The old Medina in the centre of Marrakech is a maze of shopping temptation. Made up of several souks that spill into one another, the alleyways and squares are fit to burst with carpets, silverware and shoes. You could quite easily spend days shopping, bartering and weaving your way around the souks, like Moroccans have done for hundreds of years.
But a new wave of retail options are making their mark on Marrakech. Local artists, designers and entrepreneurs are collaborating to offer unique handcrafted items that reflect their culture – past and present. Helping to bring them all together, supporting the artists and introducing their guests to them, is a new art hotel and cultural centre just outside the city, which stylish travellers are sure to love.
Lalla – From Marrakech With Love
Hiding on the first floor of Souk Cherifia, underneath La Terrasse des Epices restaurant and above the typical tourist stalls found in Marrakech’s Medina, is Lalla. Lalla specialises in handbags and accessories that combine vintage Moroccan fabrics with leathers, charms and chains. Surprisingly this collection begun under the rainy skies of London (where the range is now stocked in selected boutiques) but it seems most at home in the heart of the Medina.
Souk Cherifa, Dar El Bacha
Sidi Abdelazziz, Marrakech Medina
The whole of the first floor of Souk Cherifia is worth a visit as there is a great range of little boutiques up there, most owned by local designers.
Pop Up Shop
Pop Up Shop is exactly what it sounds like – a pop up shop on the first floor of Le Jardin restaurant in Souk El Jeld. Designer Norya Ayron runs the exclusive boutique stocking beautiful beaded clutches and her unique kaftan style Karidresses. Norya is the best person to model her elegant designs – visit the store Facebook page to see what I mean!
1st Floor Le Jardin
32 Souk El Jeld
Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakech Medina
Kahenas is an online store created by a young Morrocan couple who wish to create a community between their favourite Moroccan designers and their customers. The result is a fresh, new brand which, named after a mysterious Berber princess, merges Moroccan culture with modern living. Products available in their online shop include prints by Deborah Benzaquen (like this image of an abandoned theme park in Casablanca), printed tees by footballer Larbi Ben Barek and jewellery by Little Bohemian based on traditional coins (the Louisa Necklace is adorable.)
All items are proudly labelled as made or designed in Morocco. At the moment shipping is only available in Morocco but we are assured international shopping is on its way soon – and I, for one, can’t wait.
Visit www.kahenas.com/eshop for more information.
The Fellah Hotel
Able to offer their guests the unique opportunity of mingling with Morccan artists is the Fellah Hotel. Situated away from the Medina’s maze and with a view of the Atlas Mountains, the Fellah Hotel supports an onsite cultural centre, the Dar al-Ma’mûn, which sponsors artists from the region as well as running events such as literary lessons for the local community.
The palatial hotel rooms are decorated with items sourced from Moroccan antique and flea markets (I longed to take home the retro radio above my bed). The bathroom in my suite is dominated by an egg shaped bath and sweeping views of the mountains beyond, and with two closets in each room even the most prolific shoppers will have room to spare.
The hotel’s restaurant is a quirky mix of wooden furniture and rusty chandeliers that overlook the sun bed lined pool. Breakfast is a carefully selected buffet of local dishes (Berber porridge, pancakes and flatbreads) many of the components of which were grown in the hotel’s own farm.
After all the shopping in town, a 20 minute drive from the hotel, the Fellah is a remote haven of relaxation. Hidden in one of the terracotto coloured buildings is a Wat Po Massage Centre. As the knots in my shoulders are kneaded by the Thai therapists I make an empty promise to visit the gym. Maybe next time…
Rooms at the Fellah Hotel start from €170 per room, per night on a bed & breakfast basis. Visit www.fellah-hotel.com for more information.
EasyJet, RyanAir and British Airways all offer daily direct flights from London airports and reach Marrakech in approximately 3 hours.
My stay at the Fellah Hotel was sponsored for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinions remain my own. For more information on things to see and do in Marrakech check out this post.