Tag Archives: Marrakesh the city

Moroccan style – old and new

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Grand patio Riad Sapphire and Spa in Marrakech

For your stay in the ever-fascinating, exotic city of Marrakesh live in a totally renovated ancient riad in a quiet, residential area of the medina.  At Riad Sapphire & Spa we have adopted a colonial 30’s style, but updated for the new century, in a blend of modern architecture with traditional Moroccan architecture. The interior design also is a mix of Western and Eastern, modern and ancient.
Take the glass panelling in the large courtyard with our pool (using solar energy to heat), instead of a traditional forged metal railing, we’ve rendered it in glass but had the beautiful traditional pattern etched onto the glass. The result is a clean look that allows more light to penetrate the loggia/arcade area of the riad.
In keeping with our colonial 30s theme, we have a ceiling fan in the salon – but used Moroccan craftsmanship to make it a little different.  We purchased leather from the suqs and found a leather craftsman to cut and cover the fan blades and support rod – voilà an old idea updated.
In the rooms we have hand-cut metal ceiling lampshades that cast wonderful patterns on the surrounding surfaces.  In the courtyards and arcades we decided on a more modern take on metal lampshades – we only had to show our metal craftsman, Mohamed, a sample and he faithfully executed the designs.  Again, at night these lampshades throw entrancing shadows on the white walls.

 

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Sitting room in Riad Sapphire, Marrakech

All the furniture and most of the décor, e.g. tables, sofas, banquettes, lampshades, rugs, artwork, decorative cushions, etc. have been locally made using skilled craftsmen. We’ve done a series of videos outlining the work of some of these craftspeople – see our blog – to watch how wood is turned without using electricity, how the beautiful cut metal lampshades are fashioned, how the fabrics used in some of the draperies are woven and more.
Marrakech is modern, ancient, exciting, interesting, vibrant, innovative, exotic and it has over 300 days of sunshine per year.  Don’t wait to visit!
Come and stay with us – live in a totally renovated ancient riad in a quiet, residential area of the medina of Marrakech.  Book directly online via our secure site and get an extra bonus www.riadsapphire.com

Tips for travellers to Marrakech

We’re often asked for advice on how best to enjoy Marrakech. So we’ve compiled a small guide letting you know:

Best place to go to see the real Marrakech
Best place to buy souvenirs
Average cost of a meal
What you should not miss
What tourists should absolutely not do
Full text on this link: http://riadsapphire.com/things-to-do-in-marrakech/

For more information, tips for a pleasant, FAQs about Marrakesh, health-related, good time of year to go to Marrakesh, look at our blog posts:

http://chic-riads-marrakech.com/category/faqs/

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Online shopping if you can’t get to Marrakech

Try Etsy for exotic Moroccan finds

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Etsy (www.etsy.com) is a huge online marketplace. If you’ve not heard of it, as we hadn’t until recently, think of it as a kind of fashionable ebay without the auction element. It’s full of arts and crafts inspired items and is a colourful way to shop online whether you’re looking for homewares, clothes or just some ideas.

If you put in a search for Morocco all kinds of wonderful things come up.

That leather pouffe you couldn’t quite carry back? They’ve got those, in tan, pink and every other colour of the rainbow too. Or how about a Moroccan-inspired hipflask? Yup, they have plenty of those as well.

Whilst browsing on the site we discovered the Izzizi Interiors range, which offers authentic, vintage Beni Ourain and Marmoucha Berber rugs from the mountains of Morocco – not cheap but very chic (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/IzziziInteriors)

 

 

Travelling to Marrakech?

Marrakech – pack light, pack well

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Marrakech often causes much huffing and puffing when it comes to packing for a holiday. It’s hot, it’s a Muslim country (which means covering up) but it’s also a place of great style. So, how to tick all the boxes (conservative but chic and cool?).

