Just back from… Marrakech, Morocco.
Trip Duration: 5 days
Where I stayed… P’tit Habibi, 59 bis touala Sidi Ghanem, Zaouia sidi bellabes Bab Lakhmis,
Marrakech. In the White Room – it was stunning just like the whole of Riad. Decorated in an eclectic mix of Arabian traditional pieces with a Western spin. The Wangarata Room is playfully decorated with a mix of Americana pinball mirrors, sixties Moroccan photographs and even a Swedish moose. Peruche has a bird motif in warm shades of pink and aubergine; it also has the largest vaulted bathroom. The Riad has a small pool to be enjoyed in the summertime and the rooftop is perfect for sunset drinks.
Best thing I ate… Breakfast every morning on the rooftop of the Riad. There was a selection of homemade flatbreads and tiny tidiness filled with fresh pomegranate seeds and various spreads. Brewed coffee and hand squeezed orange juice. There are loads of great restaurants and hundreds of local food stalls to venture out to also, they are all located within walking distance of the main square Jemaa el-Fnaa. My favourite dinner spot was Dar Zellij, boasts belly dancers moving to beats bellowing from giant drums, the lamb tagine had me coming back two nights in a row. If you want a visual spectacle then head to Dar Moha, here a mosaic masterpiece awaits you where the centerpiece of the restaurant is a stunningly tiled pool. The main courses here as fabulous but its dessert that steals the show, traditionally spiced and full of delight!
Best hang out spot? Jardin Majorelle is one of the prettiest and most tranquil spots in the city. There is a beautiful walk through the gardens amongst the giant cacti and pergolas drowning in vibrant florals. The striking contrast of the yellow and deep blue villa stands proud in the center of the garden once home to Yves Saint Laurent. It is now a museum and houses a collection of costumery by Berber. There is a quaint cafe where you can sip on tradition mint tea and listen to the birds. Perhaps after, a languid retirement to P’tit Habibi is most ideal where afternoon movies are screened in the hotel’s courtyard.
Best daytime activity? Navigating the Medina at Jemaa el-Fnaa and shopping for hidden treasures. In here you can haggle for anything and everything from tagine’s to chandeliers to Argan oils, hand dyed fabrics, leathers and babouches. Just outside the Medina there are entertainers, everything from acrobats and musicians to snake charmers.
Highlight of the trip? I met a young man by a cafe who had bright blue hands, he invited me through the souk out to where they hand dye the materials. We spoke in broken French, English with an elaborated display of what could have been charades. I managed to capture some amazing images of the workshop he ran and the materials hanging from the beams drying. Deep blues, soulful purples and piercing reds, I couldn’t resist but to Ieave with a scarf in each colour.
Could not leave home without… my Fendi silk shawl, My Canon 60D camera, Zara leather jacket for the cooler evenings, Lack of Color felt fedora in beige. My staple travel wardrobe of white tee’s, denim cut offs and converse sneakers. My Chanel backpack, and my Island State kaftan for dancing away the Arabian nights. KORA Organics energising citrus facial spritz to keep my skin refreshed, Eco Tan SPF 30+ sunscreen to fend of damaging UV rays, Argan Oil to keep my hair’s frizz under control and my Estee Lauder lipstick in plum divine to take me from day to night.
I was most inspired by… the age old culture of the Moroccan people that transcends time and is seen in everything from the architecture and traditional homewares to the colour palettes of the scenography. The amazing way they dress and move about in the city with such harmonious and energetic synergy.
I wish I had… more time! There are a few amazing day trips that you can take from Marrakech out to the Atlas Mountains or along the cost to Essaouira. The Altas Mountains are about 90 minutes away by car but from there you can ride camels through the valleys, take a hike through the mountains to the Ouzoud Waterfalls or visit a traditional village like Imlil which is home to local Berbers. You can also ski on the mountains during the winter season from November to April.
Favourite store or shopping trip? There are hundreds of tiny stalls within the Medina. Every single one of them has something amazing to offer. Ever since I was a little girl I have been drawn to the magical stories of Arabian nights. Hidden treasures, princesses and mysterious characters moving through market places, cloaked in clothes made from hand woven silks, dyed in brilliant colours. I am certain Disney is responsible for my faraway fantasies of exotic destinations. When it really comes down to it, don’t we all want to be Princess Jasmine?