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Best 10 Marrakech Riads and Boutique Hotels

Posted by Alecia Cohen on September 13, 2020 at 5:20 AM Comments comments (2)

La-Villa-Des-Orangers-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog

The city of Marrakech ranks as one of the World's Top 10 Travel destinations. It has been coveted for decades by family's and independent travelers who seek exotic adventure along with modern-day jet setters who come for luxury and limelight. Ideal for R&R, Marrakech's Riads, and chic boutique hotels have become a key highlight for those who visit. Travelers can revel in Marrakech's Riad interiors, lush Moorish gardens blooming with cacti and bougainvillea, and sunbathe on rooftop terraces accompanied by views of the High Atlas. Surrounded by courtyard gardens with trickling fountains, Riads also offers the perfect atmosphere to sip on a signature cocktail poolside. Marrakech's Riads and Boutique Hotels serve as the perfect escape while taking in the sites and sounds of the "red city."  Travelers can indulge in a lavish Moroccan meal, discover the bustling souks, and majestic mosques or simply decompress, with a traditional hammam and infused argan oil massage treatment. “This is a wonderful place and it is the most lovely spot in the whole world.”  So said Winston S. Churchill to Franklin D. Roosevelt about Marrakech in 1943. Marrakech's  Top 10 Riads are charming, well-appointed properties located in the heart of the historic medina. They are sought after by travelers alike yet still remain hidden jewels of the city. Marrakech’s Top 10 Boutique Riads & Hotels 

La Villa des Orangers
La Villa des Oranges is an exceptional Riad and Relais Chateaux property. Best appointed at the foot of the Koutoubia mosque, La Villa des Orangers is considered one of the most luxurious and elegant boutique hotels in the region of Marrakech. Built-in the 1930’s, this boutique hotel has 27 luxurious rooms and suites and is located just a 5-minute walk from Djemaa El Fna Square. It is an oasis of calm and coolness set around a large garden, three flowered patios with fountains and magnificent archways. The traditional décor is made of the finest Moroccan cedar and combined with iridescent colors which create a harmonious setting. The roof terraces have a swimming pool, gardens, solariums, and an unobstructed view of the Koutoubia mosque.
Property Amenities: Private terrace, panoramic garden, swimming pool, hammam, restaurant, balconies, lounges with fireplaces, wifi, laundry services 6 Rue Sidi Mimoun، Place Ben Tachfine، Marrakesh Phone: +212-524384638
 
Riad-Due-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Riad Due This stylish boutique riad sings urban luxury and is tucked away in the heart of the Marrakech souks. Set around a courtyard with rooms facing inward, it has been elegantly restored and decorated. You can hear the call to prayer from its rooftop terrace while soaking in the sun cocktail in hand. The colorful, chic guest rooms and suites are decorated with Moroccan contemporary furniture and textiles. There is a courtyard with a plunge pool perfect for summer. Property Amenities: Terrace, panoramic garden, restaurant, balconies, wifi, laundry services Riad Laarousse، 2 Derb Chentouf, Marrakesh Phone: +212-524378864

Riad-72-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Riad 72 Wrapped around a central courtyard brimming with banana trees, Riad 72 is a chic, well-appointed riad in the Marrakech medina. The elegantly decorated salon has an intricately carved ceiling, and gently lit by beautiful copper lanterns. The courtyard is flanked with large banana trees. Featuring classic Moroccan furnishings with contemporary flair, this boutique property also has a cuisine menu with Ottlolenghi inspired recipes. Property Amenities: Terraces, panoramic garden, traditional hammam/spa, restaurant, balconies, wifi, laundry services 72 Arset Azwel, Bab Doukkala, +05243-87629

L'Hotel-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog

L'Hotel Owned by renowned fashion designer Jasper John, L’Hôtel Marrakech is a historic 19th-century Riad set in the heart of the ‘red city’s’ Medina. This luxury property is located close to the vibrant Jemaa El Fna square, the bustling Souks, and is nearby the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque. This historic property was originally the central part of a Caidal palace, comprised of five spacious suites surrounding a uniquely wide courtyard garden and swimming pool. A charming retreat, L'Hotel offers delicious food, great comfort, and service whilst capturing the elegance of hotels reminiscent of the 1930s. This boutique property combines superb Moroccan craftsmanship with pieces of antique furniture, textiles, lighting, and art from his collection, making it feel more like a home than a hotel. Property Amenities: Swimming pool surrounded by a traditional garden, rooftop terrace, hammam, restaurant, wifi, laundry services 41 Derb Sidi Lahcen ou Ali, Bab Doukkala, Phone: +212-524387880

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La Sultana
La Sultana Marrakech is an authentic Signature boutique hotel, a real timeless palace, and a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Designed for lovers of hotels where every piece of architecture is unique, La Sultana is the crown jewel of Marrakech. The restaurant offers traditional Moroccan cuisine to reflect the flavors of the season. Dinner is served either in the cozy atmosphere of the patio in the winter or on the rooftop overlooking the snow-capped mountains of the Atlas in the summer.
Property Amenities: Outdoor heated swimming pool with jet stream, panoramic terraces, misted solarium, bar, gazebo, open-air massage rooms, library, lounge bar, spa, gym, wifi, and laundry services.  The Sultana Spa offers two superb hammams, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, a beauty center, balneotherapy baths, and massage.
403 Rue de La Kasbah, 63-67 rue Boutouille, Phone: +212-524388008
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Les-Jardin-de-La-Medina-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Les Jardin de la Medina Set in a grove of bitter orange trees, the charming Les Jardins is located in the heart of the Marrakech's Kasbah, an artistic and thriving region of the medina. The property defines itself as having the soul of an Andalusian riad and the spirit of a high-end hotel; it has retained its original 19th-century architecture.  In addition to having a Green Key Label, the property is distinguished with a 2018 award of excellence by the Hotels de charm & character. Visitors rave about the rooftop views, food, room decor, and garden settings with century-old olive trees and exotic plants. Property Amenities: Outdoor heated swimming pool surrounded by palm trees, tented outdoor fitness area, stylish rooftop terrace with city views, hammam, three solariums, and a barbershop, Moroccan cooking classes, wifi and laundry services. 21 Derb Chtouka, Marrakesh, Phone: +212-524381851

Riad-Tzarra-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog  

Riad Tzarra
Footsteps from the Museum of Marrakech, this intimate riad is part of the Pure Riad Group. Peaceful, beautiful, refined best describe it.  This small, elegant house is located in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Marrakech. Lovingly restored by the renowned architect, Christophe Siméon, Riad Tzarra offers guests a comfortable and serene home in the center of the Medina, close to the Musée de Marrakech, the Medersa Ben Youssef, and only minutes from the entrance to the Souks and the Place Jemaa el Fna. Property Amenities: Spa/traditional hammam, rooftop terrace, wifi, and laundry services. 22 Derb Lalla Azzouna، Kaat Benahid, Marrakesh, Phone: +2120524377737

Riad-Idra-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Riad Idra Riad Idra is an elegant, contemporary, Moroccan, riad located in the Dar El Bacha region of the Marrakech medina. Riad Idra is a luxurious cocoon shielded from the commotion of the ochre city and a well-hidden jewel. This historic house is full of light and the intimate courtyard offers an outlet to the world of sight for a magical stay. Property Amenities: Spa/Traditional Hammam, Rooftop terrace, restaurant, wifi, and laundry services. 105 Derb Tizougarine, Dar El Bacha, +212-5243-91776

Riad-Kniza-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Riad Kniza
Riad Kniza is one of Marrakech’s most prized Riads, The property offers a captivating experience for travelers. Owned by a family of Moroccans for over two-centuries this restored Riad boasts traditional décor with elegant Moroccan fabrics, Moorish architecture, open courtyards, a library, a drawing-room, a dipping pool, and a magnificently arranged rooftop terrace. From a warm welcome of mint tea and Moroccan pastries to rose petals and fresh flowers poignantly placed, Riad Kniza makes a traveler feel at home. Well attended by celebrities such as Bill Gates and Garry Kasparov, this unpretentious luxury Riad is the place to stay.
Property Amenities: Hammam, massage, restaurant, dipping pool,  wifi, and laundry service. We suggest dining on their rooftop terrace at least once.
34 Derb l'Hotel Bab Doukala، Marrakesh, Phone: +212-524376942

La-Maison-Arabe-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog

La Maison Arabe
La Maison Arabe is one of Marrakech’s first, original Riads that has endured the test of time. This traditional boutique riad is ideally situated in the Marrakech medina. It offers a combination of stylish and intimate luxury with hotel amenities. La Maison Arabe has old world architecture and a romantic interior making it one of Morocco’s most sought out places to stay. Each room is uniquely decorated with antiques and ancient artwork, Moroccan carpets, and a combination of local and imported fabrics. There is an elegant Piano Bar on site that sets the tone for a late afternoon or early evening aperitif.
Property Amenities: Spa, Gym, swimming pool, restaurant, wifi, and laundry services. Try their luxurious massage or cooking class with a Dada Chef.
Derb Assehbi, Marrakesh, Phone: +212-524387010

Where to Travel in Morocco Post COVID-19

Posted by Alecia Cohen on July 3, 2020 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (2)

Morocco stepped up during the COVID19 pandemic making it a success story and a top destination for travelers seeking a long-needed escape. The country offers fascinating Imperial cities with historic architecture, magnificent gardens, glorious houses of worship, scenic valleys and gorges along with a  vast coastline that stretches across both the Atlantic and Mediterranean sea. Shopping in the souks and bustling markets of Marrakech, trekking across the Erg Chebbi Dunes in the Sahara Desert and windsurfing on the coast of Essaouira are some of the activities you can indulge in on vacation in Morocco post COVID19.

