A Look Back: Marrakech

A Look Back: Marrakech


I decided that it is time to start visiting places that I have been wanting to explore and at the top of my list was Marrakech.  I have always been intrigued by the history and the French connection in this part of the world. The French “Protectorate” in Morocco began with the Treaty of Fez in 1912 and lasted until 1955 so there is a very strong French influence and the main unofficial language that seems to be spoken by nearly everyone is French.

As I was traveling by myself, I decided it would be prudent to find someone who knew the lay of the land and it was the best thing I could have done because my Riad was located in the heart of the Medina that is a labyrinth of tunnels that twist and turn and are almost impossible to navigate.  Achraf was an amazing historian and guide and he added so much more to the trip. He toured me through the most incredible gardens, shops, hotels, landmarks and restaurants and we never seemed to wait in any lines…


We started off at the Yves St. Laurent gardens and I will have to say it was one of the highlights of the trip.  The gardens were extraordinary and represented different countries on the planet that inspired the designer and his line of clothing.  There were cactus gardens, Japanese gardens, jungle life and strikingly bright colored buildings throughout. Every inch of the place was a photo op.  The museum itself is a must see and the 15 minute video at the end was very inspiring and moving.

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Next we visited a 5 story riad that was filled floor to ceiling with the most incredible rugs I have ever laid eyes on. Hakim is a fifth generation rug dealer who knows every inch of his inventory and he is the least pushy sale person I have ever come across.  I was ready to place my order on day one, but he advised me to sleep on it and come back in the morning to make my final decision. Needless to say, we have a fresh supply of Moroccan rugs that I will be putting on the website for you to see soon.

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There is not enough room in the store for all of them. They come from the Atlas mountains where the Berber women spend any of their free time hand making each rug. They are all unique and many of them tell the story of the makers lives through the years or however long it takes them to make it.

Off to visit some of the most beautiful hotels and riads that I am still dreaming about. The Royal Mansour was hands down the most tranquil and beautiful property we visited. The spa was jaw dropping and the pool was the largest I have ever seen. The lounge areas and restaurant could not have been more perfectly appointed. An Interior Designers dream!

The French style was most pronounced in Riad de Tarabel that we visited and is the place we plan to stay when Achraf and I put our trip together in the future to share with you “Marrakech with a French Twist”.

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It is owned by a woman from Toulouse and built in French-colonial style around three courtyards. The palette is beige and French blue and is filled with French antiques, rattan chairs and is so pleasing to the eye you will never want to leave.

Other riads that must be mentioned...

  • Riad El Fenn – Vanessa Branson

  • La Mamounia

  • Riad dar Mo’da

  • Riad Dar Rbaa Laroub


Now on to the topic of food. Nearly every meal I had was divine. I will have to say I enjoyed the Grand Café de la Poste the most of all. Fresh oysters, salade nicoise and I think the environment was more French that in France.  

The setting at Maison Arabe was transporting.  It was outside in a jungle like setting with tables surrounding a reflecting pool.  The candles and Moroccan lanterns created a cool vibe and the live Moroccan musicians took it to another level.  I highly recommend this place.

Nomad is a great rooftop lunch spot in the heart of the Medina and La Familia is another DO NOT MISS spot for lunch in between touring around.

All in all Marrakech was a feast for the senses.  The vibrant colors, the Adhan (call to prayer) that reverberates throughout the city five times a day, the taste and smell of mint tea that is served everywhere you go makes for an unforgettable experience and I highly recommend traveling to Marrakech one day to experience it for yourself.


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