painting the Sacred Within retreat in San Miguel. We laughed, we cried, we shared our stories, we shared meals family style, we channeled Frida Kahlo, we explored the city, we painted alongside each other - some of us beginners, some of us masters, but all of us so supportive and so willing to lift each other up and hold each other sacred. Thank you Mati and Faith for your amazing guidance and truly inspirational talents. And - to my retreat sisters - I feel truly honored to have shared this time with you all and so grateful to have you as friends! My heart is full!"
- Julia L., Artist & Stay at home Mama, Mexico Retreat '19
"I'm full of joy and creativity from our retreat, it was just such a special time. Faith and Mati, thank you again so much for creating such an amazing artful & soulful retreat- I had the time of my life and have a new well of endless inspiration to draw from! What a gift this, and you, have been to me!"
– Michelle L., Costa Rica '18
“This retreat touched my heart so deeply and reminded me of the constant creativity, love, beauty and kinship that is available to me. Ya fattah (The way opener) for many more years of special friendships and creative energy in this beautiful place, filling up women to their core.”
- Brittany M., Artist & Stay at home Mama, Costa Rica Retreat ‘17
"When people ask what my favorite memories are I can say it’s been traveling to beautiful destinations with Mati and Faith! I’ve gone to Costa Rica and Morocco with them and both trips have changed my life for the better! Not only are you discovering new places, but also exploring parts of yourself through art making. Being able to travel and create colorful artwork while making new friendships have been the most transformative and joyful moments in my life. If you want to be nurtured and truly feel awakened, I suggest art retreats because it’s 100% happiness!"
- Lily U., Artist & Teacher, Costa Rica Retreats '16, '17, Morocco Retreat '17
"My first retreat with Faith and Mati was in Charleston, SC. It was so wonderful. We did loads of painting, had great food, and I left feeling so peaceful, rejuvenated and inspired. I recommitted to making art a regular part of my life. Attending The Morocco Retreat was like something straight out of an exotic travel magazine. Everything was above and beyond my expectations. There were so many pieces of the trip, clearly well thought out making traveling to a foreign country a breeze. This included guides which knew the best places to shop, and helped us feel safe, lovely accommodations, and lots of adventures each day to fully experience Morocco from the rug shopping, the souks, the hammam, trips to gardens, the mountains and more. I will definitely be signing up for another one of Faith and Mati’s retreats!"
- Lisa D., Acupuncturist, Charleston Retreat '16, Morocco Retreat '17
When I found out about Faith and Mati's first retreat to Costa Rica, I thought 'How AMAZING, but there's no way I can go' ... the time... the kids, etc. But thankfully I had an epiphany that it was time for me to do something for myself, and I made the leap! I hadn't painted in YEARS, too many to even say. In college I had studied visual and performing arts, and eventually became a graphic designer. But between life, my family, and career, the artist in me became more and more distant. I was creative as designer, but very differently than I had once been. I was really nervous about what I would or would not be able to put on a canvas and had so many of my own judgements. But between Faith and Mati's teachings and the divinity and bliss of Nosara, Costa Rica, I immediately fell into the flow of my creativity and awakened a part of me that I had so very much missed. Faith and Mati teach with such fluidity and guidance that speaks to all levels of artists. They really know how to take the fear out to let your inner creativity flow. For that I am forever grateful."
– Jen Van Arsdale Leathers, Graphic Designer & Artist, Costa Rica Retreat '15, Charleston Retreat '16
"My recent trip to Morocco with Faith and Mati was the soulful healing I needed. I have been painting for years, and was in a bit of a creative lull. I was looking forward to spending time with like-minded women and seeing a new area of the world...and hopefully leaving with some inspiration. By painting with other women and delving into the creative process in such a spiritual place, I ended up uncovering some deeper truths and returning home with a sense of creative wholeness. My trip to Marrakesh was a gift in so many ways..... and Mati and Faith's guidance made it possible. Not only did I have a wonderful experience, but I left having made some lifelong friendships."
- Daniela B., Artist & Teacher, Morocco Retreat '17
"This week in Costa Rica I focused on the practice of being wild hearted and learning how to let go. I'm so thankful for all of the women I got to spend time with and learn from, at the Pura Vida Retreat with Mati Rose and Faith Evans-Sills. I feel so blessed to call all of these ladies my friends. I didn't understand what holding space was before this experience but after feeling the unconditional love and acceptance and lack of judgement this week I've come away with an appreciation for creating an environment that nurtures others while they are on their journey. I'm excited to return home full of inspiration and ready to allow new learning to unfold with an open heart."
- Christine B., Artist & Photographer, Costa Rica Retreats '16, '17
"We had a fantastic time in Marrakech with the group and with each other, I went on the Retreat with a long distance friend that I rarely see. We loved it there as we didn’t just paint but did so much more, I enjoyed the company with Faith and Mati and all the other ladies in the group it was special, the Riad we stayed in was cozy and comfortable and the food there was delicious at the Riad and at some of the restaurants, loved the meditations, loved shopping in the souks there, did an amazing camel ride, and the spa day was an incredible treat and surprise. On the whole it was a self discovery Retreat for me. Mary Leigh and I are always in touch and hope to go to Costa Rica with you, as well as we loved the experience we had in Marrakech. Thank you for the extremely special Retreat and experience as it brought so much more than expected."
- Leena S., Artist, Morocco Retreat ‘17
"This was my third time on the Sacred Within Painting in Paraiso retreat in Costa Rica. I look forward to this trip all year long. Mati and Faith create a space that is so nurturing for my creativity to flow while I learn new techniques to apply to my art. I have met some of the coolest, strongest, bravest, beautiful souls on these retreats. I'm thankful that these women have become lifelong friends. So much Love and gratitude to Mati and Faith for sharing their wisdom and creating this retreat.”
- Barbara J., Artist, Teacher & Administrator, Costa Rica Retreats ‘16, ‘17, ‘18
"My week in Morocco with Faith and Mati was truly magical. I didn't know anyone on the retreat before I left, but I felt called to go. I left Morocco with deep soul connections with my new friends and some fabulous treasures from the souk markets. Faith and Mati perfectly planned an adventurous and exciting itinerary, and I felt safe and welcome the entire time. I cannot wait to attend another retreat with them soon!”
- Carolyn M., Artist & Photographer, Morocco Retreat ‘16