Imperial-City-Marrakech-Morocco-Travel-Blog


Where to Vacation in Morocco Post COVID19. Imperial Cities - Tour Morocco's Imperial Capitols led by a Moroccan guide. Explore majestic mosques, heritage sites, glorious markets, Andalusian gardens, and Romain ruins. Discover the backstreets of Fes on a Souk Tasting Tour. Stroll through ancient medinas. Experience the famous Djemaa el Fna Square at sunset. Take a Kalech ride on the cobblestoned paths of Marrakech. An Imperial City tour is ideal for couples and families who want to delve into Morocco's history, architecture and hear the ancient stories of the Jewish mellah

Dades-Valley-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Valley’s & Gorges - Morocco's valleys and vast gorges make up the country's sprawling landscapes in the south.  The Dades Valley is one of Morocco's natural wonders and covers 125 km between the Todra Gorge and Ouarzazate. The Dades Valley boasts limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery along the valley’s piste. Touring the Dades Valley you will pass flower-filled fields, fertile agricultural fields, riverbanks, and several fortified ksours. At the bottom of the Gorge of Boulmane Dades, there are ruined hilltop kasbahs and valley floor gardens. One of the valleys most sought after views is it's rock formations often referred to as "monkey's fingers." This region is perfect for an arduous hike if you are an adventure traveler whereby you will witness stunning views and trek through Berber villages. All hikes are guided by a licensed and trained Morocco guide and include picnic lunch.

Todra-Gorge-Morocco-Travel-Blog

The Todra Gorge is Morocco's grand canyon located in the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in southern Morocco near the town of Tinghir. Both the Todra River and Dades River have carved out the cliff-sided canyons. Touring the Todra Gorge region guarantees a scenic drive along newly built roads. You will pass the mouth of the gorge and with extended time reach the villages of Ait Hani and Tamtattouchte. The Todra Gorge extends from the village of Tamtattouchte to Tinghir. With cliffs rising dramatically up to 300m on each side of a narrow corridor, the Todra Gorge a spectacle with its gigantic rock walls changing color to create magical effects with the sunlight. A day at the Todra Gorge offers the option of extreme climbing, hiking, and sightseeing. A fun and strenuous hike involve a three-hour loop used by donkeys and mules heading north of the main gorge to Tizgui, home of palmeries and ancient kasbahs. For a lighter hike, try the Petit Gorge entering at the mouth of the gorge. The mouth is an enclosed section with overhanging cliffs and is the most dramatic scenery in the gorge. Climbing in the Todra Gorge is an unforgettable experience.

Zagora-Desert-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Morocco's Great Desert Regions - Morocco's great desert regions of Zagora, M'hamid, and Merzouga are vast and wonderous. The desert's fresh air and open spaces allow for a wide variety of adventure activities ideal for a vacation post COVID19. Zagora Desert, known for its sunsets and breathtaking valleys, is a commonplace to begin a camel trek. Zagora is also famous for being a base to travel to Timbuktu; on one of Zagora’s streets, is a famous sign stating “52 days to Timbuktu”. In the 9th century, traders went back and forth on this Saharan Caravan Route, which went from Zagora to Timbuktu in fifty-two days. Traders carried salt, gold, slaves, and spices. Its main destination point was Sijiilmassa, present-day Rissani (Merzouga).

M'hamid-Sahara-Desert-Morocco-Travel-Blog 

M’hamid Desert was once an important market place for nomadic and trans-Saharan trade. M’hamid has one of the two sand seas in Morocco where you can camel trek. The most easily accessible dunes are those at Erg Lehoudi (Dunes of the Jews) which can be reached by camel or piste with a 4x4. There are also the Erg Chegaga sand dunes which are remote and more difficult to reach than the Erg Chebbi dunes of Merzouga. While the journey to the dunes takes about two days, it is a true reward to arrive and see this protected area inhabited by the traditional semi-nomadic Aït Atta Berbers. For an authentic Sahara experience, Erg Chegaga’s dunes are worth the visit. The Erg Chebbi Dunes at Merzouga are indisputably one of the greatest sights of Morocco. These giant hills of smooth sand line the Algerian border and are a must-see for everyone. Camel trekking at sunrise or an overnight adventure to an oasis in Merzouga is one of the most enchanting and memorable experiences one can have in the Sahara. An overnight trip to sleep in a bivouac (Berber tent) by an oasis will give you the true feeling as to how the Berbers have lived and still live today nomadically.

Agadir-Beach-Morocco-Travel-Blog  

Beaches & Coastal Towns - Morocco is sandwiched between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, you won’t have trouble finding a beautiful beach for your Morocco vacation while taking in the local seafood fare. If you choose to relax by the tranquil Mediterranean shores, you are in store for unspoiled Moroccan beaches with dramatic scenery of rocky inlets and headlands. In comparison, the beaches by the 2000 mile turquoise lit Moroccan Atlantic shore are more popular as they are lined with pristine stretches of sand. You will surely be astounded by the sand dunes, mythical cliffs, and bluffs when traveling to the seaside of Morocco. The most popular Atlantic beach resorts for a Moroccan vacation are Essaouira, Sidi Kaouki, Mirleft & Legzira Baech, and Agadir. All have stunning sandy beaches with a plethora of exciting things to see and do.

Essaouira-Beach-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Essaouira affectionately referred to as “swera” by locals, is a windy city on Morocco’s Northern Atlantic Coast. Essaouira is a top-rated destination for families for its multitude of things to do with kids. Ideal for families honeymooners and Morocco travelers Essaouira’s white and blue washed medina is revered for its charming ramparts, vibrant art galleries, shopping, and seafood gastronomy. Just three hours from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech this coastal town is the perfect weekend getaway with an abundance of unique accommodation options ranging from quaint, countryside villas, to luxury riads and hotels with sea views. Families who have an interest in vacationing at an artistic seaside community and with a penchant for adventure should add Essaouira to their bucket list.

Sidi-Kaouki-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Sidi Kaouki is a Berber coastal town 30 minutes south of Essaouira. The beach in this remote region is unspoiled and strikes a perfect balance with offering an ideal place for kite and windsurfers while staying true to its African roots. Sidi Kaouki is known for its great waves, reefs, and breakpoints. Camels saunter across the sand dunes while locals sell hand made items with local guides offering camel treks and horseback riding to those who are in search for a coastal adventure. The town is quiet and desolate therefore being the perfect destination for relaxation, contemplation, and enjoying the scenery.

Legzira-Beach-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Legzira Beach is well-appointed 20 minutes north of Sidi Ifni and lauded as one of the best beaches in the world for sunbathing and surfing. Legzira has been also described by travelers as a real-life painting. The geological rocky beach artfully connects the Anti Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. Legzira’s organic cave formations are fascinating and well appreciated by nature enthusiasts. Sunset in Legzira offers stunning views of rock formations surrounded by cliffs in multiple hues of burnt orange.  Legzira during high tide when the ocean veil is pulled back and revealed is an ideal time to capture a photograph.


5 Reasons to Hire a Morocco Tour Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on June 30, 2020 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Moroccan-Tour-Guides-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Rabat[/caption] When visiting Morocco some travelers would like to explore the destination independently while others may prefer a private, guided tour. There are significant benefits of hiring a private Morocco tour guide such as being able to personalize your itinerary, gaining cultural insight, having clear communication, flexibility, and being led by an expert who is deeply knowledgeable. A local Morocco tour guide can suggest locally-owned or top-end restaurants, museums, art galleries, and important monuments that are often not included in the best guide books. Morocco tour guides must be licensed by the Moroccan National Tourism Board (ONMT) and have been properly trained and vetted. They are multilingual, fluent English, Moroccan Arabic, Berber, and French. A Moroccan tour guide can add an extended dimension to your trip.

A Moroccan tour guide is ideal for couples, families, and small groups who visit the country on a private tour since it enables them to complement their visit being made by a licensed tourism driver. For larger tours, National Licensed Guides are highly recommended. Then for smaller tours, Local, Licensed Moroccan Guides are the ideal choice.

5 Reasons to Hire a Morocco Tour Guide

#1 Personalized Itinerary – Groups tours to Morocco have their advantages as they encompass visiting a broader range of sites and are often paired with scheduled meals at hotels and shopping time; with the opportunity to meet like-minded travelers. These tours are often led by national guides yet the depth of what is experienced is limited. A private Morocco tour, on the other hand, is led by local city guides and offers more in-depth coverage of historical, architectural, and cultural sites.  

#2 Cultural Insight – Each country has its own cultural norms, unique traditions, and expectations. For example, in Morocco, it is considered rude to not shake the hand of the person you are greeting, ask about their family, and engage in small conversation. Understanding the details of this nature cannot be learned from a Morocco Guide Book. Hiring a private Morocco tour guide who is knowledgeable will enable you to avoid making embarrassing mistakes and also offer a sounding board to discuss what is acceptable within the culture. A Morocco tour guide will offer insight into the country’s history, architecture, arts, crafts, cuisine, and on may be willing to engage in a conversation about local politics, social services, and deeper aspects of the country's norms.

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#3 Communication – When traveling to Morocco it is helpful to be able to communicate. The main three languages spoken are Moroccan Arabic, Berber dialects (Tashelhit, Tamazight & Tarifit), and French. English is also widely spoken in Morocco. A Morocco tour guide who is a fluent speaker of all three languages makes it easier for you to connect with locals. Your Morocco tour guide can translate for you in restaurants, museums, in the souks, and also when shopping.

#4  Flexibility - Larger Morocco tours with a national guide tend to have each day fully scheduled, with not enough time to stop and take in the more interesting sites you may come across. Meals are often included at hotels and larger, touristic restaurants, with less opportunity to experience to dine with locals or choose the restaurants. A private Morocco tour led by Moroccan local guide guarantees a flexible schedule that combined site seeing with leisure and even time to wander on your own.

#5 Knowledge & Experience – Knowing the best things to see in Morocco and not waiting in line can be difficult, particularly with limited time. On larger tours, time is often wasted waiting in lines, visiting sites that may not be of interest, and serving the varied needs of the group. With a private Morocco tour guide, the experience of visiting Moroccan cities will be tailor-made around your interest. He or she is bound to have their finger on the pulse of new things to see and experience. Whether it is a private visit exclusively arranged for you at a garden or museum, exploring a hidden mosque or newly renovated Jewish synagogue, attending an art opening, or taking a private cooking class with a Dada Chef, having the knowledge and experience of a Moroccan tour guide cannot be overstated.  Not only are private guides knowledgeable locals who are able to make recommendations, they ask questions and design tours with you in mind.

