With its striking architecture, colorful textiles, and ornate tiling, Marrakech is truly a feast for the eyes. Whether you’re winding through the souks or an atmospheric riad, there is beauty at every turn in the magical North African city. Though the historic city has been a source of inspiration for the design world for decades, it’s booming with fresh energy now more than ever, thanks to a number of stylized updates to the city’s most iconic destinations and an influx of new, high design hotels and shops. We made the trek to Marrakech to shoot with our friends and travel buddies Julie Sariñana and photographer Grant Legan [http://www.grantlegan.com]. Here, our insider guide to where to eat, sleep, and play in Marrakech right now.
Allow plenty of time to visit this rug shop in the souk, which houses seemingly endless stacks of beautiful, one-of-a-kind rugs.
(We spent nearly six hours here sifting through them and sipping mint tea on our last visit.) You’ll be wishing you brought a bigger suitcase to bring all of these handcrafted rugs home. Our Soludos headquarters in New York is now home to four of them!
Jardin Marjorelle [http://jardinmajorelle.com/ang/]
Stroll through Yves Saint Laurent’s exotic gardens adjacent to his villa. The late designer, who was famously quite enchanted by Morocco’s charms, spent a great deal of time here drawing inspiration for his iconic runway collections.
Take a day trip to the Agafay Desert, about an hour’s drive outside the city, for camel riding through the red sand. (Don’t forget to wear the right shoes so they don’t fall off while you ride—Jules suggests Soludos Leather Huarache Sandals.)
Spend the evening feasting on lamb tagine and other Moroccan delicacies, while gazing at the stars (the skies are crystal clear), before tucking in for the night at Scarabeo Desert Camp [http://www.scarabeocamp.com].
Take a break from shopping in the souks and stop in for lunch or dinner at Nomad.
Enjoy fresh, modern Moroccan cuisine and excellent people watching on the terrace of this local favorite. Reservations recommended.
Café des Epices [http://www.cafedesepices.com]
This is an obligatory stop for a mid-day break from the hustle and bustle of the souks. Go for the juices and spiced tea, stay for the sweeping views from the rooftop.
La Mamounia [http://www.mamounia.com/en/marrakech.htm]
In the way of hotels, the historic La Mamounia is one of Morocco’s crown jewels. The Jacques Garcia-designed property, situated just minutes from Jemaa el Fna square in the city’s center, seamlessly blends traditional Arab-Andalusian architecture with contemporary design.
The 27,000-square-foot subterranean spa, Michelin-starred restaurant, and sweeping gardens are a particularly big draw. Did we mention there’s also an ice cream parlor?
La Sultana [http://www.lasultanahotels.com]
For a more traditional Moroccan experience, stay in a riad. La Sultana reigns as one of the city’s oldest and most beloved riads. The property, which has 28 stunning rooms and suites, is just a short walk from the Red City’s main attractions, including the Royal Palace, Bahia Palace, and the Saadian Tombs.
Riad Enija [http://www.riadenija.com]
Situated in the heart of the Medina, Riad Enija boasts stunning rooftop views, superb food, and one of the city’s most peaceful courtyard gardens.
Sit here and enjoy a cup of mint tea and Moroccan pastries as you listen to the sounds of birds chirping and the fountains trickling off in the distance. Home, wherever that is, will feel light years away from this magical spot.
Riad El Fenn [https://el-fenn.com/]
Few riads in Morocco have more charm than Riad El Fenn. Named Best Dressed Hotel by Mr & Mrs Smith [https://smithhotels.com/], the Vanessa Branson-owned property has 28 different rooms on offer and a 7,000-square-foot terrace that gives all the rooftop views in the city an excellent run for their money. Plus, the art collection alone is reason enough to stay here. Branson, sister of Sir Richard Branson, has an extensive collection that includes works by Fred Pollock, David Shrigley, and William Kentridge, all of which now hang on the hotel’s walls.