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48 hours in Marrakech

 

Awaken out of hibernation! Here are some valuable tips for an unforgettable stay in Marrakech

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The luxuriant imperial city of Marrakech is having a revival without losing any of the charm that once seduced the bohemian jet setters of the 1970s. With its Sofia Coppola ambiance and zest of Wes Anderson, the red city is as enchanting as ever.

 

Our to-do list includes a moment of relaxation in the superb spa of the Mandarin Oriental followed by a boho-chic lunch at the Grand Café de la Poste, then a bit of must-do interior deco shopping at Mustapha Blaoui and a visit to the Maison de la photographie – for a hint of culture. As evening falls enjoy a cocktail at La Mamounia's bar and its jazzy ambiance before heading over to Dar Yacout – for a cocktail on the top floor terrace – and finally Bo & Zin for a très sexy late drink.

The next day, some more shopping at Atika and the 33 Rue Majorelle concept store, with a coffee at Bousafsaf and a celeb-spotting dinner at the El Fenn Hotel. 

 

By Constance Breton

11am Fancy delight and roses

 

It’s the hottest new luxury hotel in Marrakech and it’s all anyone can talk about. Located ten minutes from the Medina in 20 hectares of olive and palm trees with a spectacular garden of 100,000 roses, nothing is too beautiful or too grand for the Mandarin Oriental. 54 individual villas built like riads - each have a 300m² of private garden complete with pool and Jacuzzi. The magnificent spa alone occupies 1800m². And as for the fine cuisine, it’s nothing but sumptuous. 

 

www.mandarinoriental.fr/marrakech

3.30pm Mustapha’s Cavern

 

The lair of an antique dealer with a highly trained eye and exquisite taste, Mustapha Blaoui’s boutique is a closely guarded secret of locals and savvy expatriates. There you’ll find old pieces and traditional Moroccan crafts: authentic rugs, Safi tableware, mirrors, and lanterns…

 

 

Mustapha Blaoui, 144, rue Bab Doukkala

 

7pm Wonder Bar

 

A tribute to the art de vivre of the 1930s and its most famous client – Winston Churchill – the cocktail bar at the Mamounia is a legend, as much for its unchanged atmosphere (leather and wood interior, jazzy soundtrack) as its 20-year old whiskeys and incomparable cocktails. 

 

www.mamounia.com/fr/marrakech

11.30pm Drink with a View

 

An enchanting setting with excellent music, at Bô & Zin the ambiance is sexy laidback Ibiza. During the weekends anyone who is anyone in Marrakesh can be found lounging on the veranda overlooking an exotic garden. 

 

Bô & Zin, route de l’Ourika

1.30pm Bucolic pause

 

Deep in the ravishing Jardin Majorelle, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s fiefdom, the Bousafsaf café is one of those timeless bolt holes worth escaping to where you’ll relish simple traditional dishes conjured from the freshest of produce. 

 

www.jardinmajorelle.com

 

8.30pm Romantic feast fit for the jet set

 

Opened by Richard Branson’s sister, the El Fenn riad, a discreet and charming hotel tucked away in the Medina, has a terrace restaurant serving a divine menu of traditional cuisine (a special mention for the beef tagine) and a breath-taking view of the Atlas Mountains. Dinner is served amidst a slew of celebrities who take over the premises during the Film Festival and the Marrakech Biennale. 

 

www.el-fenn.com

1.30pm Café littéraire

 

A true institution in Marrakech, the Grand Café de la Poste is the equivalent of the Café de Flore in Paris. In a retro bistro ambiance with Moroccan intonations (Western cuisine is served), the local elite and bohemian expats can be found hanging out here all day long, busy putting the world to rights.  

 

www.grandcafedelaposte-marrakech.com

 

5pm Images of Morocco

 

Two art collectors have transformed a former fondouk (a caravanserai) into a cultural centre devoted to photography. Opened in 2009, the Maison de la Photographie looks back at the history of Morocco through more than 4000 old photos dating from 1870 up to the 1960s. 

 

www.maisondelaphotographie.ma

 

8pm Dinner in the heart of the Medina

 

Spread over three floors, the Dar Yacout is one of the best tables in the Medina. Designed by renowned architect Bill Willis, this restaurant has been welcoming the jet set since the 1960s and continues to nourish beautiful people around the swimming pool. The terrace on the top floor is a must for a drink. 

 

www.daryacout.com

 

11am Essential accessories

 

For lovers of hardwearing, timeless leather loafers, a trip to Atika is compulsory. Men, women and children will all find a pair to their liking. 

 

Atika Marrakech, 34, rue de la Liberté

4pm Fashion and Made in Marrakech

 

33 Rue Majorelle, the city’s number one concept store, sells creations by some 40 Moroccan designers: fashion, jewellery, decorative objects and accessories. Neighbour Pierre Bergé also likes to shop here. 

 

www.33ruemajorelle.com

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