How to Make a Moroccan Kaftan

Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 25, 2020 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)

 Design Your Own Moroccan Kaftan Y

Since the 16th century after the Muslims and Jews emigrated to Morocco from Andalusia, the kaftan has been mentioned in Moroccan culture and fashion. Originally, the lavishly adorned garment was used as a coat or overdress and had the practical job of ventilating the body for both men and women. Starting from the middle 20th century, however, the kaftan became an exotic and desired fashion look. Today it is worn at special events like ceremonies, birthdays, and weddings. Furthermore, many celebrities, political figures, and models worldwide have adopted the kaftan into their wardrobe. In 2019 alone, there have been several occasions where the Moroccan kaftan made a powerful fashion statement. In Spring, Christian Dior launched his 2020 Cruise Collection Fashion Show in Marrakech and featured several kaftan inspired looks. Ivanka Trump was also spotted glittering in a gold Moroccan gown when she met with Princess Lalla Meryem during her November 2019 Women’s Empowerment trip to Morocco. Kaftans were also the focus of Morocco in Abu Dhabi Fashion Festival 2019. Reflecting on the show, designer Sofia Ben Ibrahim expressed “The Kaftan has been passed down through many generations.” Over the years kaftans have been spotted on everyone from the Beatles on their tours, to many influential and powerful figures like Gisele Bundchen, Hillary Clinton, and Saudi Princess Ameera al-Taweel. Even Meryl Streep wore a silky ivory-gold caftan in her 2018 film The Post. England’s British duchess Camilla Parker Bowles also adores the kaftan. After attending the Rabat kaftan fashion show in 2011, she began to be referred to as the “the queen of caftans.” 

Hillary-Clinton-in-Moroccan-Kaftan-Morocco-Travel-Blog

There are several different styles of kaftans. They range from the most basic cotton pieces for lounging or visits with friends to extravagant gowns with unique embroidery. Furthermore, different regions and districts of Morocco have their own kaftan styles. In Rabat, a key feature of kaftans is their colorful threads, floral designs, leaves, and elaborate stitching. Kaftans in Meknes and Fes are patterned with geometric shapes like squares, triangles, and straight lines. These different modes are the result of Morocco’s melting pot history. The kingdom is indigenously Berber but has been invaded and resided in by the Phoenicians, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and even the Ottomans who captured Fes in 1554. Before the Kaftan ever came to Andalusia it was worn by the Ottoman sultans. The dominating Ottomans' presence was felt worldwide for centuries. As a result, kaftans have been a long source of inspiration for designers everywhere. Notably, Lebanese Haute Couture designer Elie Saab and the iconic Yves Saint Laurent have created many collections inspired by the Middle Eastern-North African look. Marrakech’s Yves Saint Laurent Museum even has a dedicated collection of Laurent's kaftan dresses. Travelers to Morocco are often impressed with the beautiful robes they see in the YSL museum and in the souks, and they wish to take a dress home with them. Luckily, due to the popular evolution of the Kaftan it is a fun piece to shop. You can buy them in Marrakech concept stores like 33 Rue Majorelle, Max & Jan, Kaftan Queen, or at Norya Ayron. If you have time, it is also possible to go fabric shopping and commission a local Moroccan tailor to hand-make your kaftan. 

Moroccan-Kaftan-Hand-made-Sfifa-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Our FAQ Kaftan Guide Make Your Own Kaftan (Caftan)

In determining what kind of kaftan is right for you, it is important to consider where you will wear your kaftan. Some kaftan materials are made from easy and light fabrics. These include cotton or chiffon silk and best for casual situations like relaxing at your home or meeting a friend in the medina. Morocco has a hot desert climate so women enjoy dressing in casual kaftans to feel at ease and cool down their bodies. For evening events and parties, a silky and more textured kaftan fabric is recommended. How To Make a Kaftan:

1. How many yards to make a kaftan? Naturally, this will be determined by your body type and height, however, the recommended quantity of fabric is 3 yards. In making your purchasing decision, you must determine your desired length, width (cinched waist or belted), and what kind of neckline is most flattering for your body type.

2. Where to purchase fabric for a kaftan? All four of Morocco’s imperial cities Marrakech, Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier have medinas with shopping districts with kaftan shops that sell kaftan fabrics. It is fun to explore the fabric souk, touch the materials, and discover which ones you like best. Shopping in person also ensures that you can choose the color, style, and print pattern. The most common fabrics for a kaftan are cotton, chiffon, silk, and satin.

3. How long does it take for a kaftan to be made? Kaftans with embroidery can require a lot of work and therefore patience is needed. These detailed looks can take up to a few weeks to be made. You must also be properly fitted. Some tailors will offer international shipping upon completion.

4. Where can I get inspiration for my Kaftan look? As kaftans have become haute couture items, there are many fashion designers whose creativity will be a great source of inspiration. Among them are Dahab ben Aboud and Mohamed Lakhdar, both of who have taken the traditional kaftan and turned it into a more accessible and contemporary look. Their kaftans can be seen regularly in runway shows in both Morocco and Europe. Similarly, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Oprah, Beyonce, and Uma Thurman have appeared in red carpet events wearing a kaftan style g

Moroccan-Sfifa-Morocco-Travel-Blog

5. Where can I find Sfifa (embroidery) inspiration for my kaftan?Sfifa is a traditional Moroccan craft that can be seen on certain textiles and fabrics. Unfortunately, it is dying out in Morocco. but certain designers are working to keep it alive. Morocco’s Fadila el Gadi opened up the Ecole Broderie in Sale-Rabat to teach underprivileged children the lost art of stitchery. Recently Ivanka Trump asked El Gadi to design her an embroidered jacket for her November 2019 visit to Morocco.

6. What is the best way to accessorize a kaftan look? Moroccan women pair their kaftans with gold or silver heels, sparkly earrings, and a glamorous makeup look.

7. Can I rent a kaftan? If you are in Morocco and want to experience wearing a kaftan without purchasing one, there are kaftan rental shops that offer a wide selection of choices. Depending on the look and detailing of the kaftan, they cost between $5-40 USD to rent for one or two days.

Is a Kaftan the same as a djellaba? Sometimes people confuse these two words because both garments are long and can be used as a cover-up. However, they are worn in different contexts and have different histories and styles. Furthermore, a djellaba has a hood whereas a kaftan does not. Djellabas are traditionally worn by Berber or Amazigh men living in the Atlas Mountains and they are made from wool. Today it is possible to see lightweight cotton djellabas in different colors worn by Moroccan men and women in the medina.

Hillary-Clinton-in-Moroccan-Kaftan-Morocco-Travel-Blog

There are several different styles of kaftans. They range from the most basic cotton pieces for lounging or visits with friends to extravagant gowns with unique embroidery. Furthermore, different regions and districts of Morocco have their own kaftan styles. In Rabat, a key feature of kaftans is their colorful threads, floral designs, leaves, and elaborate stitching. Kaftans in Meknes and Fes are patterned with geometric shapes like squares, triangles, and straight lines. These different modes are the result of Morocco’s melting pot history. The kingdom is indigenously Berber but has been invaded and resided in by the Phoenicians, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and even the Ottomans who captured Fes in 1554. Before the Kaftan ever came to Andalusia it was worn by the Ottoman sultans. The dominating Ottomans' presence was felt worldwide for centuries. As a result, kaftans have been a long source of inspiration for designers everywhere. Notably, Lebanese Haute Couture designer Elie Saab and the iconic Yves Saint Laurent have created many collections inspired by the Middle Eastern-North African look. Marrakech’s Yves Saint Laurent Museum even has a dedicated collection of Laurent's kaftan dresses. Travelers to Morocco are often impressed with the beautiful robes they see in the YSL museum and in the souks, and they wish to take a dress home with them. Luckily, due to the popular evolution of the Kaftan it is a fun piece to shop. You can buy them in Marrakech concept stores like 33 Rue Majorelle, Max & Jan, Kaftan Queen, or at Norya Ayron. If you have time, it is also possible to go fabric shopping and commission a local Moroccan tailor to hand-make your kaftan.

Moroccan-Kaftan-Hand-made-Sfifa-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Our FAQ Kaftan Guide Make Your Own Kaftan (Caftan) In determining what kind of kaftan is right for you, it is important to consider where you will wear your kaftan. Some kaftan materials are made from easy and light fabrics. These include cotton or chiffon silk and best for casual situations like relaxing at your home or meeting a friend in the medina. Morocco has a hot desert climate so women enjoy dressing in casual kaftans to feel at ease and cool down their bodies. For evening events and parties, a silky and more textured kaftan fabric is recommended.

How To Make a Kaftan:

1. How many yards to make a kaftan? Naturally, this will be determined by your body type and height, however, the recommended quantity of fabric is 3 yards. In making your purchasing decision, you must determine your desired length, width (cinched waist or belted), and what kind of neckline is most flattering for your body type.

2. Where to purchase fabric for a kaftan? All four of Morocco’s imperial cities Marrakech, Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier have medinas with shopping districts with kaftan shops that sell kaftan fabrics. It is fun to explore the fabric souk, touch the materials, and discover which ones you like best. Shopping in person also ensures that you can choose the color, style, and print pattern. The most common fabrics for a kaftan are cotton, chiffon, silk, and satin.

3. How long does it take for a kaftan to be made? Kaftans with embroidery can require a lot of work and therefore patience is needed. These detailed looks can take up to a few weeks to be made. You must also be properly fitted. Some tailors will offer international shipping upon completion.

4. Where can I get inspiration for my Kaftan look? As kaftans have become haute couture items, there are many fashion designers whose creativity will be a great source of inspiration. Among them are Dahab ben Aboud and Mohamed Lakhdar, both of who have taken the traditional kaftan and turned it into a more accessible and contemporary look. Their kaftans can be seen regularly in runway shows in both Morocco and Europe. Similarly, celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Oprah, Beyonce, and Uma Thurman have appeared in red carpet events wearing a kaftan style gown

Moroccan-Sfifa-Morocco-Travel-Blog

5. Where can I find Sfifa (embroidery) inspiration for my kaftan? Sfifa is a traditional Moroccan craft that can be seen on certain textiles and fabrics. Unfortunately, it is dying out in Morocco. but certain designers are working to keep it alive. Morocco’s Fadila el Gadi opened up the Ecole Broderie in Sale-Rabat to teach underprivileged children the lost art of stitchery. Recently Ivanka Trump asked El Gadi to design her an embroidered jacket for her November 2019 visit to Morocco.

