From my last trip to Morocco I thought I am already a pioneer in Marrakech’s secrets and know the city pretty well. I was wrong. Super wrong. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, it amazes and inspires you all over again.
Such happened in early December when I visited magical Marrakech to start working with a new Abdillah Boots producer. The city defies mapping, logic and above all time (which was great to escape all the Christmas madness back at home). In one moment you are trapped in Jemaa el Fna square’s traditional gnawa music, monkey-juggling and story-tellers’ theatrics, in the next you are slipping behind a numberless door to a riad where the world changes and a fountain burbles and birds twitter in the pomegranate trees. Everything rolls into this one intense, colorful, gigantic puzzle of a city.
I stayed again “at home”, in Riad Tlaatawa Sitteen (www.tlaatawa-sitteen.com) now run by caring Amin and his girlfriend Leah. Owner of this and a second riad just down the same street (Dar Najma: www.darnajma.com) is Kamal Laftimi (thank you so much for everything), master head also behind the souk’s best places to relax, eat and drink Cafè des épices (www.cafedesepices.net) and Terrace des épices (www.terracedesepices.com).
Kamal doesn’t get tired and this is good. He exceled himself one more time and just opened up another jackpot named “Le Jardin” (www.lejardin.ma), a restaurant/bar/cafe in a large courtyard enclosed in a 17th-century mansion renovated in tones of green adding lots of plants, trees and water features – an oasis in the middle of the medina with 60s decor imagined in harmony with all traditional Morrocan crafts. The food is delicious, the atmosphere delightful, the staff friendly and caring.
He also invited me to join a Marrakech Film Festival party organised by artists from Digital Marrakech, an international media arts and digital platform, which aims to present diverse trends and practices in the fields of digital film and video, multimedia performances, video installations, digital mapping, net art and workshops. Still today I can not describe my feeling being there.. Maybe speachless. Or breathless. And this was not only because of the fantastic installations around but moreover the spectacular place this party took place:
Riad El Fenn (www.riadelfenn.com)
This luxury hip and super stylish boutique hotel in the middle of the medina is definitely one of Marrakech’s hot spot secrets hidden behind light red walls. Vanessa Branson (Richard – Virgin – Branson’s sister) stands behind this oasis and has created a place full of character and detail carefully considered from fine linen to delicious food. 21 totally different furnished rooms decorated both in Moroccan and Western style, an organic garden, a cinema and library, a spacious spa, three swimming pools, an enormous terrace with first row view to the Kotubia – all this makes the riad the ideal place to simply relax and unwind and enjoy. At this point thank you, Rafik, from the bottom of my heart for your time and showing me around, I deeply enjoyed heaven.
If you happen to be around NYE in Marrakech contact these boys, they are organising a NYE party both in Le Jardin and Riad El Fenn, you better don’t miss it!
As for me, I always miss Morocco and you should watch out for some more behind-the-scene stories that will follow soon. All I can say is that www.silviagattin.com starts the new year with “the new generation” of Abdillah Boots 😉