Marrakesh Travel Diary + Tips!
I thought I'd share some glimpses of my travels with you today to take you on a visual journey so that you can see what I saw while I was teaching for 8 days in Morocco. You already had a peek in on where I stayed (drool!), so here are some glimpses of what I saw and was inspired by... Visiting a place like Morocco, so different from my homeland and culture, truly leaves an impression that lasts a lifetime. I was so humbled by the friendly faces, kindness of the people and by the way most live there in the villages with very little, and who work so very hard to keep what they have, yet still wear the biggest smiles and have such joy of heart -- and the cats are everywhere and very, very happy too.
Here are a few of my favorite places to eat, see and shop:
* We missed seeing the Le Jardin Marjorelle but it came highly suggested only after we already had our plans set... Maybe another lifetime...
* Bahia Palace - Gorgeous, gorgeous!!! Go!!!
* Enjoy a hamman bath or spa treatment at a 600+ year old spa calledBains de Marrakech. Just make sure you go at the day's end and then after, spend some time lounging in your hotel room. Don't go to Bains de Marrakech and expect to shop and tour the city afterwards! You will be very rested, relaxed and well-oiled so you will most likely want to go chill out in your room. Make sure you book your appointment weeks in advance, thought.
Shop: The souks are great but there are a few special shops in the medina and other parts of the city that I highly recommend...
* For affordable and beautiful clothes and great shoes and accessories, shop at Warda la Mouche. This local designer is so talented and very friendly. She's French -- she speaks some English as well.
* For spices, I liked Riad des Epices at 56 laksour derb Zefriti in the medina. Try to see if you can get a spice presentation where they'll let you sample everything as they explain how to use the various spices and oils that they sell. Also ask them if you can go up on their roof deck to see over the city and to take photos. It's gorgeous up there, especially right around sunset.
* Zid Zid Kids studio and showroom
* L'Orientaliste - I didn't get to see their shop at Rue de la Liberte in Geliz but my husband found their perfume at some random shop and bought it - and loves it! It's a brand made in Morocco and smells delightful.
* For fine leather bags, go to Place Vendome at 141 Avenue Mohammed V, I bought a gorgeous silvered leather bag for about $150 US that I'm sure would be around double or triple back home.
* For gorgeous Indian and Moroccan fashion and homewares head to Michele Baconnier. I bought a gorgeous lamp, two scarfs and a beautiful pair of white leather slippers there.
* Kif Kif - A must see! I went to two of their shops and bought jewelry, a bag and a few other accessories. Lots of recycled and re-purposed goods and very fresh and modern. Loved Kif Kif!
* If you want an ABC Carpet experience outside of New York, visit Mustapha Blaoui at 144 Rue Bab Doukkala. This man sources the best stuff from carpets to textiles, ceramics and more. Lots of gorgeous lighting, too and he is fair with his prices. I took home a bed cover and some candle holders.
* I didn't get to visit Kulchi (near Kif Kif) at 1 Rue El Ksour, I forgot to write it down on my list! But I heard that it's the best place for fashion so make sure you add it to your list and make me proud. :)
* I loved the shop + Michi at 19-21 Souk Lakchachbia. I took home some gorgeous slippers from that store of the highest quality. I heard that John Derian shops there for his New York stores so that already tells you something about + Michi - right?! I am still kicking myself for passing by this gorgeous polka-dot shirt there...
* Cafe des epices -- Great food, cheap, fresh, fast and very easy to get to after a long morning shopping in the souks! We went twice and loved it. Order the vegetarian sandwich or a salad with fresh tuna - both are delicious!
* Our plans changed so we missed having dinner at Palais Soleiman, which made me nearly cry, but if you are lucky enough to get to eat there please tell me all about it...
* Have a cocktail at the gorgeous Hotel La Mamounia. What a gorgeous lounge they have there and drinks may be a bit expensive BUT they come with finger food so hey... why not! When I become rich and famous someday (ha!) I will stay here as well. It as pure luxury!
* Djemaa el Fna at night and eat at one of the many fantastic food tents. When you see the snake charmers, monkey handlers and others in the square, always tip them for a photo. Make sure you buy a coconut cookie if you see anyone selling them - they are delicious!
Psst: If you are going to Morocco soon, pick up the terrific guide Shopping in Marrakesh by Susan Simon.
(images: holly becker for decor8)