6. What is the best way to accessorize a kaftan look? Moroccan women pair their kaftans with gold or silver heels, sparkly earrings, and a glamorous makeup look.

7. Can I rent a kaftan? If you are in Morocco and want to experience wearing a kaftan without purchasing one, there are kaftan rental shops that offer a wide selection of choices. Depending on the look and detailing of the kaftan, they cost between $5-40 USD to rent for one or two days.

Is a Kaftan the same as a djellaba? Sometimes people confuse these two words because both garments are long and can be used as a cover-up. However, they are worn in different contexts and have different histories and styles. Furthermore, a djellaba has a hood whereas a kaftan does not. Djellabas are traditionally worn by Berber or Amazigh men living in the Atlas Mountains and they are made from wool. Today it is possible to see lightweight cotton djellabas in different colors worn by Moroccan men and women in the medina.

Moroccan Handicrafts, Artisan Weavers in Tameslouht

Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 14, 2020 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

 Handicrafts-Morocco-Travel-Blog

Morocco is famous for its artisan handicrafts and as you wander the streets of any Moroccan medina (old city), you will see stunning examples of local leatherwork, carpets, tasseled baskets, and blankets, soft furnishings, babouche slippers, carved wood and much, much more.  Moroccan style, textiles, and handicrafts have influenced major design houses and retail fashion outlets for many years, but these items have gained unprecedented popularity more recently - from the glossy pages of interior magazines and the profiles of Instagram influencers to the floors of houses and apartments across the globe. A trip to Morocco is the ideal opportunity to source your own Moroccan handicrafts. You might want something for your homes, such as a rug or embroidered bedlinen, or something beautiful to wear, such as a bag or kaftan. The choice can, however, be overwhelming and the prospect of haggling for a good price in the souk where shops are packed floor to ceiling with beautiful items can be daunting for even the most enthusiastic shopper! We have helped many travelers to Morocco with their purchases of gifts, souvenirs, and stunning artisan items. Here, we share our advice and expertise on buying these items directly from the artisans who produce them, with a highlight on weavers in the village of Tameslouht, in the foothills of the High Atlas mountain range. 

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Buying crafts from the artisans Moroccan artisan goods make great souvenirs of your vacation that you will enjoy for many years, and there is no shortage of choice in any of Morocco’s medinas (old cities). However, most of the retail outlets in the medina source their wares from a long chain of middlemen, and the only certainty regarding the income for the original artisans is that it is minimal, once everyone has taken their share of the commission. If you are interested in supporting artisans to continue their crafts and pass them down through the generations as has been the practice for hundreds of years, it is best to go to the source. This means getting out of the cities and into the villages where weavers practice their craft. If your trip takes you to Marrakech or through the High Atlas, you have a perfect opportunity to visit the village of Tameslouht. More accessible than some of the more remote villages further into the mountains, it is around 25km, less than one hour, from Marrakech city center, making it the perfect day trip. Alternatively, it can be a stop-off point on the route to the sights of the High Atlas Mountains such as Lalla Takerkoust lake, the river, and waterfalls of the Ourika Valley or the village of Imlil, gateway to Mount Toubkal. As well as being accessible, Tameslouht is an incredible microcosm of artisan talent and Moroccan craft heritage. 

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The Women weavers of Tameslouht Creation Tameslouht was founded by Sarah, a US Peace Corps Volunteer, and Mustapha, a local man, in Tameslouht in 2012. In 2013, the women weavers with whom they work formed their own association, Creation Tameslouht. They have received support and training to manage their own affairs and develop as entrepreneur-artisans. Today the association comprises around 60 local women, providing them with support to help them reach a wider market. The women at Creation Tameslouht produce a range of woven, embroidered, and sewn items for the home, such as blankets, cushions, and other soft furnishings. They also make beautiful items to wear and accessories, such as kaftans, jellabas, scarves, and bags. They also have several connections to other associations and cooperatives of artisans, meaning they are able to offer linens embroidered in the traditional Fassi style from the Middle Atlas, Amazigh (or Berber) rugs from surrounding High Atlas villages and much more. If you can’t visit in person, their goods are for sale on Etsy.

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Art Tissage Tam – maintaining tradition and livelihoods Art Tissage Tam is a cooperative, also in Tameslouht, which trains local men and women weavers and embroiderers in traditional handicrafts. Created in 2009, it exists to preserve the knowledge and traditions while developing them for modern tastes and new markets. Many of the artisans have been practicing their craft from a young age. At Art Tissage Tam, it possible to see men weaving organic cotton, linen, local wools, and vegetable silk (typically made from the prickly pear cactus) on the narrow looms. The team of around 15 men uses a number of techniques to fabricate items ranging from rugs to fabrics for soft furnishings, bags, and scarves. Handwoven rug styles range from flatweaves (in a tapestry weave style, like a kilim) often made with cotton or a cotton mix to woolen pile rugs such as the famous monochrome Beni Ouirane style to hand-knotted rag rugs, known as Boucharouite. Women at Art Tissage Tam generally undertake embroidery, sewing, and basket weaving, with tassels and pom-poms being popular adornments to homewares. Together, the women and men of Art Tissage Tam make a range of items that are steeped in the local traditions of many centuries while also being suitable for modern homes and tastes. It is possible to purchase these items at their workshop and store in Tameslouht or via their Etsy store.

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The community of artisans Because of commitments to home and family, it is often difficult for women to commute to work outside of the home. Even for men, the costs and logistics of traveling to work in low-skilled or manual work in the over-crowded cities are often less attractive than the chance to learn or develop a skill in their own village. By working from home or in a cooperative, in a network with other artisans, local people can work in a way that suits their lifestyles while benefitting from the collective support for product design, sales, and marketing. For women, weaving and sewing together help create community and a vital support network. Together as an association or cooperative, artisans are also able to offer a broader selection of products, including through e-commerce. The ability to access markets beyond the local middlemen outside of Morocco is an essential way of honoring the traditions and time which go into producing traditional crafts. Where souk salesman may compete on price and when Moroccan shoppers often seek something functional and mass-produced at a cheap price point, the ability of artisans to convey their pride, expertise, and heritage to people willing to value them is essential for their livelihoods. Speak to us about how to incorporate a visit to traditional artisans into your itinerary and help preserve and promote these vital elements of Morocco’s traditional heritage.

Fez Insiders Travel Guide

Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 6, 2020 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Fez el Bali was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981. Built during the Idrisid dynasty (789 - 808 AD), the ancient walled city of Fez is one of the oldest in the world. Fez was designed on a slope using historic traditions of Islamic architecture to prevent rainwater from flooding it. The sprawling medina boasts over eight kilometers of city walls and is one of the planet's largest, urban contiguous free zones. Fez has an estimated population of 200,000. Each living area of Fez affords its inhabitants with a mosque, Koranic school, a fountain, hammam, and a traditional bread oven.

The ancient walled city of Fez is one of the oldest in the world.

Fez el  Bali is referred to as the intellectual and spiritual capital of Fez and Morocco. The city has a rich history which includes being twice the capital of Morocco. When Idris ibn Abdallah acquired Fes in 789, he made it Morocco’s most important city. Refugees from Cordoba, Spain, and later Kairouan (Tunisia) shaped the look of present-day Fez El Bali. A Tunisian refugee is even credited with building the University of Al Quaraouiyine. Dating back to 859 CE, it is recognized as the world’s oldest university and one of the finest examples of Islamic design. Fez el Bali is known for its extraordinary Islamic design and architecture. Andalusian gardens and museums, lively souks and markets, two leather tanneries, madrasas, and other spiritual centers.

Our Fez Insider's Guide Fez Insiders Guide offers travel tips and secrets of the ancient medina.

Bab Boujloud Gate, Fez  

Exploring Fes el Bali's 10,000 Unnamed Alley's

Part of exploring Fez el Bali is getting lost in its 10,000 unnamed alleys which lead to new discoveries of the city's gates, citadels, and landmarks; to relive the history of the city. Under the rule of the Almoravids, Fez was divided into two cities. Abdallah’s son used the Fes River as a city border, destroyed many buildings in Fes el Bali, eventually moving Morocco’s capital to Marrakech. It stayed this way until 1276 when Fes’ second district, Fes Jdid, was created, reunited Fez, and returned it to its former capital status. There are 13 gates divided between the two medinas. Hammad Berrada is the author of a book published in Morocco in 2004, Fez From Bab to Bab: Walks in the Medina which lays out paths for travelers to discover all 13 gates. The Blue Gate (Bab Bou Jeloud) is located inside the old part of the Fez Medina and the main entrance to the city. Built in 1913, during the beginning of the French protectorate, it is the first entrance after the Fez El Jdid and served as an extension of the ancient UNESCO certified walls. Bab Bou Jeloud can be recognized from afar with its mesmerizing, blue mosaic zellige tiles and hidden underneath its arch, are green mosaics, a famous Fassie green color of which is revealed upon entering the city of Fez. Bab Bou Jelad’s triple-arched gates lead onto the popular Talaa Kebira, from which many cafes, shops, and prominent architectural buildings can be accessed.

From Bab to Bab

From Bab Bou Jeloud, the Blue Gate, the perimeter of Fez El Bali runs west towards Bab Chorba. The ancient Kasbah wall moves along route 501 - from where the Marinid tombs can be accessed - snakes around Bab Guissa and El Jamai Place, where it turns onto Tour de Fes N road and wraps the Jnane Bou Taa area, past Bab Khouka where it turns southwest into the Quartier des Potiers. Fes el Bali continues along N6, passing the Bab Ftouah region, crossing the Oued El Mehraz then maneuvering into the prestigious Palais Faraj Hotel, then the Batha area, until reaching the Blue Gate again.

