Traveling is an integral part of our business as well as a passion point in our lives. While we're unable to travel at the moment (and for the foreseeable future), we're finding inspiration by getting lost in memories and photographs from previous trips. Today, we're reminiscing on our most recent trip and looking forward to when we will be able to visit familiar destinations and places yet to be explored once again.
At the end of our most recent shopping trip we travelled to what may be one of the most photogenic cities we have ever visited. Marrakech is a city that engages all of your senses and leaves one wanting to ensure that no corner goes left unexplored. This fast paced city with it's beautiful courtyards hidden behind faded Medina walls, thriving culinary scene, and blend of traditional and modern design is so easy to fall in love with. We look forward to being able to travel back to Marrakech in the future, but until then let us share with you the magic of the places we loved and the places we daydream about returning to.
Here is a collection of where to stay, what to see, and where to eat and shop in Marrakech.
a lovely view from a cafe rooftop overlooking the Place des Epices
What to See
Museums and Monuments
Visit El Badii Palace and follow with a visit to Bahia Palace. El Badii Palace was commissioned in 1578 and one can imagine how opulent it was prior to its ruin. Bahia Palace is a feast for the eyes. You could easily find yourself stuck in one spot staring at the ceiling for ten minutes trying to absorb not only the beauty but also the patience and effort it to took to paint and carve the intricately detailed wood ceilings.
Medersa Ben Youssef is also a historical site that is a must see. Unfortunately for us, the college was closed during our visit due to renovation work. We were sad to miss it, but if it is open to visitors during your trip we highly recommend a visit. The beauty of these sites speak volumes about Marrakech's skilled artists and craftsman - both former and current.
Marrakech is known for its ornate courtyards and lush Jardins boasting a variety of local flora. There is no shortage of such gems within the walls of the old city, but we recommend that while in Marrakech you are sure to visit Jardin Majorelle & Musee YSL
as well as Le Jardin Secret.
Both Jardin Majorelle and Musee YSL can become overwhelmingly busy but are still worth visiting. Our tip: try to go in the early morning and purchase tickets for entry to both locations at the Musee YSL entrance - trust us, the line is significantly shorter. Once through the entrance, you'll be able to decide which site you'd like to explore first. The intensely vibrant colors throughout the Jardin are truly breathtaking and Musee YSL is a stunning historical exhibition of Yves Saint Laurents work as well as his love for a country he considered a second home.
Le Jardin Secret is just as it's name implies - a secret garden tucked away in the middle of the Medina. Step into this sanctuary for a leisurely stroll and a break from the pace of life outside of the Jardin walls. This Jardin was a favorite from our trip.
Jama El f'na Market
Jama El f'na Market is the heart of the city and best experienced as the sun is setting when the square truly starts to come alive. The things you'll see here range from beautiful to mysterious to sometimes shocking. Wander aimlessly through the square and allow yourself to be mesmerized by the sights, sounds and smells. Once you've taken it all in, find a place to sit at one of the cafe's lining the perimeter of the square and enjoy a coffee or tea while you continue to people watch.
intricate tile work at El Badii Palace
the green zellige tiled floors of Le Jardin Secret
Where to Stay
Our experience at El Fenn is one we will not soon forget. With 28 individually designed rooms and suites, El Fenn manages to maintain an intimate and tranquil atmosphere despite its size. Each room is unique, with its own color scheme and design elements - El Fenn could publish a handbook on how to perfectly blend color, pattern and texture. The tree-filled courtyards ring with the sound of sparrows chirping and singing in the morning and evening, and are illuminated at night with lanterns and candlelight. It is truly magical and extremely romantic.
During your stay, make sure to look down to appreciate the beautiful marble and zellige tiles that cover the floors of this stunning riad. There is so much inspiration to be taken away.
In contrast to El Fenn, Riad Zaouia's design aesthetic is minimalistic, leaning into a neutral color palette that creates a contemporary atmosphere without compromising traditional moroccan design.
A stay at La Mamounia is a lesson in opulence and indulgence. Book a treatment at the hotel spa, one of the chicest in Marrakech, and experience a traditional Moroccan hammam - this experience is not to be missed.
