Aladdin's cave, alive with energy
As the sun rises in Marrakech, the auburn tinged sky signals morning in the Medina, and the city’s queue to come to life. A sensory overload ensues – the sight of the ornamented fabrics and designs, the scent of spices, and the sound of life in the souks. It is this sheer complexity that makes Marrakech distinct – a progressive city at the forefront of art and design that maintains its identity as an ancient site steeped in a rich history. From street-side scenes to overt indulgence, this is the colour and charm of the jewel of Northern Africa.
A small painted door in the heart of the souk labyrinth leads you down the rabbit hole and into a wonderland of your own. With a garden that Eden would be proud of and a plethora of traditional Moroccan dishes and French desserts on offer, Le Jardin and its secluded rooftop terrace offer a much-needed moment of calm and respite amid the frenetic energy of Morocco’s famed markets.
Tel. +212 5 24 37 82 95;
32 Souk Sidi Abdelaziz
Images via Instagram
Grand Café de la Poste
The interiors of the Grand Café de la Poste emit an old-world charm, with checkerboard floors and a grand staircase reminiscent of sets staged in Wes Anderson films. The dishes are a seamless blend of traditional Moroccan flavours and influences from other parts of the world – emblematic of the city of Marrakech itself.
Tel. +212 5 24 43 30 38;
Corner of Avenue Imam Malik & Boulevard el-Mansour Eddahbi
Images via Facebook
THE SKY BAR
Sit atop the Bab Hotel’s boutique property and indulge in a cocktail at twilight. The tastefully decorated (monochromatic but for the rugs along the floor) space is sheathed in a white fabric, creating a tented enclosure to add a sense of intimacy to the occasion and shield you from the cool of the desert nights, while leaving ample room to admire the Moroccan sky.
Tel. +212 5244 35250;
Angle Boulevard Mansour Eddahbi, Rue Mohamed El Beqqal
Images via Facebook
Driving just half an hour from the Medina, you arrive at the foot of the Atlas Mountains and a sprawling, 21-acre hotel estate, which doubles a UNESCO-recognised arts centre and library. Promotion of the region’s rich culture and heritage rests at the very centre of the Fellah Hotel’s values, and this is reflected not only in its exteriors (indigenous plants roam freely around the property’s terracotta walls), but in its output, too – a functioning farm on-site, frequent communal gatherings and a series of yoga classes at the hotel.
Tel. +212 5 25 06 50 00;
Km 13, Route de l'Ourika, Tassoultante, Canal Zarraba
33 RUE MAJORELLE
Marrakech and its markets are near-synonymic terms, and shoppers need not be told about the souks and the veritable maze of colour, flavour and texture they house under networks of tiled roofs. However, the souks don’t hold a monopoly on the city’s fashion and design quarters. Step outside the walls of the medina and you will find 33 Rue Majorelle; a concept store boasting a curated collection of clothing, home accessories and jewellery; sampling the best of Moroccan fashion and design.
Tel. +212 5 24 31 41 95;
33 Rue Yves Saint Laurent
Owner and Curator Nathalie Locatelli holds the claim of opening one of the first photography galleries on the African continent, some 11 years ago. Since then, they have been displaying pieces by Morocco’s established photographers and artists-on-the-rise, and the space has developed a reputation as the cultural heart of modern Marrakech, and an ideal place for art lovers to gain insight into Morocco’s people and places.
Tel. +212 5 24 43 26 67;
2/F, 127 Avenue Mohammed V, Guéliz
Images via Facebook
The Voices of Marrakech
by Elias Canetti
The former Nobel Laureate recipient chronicles the weeks he spent in Marrakech and his attempts to come to grips with the city; taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the city through real encounters with its people. The Voices of Marrakech documents the good, the bad and the ugly in a series of very raw and honest tales.