Zaouida Moulay Idriss, Fez  

Sacred Sites in Fez Not to Miss

Zaouia Moulay Idriss - wedged between Souk Attarine and the Nejjarine Square, the 10th-century Zaouia houses the tomb of Fes’ founding father, Moulay Idriss II (793 – 828). The mausoleum is part of a religious Islamic school that spreads over 2,548 m2. Although the entrance is forbidden to non-muslim visitors, travelers can stop to admire the exquisitely carved cedar wood ceiling. There are seven doors, and the one with women entering into the mosque courtyard houses the tomb of Moulay Idriss. Marinid Tombs - these tombs date back to the 14th century during the reign of the Marinid dynasty. The hill they sit on is known as al-Qula, or the “Hill of the Marinids” and offers some of the best panoramic views of Fez el Bali. University Al Qarawiyyin Mosque & University - many Muslim students from Morocco, West Africa, Muslim Central Asia, and even parts of Andalucia Spain attend this University. Founded in 859 by Fatima al-Fihri , the daughter of a Tunisian refugee, the University was introduced into Morocco's university system in 1963. Quaraouiyine University focuses its studies on Islam, legal sciences, and classical Arabic. The school attracts visitors from around the world for its extraordinary Islamic architecture. University Al Qarawiyyin is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning. Mosque and Zaoui Sheikh Ahmad al-Tijani -  an 18th-century mosque and religious school dedicated to Sheikh Ahmad al-Tijani. It sits in the Al Blida neighborhood and is distinguished by its ornamental facades and turquoise colored minaret. Located close to the Al Qarawiyyin Mosque & University, this sacred space contains the tomb of an 18th century Sufi Shaykh, founder of the Tijaniyya order. The Zaouia presents a street facade highly ornamented with carved wood, stucco, and glazed tile. Madrasa El Bouanania Fes - renovated in the 18th century by Sultan Moulay Slimane who is known for ending piracy on Morocco’s coasts, the madrasa gained the status of a Grand Mosque and educational center. It became one of Morocco’s most important religious centers. In the 20th century, a major restoration combining wood and tile decoration has made it one of the most extraordinary places to see examples of Islamic architecture. It is the only madrasa in Fes with a minaret and one of the few religious places that allow entrance to non-Muslims. Opposite the Madrasa is Dar al Magana, a wall with a hydraulic water clock.

]Dar al Magna Clock Tower, Fez

Dar al-Magana - the clock house was built by Marinid Sultan Abu Inan Faris in 1357 to communicate the correct times of prayers to the Muezzin. It has 12 doors behind which are 12 brass bowls. Historically, a door would open on the hour and a metal ball would drop into the brass bowl. Since 2004, the bowls have been removed and the clock has been put under reconstruction by ADER, part of the major Fes Medina renovation initiated by King Mohammed VI. Al-Attarine Madrasa - The 14th-century al-Attarine Madrasa “ of the perfume makers” is the setting for a historic perfume and spice market. The interior of the madrasa is composed of a courtyard surrounded by the finest examples of traditional Marinid craftsmanship. Visitors are advised to pay attention to the exquisite details on the floors and walls.

The Fes Jewish Mellah and it's Fortified Gateway

The Jewish Mellah is the name of the Jewish quarters in Fes. They are surrounded by a wall and fortified gateway. Located near the royal residences, this enabled its inhabitants to be protected from the wrath of the Muslim populace. The Fes Mellah was once solely inhabited by Jews. This was the first Mellah in Morocco and originated in 1438. In the early 14th century, it was founded by the Merinids.  In contrast with the young Mellah of Casablanca, the Mellah of Fes is over 650 years old. This picturesque neighborhood adjoins the royal palace, noted for its recently constructed bright brass doors. The Ibn Danan Synagogue is one of the oldest and most intact synagogues in Morocco. This synagogue, located in the heart of the Mellah (Jewish quarter), is a rare survivor of a pivotal time in Moroccan Jewish history.

The Jewish Cemetery of Fes is nearby and contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco. One of the more important saints is Solica, who was killed for refusing to convert to Islam.  Just footsteps from Cafe Clock is the former home of Maimonides is located in Fes, a simple trace of ancient Jewish life. Maimonides lived in Fes from 11599-1165,

[caption id="attachment_5666" align="alignleft" width="350"]Art Naji, Fez  

Discover Traditional Crafts of Fes 

Embroidery Cooperative - watch Fassie women utilize mathematical calculations and geometric shapes to create beautiful patterns on fabric. In this area, seventy-nine-year-old Abdelkader Ouazzani is the last brocade master in Fes, Morocco. Brocading is a 13th-century art learned from the Merinid Sultans era. On a private tour, you can watch Ouazzani puppeteer the orchestra of thread. Pottery Cooperative - Fes is famous for it’s enameled polychrome blue-green ceramics decorated with geometric motifs and floral patterns. This style of pottery was developed in the eleventh century under the Almohad dynasty. The Potter’s Quarter (Ain Nkobi) is located on Sidi Harazem road, near the clay quarries in Ain Nokbi; the area is just outside the medina due to the smoke from the kilns. Tanneries - Fes has two tanneries where you can witness the historic tradition of leather dying. Chouara Tannery is the larger more popular tannery and located by the far north end of the Oued Bou Khrareb River. Of the two tanneries, Sidi Moussa is lesser-known, however as it is less visited, offering a more intimate experience. It is advisable to visit either location in the morning to experience the leather process.

Where to Eat in Fez

The Ruined Garden - Robert Johnstone, has created a beautiful garden in the ruin at Riad Idrissy which was once a merchant's house. Johnstone describes it as “half garden, half allotment.” In it, he grows gardenias, a jacaranda, papyrus, and a mix of edibles that are used in the riad’s kitchen, such as verbena, mint, chilies, sorrel, rosemary, parsley and tomatoes. The Ruined Garden Garden is also a cafe and restaurant that serves local Moroccan cuisine with a modern flair. Specialties include couscous appetizer (seffa),  harira soup, lamb tajine, and chicken bastilla. Address:5 Derb Idrissy Sidi Ahmed Chaoui Medina 30110، Siaj, Fes Phone: +212-649-191410    Cafe Clock -   established in 2006 by Mike Richardson with the aim of promoting cross-cultural exchanges and giving back to the local community. Cafe Clock is known for its camel burgers whose purchase yields a 1% donation to select Moroccan charities along with its reasonably priced menu of Moroccan and vegetarian fare. Cafe Clock offers cooking classes and weekly storytelling along with traditional live music. Cafe Clock as three locations, Fez el Bali, the Marrakech Medina and the Blue Pearl, Chefcahouen. Address: 7 Derb el Magana Phone: +212-5356-37855    

Nur, Fez

Nur - named the World's Best Moroccan Restaurant in 2017, this gastronomic restaurant is located in a small refurbished riad. Nur is Chef Najat Kaanache's tribute to the proud cultural and agricultural diversity of Morocco. She affectionately refers to her country as "the mouth of Europe", forged through its unique confluence of colonial cultures. Najat offers innovative flavors of the Middle Atlas through a creative lens. The tasting menu at Nur draws from the rich and flavorful cuisine of the Middle East. The dining room at Nur has a chic contemporary feel, but the design elements actually date back to Byzantine times, simultaneously offering a sanctuary and time capsule. For approximately 2 1/2 hours, and through about 10 creations, Chef Najat invites you to experience a brave new Morocco. Each morning the team sources the best available produce from within the Medina and constructs a largely improvisational menu around the seasonal seafood and offerings from our local, specialty purveyors.  Address: 7 Zkak Rouah, Medina, Fes  Phone: +212-694-277849

Restaurant Riad Nejjarine - Dating back to the 1800s, the Riad serves authentic Moroccan fare where diners eat surrounded by majestic Arab-Andalucian architecture. Their dishes feature the famous Fassie pigeon pastilla, tagines, and prunes with meat. The cuisine is refined offering gastronomic Moroccan tables which have become original Fez benchmarks all over Morocco. Address: 20 Lablida Sagha, Fès Phone: +212 =212-5356-34106

Dar Roumana- Dine in a traditional Moroccan riad framed by lush olive groves and the ancient medina walls. Head Chef Younes Idrissi's dishes are made using local produce to reflect the seasons of the Fes Medina. Sunset cocktails on the roof terrace are recommended. Address: Rue Roumana Phone: +212-553741737

Riad Fez, Relais Chateaux  

Where to Stay in Fez

Riad Fes  - is a Relais & Châteaux property owned by Moroccan architect and one of the most sought after places to stay in Fes. It is decorated in the traditional style of Fes with the keen combination of Baroque and Moorish design in its four courtyards. The terrace at Riad Fes is lined with Atlas Mountain views. There are a wine bar and an onsite on-site gastronomic restaurant famous for fusing Mediterranean and local flavors. It is conveniently located near the Palais Royal and the Batha Museum and gardens. A stay at Riad Fes will allow you to travel back in time and enjoy the splendor of the lifestyle of Fassi nobility. The garden offers moments of freshness under the shade of orange, lemon and bay trees. Address: 5 Derb Zerbtana, Fès Phone: +212-5357-41206

Dar Roumana -   “ house of the pomegranate," dates back to the late 1800s when it was built by the Arfaouis, a family of olive merchants. Until it was renovated in 2002 and became Dar Roumana, it was home to livestock. The owner Jen, was the first American to open a riad in Fes. The traditional Fassie home has a terrace with views of the medina and notable architecture with stained. Framed by lush olive groves and the ancient ruins of the medina walls, Dar Roumana invites you to experience the richness and comfort of a traditional Fassi guesthouse. Relax with a book and a glass of Moroccan mint tea on the spacious sun-drenched roof terrace with a spectacular view of the entire medina and Atlas Mountains.  After dinner prepared by their Cordon Bleu chef, retire to the library for a fire-side game of chess or choose a movie from our video and DVD collection. Each of Dar Romana's suites contains the work of local artisans: original mosaic tile floors, intricately carved plaster, rich cedar ceilings and doors, and hand-crafted furnishings. Address: Rue Roumana Phone: +212-553741737

