Morocco may seem like a bit of an unlikely destination for any style savvy travelette, but it’s actually one of the most regal places on earth. I recently had the amazing luck to go on a press trip to Marrakech this spring to take in the sites, sounds and, of course, the style of this luscious city.
There’s a major French influence in Marrakech, since Morocco used to be colonized by their neighbors to the far north. Both Arabic and French are widely spoken, and knowing some basic, essential phrases (like “How much is this camel?”) in either language will definitely be helpful.
Culturally, you can bet there is also a bit of a French influence as well, as for example there are many cafes and restaurants where people eat outside in the city along with some culinary delectables that you wish you could pack in a doggie bag and take home back to the States with you.
To make the most of your time in the Red City, check out the top picks and must-see (and do!) destinations perfect for any travelling fashionista in the slideshow above.
Souks in the Medina
If you want to get some old school haggling done and purchase some local handicrafts, definitely head to the open air markets called souks in the Medina, located in the city center. Expect to find leather goods, caftans (a traditional gown that’s worn by both men and women), jewelry, food, woodwork, dining ware, pottery and designer knock-offs which are always good for a laugh. Tip: When haggling, offer 10% of the asking price and then you’ll haggle up to find a price that both you and the vendor can agree on. But don’t haggle on anything you don’t/can’t buy!
Personally dubbing this as The Plaza of Marrakech, this is the ultimate luxury destination in the city. It's a luxury hotel, and boasts a handful of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines along with some of the most beautiful architecture and interior décor I’ve ever laid eyes on. Here you will also find a Gucci, Dior and Fendi. A special highlight is Le Bar Churchill. Named after Winston Churchill, this secret spot is a dimly lit jazz bar, where many of the genre’s greats have played there. Tip: Order the Saffron Vodka Cocktail when available at the Churchill Bar.
About an hour outside of the city, remotely located in the desert, this oasis destination is a luxury getaway spot, hosting a little over 10 private villas for guests to stay, a pool shrouded in tree shade and decked out tents where you can wine and dine in style without having to even lift a finger (well, except of course to put things in your mouth). Oh, and if you’re thinking about checking the Internet, blow drying your hair or watching your TV, then you’ll be out of luck as there is no electricity at La Pause, meaning that you can literally zone out and just enjoy a fire-cooked tangine. Tip: If you can’t part with electricity, then come out to reserve a table/tent for a meal and take your time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings around you.
A Berber pharmacy
If you’re into natural medicines and remedies, then definitely try and visit a Berber pharmacy in the Medina. There, you’ll be able to go in with an ailment or cosmetic query, and find a solution that is made of natural ingredients. Tip: Stock up on some Moroccan oil which is way more expensive in the States than in Morocco.
Formerly owned and watched over by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner until his death, this now open-to-the-public garden features all sorts of beautiful greenery and flowers as well as gorge architecture that is often washed in the estate’s trademark color, Majorelle Bleu–a rich royal blue that truly pops in the North African sunlight. Tip: If you want to do a impromptu photoshoot, this would be the place–just be careful of the many tourists that will get in your shot.
Zest at Bleu d'Orange at the Four Seasons Marrakech
The Four Seasons Marrakech is less than a year old and is already making waves with jetsetters from all over. Their recent addition is the Zest Lounge, set on top of the roof of one of the handful buildings on-site. You’ll find a mix of foreigners and locals (more so of the former), a DJ on the decks usually spinning out chill house tunes and some great lounge seats perfect for star-gazing. Tip: Try to end your night here to help you wind-down from the night’s festivities.
If there is one thing you have do, it would have to be going to a hammam. Bathe in the spa and let all the stress from your body disappear.
Le Grand Café de la Poste
A place to see and be seen, this restaurant and lounge is a popular spot for European expats and tourists alike, serving quality service, food and drinks. And the décor is beyond chicness. Tip: Grab a seat with your back against the wall so you can some people watching and take in the luxe, exotic ambiance.