Spa'ing, souk'ing and sunrise meditation: This week's Be Happy Hotlist is made in Marrakech

Travel is good for the soul. Sunshine is good for the skin. And going to a predominantly 'dry' country when one is struggling through the last week of 'Stobtober' is a stroke of (accidental) genius.

This week I've been minibreaking in Marrakech, which made me very happy indeed. And particularly when doing these self-loving things...

1. SWIMMING...and steaming at the Es Saadi spa

2. DRINKING...anything but booze

3. MEDITATING...at sunrise

4. SWOONING...at the YSL gardens

5. SWEATING...at the hotel gym

 Insta-heaven: Overexcited and overdressed in Marrakech

Insta-heaven: Overexcited and overdressed in Marrakech

1. SWIMMING...spa'ing and steaming at the Es Saadi spa

We stayed at the stunning Es Saadi resort in Hivernage, ten minutes out of the medina and the perfect place to escape the (beautiful) chaos and heat of the city. It's worth splashing out a bit more to stay in one of the 'Palace' suites here where all rooms come with views of the lush gardens and Atlas mountains as well as access to one of the jazziest spas in the city.

This indoor/outdoor spa is flooded with gorgeous, natural light (it's built around a centuries-old eucalyptus tree) and we loved the meditation room and waterbeds, the huge roof terrace and the collection of steam rooms, each with different fragrance, music and lighting depending on the level of zen required

www.essaadi.com

 Casual: Spa time at Es Saadi

Casual: Spa time at Es Saadi

2. DRINKING...anything but booze

As it's a predominantly Muslim country alcohol is only drunk by about 20% of adults in Morocco, meaning a lot of the restaurants are dry and when booze is available it's pretty expensive. Which on this occasion was GREAT news for me as I attempted to stay on the wagon for the last few days of 'Stoptober'. And I did it! Mostly because there were so many other options available (mint tea and the freshest fresh orange juice featured heavily) and as a result returned from this minibreak feeling like I'd actually had a 'break'.

 Booze-free zone: Mint tea, OJ and cake replaced my breakfast buck's fizz on this holiday

Booze-free zone: Mint tea, OJ and cake replaced my breakfast buck's fizz on this holiday

3. MEDITATING...at sunrise

Since learning about Vedic meditation with Will Williams Meditation I try and meditate every day (twice if I'm being conscientious) and early morning with some quiet time, the sun on my face and this view was a beautiful way to wake up.

 Room with a view: Morning meditation on the balcony at Es Saadi

Room with a view: Morning meditation on the balcony at Es Saadi

4. SWOONING... at the YSL gardens

The designer Yves Saint Laurent adored Marrakech and particularly the enchanting Majorelle gardens. In 1980 he and partner Pierre Bergé bought them to stop the land being sold to a hotel developer. Today Le Jardin Majorelle is one of the most popular sites in Marrakech but manages to maintain a lovely sense of calm. I'd advise visiting at the end of the day as the sun starts to set when the light on the tropical plants and art deco buildings is just magical

jardinmajorelle.com

 Colour popping: Life is just better in 'Majorelle blue'

Colour popping: Life is just better in 'Majorelle blue'

5. SWEATING... at the hotel gym

I've turned into one of those weirdos who goes to the gym on holiday. Not to do anything too exciting, just a couple of twenty-minute runs and a gentle yoga class over the weekend to try and burn off some of the breakfast cake and distract me from Happy Hour at the bar.

 Smug face: Sweating out that breakfast cake

Smug face: Sweating out that breakfast cake