Dar Roumana, Fez

Le Jardin des Biehn - formerly the house of a Pacha, this luxurious riad was restored by a French family ten years ago. It is set in a peaceful garden with aromatic herbs and surrounded by palm and olive trees. The riad has a cafe and restaurant that overlooks the garden along with a boutique filled with textiles and exotic items from India and the Far East. Address:13 Akbat Sbaa Douh, Fes Phone: +212-535741036

Palais Amani - Palais Amani is a fourteen bedroomed opulent Riad in Fes provides refined dining and spacious accommodation. With a salon and library, a rooftop bar, extensive terraces, a traditional hammam and spa, impeccable service, and all of this close to the Golden Triangle in the ancient medina in Fez. Traditional Moroccan breakfast is served to guests in the dining room or on the dining terrace overlooking the Riad’s central garden. At lunch and dinner time Palais Amani offer a cosmopolitan a la Carte menu for light or more elaborate meal. Address: 12 Derb El Miter، Fes Phone +212-5356-33209

Karawan Riad - this 17th-century riad is located in the Andalous quarter of the Fez Medina. It is one of the most lavish boutique hotels with an open-air courtyard perfect for cocktails on a starry night. Karawan Riad has seven chic suites decorated with Islamic and Moroccan furniture. Texture, motif, and artifacts makeup, unique hand curated interiors at this one-of-a-kind Fes Riad. It is the ideal place to stay for architecture buffs. All Suites are lavishly decorated with Moroccan and Islamic furniture. The Leelah hammam offers delightful scrubs, with the option of rose or oranger water and a spice bath. Trickling fountains are surrounded by flora and fauna for cozy dinners that of local Fes cuisine offered up by Chef Outhmane. This boutique riad has the amenities of a hotel and design that sings the name of Architectural Digest. Address: 21 Derb Ourbia Makhfiya، Fes  Phone +212-5356-37878

Each one of Palais Faraj' suites was designed in compliance with this distinguished art of secret alchemy.

Palais Faraj - Palais Faraj is a boutique hotel with a spectacular panoramic view of the Fes Medina. Designed by the famous architect and interior designer Jean-Baptiste Barian, Palais Faraj boasts stunning Arab Andalusia architecture with magnificent arches, columns and moucharabiehs, carved wood, plaster and brass, stucco laces, marble floors, and sacred geometry wall Zellig tilework. Each one of the 25 suites was designed in compliance with this distinguished art of secret alchemy and then outfitted with the latest luxury facilities. Address: Derb Ziat, Fes Phone +212-5356-35356

Abdelkader Ouazzani Brocade Master, Fez  

Shopping Secrets of the Fes Medina Reveal Morocco's Last Brocade Master & the Ancient Art of Comb Making

Abdelkader Ouazzani - Seventy-nine-year-old Abdelkader Ouazzani is the last brocade master in Fes. Brocading is an artistic profession requiring the participation of the entire body; feet glide over the wooden pedals and arms and shoulders are engaged in a manner that looks like a conductor puppeteering an orchestra. Brocading is a process requiring deep concentration, meticulousness, and know-how; the original teachers were from the 13th century Merinid Sultans era. Ouzzani works on a commission basis only for the elite in Morocco. His rare, complex fabrics cost in the range of $500 - $600 per meter to make.

Mohamed Saili - Sadly, the art of comb making is a dying trade and Mr. Saili is one of only few craftsmen still alive. Once seated on the ground, Mr. Saili uses his feet to chisel the tines of the fine combs made from horns to perfection. It’s an absolutely fascinating process to watch and a unique souvenir to take home from your travels to Fes!
 Address: 39 Rue Mechatine Serghini Poterie -  
Master artisan Moulay Ahmed Serghini is of a big deal on the Moroccan pottery scene – his work has been displayed at 
the British Museum and he has three workshops throughout the Kingdom. Tajines, vases, tableware, and even decorative pieces are all hand-made and using traditional Fasis methods from start to finish. It’s best to stop by the workshop to see the artisans at work before visiting the showroom. The entire process from raw clay to the finished product can be viewed on the property. Ready to ship at a moment's notice, Serghini makes Fassis creations available worldwide. Address: 32 Ain Nokbi
Phone: +212-661-63-07-58 or +212-535-76-16-29

Morocco Jewish Heritage Tours, Remarkable Sites & Places

Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 5, 2020 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 Iban Danan Synagogue, Fes  

Morocco is steeped in Jewish Heritage and Culture. The country has a remarkable history of Jewish life that sets it apart from other Muslim nations. If you are Jewish and interested in touring Morocco you are guaranteed to discover ancient traditions and old-world customs that have permeated Moroccan Jewish society for centuries. Morocco's key Jewish Heritage sites are located throughout the country's Imperial Cities and rural regions. The sheer number of Jewish sites is staggering.

 

“ Moroccan society is partly built on Jewish culture, a culture deeply rooted in three millennia of history,” André Azoulay, Senior Adviser to King Mohammed VI of Morocco

 

As a Jewish traveler, you can explore synagogues, cemeteries, holy zaouias, monuments, and historic homes. Morocco's most remarkable places and historical sites are centered around the Jewish Mellah in Casablanca, Tangier, Fes, Marrakech, and Essaouira. The countryside offers additional fascinating Jewish sites of pilgrimage that are frequented by Israeli's in particular and Moroccan Jews living abroad. They come to visit holy zaouias of celebrated former Rabbi's (Saints) who were once honored by their local communities.

 

Morocco also has an intimate Jewish community with strong ties, connecting with them is part of enriching the travel experience. The largest Jewish community that is thriving today is in Casablanca.  Over 3,000 Casablanca Jews live outside the Mellah in the European city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, and attend Jewish schools and social service centers. They worship at Temple Beth El, the largest synagogue and an important community center. There is a smaller, yet lively, Jewish community in Fes and Marrakech. Sharing a traditional Sephardic meal on Shabbat at the Kosher Club in Casablanca, or a Kosher restaurant in Fes or Marrakech will offer a glimpse into Jewish life today.

 

Each of Morocco's Jewish quarters (Mellah) is comprised of historic Jewish architecture and monuments. The Mellah is home to synagogues and cemeteries surrounded by local markets and city life. Today the Moroccan Mellah is inhabited primarily by Muslim families who relocated there when Jews migrated to Israel in 1948. The Jews who left Morocco did so in hope of a more prosperous life and to be surrounded by their brethren after World War II.  Jewish sites in Morocco are protected by the Moroccan Kingdom and open daily for visitors.

 

 Miaara Jewish Cemetery, Fes 

 

Morocco Jewish Heritage Tour: Remarkable Places & Sites to Visit:

 

• Temple Beth- El, Casablanca

• Museum of Moroccan Judaism, Casablanca

• Ibn Danan Synagogue & Jewish Mellah, Fes

• Jewish Cemetery & Tomb of Solica, Fes

• Maimonides Home, Fes

• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Lazama Synagogue, Marrakech

• New Jewish Synagogue, Ville Nouvelle Marrakech

• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Miaara Cemetery, Marrakech

• Chaim Pinto Synagogue,  Essaouira

• Jewish Mellah, Cemetery & Zaouia's Sahara Desert Region

 

Jewish Mellah, Marrakech Spice Market  

 

Visiting Morocco offers a rare glimpse into peaceful Jewish-Muslim coexistence.

 

Jewish culture has been interwoven throughout Morocco for centuries. It is believed that Jews settled in Morocco prior to the destruction of the First Temple Mount. A Morocco Jewish Heritage Tour provides an in-depth exploration of Jewish culture and its vast history from the time of the Philistines to the 21st Century.

 

Touring Morocco and its historic Jewish Heritage Sites is something every Jew should consider.

 

Touring Morocco and its historic Jewish Heritage Sites is something every Jew should consider. Morocco’s unique history of Jewry and the co-mingling of Jews with Berbers and Arabs is what makes the country safe to visit and an icon of peace for the entire Muslim world. The climate and culture of Morocco with its keen mix of Jewish, Berber, and Arab traditions, UNESCO Heritage sites and cities, a magnificent coast, Moorish architecture, glorious markets, and food tourism make it an ideal vacation destination.

 

Should you embark on a private, guided Morocco Jewish Heritage Tour, you can anticipate hearing Stories of the Mellah, learning about Morocco's Sephardic Jewish traditions, and discovering the hidden jewels of Morocco's Jewish past.  With the only Jewish Museum in the Islamic world and history of religious tolerance, visiting Morocco offers a rare glimpse into peaceful Jewish-Muslim coexistence.

5 Best Morocco Family Tours

Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 5, 2020 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

 Morocco Family Tour  

 

A Morocco Family Tour should rank high on your bucket list. Morocco is a family-friendly country that offers a wide range of activities and popular tours that makes for easy family travel with those who have children of varied ages. Morocco's sandy beaches and blue, jeweled coast stretch for miles across the country. Its mountain ranges in both the High and Middle Atlas are perfect for trekking by foot, exploring by a donkey, or settling down by a stream for a picnic lunch. Morocco's exotic medinas are a shopper’s paradise of colorful hand-made crafts and cuisine, such as Berber carpets, lanterns, baboosh slippers, textiles, caftan’s, teapots and sweets, all surrounded by stunning gardens and hidden alleys for the entire family to explore. Popular Morocco family tour activities range from hiking, trekking, a hot air balloon ride over the Atlas, sandboarding, quad riding, sand skiing, lunch with a Berber family, and exotic food tours, held in UNESCO Fes and Marrakech’s famous Djemaa El Fna Square at sunset. Families interested in historic activities can visit Morocco's spectacular Art and Photography museums, Andalusian and Moorish gardens, along with UNESCO Heritage sites, monuments, mosques, and Jewish Heritage Sites. Families traveling to Morocco are guaranteed a safe and enriching experience.

 

5 Family  Morocco Tours - Popular Vacation Itineraries, for the Best Family Vacation

 

 

Family Adventures in Morocco

 

A 10-Day Family Tour tailor-made to include the vibrant and colorful city of Marrakech,  the High Atlas Mountain region, camel riding, sandboarding, and quad riding in the Sahara Desert, along with visits to the UNESCO Heritage Site, Ait Ben Haddou, and the Atlas Film Studios. This tailor-made family vacation includes stays at traditional Morocco riads and guest houses that are quaint and filled with charm, serve excellent local cuisine, and offer a mix of courtyards, gardens, and some with a rural setting. Families can take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Atlas Mountains and sip tea and eat couscous with a Berber family. A family tour to Morocco would not be complete without a Marrakech food tasting tour at sunset in Djemaa el Fna Square. Tasting Moroccan delicacies in the back streets and seeing live snake charmers and monkeys plays into the hands of an exotic Medieval carnival. This 10-Day Morocco family tour is perfect for families who have children that are 9 years or older.

