Morocco and its multifaceted culture. Of all the cities of the kingdom, Marrakech is an easy doorway into the country of 1001 scents and colors. The “red city” will give you a first taste of what Morocco has to offer — a sensorial journey, a cultural discovery, a dance between traditions and modernity. Join The Sacred Fig retreat w/ Anton Brandt + Tony Lupinacci, Feb 29 – March 7, 2020.
STAY IN A RIAD
Riad El Fenn. Riads are usually small old houses with limited amenities. Riad El Fenn is different. The traditional house packs an impressive list of delights: a spa and a yoga lawn, a couple of swimming pools (including a small one on the rooftop, perfect for a warm Moroccan night)) and a concept store with creative Moroccan brands. This place is an ode to vibrant colors and art — El Fenn means “art” in Arabic. Their rooftop offers fabulous views on the Koutoubia mosque and the famous Jemaa El-Fna, with its snakecharmers + storytellers.
Riad Berbere. A 17th-century riad restored in a tasteful and pared-down way. The highlight is its wonderful garden and the octagonal pool. The riad offers five rooms tucked away in the background where one can retreat after a day in the hustle and bustle of the city. The location is in a genuine neighborhood offering several sights within a short walk, including Maison de la Photographie (see below).
LUNCH WITH THE FAM
La Famille Marrakech is a charming vegetarian restaurant within a hobo-decorated riad in the middle of the medina, with lots of outdoor seating. Go for lunch — as they’re not open for dinner. The food is a mix of Moroccan and some western recipes. Their menu changes daily, ask them for recommendations.
WHEN IT’S HOT, HEAD TO MUSEUMS + GARDENS
MACAAL (Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain). Discover African contemporary art in this museum located slightly on the outskirts of the city, which ensures it’s never overcrowded. The artwork unfolds across the building and the garden spanning prominent African artists and emerging ones. Make sure you don’t miss the first floor (we almost did!), and have a browse through the cute shop at the entrance of the museum. The museum is cool and sheltered from the sun, which makes it a great thing to do in the middle of the day.
Yves Saint Laurent museum + Jardin Majorelle. two major must-see landmarks! The museum is a subtle architectural gesture hosting many of Saint Laurent’s major garments as well as a changing exhibit that echoes the Morocco that the couturier cherished. The garden is an ode to the Arab garden modernized with desert plants, all serving as a backdrop to the beautiful Majorelle blue house that hosts a museum for Berber art (expect a little wait in line to get to the garden — it’s worth it!). Wear a cute outfit — you’ll want to take pictures in this gorgeous garden!
Maison de la Photographie. for centuries, Morocco has inspired writers, painters, and photographers. The latter tried to do justice through their work to its people, their folk culture and ethnic diversity, its landscapes, and its natural beauty. The Marrakesh House of Photography is home to photo collections documenting Morocco from the 19th century to nowadays with works from various photographers. Not only you’ll discover amazing pictures of the old Marrakesh, but the house itself is a cute and authentic riad nestled in the medina’s tiny streets.
OR GO ON A SHOPPING SPREE
Lup 31. venture toward the modern part of the city, Guelize, to this hidden concept-store with a selection of modern objects inspired by and using Moroccan craft. You’ll find homeware using Moroccan glasswork, embroidery, and metalwork, with a fresh French twist. Ludovic Petit, the designer, uses his extensive experience with fashion houses such as Kenzo and Delacroix, to name only a few, and the 20 years he spent in Marrakech to revisit Moroccan craftsmanship. Before stepping inside the house, see if you can spot old-school abandoned cars in the dusty street — great pics for the gram. 🙂
Soufiane Gallery. You can’t say you’ve been to Marrakech without checking out the carpet + rug scene! Soufiane gallery is probably the hippest one — have a look at their Instagram. The shop offers a wide choice of carpets from several regions of Morocco, as well as homeware and some clothing items. Check the café on the rooftop for a refreshing drink. Soufiane Gallery, rue Yves Saint Laurent, BA, Marrakech, +212 0661 853487. [email protected]
Enjoy a fresh drink at the rooftop terrace of the shop
Mustapha Blaoui. A 10 minute walk from Soufiane’s gallery, Mustapha’s shop is a stunning Moroccan antique shop in the heart of the city. This is the spot for authentic Moroccan lamps, carpets, chairs, ceramics and tables. Loads of options to find the perfect object to bring home with you!
When the sun is about to set, walk to Jamaa El-Fna — it’s the best time to visit the buzzing square. Get a fresh OJ from one of the stalls (don’t worry, they’ll find you!), sit at one of the circles around a storyteller or a local dancer, and let the vibe of Marrakesh enchant you.
Then, venture into the medina’s sinuous streets where you’ll discover shops offering myriads of local (and not so local!) things. If you’re lucky, you might find a café serving the local doughnuts, “schfenj” — if you do, get a glass of mint tea with it to have the full moroccan snack experience!
FINISH THE DAY WITH A DECADENT MEAL IN THE MEDINA
Le Jardin. A gem hidden in the medina, le Jardin is a multilayered haven to sip cocktails, fresh juices or enjoy some creative Moroccan food. Favour the rooftop terrace once the sun sets behind the medina roofs and the call to prayer chants the end of the day. The patio on the ground floor is a gorgeous green space from the emerald tiles to the trees. Go at dusk to watch and hear the hundreds of birds buzzing in the trees. And if you need a kick, try the peach ginger smoothie, it will get you ready for a night out in the city/it will shake the jetlag right off you!
Le Jardin is only a 6 minute (straight!) walk from La Maison de la Photographie!
Dar Moha. If you fancy a luxurious dinner, head to Dar Moha. Located in a riad that used to belong to French couturier Pierre Balmain, this chic restaurant is run by the first Moroccan chef to have experimented with Moroccan cuisine introducing contemporary influences to classics like pastilla or tagine. Go for the food, enjoy the view on the Moroccan pool and dwell into the traditional style of the riad. Book a table outside!
by Oum El Khazzani.