In the mood for Marrakech but not visiting just yet? Satisfy your curiosity here, with these transporting videos! A quick watch of these and you’ll be booking your airline ticket in no time. Also, remember our opening introductory offer: 25% off for stays of 3 nights or more if bookings are made in April or May.
If it is a Moroccan summer mood you’re looking for, look no further.
Almost exactly one year ago, in the early summer of 2013, the Greek photographer Yiannis Hadjiaslanis travelled around Morocco and photographed eleven urban centres – including Casablanca, Tangier, Fez and Marrakech – over 23 days.
The photographic journey and project – called Intersections – intensely highlighted his discovery of a contemporary and colourful Morocco. Avoiding the typical travel images or clichés he shows how multi-layered Mediterranean atmospheres and curious colours permeate into the everyday.
This week we bring news of a unique restoration project, just completed. If you wander along the rue de l’ Hammam and through the archway between the Mouassine Mosque and the Mouassine Fountain you will find yourself in the proximity of the newly opened Douiria Apartment.
The ‘Douiria Apartment’ may sound like a modern housing development, but it is a much more exciting concept than that. It is in fact a restoration project which has preserved a ‘Douiria’ (reception apartment) that was built during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail (1646 – 1727) in the 17th century.
Patrick Man’ach – who opened La Maison de la Photographie and the Berber Eco museum in Ourika – is the brains behind the project. Having seen the space, he suspected that its white-washed walls might conceal an older, more fascinating décor. He brought in a team of experts, including Xavier Salmon – of the Louvre museum in Paris – and together they worked to remove the plaster.
What was discovered behind these plain walls must be seen to be believed. Underneath lay floral patterns, wooden beams and a sun motif – all perfectly preserved.
Next, a team of 10 skilled Moroccan craftsmen were brought in – expert Moroccan potters from Ourika – who carefully restored the original colours and wooden beams. All the phases of the complex restoration were photographed and are also on display.
Now open, The Douiria provides not only a unique place for hosting VIP gatherings and high-end exhibitions but also a rare insight into the Arab art of courtly entertainment during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail.
While we love Moroccan food, there are certain foods that we often get cravings for that are not always that easy to find. One of these is of course – cheese!
With so many French expats in the city, thankfully it isn’t too hard to source good selections of cheese and dairy produce. One of our top tips is Le Maitre Fromager which is the go-to place in the city for cheese fans.
Housed in a pretty boutique on Avenue Mohamed VI, the smell of cheese entices food lovers in from the streets. It’s not only about cheese here though, you can also pick up other fine foods including smoked salmon and platters of cheese which work well as gifts. A must for any foodie’s address book.
It’s rare that a visitor leaves Marrakech without a newly-found passion for the local food. We offer lovely, home-cooked salads and tagines in our own riad and happily recommend plenty of interesting places to eat in and around Marrakech (many of our favourite places can be found here on this blog). But, if you’re keen to delve deeper, then a food tour might just tick the box.
We recently heard about Marrakech Food Tours from Amanda AKA @MarocMama who we avidly follow on Twitter. She and Youssef, who met in the US but who live in Marrakech, are now taking visitors out into the city to discover its culinary traditions.
Guests meet at the Jemaa el Fna Post Office and then go out with Youssef (and maybe Amanda) to meet different food artisans, to learn about food culture and the history of the area. For the adventurous there’s the “Freaky Food” tour, where Youssef takes guests out to try snail soup, sheep head, and kidney loaf – we have to admit that we’re very keen to test this one out ourselves!
Tours operate every day of the week, starting at 1pm and each tour lasts approximately three hours. Group sizes are from 1-6 (although email ahead if you plan to book solo). Tours are conducted in English and the cost for the tour is $50 (US), pre-paid, per person. Children 5 and under are free with a parent and children over 5 are $25 with a paying adult.
The lovely folks at Dubai Eye Radio – one of the best radio stations in the Middle East – asked us to tell them what it’s like running a riad in the heart of Marrakech. Before we knew it, we were on-air being broadcast around the region and beyond.
Our story was on a particular show called ‘The Road Less Travelled’ which is all about exploring other cultures and authentic travel. The Travel Show is presented by Lucy Taylor and Mark Lloyd who, every week, help their listeners ‘stay up to date and learn to navigate potential pitfalls with practical travel tips and on the ground advice from the experts in the know.’
The Travel Show covers all elements of travel, tourism, hospitality, leisure and lifestyle – looking at everything from local UAE escapes and entertainment to international vacation options and attractions.
You can listen to our own interview here, care of this podcast:
Travel and music go together. Just like a photograph brings back memories a song can take you back to a certain place too.
This week we stumbled upon a beautiful piece of film which we feel has successfully captured the essence of Marrakech. It has been created by Suki Mok, a talented musician, turned photographer.
Suki shot the short film on his Blackmagic camera and it has been set to a transporting piece of music by Jose Gonzalez – a song called ‘Step out’, which has an ethereal, travel vibe to it.
The film takes the audience through some of Morocco’s finest sights such as the Atlas Mountains, Berber villages, the Medina souks, Jardin Majorelle and the Koutoubia Minaret. All of these iconic sights were expertly captured on Suki’s first ever visit to Morocco, watching it is a bit like seeing the country through fresh eyes. Suki says of his journey:
“Just an hour’s drive away will take you to the stunning Atlas mountains, where the Berbers still live in villages untouched by modern society. The film is rich with new colours, patterns and faces with wholly unique stories – it was a truly unforgettable experience.”