A New Tribe Travels - Marrakech and Surrounding Areas
Morocco is a very special place to me and I am fortunate enough to have spent lots of time there. Since my first trip to Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains with my good friend Jenni in 2008, I have fallen in love with it - with the beauty and attention to visual detail that goes into absolutely everything, with the landscape and more than anything - the people. Marrakech has changed a lot over the past 10 years and is now much more accessible and less overwhelming as a visitor there, whilst it still maintains the chaos and charm that is the heartbeat of the city. As I'm back and forth to Morocco a lot sourcing rugs and other artisan products for the shop, I often get asked for my tips and recommendations and so I have compiled a visual diary of my favourite places. Some of these have been found by stumbling across them on our travels; others have been recommended by friends or people that we have met in Morocco. This is by no means a definitive guide to Morocco (I'd be here all day there are so many great places) but here are my personal highlights.
Riad Jardin Secret - Marrakech Medina
I had been dying to visit Riad Jardin Secret for a long time after a recommendation from our friends at Majestic Disorder magazine - and it didn't disappoint! Hidden away in a great location in the Medina close to many of our favourite places, we stepped inside to sunny tunes playing and friendly faces. From the jungle courtyard with resident tortoise, tranquil rooms with intricately tiled bathrooms, to honestly the prettiest roof terrace that I have so far come across in Morocco (and that's high praise - Morocco does roof terraces so well) - Riad Jardin Secret is a visual dream. Whilst not being quite so secret anymore (an Instagram with 40K+ followers) this Riad still feels like a place of calm - with only six rooms it's never going to lose its charm. Highlights (aside from the visuals) were the breakfasts: fresh fruit, homemade compote, Moroccan pancakes and homemade cakes as well as the heavenly scented products in the bathrooms.
Riad Samsara - Marrakech Medina
I stayed at Riad Samsara on my first trip to Marrakech 10 years ago and have been going back ever since. Tucked away the northern 'Bab Tarzout' area of the Medina which is a bit more 'local' and less touristy than other parts of the Medina, Samsara is like a beautiful home away from home. During the day you will be looked after by Milouda and Fatima who serve delicious breakfast on the roof terrace or in the courtyard. At night the Riad is not staffed - you will be given a key to the front door, but you will still be greeted by Jade the resident cat. Drinks can be found in the kitchen on an honesty policy basis, adding to the feeling that you really are at home.
Berber Lodge - Marrakesh Surrounding Areas
If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the medina in Marrakesh whilst wanting to experience a tranquil boutique (rather than many of the bigger hotels in the new town) we couldn't recommend anywhere more highly than Berber Lodge. Located about a 30 minute drive from Marrakech in a small Berber village, Berber Lodge creates an instant feeling of serenity from the moment that you step inside. Designed and owned by Romain Michel-Ménière (a renowned Interior Architect who is behind lots of Marrakech's stylish spots including restaurant 'Nomad') Berber Lodge is the epitome of understated style. From the lodges (bedrooms) to the bar and dining areas, the interior styling is on point - effortless but intentional in the grand scale tadelakt rooms. Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining room or patio with a seasonal menu created from produce grown in the gardens. Aside from all of this, the real highlight for us was relaxing by the peaceful pool in the heavenly gardens, where all we could hear was the birds singing and the distant sound of boys in a nearby village playing football as the sun was setting.