 

One-Week Morocco Family Tour

 

A-One week-long family vacation to Morocco for active family travel, designed for those looking for family fun in Marrakech's medina, visiting bustling souks and market places, majestic palaces along with hiking and zip lining across the Atlas Mountains. The highlight of this family tour is the camel trek in the Sahara Desert across the Erg Chebbi Dunes to an Oasis, music, and dinner Arabian Nights style by the campfire and an overnight in a Bedouin tent. A private henna party and lunch with a Berber family along with zellige tile design pottery making are also part of this Morocco family holiday adventure. This One-Week Morocco family tour is perfect for families who have children ranging from 6 years and are well-traveled.

 

 Sahara Desert Family Safari,  Morocco  

 

Sahara Desert Safari Family Tour

 

Embarking on a 5-Day Sahara Desert Safari from Marrakech is the perfect family tour with those who have a limited amount of time as the result of school and holiday schedules.  This Sahara Desert Safari Private Tour includes stays at stylish and Boutique  Riads and Guest Houses, an overnight in a Luxury Desert Camp, time in the Skoura Palm Groves, Berber Villages, visits of Morocco's Historic Kasbahs, Camel Trekking in the Erg Chebbi Dunes and the option to Hike in the Dades Valley Region. Perfect for families seeking adventure from Marrakech.

 

Souks of Morocco  

 

The Souks and markets are a major feature in Moroccan life and what better way to explore them to the fullest then on a 10-Day Family Adventure. Each of Morocco's Imperial cities has a special souk quarter. Villages in the countryside also have local souks which are usually held one day each week in an open field or outside the town's kasbah walls. Large cities like Marrakesh and Fès have labyrinths of individual souks (each filling a street or square that is devoted tone particular craft).  On this Souks of Morocco Family Tour Adventure, you will explore the medinas of Marrakesh, Fès, Chefchaouen, and Ouarzazate. These Moroccan cities are famous for their beautiful souks that sell handicrafts and some of Morocco's best food delicacies. Our Souks of Morocco Family tour lays the ground for a food tasting in the souks that starts with dates, juices, fresh-baked bread's, honey's, olives, and for the adventurous foodie families sheep's head. The Souks offer up some of the best leatherware, locally made handicrafts, carpets, pottery, wood carvings, and traditional dress (djellabas). The Souks of Morocco Family Tour will provide an insider's view of where locals shop for fresh meat, vegetables, household goods, and other items that Americans for example, purchase at Wal-Mart or Target. In the countryside, families will visit weekly souks (markets) which will lend to a richer understanding of Morocco's Berbers and rural culture.

 

1001 Arabian Nights

 

A 12 -Day Morocco Family Arabian Nights Tour to Morocco's Imperial Cities, the Sahara Desert, and the Atlantic Coast. Families seeking a fascinating and adventurous private tour for first-time travelers to Morocco will discover Casablana's Grand white mosque and basque in the Moroccan sun. This 1001 Arabian Nights tour will off complimentary visits to Coastal Rabat, a medina sunset walk, and a  journey to Fes, one of the oldest medieval cities in the world. Families will venture in a 4x4  across the Middle Atlas Mountain region to the Sahara Desert to see glorious sunsets just before dusk as you camel trek through the Erg Chebbi Dunes, the highest and most golden in Morocco, overnight under the Moroccan stars. An off-road trip is part of this Morocco family adventure where you will discover the old road of the caravans via the 19th-century trade routes, walk through the mazes of beautiful Kasbahs, and take an excursion to the Valley of Roses and the Dades Gorge. This family tour would not be complete without one of the most important off-road trips in the country where you will visit the region of Bouthgrar and enjoy a tea ceremony with Nomads in caves. Your Sahara guide and Berber driver will be your private escort throughout this trip as your family becomes modern-day explorers in the South discovering the vast valley's palm groves, the medina's of Marrakech and the Atlantic Coastal town of Essaouira.

8 Places to Go for Casablanca Nightlife

Posted by Alecia Cohen on December 22, 2019 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (0)

 Sky-Bar-28-Kenzi-Morocco-Travel-Blog  

 

Long before Michale Curtiz’s iconic 1942 film, Casablanca became a box office smash, Casablanca, the city served as an important business and commercial center. The Portuguese used the ruins of Anfa to build a military fortress in 1515. The town that grew up around it was called Casa Branca, meaning "white house" in  Portuguese. Today locals refer to the bustling and cosmopolitan port city as Casa.

 

When the Tangier Med port became crowned the Mediterranean’s largest, Casablanca was even recognized as North Africa’s top entrepot. Beyond its importance as the leading financial capital, Casablanca is also known for its strength in the arts. France and Morocco's artistic and intellectual circles were primarily privy to this burgeoning community. Renown artists such as Moroccan modern painter Mohamed Melehi- recognized who linked Bauhauism to Islamic art- have long made an impact on the city. Melehi, alongside his innovative “Casablanca School” peers like Farid Belkahia, Mohammed Chabâa, Bert Flint and Toni Maraini influenced post-colonial art during the 1960s in both Casablanca and beyond. The city's artistic and cultural history created a foundation that continues to attract innovative designers, filmmakers, artists, photographers, and musicians.

 

 Le-Casablanca-Lounge-Morocco-Travel-Blog copy  

 

Casablanca's trendsetting and liberating ambiance is woven into the fabric of everyday life. Gradually the city has had a ripple effect and eyes around the world are tuning into Casablanca's art and culture scene. This shift was particularly evident in 2019 when several airports in key cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Beijing, and Miami added direct routes to Casablanca. Now that traveling to Casablanca can be done with ease, the city’s top restaurants, nightlife, shopping venues, artisanal craft markets, the medina and music festivals are in high demand.

 

Casablanca offers a wide range of dining experiences coupled with live music. Nightlife can be found in elegant restaurants, jazz bars, clubs and upscale hotel settings located around the United Nations Square and on the Corniche. The Corniche is well-appointed near Casablanca’s business district and frequented by the fashionable Ain Diab neighborhood crowd. It is also considered one of the city’s green areas. Casablanca’s most popular French restaurants, nightclubs, cocktail lounges, and bars that boast wrap-around terraces and stunning ocean views are woven into the streets on the corniche.

 

8 Places to Go for Casablanca Nightlife are Le Petit Rocher, Bodega, Rick's Cafe, Sky 28, Cabestan, Le Kimmyz, Les Jardin del Opera, and Le Casablanca Bar and Lounge.

 

 Le-Petit-Roche-Morocco-Travel-Blog Le Petit Rocha, Casablanca[/caption]

 

1. Le Petit Rocher- founded in 1932, the Little Rock House is a renovated waterside bistro cottage that once served as a lighthouse. Its history includes hosting performances of talented musicians during the 80s and 90s. Today the restaurant stands as a cultural institution that has endured several, stylistic makeovers. In spite of this, it has stayed true to its musical roots. Over the past decade, Le Petit Rocher has been reimagined into an elegant and contemporary space with coastal views. In keeping with the past, it is also one of Casablanca's top choices for an evening of tasty food and lively music. In 2000, Little Rock focused on recreating a menu for the senses. Today it serves fresh seafood, inclusive of seafood platters, paella, and other fresh catch of the day. Le Petit Rocher is an ideal spot where locals and travelers can enjoy cocktails, music and ocean views.

 

Address:  Small Rock Complex, Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca

Telephone: +212-5223-62626

 

2. Bodega- located near Boulevard Mohammed V Art Deco, in the heart of Casablanca's Art Deco district, La Bodega is a hybrid tapas bar-restaurant. It is the perfect destination for those interested in listening to everything from salsa to Arabic pop. The restaurant offers a fusion of both  French and Spanish cuisine. La Bodega’s innovative tapa style menu is curated by Chef Jilali and serves up Andalusian and Catalan inspired charcuterie, seafood, and mixed grill. Beyond its savory delights, La Bodega's wine list is extensive and is especially enjoyed when the restaurant transforms from a rustic and cozy space into a saucy Jazz Club. Every Tuesday night, the club hosts a jazz and blues band with musicians who play music inspired by Paris’ top Jazz venues.

 

Address: 129 Boulevard Ben Abdellah, Casablanca 20250

Phone: +212-5225-41842

 

Ricks-Cafe-Jazz-Morocco-Travel-Blog  

 

3. Rick’s Cafe- this romantic restaurant and piano bar was inspired by the 1942 film Casablanca made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Since it’s 2004 opening, the restaurant has set a high bar for dinner and jazzy evenings in Casablanca. From Tuesday to Sunday, Issam Chabaa plays classic French, Spanish and Brazilian songs on the piano and American favorites like Summertime, The Lady is a Tramp, and Blue Moon. Sundays, in particular, are programmed to host jazz sessions for local and amateur jazz musicians living in Casablanca or passing through. In addition to its superior entertainment, the two-floor romantic eatery is distinguished by its decor. Curved arches, a sculpted rooftop bar, balconies, balustrades, stenciled brass lighting, and an authentic 1930’s piano have thoughtfully been added to transport clients into the ’40s and ’50s. Among the menu items are fresh fish entrees like sole meuniere or richer selections like steak or foie gras and goat cheese salad. Rick’s Cafe was established by the former Kathy Kriger, who was an American diplomat in Morocco. Once a  traditional Moroccan home in the 1930s, Rick's Cafe is located on the edge of the medina, near the port, facing the Hassan II Mosque.

