I have been to Marrakech more than a dozen times, and I never tire of the buzz of the souk, the elegance of the palms against the ancient medina walls, the handmade artistry on display everywhere and the sunset against the snow-topped Atlas Mountains.
I just returned from another visit to scout for our September Insider Trip and was again enthralled by the country’s unmistakable glamour and romance. But this time I was struck not only by its eternal charms, but also by Marrakech’s wonderful new boutiques, hotels and cultural institutions that now define the city’s exciting style evolution.
Marrakech’s attractions, which appealed from my first visit at 18 years old, are eternal; but the city has evolved in recent years and introduced a concentration of fabulous hotels and resorts, sophisticated boutiques, restaurants and wonderful new cultural institutions. Chief among these are Le Jardin Secret, a restored Islamic garden in the medina, and the soon-to-open Yves Saint Laurent Museum (Rue Yves St. Laurent), which is inspiring a gentrification of the neighborhood around the Majorelle Gardens.
Over the years, I have come to know many of the wonderful expats who have moved to Marrakech and brought a spirit of entrepreneurship that has added creativity and innovation to the city’s ancient traditions. These are people like Vanessa Branson and Meryanne Loum-Martin, who transformed riads into boutique hotels or shopping destinations; and Laetitia Trouillet of Lalla Boutique and Caitlin and Samuel Dowe-Sandes of Popham Designs, who have brought modern twists to traditional crafts. Marrakech’s medina continues to evolve, merging ancient practices with fresh updates like Le Jardin Secret and La Famille, the oasis-cum-lunch-spot.
Other areas of the city are coalescing around originality. The Yves Saint Laurent Museum has inspired boutiques and restaurants in a previously residential quarter. Likewise, many artisans have moved to the area from the industrial neighborhood of Sidi Ghanem to Gueliz, where boutiques like Art/C are so cutting edge that the designer’s fashions are carried at Dover Street Market in Tokyo and London. Other nearby spots not to miss are Kaftan Queen and Fadila el Gadi.
And just in time for summer, Marrakech’s pool scene has been elevated with the new Le Jardin at Royal Mansour, which is open to the public with cabanas and a poolside café that give La Mamounia a real run for its money. Beldi Country Club has also expanded the concept of a day by the pool by creating a shopping village centered around Beldi Verre (which is one of the last places in the country where you can see old bottles blown into traditional Moroccan tea glasses). These ateliers for ceramics, carpets and more make for a great stop before or after lunch by the pool. Both spots embody the best of Marrakech–which marries a respect for history and heritage infused with timeless Moroccan style–which is why I will never tire of returning here.
Melissa’s Marrakech: Top Shopping
Marrakech: Our Community
Indagare has cultivated an exciting network of designers and tastemakers who are experts on Morocco’s style enclave. Read on to hear more from our Marrakech ambassadors, or read Q&As from Indagare’s vast community of insiders.
“I am constantly inspired by the colors and the design of Marrakech. I also love the food, the people and the landscape; it’s always a place for more discovery.” ~ Madeline Weinrib
Read our interview with designer and Marrakech expert Madeline Weinrib where she talks about her favorite spots in the city.
“Our designs take their aesthetic cue from our life in Morocco and the things that inspire us—the curve of an arch, a delicate carved wooden ceiling, the branch of an almond tree.” ~ Caitlin Dowe-Sandes
Read our interview with Caitlin and Samuel Dowe-Sandes, the husband-and-wife team behind Popham Design, and get their tips on how best to enjoy the red city.
Marrakech: Giving Back
To the young women growing up in Morocco’s rural villages, staying in school, unfortunately, is not always a given. In fact, only 6% of girls outside of cities attend secondary school, as many are obligated to earn a living and marry at a young age. But Project Soar –a non-profit organization helping to educate and empower young women–works to prepare a brighter future for some of these girls. Read more about Project Soar.
Morocco Insider Trip: September 17-22, 2017
Join us this fall on Indagare’s Insider trip to Morocco to experience the history, romance and atmosphere that the country has to offer. Our trip will begin with three nights in the medina of Marrakech, where the group will take in the amazing architecture, the gorgeous gardens and have opportunities for private villa visits and dinner in the desert. The trip concludes with two nights in the Atlas Mountains, exploring Berber villages and doing sunrise yoga at Sir Richard Branson’s retreat. Inquire Now.
The Indagare Travel team specializes in planning journeys to Marrakech and beyond. Contact our Bookings Team for help with a customized itinerary.