From bustling marketplaces to seaside boardwalks, there is both a feeling of natural stillness and electric vibrance in the energies of the land.
(Amanjena Shown, courtesy Aman).
On the northernmost tip of Africa is a culturally rich metropolis that embodies the beauty of the past and the spirit of now: Morocco. The country’s vast landscape offers nearly every terrain, from mountains to desert to sea to city. With each terrain comes new adventures to have and new lifestyles to explore, making it an ideal destination for any traveler yearnful of awe-inspiring experiences. Discover Morocco’s vastness in the cities of Casablanca, Marrakesh, Chefchaouen, and Tangier; though each city possesses distinctive attributes, a thread that weaves them all together is the ever-present feel of beauty.
"Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.”
WHEN IN CASABLANCA
Casablanca is a standout city not just in Morocco, but in all of Africa. An up and coming hub of arts, culture, and commerce, Casablanca represents Morocco's past, present, and future. Visit the cafe-lined streets of the old city to take in its historical Mauresque architecture, or take to Casablanca’s coastline for luxury shopping, beach clubs, and fine dining. Casablanca is also a landmark destination, home to the ornate Hassan II Mosque and one of Morocco’s four royal palaces.
Not to be missed for design and architecture aficionados is the Mahkama du Pacha. Built in 1941 during World War II, this stunning Moorish architecture serves as the city building and courthouse. The arabesque plaster, archways, and intricate patterns within the traditional tiling details is a treat for your eyes.
Wrap up a day of sightseeing at chic restaurant La Closerie to enjoy craft cocktails and French cuisine in a timelessly modern interior.
WHEN IN MARRAKESH
For history’s artists, designers, writers, and visionaries, Marrakesh has long been a source of inspiration. Palm trees, red buildings, and souks are some of the most notable pillars of the city – along with the well-known desertous heat. State-of-the art hotels and riads offer Moroccan hospitality in a luxurious setting, making for a comforting sanctuary in an otherwise restless city. We recommend staying at L'Hôtel Marrakech, which feels like a collection gallery that has been curated over time.
Designed by well-known British designer, Jasper Conran, the contemporary, yet refined take on a Moroccan riad will make you feel you've stepped right into a luxurious home. There are feelings reminiscent of the 20's and 30's in the air. Conran masterfully hand-selected a collection of art and antiques to celebrate the architecture and culture in a fresh, relaxing way.
WHEN IN TANGIER
Like Marrakesh, Tangier is a city that beckons artistic expats and journeying writers to its shores. Its white buildings perched on hills overlook the Strait of Gibraltar, and are a wondrous element to the city reminiscent of other Mediterranean destinations. The hills are home to the Dar el Makhzen, a museum that gives visitors a look into the country’s past sultan rulers through its arched pathways and elaborate architecture.
On lower grounds is a walkable beach city, where the boardwalks provide ocean vistas that you can wander along for hours. A worthwhile restaurant on these boardwalks is El Tangerino, a spot for Spanish fare with a hint of Moroccan twist; it’s only a ferry away from Spain, after all.
Although Marrakech is a destination for high dining, the most immersive experience is to visit a food vendor in the Jemaa el Fna marketplace. The souks will lead you to the center of Jemma el Fna, where you’ll be thrown into a chaotic but invigorating space filled with the scents of sizzling food, voices of international travelers, and the humming of occasional snake charmers.
WHEN IN CHEFCHAOUEN
Not too far from the port city of Tangier lies a hidden gem nestled in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen. Known for its richly blue buildings that fill the city walls with color, Chefchaouen is one of the best cities to get lost in. As you traverse the labyrinth of the medina, you’ll pass specialty storefronts, scurrying cats, modest tagine restaurants, one-of-a-kind crafts, enveloped in a sea of blue buildings as you breathe fresh mountain air.
Be sure to stumble upon La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin, a soap shop filled with handmade creations and fresh aromas that will forever remind you of The Blue City. Artisans of many crafts also have a strong presence in Chefchaouen, where you can connect directly with makers of clothing, lamps, rugs, and more. Elysian Collective sources rugs from Morocco for this very reason: the tradition of craftsmanship is unwavering and unparalleled.
Elysian Collective's plush, handmade rugs are sourced from a mountainous region not too different from the area around Chefchaouen, where Amazigh crafters from the Beni M'rirt tribe carry generational expertise in the art of textiles. In regions around the Atlas Mountains - home to the women-led Beni M'rirt tribe - is where you'll find the many astonishing variations of carpets know as "Beni" - an Arabic word meaning "son of" or people/tribe/kin. There is a true sense of community and care than can't be replicated in the creation of any rug.
Between the intricate patterning, textile sourcing, and narrative of culture that is fused within each piece, telling stories of their shared strength and feminine power. The Beni M'rirt area rugs are made from pure 100% wool with graphic patterns entwined with the natural fibers that make for a visually stunning and sensually stimulating centerpiece. The Beni M'rirt tribe is know for using dark, bold colors and a double knot with a dense pile giving their rugs and elegant look and sumptuous feel. Woven strictly by women in motifs that represent fertility, strength, or a totem of protection, M'rirt rugs delight the senses and are a treasure to behold.
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For inspiration-seekers, art connoisseurs, and stumbling tourers, Morocco is an inevitable destination. Though a relatively small country, there is so much diversity within its landscapes, structures, and communities. From mountains to coast, one thing remains constant throughout Morocco, and that is the culture of its people. A sense of togetherness, treasuring of roots, and a need for joy drive the Moroccan lifestyle, and many of these cultural aspects are expressed through food, design, and connection; all of which are available to the traveler if they seek to find it.