The Telegraph tackled the packing conundrum last week and covered the best buys for a trip to Marrakech.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/africaandindianocean/morocco/10667549/Marrakesh-what-to-pack-and-shopping-tips.html

We love the blue Zara trousers (bold but loose and cool) and the Classic Fedora rollable – Brisa Weave Grade 8 hat. We agree that a good sun hat is essential and this one is fairtrade and is built to last. We also love the tip: ‘Head to Souk Chouari for sweet-smelling cedar-wood furniture. In the likely event that your luggage allowance will not accommodate one of the pretty folding side tables, buy a small trinket instead.’

We suggest you leave the Gap leather tote bag though. Nice as it is – you will find better and cheaper at the leather section of the souk when you arrive.

 

 

 

 

Marrakech for fashion shoots

Marrakech models

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Fashion shoots regularly take place in chic Marrakech. Palaces, souks and riads often host models and their entourages. It’s no wonder, with the honeyed light, the elaborate costumes that Marrakech is known for and the exoticism that the city still evokes.

One of the most inspirational, and downright beautiful, ones we’ve stumbled across is this one, originally shot for Porter magazine:
http://www.thisisglamorous.com/2014/06/editorial-angela-lindvall-tom-craig-porter-magazine/

There are more shots here.
http://www.designscene.net/2014/04/angela-lindvall-porter-magazine-tom-craig.html

The model is Angela Lindvall, an American model and occasional actress. She has appeared in several films including Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

 

Splendour behind white walls – in Marrakech old city

Sultan Moulay Ismail Marrakesh

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.

The website www.douiria.org promises to be up and running shortly.

 

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The need for cheese

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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.

If you’re really keen you can even sign up for their newsletter, here: www.lemaitrefromager.com

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Marrakech Food Tours

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English: Steam rises from food stalls in the J...
English: Steam rises from food stalls in the Jma al Fnaa at night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Find out more here: http://marrakechfoodtours.com/taste-the-real-marrakech/

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On the Radio – Riad Sapphire and Spa in Marrakech

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upper floor arcade in Riad Sapphire, Marrakesh

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:

https://audioboo.fm/boos/2059682-the-road-less-traveled-1-08-04-2014

 

Suite dreams – in our new riad in Marrakesh

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Cinnabar suite

There was no space for boring, cookie-cutter style rooms in our new riad. Each suite has been lovingly designed with the guest’s comfort in mind every step of the way. You’ll see that we have a gemstone theme, which is apparent in the colour scheme and energy of each suite. Here we explain in just one sentence what makes each of the suites so special:

Sapphire suite –A bright junior suite on the ground floor with arched windows and French doors opening onto our beautifully kept petite courtyard.

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Sapphire suite

Amethyst suite – Opening onto our grand courtyard, this double/triple suite comes with latticed windows and hand-woven curtains evoking romantic Arabian nights.

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Amethyst suite

Peridot suite – Imperially positioned on the upper floor and decorated in peridot green shades, this double suite makes for a sensory treat.

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Peridot suite

Cinnabar suite – Located on the upper floor and decorated in a warm red palette – this suite is a supremely comfortable home away from home with its own working fireplace.

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Cinnabar suite

Ebony suite – A double/triple suite on the upper floor complete with beautiful menzeh – a traditional Moroccan balcony covered with latticed woodwork for privacy.

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Ebony suite

Amber superior suite –A family-friendly suite on the upper floor complete with lovely pyramid skylight giving masses of light and romantic four-poster queen-sized bed with floaty drapes.

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Amber suite

Topaz superior suite – Choc-a-bloc with charms, this double/triple/quadruple suite on the upper floor boasts a fabulous domed ceiling with inset stars and romantic four-poster queen-sized bed.

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Topaz suite

Citrine suite – Perched on the upper floor, a soft, relaxing lemon palette makes this double/triple suite cool and comforting.

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Citrine suite

Outstanding value too – check out website for the latest promotions – the best deals are direct via our website.

Our websites: www.riadsapphire.com and www.chic-riads-marrakech.com

Keep up with the news on Facebook (regularly updated) here: www.facebook.com/riad.sapphire and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter too www.twitter.com/RiadSapphire