Popham Design – Marrakech-Morocco-inspired

Popham tiles Marrakech new designs

American designers Caitlin and Samuel Dowe-Sandes live in Marrakech and own the Moroccan tile company Popham Design.

Inspired by the traditional style of Moroccan cement tiles, all the tiles they create have been carefully made by hand by skilled artisans in their Marrakech factory.

The designers say that they are inspired by everyday life in Marrakech, from “the curve of an arch, a delicate carved wooden ceiling, the branch of an almond tree” to “the shadow cast by the wheel of a donkey cart”.

Grouped into four collections – scribbles + loops, classics + twists, flora + fauna, and plain + shapely – the patterns have been designed with flexibility in mind so that they can sit together in many different ways.

The tiles can work as wall and floor coverings and can be put outside or in – they’re expensive but given the degree of artistry involved, this is not surprising. The tiles are for sale around the world in selected showrooms and via the website. To find out more and to see the designs, visit www.pophamdesign.com

Marrakech Atlas Etape – cycling in Morocco

Etape cycling tour in Morocco Marrakesh

Never mind the classic European cycling climbs of the Alps and the Pyrenees, there are plenty of other mountainous areas to get stuck in to before the summer months.

After the triumph of the first Marrakech Atlas Etape in 2013, registration is now open for cyclists who wish to join in 2014.

Cycling seems to be all the rage in Morocco and the Marrakech Atlas Etape is one of the toughest challenges. The full route is an eye-watering 140km but there are other options too. There’s also a 60km option, with just 360m of climbing.

It’s inevitable that 2014 will prove just as popular as last year given that the route not only provides participants with a truly memorable experience, but also raises vital funds for the worthy charity Education For All (EFA).

This Moroccan-based charity, which was founded in 2007, helps to educate under-privileged young girls in the Atlas Mountains.

Their motto is “We may not individually be able to change the world but we can help to make a difference to a person’s life and indirectly many more.”

The event will take place on Sunday 27 April 2014. You can find out more or register here: www.marrakech-atlas-etape.com

Keep on running – marathon in Marrakesh

Marrakesh marathon

Every year, more than 6000 runners from all over the world descend on Marrakech to compete in one of the fastest international marathon circuits in the world. January in Marrakech is mild and sunny, offering optimum conditions for runners as well as avenues lined with palm, olive and orange trees.

Under High Patronage of its Majesty the King Mohammed VI, the International Marathon of Marrakesh will take place next year on January 26th 2014. The first ever International Marathon of Marrakesh took place in 1987 when French runner Jacques Boxberger won the men’s race. The inaugural race was especially memorable as the women’s race was won by Moroccan Nadia Colombero who was only 14 years old at the time and whose win made her one of the youngest ever winners of an international marathon.


Moroccan wine



Moroccan wineOne of the newer ‘new world’ producers, many people are surprised by just how good a lot of Moroccan wine is. Red wine dominates the market but there are plenty of strong recent batches of Chardonnay, Chenin blanc and Sauvignon blanc too, which suit the climate a little better.



One example of a highly drinkable white wine is the Odyssée cuvee, made by La Ferme Rouge, a Moroccan wine estate located at Zaërs near Rabat. At the estate, the oenologist is French and the owner is Moroccan.



The Odyssée cuvee 2010 is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. The Chardonnay brings the light fruitiness to the wine and the Viognier gives the wine exoticism and coolness. It features mandarin aromas with hints of oak and vanilla. A very pleasant wine to drink with fish and salads owing to its balance.



If further proof is needed about the quality of Moroccan wine, Manuel Schott, sommelier at the iconic luxury hotel La Mamounia, stocks more than two dozen Moroccan wines out of 400 listings in the wine cellar. He also stocks the Odyssée cuvee 2010, so head there to try this tempting tipple.




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Winners of the Marrakech International Film Festival

Marrakesh film festival 2013


Martin Scorsese and his band of jurists – Fatih Akin, Patricia Clarkson, Marion Cotillard, Amat Escalante, Golshifteh Farahani, Anurag Kashyap, Narjiss Nejjar, Park Chan-wook and Paolo Sorrentino – have announced the winners of the 2013 Marrakech International Film Festival.

The South Korean director Lee Su-jin took the grand festival prize ‘The Golden Star’, for his drama Han Gong-Ju. The jury prize was given to American Jeremy Saulnier for his arty revenge film Blue Ruin, he shared the prize with Carlos Machado Quintela for The Swimming Pool.

Best Director went to Andrea Pallaoro (USA, Italy and Mexico) for Medeas, while Best Actress went to Alicia Vikander for the film Hotell by Lisa Langseth, from Sweden. Best performance by an actor went to Didier Michon and Slimane Dazi for the film Fevers by Hicham Ayouch (France and Morocco).

The festival, with the support of the Moroccan king, screened 15 films over eight days and paid special tribute to Scandinavian cinema and artists, as well as honoring the US actress Sharon Stone and the Moroccan actor Mohamed Khouyi.

Another 110 films from 23 countries were also screened throughout the festival’s duration.

Read more about the festival here: http://en.festivalmarrakech.info

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Level Five Restaurant in Marrakesh

Level Five restaurant, Marrakesh

Restaurant and bar Level Five is hidden away on the fifth and sixth floor of a smart building in Gueliz (Immeuble ben Hafsia 2, Place du 16 Novembre, Guéliz). It has, just recently, been taken over by a new team and has had a facelift, so even if you have been before now is the time to plan a return visit.


The new layout splits the restaurant, which regularly offers live music (usually after 10pm), and the stylish Skybar, both of which are reached by a glass lift.


The restaurant menu offers French and Asian cuisine, including an enormous range of Indian dishes and sushi platters. Excellent wine list aside, the other aspect to win top marks is the long bar which is gold and visually striking.


Imperially positioned high above the city, the Sky Bar has a canopied open-air terrace to make the most of the views which stretch out to the Harti Gardens and beyond. On the whole, Level Five is young, now and very much of its time; a convivial place that doesn’t scrimp on fun or polish.



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