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  • Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon
    48 Hours in Marrakech

    Right from the outset, this trip to Marrakech had a whole different tone and tempo than most of my travels because I went on my own, without Vic and Jivan. No doubt about it — independence when traveling is a muscle I have not exercised in a very long time. The major plus-side of the equation: I was a free bird on this excursion, and with this freedom came license to indulge. Being solo granted me the flexibility to pamper myself and explore anything and everything I desired.

    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon

    So explore, I did. I wandered aimlessly in the gardens of expansive, storied hotel La Mamounia. I traversed the souks with nowhere in particular in mind, simply being led by the scents and sounds. And I spent five hours with one carpet dealer, Soufiane Zarib, just because I couldn’t tear myself away from the towering stacks upon stacks of stunning textiles. I loved every moment of my 48 hours of independence.

    And yet, this unabashed “me time”, partaking in whatever whims I, alone, wanted, quickly began dripping with irony — it made me ache for my two guys to share it all with. Funny how that works, isn’t it? With every sip of almond milk, waft of jasmine, and bite of perfumed, spiced food, I fell in love with Marrakech more and wished they were able to experience it too. I guess when you feel the love, you also feel the longing for your loved ones.

    In any case, I most certainly would not have taken the opportunity to twirl around in the intricate tiled splendor of La Mamounia, indulging my girly fashion sense, if I were with my guys. So there’s that! Regardless of whom you choose to experience Marrakech with, I’m sharing all my personal favorite wonders below.

    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon | Athena Calderone
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon | Athena Calderone
    With every sip of almond milk, waft of jasmine, and bite of perfumed, spiced food, I fell in love with Marrakech more...
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon | Athena Calderone
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon | Athena Calderone
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon | Athena Calderone
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon | Athena Calderone
    I was a free bird on this excursion, and with this freedom came license to indulge.
    Marrakech Travel Guide on EyeSwoon | Athena Calderone

     

     

Marrakech, Morocco

  • Why

    Marrakech immediately engages every one of your senses, from the low, melodic hum of the early morning call to prayer to the saturated sandstone palette of the red city to the intricate mosaic tile work to the all-encompassing scent of orange blossom and jasmine at every turn. It is impossible for Marrakech to not capture your heart through your senses.

  • Eat and Drink

    Don’t miss out on a tagine experience! Also, don’t leave without trying the restaurant Nomad in the medina. The cuisine is “modern Moroccan”. They take dishes from around the world and put their own Moroccan spin on them, serving up drinks like “Moroccan affogato” and mains like the “Nomad burger”, a spiced lamb burger topped with aubergine and harissa mayo.

  • Stay

    Head to La Mamounia, where most of these photos were taken, for opulence and a five-star stay. It overlooks the Atlas Mountains yet is right in the heart of the medina. The gardens span 20 acres and in the 18th century were a wedding gift to Prince Al Mamoun from his father. Royal gardens indeed — they are certainly a sight to behold, with hundreds-of-years-old olive trees, tons of varieties of cacti, and aisles of flowers. The hotel is a true oasis, and it’s steeped in history. Besides La Mamounia, I’d also suggest checking out El Fenn. The walls and furnishings are awash with vibrant jewel tones, the covered courtyards illuminate by lantern light at night and contemporary works are in abundance. It’s a blissful mix of hip, artistic design and utter tranquility.

  • Do

    Designed by French painter Jacques Majorelle, the Majorelle Garden is a must-visit. With its shocks of bright, fresh blue (“majorelle blue”) and sunny yellow, it has a painterly palette and is filled with lily ponds, fountains, and lush plant life. In 1980 it was purchased and restored by none other than Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge. Also explore the 20-acre grounds of luxurious, tile-laden hotel La Mamounia — roaming the property is an activity unto itself. Finally, remember to look down as you walk through the city. I am very much inspired by the marble floors of Marrakech, especially since I am in the midst of a townhouse renovation. The beautiful floor colors, from pink to black to green, in everything from haphazard shapes to herringbone, (even at the airport!) certainly made an impact on me.

  • Pamper

    Decompress in the cavernous, subterranean spa at La Mamounia. It’s covered in the most intricately laid, beautiful blue tile. Between the various hammams, Jacuzzi, and the heated indoor pool, there is so much to discover in this hotel spa. I felt supremely pampered as I got steamed and meticulously scrubbed. I promise you this is not an experience to be missed.  

  • Shop

    Engage with a carpet dealer in the medina – it is unlike anything we experience here stateside. There is a ritual surrounding the tea ceremony and negotiation as you look through hundreds of carpets. Through my friend in Marrakech, Nicole Francesca Manfron of The Secret Souk, I discovered incredible carpet dealer Soufiane Zarib, and I even saw two very well-known interior designers shopping there. Last but not least, check out Marrakech-based designer Norya Ayron. Several famous names have already been spotted wearing her funky, patterned pieces.

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