 

Address: 248 Boulevard Sour Jdid, Casablanca 20250

Phone: +212-05222-74207

 

4. Skybar 28- is well-appointed at the top of the five-star 28 stories B-Twin Center, Kenzi Tower Hotel It is considered the top destination for visitors to Casablanca who is in search of cocktails and dinner with a view. The luxurious hotel tower was designed by the internationally renowned architect Ricardo Bofill who thoughtfully opened up the restaurant to profit from the Atlantic Ocean views. The Art deco themed penthouse bar has an intimate lounge setting and subdued lighting. Skybar 28 is the perfect setting for an evening of classy tapas, wine, and live music after a day of exploring Casablanca. For travelers who want to indulge in some light pre-cocktail activities, the Kenzi Tower location is also home to Casablanca’s trendiest shopping district.

 

Address: Kenzi Tower Hotel، Boulevard Mohamed Zerktouni, Casablanca 20100

Phone: +212-5229-78000

 

5. Cabestan- created in 1927, this trendy, upscale seafood restaurant offers some of the most spectacular views of the Casablanca rocky coast. A favorite of artists, designers, politicians, and businessmen Cabestan is the place to be post-sunset. Designers Sophia Sebti and Yachar Bouhaya created three elegant spaces that have become the choice destination for those who desire an evening of fine bistro cuisine accompanied by music and an exceptional ambiance. In addition to the stunning sea views, Cabestan’s menu, created by Chef Fabien Caboy, is the reason it continues to buzz. Menu favorites include Mediterranean tapa dishes, fresh oysters from Dakhla, and herb-infused linguini and clams pasta. On some nights, top names from Morocco’s electronic music scene can be spotted here.

 

Address: Phare d'El hank، 90 Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca 20000

Phone: : +212 05223-91190

 

6. Le Kimmyz - is a lively French bistro with a high-quality gastronomy menu and extraordinary wine selection. Depending on the day of the week, the restaurant’s funky decor transforms from being a Parisian style musical brasserie into an upscale sports bar. Regardless of the day you choose to dine, the food and wine always hit the mark and the atmosphere never ceases to entertain.

 

Address: Rue Najib Mahfoud, Casablanca 20000

Phone: +212 5222-77297

 

Le-Jardin-De-Opera-Morocco-Travel-Blog Le Jardin de Opera, Casablanca[/caption]

 

7. Le Jardin del Opera- is a chic brasserie situated across from the Grand Casablanca Theatre. It is defined by Casablancans and travelers to Morocco by its French heritage, culinary menu and inspired “garden opera setting”.  Le Jardin’s concepts are executed by restaurant head Farid Al Achbili and director Joël Boivert. The menu has been set to meet a high standard with its offer of exotic yet simple cuisine. Dining choices are comprised of original recipes that respect fresh ingredients of the season. Le Jardin del Opera's foie gras with Moroccan white wine pairing is not to be missed. Evenings at this boutique venue are festive with music and ideal for close friends, and romantic tête-à-têtes.

 

Address: 37, Rue El Houcine Ben Ali, City Park Center

Telephone: +212–5222-67575

 

[caption id="attachment_20383" align="alignnone" width="435"]Le-Casablanca-Lounge-Morocco-Travel-Blog  

 

8. Le Casablanca Lounge Bar -  is situated inside Le Casablanca Hotel, a luxurious property in the exclusive Anfa neighborhood.  This trendy lounge, Art Deco bar immerses visitors in a world of glamour. It offers a warm and relaxed atmosphere to appreciate a wide range of signature cocktails, aperitifs, wines, and champagnes.

 

The cocktail bar is staged in a harmonious space of high ceilings, chandeliers, luxurious red and black velvet sofas, marquetry furniture, haute couture beveled mirrors, and accented handmade stucco lace. This timeless and classy ambiance is woven into every detail and space of the hotel. Taste of refinement and elegance can be found at Le Casablanca's terrace while sipping a glass of champagne. Live music and piano performance are offered,  accompanied by a professional singer.

 

Address: Le Casablanca Hôtel 19, Moulay Rachid

Telephone: +212 522 649 797

Moroccan Mint Tea Traditions, The Secret Ingredients, Tips & Recipe

Posted by Alecia Cohen on April 18, 2019 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Morocco’s tradition of tea dates back to the 12th century BC. There are various theories on the origin of tea in the Maghreb. Some say the Berbers (Amazigh) imported tea from Asia, while others believe that Queen Anne Stuart of Great Britain introduced tea to the Moroccan Sultan as a ploy to release British prisoners.

Moroccan mint tea, referred to as “Berber Whiskey” or Maghrebi Mint Tea is one of the pillars of Moroccan culture. In Morocco tea is sipped all hours of the day. When Moroccans welcome guests to their homes they sip tea, when they celebrate a birth or wedding ceremony or death, they sip tea and when they share meals together they sip tea. Tea is sipped slowly 20 or even 30 times a day in Morocco! When a glass of tea is offered, it is a cultural taboo to refuse. Declining an offer of Moroccan tea  is considered impolite given many consider it part of a bonding experience. While there are many stories of tea told throughout Morocco, one shared consensus is, the ritual of Moroccan tea is an art. “Tea in Morocco, is not just about boiling the water and adding mint, it is ceremonial art, a ritual for us, similar to the Chinese and Japanese” says Saoud, teacher and host of La Maison Arabe's tea ceremony. Souad leads a tea ceremony that is part of La Maison Arabe’s daily cooking classes offered. Tucked away into a well-manicured alley with palm trees, out of sight from the bustling Marrakech medina, sits the exquisitely designed boutique hotel. La Maison Arabe. All La Maison Arabe cooking classes are led by a Dada Chef and a host offers first hand insights about Moroccan Tea traditions. Each class includes a traditional tea ceremony. Moroccan tea has medicinal and beauty benefits. Herbal teas are made from Morocco’s diverse kingdom of organic plants. There are more than 4,200 species which have been identified as endemic and 400 are classified as products for medicinal or aromatic use. Moroccan tea traditions are passed from generation to generation. The ritual of Moroccan tea can be observed in a private home, by participating in a cooking class or in the souks.   If you ask a Moroccan about memories of their childhood, they will often share an image of their mother in the kitchen, blending together an herbal mint tea to ward off a cold or improve a family member’s digestion.

There are 3 principal ingredients in nearly every cup of Moroccan tea. They are Gun Powder, Beetroot Sugar and Spearmint. 

#1: Gunpower:Considering how frequently Moroccan mint tea is consumed, many people are surprised to learn that tea is not grown in Morocco. Tea used by Moroccans is imported from China. The base of Moroccan mint tea is gunpowder, which closely resembles actual gunpowder and looks similar to rolled up pellets. While gunpowder is the equivalent to green tea, it tastes significantly stronger than the type of green tea most people are familiar with. When blended with Moroccan herbs or fresh mint, gunpowder’s bold and smoky taste lends a unique flavor to the tea itself. #2: Beetroot:Another important ingredient in Moroccan tea is sugar, however, not just any sugar. Moroccan’s use a few wedges of healthy Beetroot sugar to enhance the flavor of their tea. Beetroot sugar is grown in Morocco, comes from the beetroot vegetable which is packed with minerals and vitamins. Sipping tea in Morocco without Beetroot or Cane sugar is rare. However, as the result of foreign influence and diabetes more Moroccans are drinking tea today with less or no additional sugar. Moroccan tea without sugar tends to be more pungent and stronger in taste. The combination of gunpowder and mint without sugar cause the tea to take on a bitter flavor. #3: Spearmint:There are several different kinds of mint grown in Morocco, however, the consistent choice is spearmint. Spearmint has a clear, pungent, and mild aroma, making it the traditional choice used in Moroccan mint tea culture.

 

Medicinal Benefits of Moroccan Tea:There are many types teas that are consumed in Morocco. Traditional Moroccan Mint Tea typically sipped with no other ingredients. However, those who prefer to use tea for health benefits in Morocco often infuse their tea with aromatic plants and herbs. Some of the aromatic plants and herbs added to Moroccan mint tea are dried flowers, such as rose petals along with lemon peel, orange peel and orange blossom water.

 Moroccan Mint Tea – Secret Ingredients - Herbs & Spices Used in Moroccan Tea:Moroccan Mint Tea – Secret Ingredients - Herbs & Spices Used in Moroccan Tea:
  • Peppermint -  slightly different properties than spearmint, the most relied on mint; it aids digestion.
  • Bergamot  - relaxing and aromatic.
  • Lemon balm - an anti-anxiety and aids in sleep
  • Absinth – perfect for winter, supports the gallbladder, and the pancreas
  • Sage - assists in digestion and boosts memory
  • Saffron - warms the body and regulates hormones
  • Tea with orange blossom - aromatic and used on special occasions
  • Lemon Verbena – relaxing and fresh sensation.
  • Thyme - helps clear unhealthy bacteria, repair gut lining and decrease inflammation
  • Geranium - flowery taste in the mint tea and is relaxing

Moroccan mint tea contributes to good health. People who live in deserts or oasis’ like Morocco, drink hot tea year-round including summertime! Consuming hot beverages cools the body down and the combination of  also Moroccan tea has many powerful ingredients like antioxidants, properties to boost endurance, aid in digestion, increase mental performance, inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus, and even clear up skin disorders. The antioxidants in Moroccan tea help boost endurance, protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

 

How to Make Moroccan Tea: • Place two teaspoons of gunpowder green tea into a traditional Moroccan tea pot.  Next, add a handful of fresh mint tea • Add your choice of herbs and a little bit of beetroot sugar (up to 4 chunks) •Pour boiling water and sugar and let it simmer for few minutes. • Then pour out the water and reserve the liquid in a glass. •Add a little boiling water to swish in the teapot again. This second rinse will take away the bitterness and the color of the tea will get darker than before. • Discard the second glass, only the first extraction of tea will be used. • To mix all the ingredients together, just pour the tea into a glass and return it to the tea pot. It is important to never stir the mixture with a spoon or the herbs may burn. Repeat this process two or three times for best results. • Serving Moroccan Tea. When serving Moroccan tea, it is important to use a Moroccan tea port and hold the handle from high above as this will help oxygenate the tea and keep the tea foam on the top of the glass. The pouring of the tea from a teapot with a long-curved spout is done from a height of at least twelve inches, causing the foam to form on the surface of the tea. For more information about the Secret Traditions of Moroccan Tea & Food Traditions in Morocco


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