close you eyes and take a journey with us … bright lights, vibrant colours, thick heady fragrances … spices, lavender, moody oriental incense … snake charmer’s, belly dancers, african drums, chanting … a city unlike any other and a sensory overload in the best possible way. frantic and slighlty overwhelming but always memorable. we take you through our highlights of this wonderful city and home to an unesco world heritage site – marrakech, morocco.
where we stayed – el fenn. a unique boutique riad in the medina of marrakech combining grandeur and historic architecture with hideaway nooks, terraces and gardens – making it the most peaceful place from which to enjoy Africa’s most exotic city. with three swimming pools, a spa, library, substatial roof terrace, delicious organic food, bar, cinema room & spectacular views over the koutoubia mosque and atlas mountains … it’s all here!
where we ate – narwama or pavillion.
narwama has all the markings of a trendy restaurant. the owner and former dj, pumps his own mix of world lounge music. a huge central courtyard and two adjoining salons swathed in hues of deep ocher and charcoal from candlelit tables with dark cushioned chairs all surrounding a fountain of flames and water (the restaurant’s name translates to “fire and water” in arabic). attentive and attractive staff usher thai, moroccan, and mediterranean dishes to locals and tourists alike.
on the contrary … the setting at restaurant le pavillon is much more superlative – think french fine dining, romantique and classical – tables are squeezed into the courtyard of a splendid old house, under the spreading boughs of a tremendousl tree. several small salons also provide for more intimate dining and the day’s french, african, moroccan style menu is scrawled out on a white board presented by the waiter.
where to shop – the souks are a unique shopping experience with everything to offer from tagines and beaten brass to carpets and slippers, but if you need a break from bartering and haggling visit k.i.s boutique at 36 derb fhal chidmi, mouassine. k.i.s (keep it secret) boutique is a concept store offering clothes, accessories, bags, toiletries and household items from contemporary moroccan and international designers. a kalidescope of colour and one stop shop for everyone – away from the sensory frenzy!
what to explore – the medina is filled with endless labyrinths of souks and alleys to explore and get lost in. discover artisans at work, antique shops filled with forgotten treasures and defining moments to capture on your camera!
other adventures – in pierre bergé’s words: “when yves saint laurent and I arrived in marrakech for the first time (in 1966), we didn’t know this town would play such an important part in our lives, nor did we know that morocco would become our adoptive country, our second home.” together they purchased three properties, all fitting to the grand lifestyle one would rightly associate them with. the most noted being the ‘majorelle gardens’, once the retreat of french painter jacques majorelle whom created this enchanting place over a 40 year span; was purchased by saint laurent and bergé in 1980. the mesmerising blue in a sea of greens is one of morocco’s must-sees for visitors who now get to explore its lush gardens – a visual experience with shades so vibrant it seems only fitting they should have influenced such a master of colour and texture as YSL.
the result of our inspiration – medina motorcycle – our beautiful cashmere-blend scarf has captured a ‘moment in time’ as three moroccan craftsmen, unaware they are being photographed, work away creating their wares in a back alley of the medina. an intriguing image on a luxurious textile. pre-orders now open www.birdandknoll.com