Published on October 16th, 2018 | by admin

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Marrakech Guide: The Red, Stylish, Magical City of Morocco

Marrakech has been a stylish city destination for years, attracting travelers with its mix of culture, food, architecture and shopping. Yves Saint Laurent fell in love with it, The Rolling Stones did too and Poppy Delevingne had her wedding party out there. From new luxury hotels to a dynamic restaurant scene, and high fashion boutiques to concept stores, here’s why the Red City should be on your travel radar this year.

Places You Should Visit :

The Jardin Majorelle

Originally the home of acclaimed landscape painter Jacques Majorelle, this Ville Nouvelle villa with its cobalt-blue exterior and delightful garden full of rare desert flora is one of Morocco’s most visited sites. Majorelle used his painters eye everywhere: fuchsia bougainvillea explode from lemon yellow planters, deep green palms slouche against pink pisé walls and burnished orange goldfish flash through glassy-green reflecting pools. Subsquent owners Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, saved the gardens from dereliction in the 1960s. On Yves’ death in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the rose garden.

Musee Yves Saint Laurent

Musee Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech showcases the still blooming relationship between the fashion designer and Morocco. The museum houses 200 haute couture outfits from his Paris archive, a library of 5000 fashion books and an area for concerts and film. A really mecca for fashionistas.

Djemaa el-Fna

Roll-up, roll-up for the greatest show on earth, which hits the Unesco-designated Djemaa el-Fna at a frenetic daily pace. Originally a place of public execution – the square’s name means ‘assembly of the dead’ – these days the Djemaa draws the crowds for more pleasant pastimes such as storytelling, astrology, snake charming, acrobatics and toe-tapping Gnaoua troupes.

But one of the best things about Marrakech is the juxtaposition of old and new, so don’t neglect its cultural present. For lens-centric art from the 19th century onwards, try the Marrakech Museum of Photography and Visual Art, which was designed by David Chipperfield and is set in 6,000 sq metres in the west of the city next to the 12th century Menara Gardens. Then check out Gallery 127, which showcases work from established and upcoming photographers.

Where To Stay :

Mandarin Oriental

The best new hotel to stay in Marrakech. Away from the crowds it is a luxurious hideaway 20 minutes drive southeast of the Medina. It’s 54 villas, lake-like pools and stunning spa sit in a gorgeous garden planted with over 100,000 roses. We stayed in a 288sqm villa with courtyard, private pool, jacuzzi and fireplace and it was perfect…

Amanjena

Inspired by the rose-hued buildings of old Marrakech and its 12th-century Menara gardens, palatial Amanjena lies just outside the fabled Red City. Amid shady courtyards with petal-strewn fountains, traditional earth-toned pisé-de-terre walls give way to the central basin – it’s this ancient-style reflection pool that helps nourish the gardens and its date palms, olive trees and bursts of exotic flora. Vaulted ceilings and Moorish arches house cool, elegant interiors.

La Mamounia

A legendary palace that is part of the fabric of Marrakesh, its history, colours and traditions. Located in the heart of the enchanting imperial city, this luxury hotel has recreated the intoxicating mood of an Oriental palace. The sprawling gardens are ripe with citrus trees, fragrant rose blossoms, ancient olive groves and a vegetable garden where one might see La Mamounia’s chefs foraging for ingredients to be prepared that evening at the hotel’s three signature restaurants.

Ksar Char Bagh

This retreat in four-hectare grounds in Marrakech’s Palmeraie offers perfect attention to detail. The hand-carved silver door keys, the own-blend toiletries in glass and silver bottles, the scented candles with hand-inked labels… The styling of Ksar Char-Bagh is the opposite of souk-fabulous, though still recognisably Moroccan. It may be stayled to resemble the Alhambra, but beyond the breathtakingly grand, intricately tiled and courtyards, its a welcoming home with intuitive spa therapists, the friendliest of staff and laid-back lounges.

Riad El Fenn

With 28 individually styled rooms and suites, tree-filled courtyards, a 7000ft2 roof terrace and a family of resident tortoises, El Fenn is combining grandeur and historic architecture with hideaway nooks, terraces and gardens, the hotel is just five minutes walk from the world-famous Djemaa el Fna square and bustling maze of streets that make up the souk.

Where To Eat

You will find traditional food on every street corner and at every market, but a restaurant scene to sate any discerning traveller is being established. For dinner, try the Asian-Moroccan fusion food and cucumber vodka cocktails at hip Bo Zin. For lunch around the best places are Riad El Fenn’s Terrace where there is a set Moroccan lunch menu which changes according to what’s in season and Nomad which is inside the souks and spread over 4 floors, with intimate dining rooms and two levels of terraces that offer fantastic views of the surrounding Medina and Atlas mountain range.

Marrakech is a good place to party, too.  Visiting the legendary Le Comptoir is a must – it’s housed in an Art Deco villa with plush theatrical interiors, serving up Franco-Moroccan grub and belly dancing.

The Yacout is a landmark of Marrakesh. It was amongst the first created around thirty years ago in the medina by Mohamed Zkhiri, who presided over the destiny of this sumptuous venue. The decor is enchanting with its private rooms and breath-taking panoramic view from the terrace overlooking the medina and the Koutoubia mosque of Marrakesh. Unfortunately it became too touristic and the food quality and service is not like the old times, but its atmosphere still magical.

Where To Shop

Marrakech is the original market town and master craftsmen have been working their wonders in the Medina (old city) for centuries. Pleasantries should always precede price enquiries, and good-natured bargaining is expected in the souqs. No matter what price you’re quoted, counter with half of what you’re willing to pay and work up to an acceptable price from there.

33 Rue Majorelle

The concept shop—one of Marrakech’s best—feels like a Moroccan version of Colette in Paris. You name it, 33 Rue has it: modish silicone place mats, Warhol-esque Pop Art, dainty midi rings, wooden furniture, vibrant scarves, and more. The selection primarily consists of goods made by local artists and up-and-coming designers, and somehow, despite the abundance of items spanning two floors, the shop is immaculate. It’s a stark contrast to the famed souk, which proves challenging for indecisive shoppers.

Max & Jan
The expertly edited mecca for resortwear, jewelry, and accessories is an ideal spot to scoop up a few “beginner” caftans, should you find yourself skittish about committing to an overly flamboyant print. Recent collections have drawn inspiration from bohemian-chic destinations like St.-Tropez, Tangier, Goa, and Ibiza, but everything is designed and manufactured entirely in Morocco.

El Fenn
Inside El Fenn, a trendy hotel co-owned by Vanessa Branson (Richard’s sister), you’ll find a rather unusual shopping experience: The boutique is situated in the middle of a bar and restaurant, and nearly everything—including the wall decor—is for sale. Also on offer: an eclectic collection of home accessories, vintage dresses, linens, pottery, coffee table books, handwoven blankets, and more.

 

 

 


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