About a 20 minute drive from Marrakech, nestled within an olive tree grove on the outskirts of a Berber village, an escape from the city awaits. If your trip allows the time, retreat to Berber Lodge for 2 nights with the intention of reading by the pool, relaxing in the impeccably designed lodge and ultimately, resting. Designed in partnership with the duo behind Studio Ko, Berber Lodge is a small slice of paradise that we hope to return to soon.
a glimpse into the magic that awaits just around the corner of the entryway to El Fenn
the courtyards in El Fenn are the ideal place to lounge after a day of exploring the souk
Berber Lodge tugs at our heart strings with it's neutral colors and use of traditional materials
we'd love to take every meal at the dining room in Berber Lodge
Where to Eat
At Nomad the menu offers a modern interpretation of traditional moroccan dishes. The restaurant has several areas for dining that are each designed to perfection. Go here for the decor, the view from the rooftop, and of course, the food. Nomad is a restaurant we will return to every time we travel to Marrakech.
The perfect stop for enjoying mint tea and a rooftop view after visiting Medersa Ben Youssef
Like many places in Marrakech, at Le Jardin you enter through an unassuming door and step into a hidden oasis. Built in a renovated 16th Century building, Le Jardin offers a menu of traditional Moroccan and European dishes. While you're there, make sure to visit Norya Ayron's
pop up shop located on the second floor.
On our first attempt to locate La Famille we strolled right by it - that's how discreet the signage is. Located off of a narrow, somewhat chaotic alley, we can confirm that it is worth the hunt. Go to La Famille and share a few dishes from their vegetarian menu in their magical tucked away courtyard. This is a meal you'll want to enjoy slowly as once you're inside you won't want to leave the relaxing atmosphere crafted by the design of the restaurant as well as the service provided by the staff.
Stop here for coffee and make sure to grab a table right outside of the entrance. Take your time and observe as shoppers negotiate prices with the many basket and spice vendors within the Place des Epices.
You've spent an entire day exploring the souk, haggling with shopkeepers to negotiate the best price for ceramics, glassware, baskets, babouches and textiles. This is what you should do next - head to the rooftop bar at El Fenn, find a cozy nook and treat yourself to a cocktail while enjoying a beautiful view of the Koutoubia Mosque as the sun sets.
book a reservation at Nomad and request a table on the rooftop so you can enjoy lunch overlooking Place des Epices
a green oasis awaits once you step inside the doorway at Le Jardin
the rooftop bar at Nomad is the ideal location for a drink at sunset
Where to Shop
The Souk is best described as a labyrinth of passages and alleyways with something beautiful waiting around each mysterious corner. Allocate a considerable amount of time to explore the souks at your leisure. If the idea of wandering through the passages of the Medina on your own feels a bit overwhelming, you can always hire a guide to help you navigate the souks.
Is it really a trip to Morocco if you haven't attempted to negotiate the price of a berber or vintage rug with a rug dealer? Probably not. Go to Lahindra and plan to stay a while as the rug dealers showcase their covetable assortment of new and vintage rugs.
We found +Michi while searching for textiles similar to the ones found at Berber Lodge. A tiny shop hidden in one of the many alleyways in the Medina, +Michi had exactly what we were hoping to find - beautiful fabrics and a lovely selection of high quality babouches.
A modern fashion and lifestyle brand located within the Medina that is quite the departure from the shopping experience you'll have in the souk. It's worth a visit to peruse their selection of clothing, ceramics, as well as books.
A concept store that is the first of its kind in Marrakech, Rue 33 Majorelle offers a selection of products from up and coming Moroccan brands and designers. It is located a short(walkable) distance from Jardin Majorelle so you can pop in after visiting the Jardin.
Leave it to the perfect hotel to also have the perfectly curated boutique. Visiting this shop is an absolute must.
a peak inside the showroom at Lahindra
stacks upon stacks of moroccan rugs. we could spend hours sorting through these beauties
pop into an apothecary to purchase herbal remedies and fleur d'oranger perfume
we fell in love with this magical city and cannot wait to return
Read more Elsie Green travel guides >
Feeling inspired by Moroccan design? Take a peek at EG's collection here.