My Guide to Marrakech (and beyond)!

We had the most amazing time exploring Morocco, it is definitely my new favorite country! We met with a lot of factories and we have some amazing collections in the works for spring, but in the meantime, here are some of the highlights from our trip, mostly from our time in Marrakech: 

The Souk, Marrakech

We stayed at a private riad in the center of the souk. Being in the middle of the medina had its pros and cons. The con being that it was a bit of walk to get to a taxi, as cars aren't allowed in the souk.
The pro was that all the amazing artisans and vendors were just outside our door, so we could stock up on goods and walk them right back to our riad. 
Some of our finds included argon oil and rose water from the pharmacy, painted ceramic bowls, raffia shoes and straw bags! 
...And of course carpets, pillows, poufs galore! 
We brought back a lot finds from artisans in the Medina and you can shop them all here
One of the highlights for me was carpet shopping! I loved scouring for vintage rugs and learning about the process and the artisans behind them. 
I ended up taking home three rugs, all grace the floors of our new shop now! 
Each morning we enjoyed a beautifully prepared breakfast on our riad's balcony. 
The details throughout our riad were so beautiful! Staying in the souk allowed us to really experience the culture and people of Morocco. 

The Most Luxurious Palace Hotels

La Mamounia  
We enjoyed a spa day and Sunday brunch at La Mamounia, made especially famous by the Churchill Bar (the cocktail den named after their most famous regular, Winston Churchill.)
The spa was truly over-the-top and I opted for their traditional hammam (though I've been told this was a very glamorous treatment, compared to the standard). 
It was an experience, and made better by the spa pool that we relaxed by afterwards.
Following the spa, we made our way to the main hotel for brunch. It was like nothing I've seen. Table after table of every kind of cuisine you could imagine. We did it in three courses!
The Royal Mansour
A few days later we went to Royal Mansour, which is considered one of the few hotels in the world that defy excellence.
The spa at The Royal Mansour is like nothing you've ever seen. It truly is a showcase of Moroccan artisanship, intricate lace-like walls and endless white marble.
If La Mamounia is an international scene, Royal Mansour is a peaceful oasis.
The huge pool was a much needed respite from the hustle and bustle of the city and the service was impeccable. 
 And we enjoyed a five course lunch, poolside. 

 Favorite Restaurants

We experienced so many good meals, but here were the highlights!  
Le Jardin
Le Jardin | Through an unassuming hole in the wall, was an absolutely charming garden spot with amazing food! I recommend for lunch as they don't serve alcohol. 
Nomad | Also doesn't serve alcohol, but may have been my favorite lunch. They offer a clean and fresh take on classic Moroccan cuisine. The inside is adorable, plus there is a rooftop terrace with a great view of the market. 
Le Trou au Mur
Le Trou au Mur | A winding path through the Medina led us to a beautifully renovated traditional house where we enjoyed traditional Moroccan dinner on the rooftop. 
Tip: It was a little confusing on how to find our way back to our riad, but the restaurant provided an escort to take us back through the Medina. Apparently this is standard treatment inside the Medina!
Max & Jan 
Max & Jan | Also in the heart of the Medina, you will find this wonderful collective store. It is full of local designers and features a stylish and relaxed restaurant on the roof terrace.
The menu has organic and locally sourced "soul food" - international food, plus Moroccan. We loved the pizza.  No alcohol is served here, but (like with most places that don't serve drinks) the mocktails were exceptional
Le Petit Cornichon
Le Petit Cornichon | One of the few restaurants we went to outside the Medina was Le Petit Cornichon. It felt like we were transported to trendy eatery in the middle of Paris. The owner waited on us himself, and it turns out he was formerly at Le Bernadin in NYC. The food did not disappoint! 
Grand Café de la Poste 
Grand Café de la Poste | This establishment opened in the 1920s and it feels like not much has changed (in a good way). We enjoyed cocktails upstairs in leather armchairs next to the roaring fireplace. 

 Things to See

YSL Museum and The Gardens of Majorelle

YSL Museum and The Gardens of Majorelle | Designed by painter Jacques Majorelle, the property was acquired in 1980 by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner.  Before you visit the 12-acre botanical gardens stop at The YSL Museum to learn about the life and work of the iconic designer.  

Le Jardin Secret
Le Jardin Secret | A pretty reprieve from the busy Medina. 
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Hot Air Balloon | We booked a relaxing hot air balloon ride through the Moroccan sky with Ciel d'Afrique. It was a beautiful and a surprisingly zen experience. 
Concept Stores 
In addition to the aforementioned, Max & Jan, another gorgeous concept store + eatery is 36 Mouassine Concept Store

A note: souk de Fès

Hotel Sahrai
We ventured to Fes for meetings and stayed at the beautiful Hotel Sahrai
We enjoyed cocktails and dinner at their terrace bar, overlooking the city. 
Riad Fess Nass Zmane
During the day our hosts took us into the Medina, but first we stopped at the beautiful Riad Fess Nass Zmane
We enjoyed a lovely tea, courtesy of our gracious hosts. 
They had a retractable roof and the most beautiful view of the Medina from the roof. 
Souk in Fes
After tea, we ventured in the souk. Watching this carpet weaver may have been one the coolest experiences of the trip. She knots each color by memory. 
Of course I bought another rug! 
We also visited the tannery in Fes, which was a beautiful (and smelly) experience. All the colors are made from natural dyes (think saffron for orange, indigo for blue). 
Shop some of my fun market discoveries!  
It was an incredible trip and I can't wait to go back. I am so excited to share all the amazing collections we have rolling out of Morocco for spring.


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