Monday, February 1, 2010

They're taking me to Marrekesh

This past November, the city of Marrakesh unveiled its La Mamounia hotel after a three-year renovation. The historic hotel has long held legendary status as the place to stay inside the Medina - or ancient walled city. However, years of cheesy attempts at facelifts left it a remnant of its former magical self.
That was before French designer Jacques Garcia got a hold of it, and restored it to the sort of opulent splendor one associates with Morocco.
Call me Penny Lane, but I've always had an obsession with all things Moroccan, and the recent images of the virtual oasis have done nothing to diminish my wanderlust...

The foyer and entrance into one of the deluxe suites - resplendent in traditional moorish tiles, dark wood, and ottoman arches.
And inside the suite - what a view! Supposedly, hotels and riads (villas) purposely keep the decor of the rooms dim, to help provide respite against the blazing North African sun. Whatever this formula is, it works.
The courtyard of one the four gourmet restaurants - I can just see myself sipping mint tea out of silver cups while wearing a gorgeous caftan and babouches!
That is, if you could pull me away from the spa or swimming pool.
There is so much lore associated with Morocco, the famous souks being a large part of it. The souks are vendor stalls which make up the ancient labyrinth market where you can find many inexpensive berber items such as baskets, pottery and spices, alongside fine carpets. Outside the flea markets of Paris, I really cannot fathom a more amazing shopping experience.
Unfortunately, the famed city is not in my travel itinerary anytime very soon, so whenever I see designers bringing home the Ottoman vibe, I get a little thrill, and the chance to live vicariously.

There's Windsor Smith's fabric, Riad - a take on Moroccan tile - seen here on a sofa and chair in her home. This fabric has moved beyond "It" to "Classic" status, in my opinion.
This bathroom by Robin Bell, featured in House Beautiful is clearly an homage to classic Moroccan elements: arches and tile.
Designer Cathy Kincaid used Ann Sack's Moroccan Cross and Star tiles to bring in a distinct ethnic style to this bath.
Ann Sacks tile might be out of budget for most of us, but a special feature in a vanity or stove alcove might be feasible.
Design by Erin Gates of Elements of Style
And, if a bath or kitchen overhaul is still beyond budget, I've spied any number of discount spots (HomeGoods, IKEA, Ebay) with items similar to these that can instantly add a touch of "been there" to a space.
What exotic locale is on your "must see in this lifetime" list?

15 comments:

Anita Davis said...

i am with you!! i would give anything to be able to go marrekesh!! anything!
lovely post, thanks.

Minnie said...

Oooh, I totally see the appeal. I almost went as part of my honeymoon trip then ended up in Paris instead. That hotel looks great but, oh, the shopping. Love those photos you posted. Now that looks like a divine experience. I will have to add this to my already too long list of places I want to go someday. :-)

Averill said...

The Ann Sacks tiles slay me. I got to wander around one of her stores when I was in Miami last fall and literally wanted everything in sight. The Morroccan star tiles though are my favorite.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

What exotic locale ISN"T on my list is more like it! But Marrekesh is certainly in the top 5! Especially seeing it through Maryam's eyes...Have you seen her blog? Beautiful....and her little place (or big, actually) will also be a dream when completed!

Kathysue said...

What a great post showing how morrocan design can be incorporated in a subtle and beautiful manor, I really enjoyed this post,kathysue

My Passport to Style said...

FABULOUS POST SWEETIE! thanks for letting me revel in the delights of this exotic fairytale! Sharon (UK) xoxox

Chic Coles (Cole Design) said...

I have been wanting a moroccan pouf for sooooo long! The quatrafoil pattern is my favorite and the hotel is stunning! (especially the spa/indoor pool area!)

Sarah Ann said...

Oh you have me drooling! Morroccan, Indian, Egyptian, I'm a sucker for anything deemed "ethnic".

Helena - A Diary of Lovely said...

i ove those pools, marrocco is on my "to go" list and ASAP!! love the pictures!!

Morning T said...

Wow- lots of eye candy and a very interesting post!

LindsB said...

I want to book my trip right now! That place looks so beautiful, there are so many details to take in, I would have to go for a few weeks to see it all!

Haven and Home said...

Penny I am with you on this one. I love everything Morrocan.

Katie said...

wow. yes, I love it!

Sarah - La Jeune Marie said...

What a STUNNING city!!

Helena - A Diary of Lovely said...

thank u so much for the advice about Julia :) will definitely read it! thanks! xx