STYLE AND CULTURE
STYLISH CITY: MARRAKECH
By Elizabeth Odey, 1 December 2018
The magic of Morocco is undeniable. From the shores of Essaouira to the sands of the Sahara, there’s a buffet of destinations ready to cure any bout of wanderlust. The top of your agenda: the chaotic cultural hub of Marrakech. A former imperial city, your senses will come alive with everything from awe-inspiring mosques to medieval medias, picturesque gardens and mouth-watering tagines. So, here’s what to wear, where to stay and what to do when visiting.
What to wear while exploring the winding souks and vibrant medinas of the old city? In this cultural playground, it’s considerate to go for something modest to respect local traditions and help you feel more connected to the city’s story. Take full advantage of your stopover in Africa with this zebra-print maxi dress (the subtle skirt splits are a perfect balance of covered yet breezy). Complement the look with print-clashing accessories in light dusty tones – let’s take creative licence and dub this colour palette, 'Sahara sand'. Inspired.
For a truly unique accommodation experience, nothing can beat staying in a traditional Moroccan riad. ‘What's a riad’, you ask? Well, the word is an Arab translation of 'garden', but it’s so much more than that. Picture stepping into your own secret courtyard highlighted by a water fountain feature, surrounded by foliage and floored with intricate coloured tiles – all in the centre of your home. Be warned, though, once you step inside, you're not going to want to leave. But your feed will thank you when you do.
You can’t visit Morocco without visiting a medina, or 'old city'. And if there’s one to tick off your list, it has to be the Medina of Marrakech. It's the heart of the city and depending whether you choose to visit during the day or night, you’re in for a vastly different experience.
Take the day to get lost in the exotic (and hectic) alleyways of the souks. Expect narrow winding streets lined with stalls selling everything from spices and tea to hand-woven carpets, traditional Moroccan clothing, local sweets and live (and often not-so-alive) animals. Haggling is expected, so go low.
As the sun sets, head to the Jemaa el-Fnaa – the large open square in the centre of the medina. Fall into another world with a buzz of snake charmers, monkey tamers, and henna tattoo artists performing and hustling for the tourists. Beware: if you so much as take a flick, the locals will demand a hot tip. So keep your phone close and your wits closer.