1. EL FENN
I had been dying to visit this hotel purely for their bold interior design ever since I read about it. The hotel is known for its creative and stunning interiors with bright pops of colours. I mean just look at those dramatic red walls against the black and white tiling! And thats just the inside!
Outside brightly coloured seating in mustard yellow and bright pink are offset with the lush greenery of the tropics in the courtyards or the ‘riads’ as the Moroccan’s call them. Whilst we were having dinner I read about the Interior Designer, Willem Smit was able to use the dark red indoors due to the proportions inside.
Obviously its quite a bold colour to paint at home back in England, however I do believe there are notes to be taken, when it comes to pairing red and black and white, which could be used for a downstairs cloakroom or a snug reading area. It certainly makes the room feel cosy. Also noting the good use of lighting adds further drama.
2. JARDIN MAJORELLE
Without a shadow of doubt the Jardin Majorelle gardens are stunning site to see and luckily we got to experience it on a warm day where we were able to appreciate the cooling areas of the gardens, which is the purpose of the garden.
So I know you might be thinking, a garden isn’t interior related, however there are some elements which are and not forgetting that the garden is an extension of the house so bare with me on this one!
Firstly the colour combination used on the house and feature walls, blue, yellow and white, its absolutely striking especially against the blazing sun. The notes I took away are how well this colour combo works and how I can incorporate it back home in my own interior design. Now if you live in a hot country and paint your garden wall deep blue, you’re going to create a cooling feeling.
If however you live is less warmer climates you can still use the bold use of colour against a motif like screen which is what I plan to do. Secondly, whilst painting your house blue is a bit radical, you can however incorporate a water feature in your garden, giving a tranquil and cooling feeling.
3. CAFE ARABE
If you’re looking for a place to eat with some great style then head to Cafe Arabe, we had dinner here as the food was quite good, admittedly we did have Italian food twice!
The interior design is uses dramatic colours, gold is paired with deep red and blue along with chartreuse. I particularly like how they have split the wall in two colours, red/metallic as the paint colour wall colour whilst tiling the rest in a geometric pattern. It is a great way of not fully committing to a colour if its too bold, just paint half of the wall, and tile or panel the remaining wall.
4. SECRET GARDEN
Yes its another garden but its not the plants that I’m going to talk about! The Secret Garden reminded me a lot of our hotel, which contrary to all the above used a very neutral palette of creams, whites and greens. Just think of those white/creamy Bedouins in the dessert reflecting the heat on the outside whilst keeping it cooler on the outside.
The drapped curtain effect creating evoking a romantic scene you might see in a Hollywood film. Our hotel room had a draped curtains over our bed and it was very inviting especially at night after a long day of walking.
5. LA MAMOUNIA
Looking for luxurious hotel with drop dead gorgeous interior design? Well it doesn’t get better than this! We visited this 5* hotel on a whim after dinner one night and oh boy, the interiors did not disappoint! Luxury meets meticulous craftsmanship.
We could only see what was open to the public, several large open rooms including the Winston Churchill Bar and outdoor bar but what we did see took our breath away! Each area was well designed whether it was a mimicked arched Dar or the glamorous main reception decked with two stunning chandeliers. If you have the dosh to spend and want somewhere very fancy – this is your place! I hear the pool is meant to be stunning too!
TAKE A PEN!
Sounds weird I know, but on landing and departure you need to fill out an immigration card (if you’re not Moroccan) and the airport does not provide you with a pen! Also be prepared to wait in queues for 2 hours going through immigration and security so leave plenty of time.
HIRE A GUIDE
If you’ve never been to Marrakech and find the souks too daunting to go to by yourself, hire a guide. Your hotel should be able to provide you with one if you ask. One of the reasons we stayed at the Riyad Joya was because they provided a guide which we paid for separately. Once you get your head around how to navigate your way, you should feel confident to get around by yourself. There are lots of other tourists around as well incase you feel a bit overwhelmed. A word of warning though, if you ask the guide to take you to a particular type of shop, e.g. spice shop and you’re not happy to pay the extortionate amount, do not feel obliged to pay just because the guide took you there. We walked out of a spice shop trying to rip us off with £180 of mint tea, sandalwood and menthol crystals! The ripping off is on another level!
WEAR CLOSED TOE FOOTWEAR
Around the souks and medina, wear closed toe footwear which is comfortable to walk in. There are no pavements in the souks its all one path which is shared with motorcyclists and donkeys. You’ll find potholes, gravel from construction sites and animal litter, so save your feet from the trauma and give them some good protection!
LADIES COVER UP
Unless you want unwanted attention ladies, its a good idea to cover up your shoulders and thighs/legs in the souks and medina. Moroccan men are not used to seeing women showing their legs and arms so when they do see it, expect some, if not a lot of attention! Inside hotels and restaurants you can be a bit more relaxed. I wore long maxi dresses or jeans.
GO EARLY TO MARJORELLE JARDIN, LIKE REALLY EARLY
We made the mistake of not heading out early enough to the Majorelle Gardens and ended up waiting in the queue for over an hour in the hot heat – it was not fun! Although they had two queues it moved at snail pace and also noticed locals jumping the queue! So head out first thing in the morning or go after the queues have dyed down in the afternoon. Also if your hotel is in or near the souks you will need to get a taxi from the main square to the Gardens so factor that in your route.
IF YOU’RE LOST…
Be careful who you ask if you are lost, some shop keepers will direct you where to go even though you never asked for their help! Never follow someone if they tell you they are taking you to where you want to go. We instead got directions from another western tourist.
DOWNLOAD AN FX CALCULATOR APP
Likelihood is that you are going to want to do some shopping and given that we were not familiar with Dirhams the eCurrency app allows you to convert money instantly back into GBP on the fly.
I highly recommend using this app (or something similar) and you don’t need WiFi or Data Roaming on to use it. When the spice shop was trying to flog us of £180 in Dirhams we had’t a clue how much that was in pounds until we used the app. We used it everywhere else and it stops you from getting ripped off!
GOOD PLACES TO EAT
We found a few of nice places to eat, for lunch head to the Earth Cafe right next to Nomad. Probably a fraction of a price compared to Nomad, this vegan/vegetarian cafe is run by two humble ladies, portions are huge and seating is on their roof terrace. I had the filo pastry with vegetables (no.6) and it was divine!
Cafe Arabefor dinner – make sure you book or if you do rock up you may have to sit further inside rather than on their roof terrace or courtyard. Great for decor ogling and Italian food!
El Fennfor lunch or dinner – we couldn’t get in for lunch as we hadn’t booked but decided to have dinner that night. So make sure to book beforehand as they get very busy. Food was pretty good from their set menu especially as they had veggie options.They also have two sittings for dinner 7:30pm and 9:30pm. It has quite an intimate setting compared to most restaurants, the decor keeps your mind occupied and the shop incorporated in the restaurant is genius, though your husband/credit card might not think so!
Riyad Joya for dinner- we stayed in this hotel because the reviews and website stated the veggie food was really good and it didn’t disappoint! Ahmed the hotel chef made us a 3 course meal all from scratch all vegetarian, everything was really delicious and had the most amazing flavours!
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and found it helpful! Do you have any tips when visiting Marrakech? Let me know in the comments down below!
Don’t forget to checkout the home page for the latest blog post.
#InteriorDestinations #DarkInteriors #ColourfulInteriors