Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Palmeraie - the Beverly Hills of Marrakech

Perhaps Marrakech is best known best for its magical medina with the souks, squares and spices, but it is also famous for its greenery with many parks and lush gardens. Many of these you can find in the Palmeraie that is called "The Green Lung of Marrakech". It is also called "The Beverly Hills of Marrakech" due to all the luxury hotels and extravagant private residences that are located here.  

The Palmeraie is 10-15 minutes’ drive from the Marrakech medina.

The Palmeraie is a real oasis on the outskirts of Marrakech known for its beautiful palm groves, unparalleled luxury resorts and countless golf courts. It covers an area of 140 km2 with hundreds of thousands of trees that according to legend was created from date seeds cast off almost a thousand years ago by Arab soldiers when the Almoravid dynasty ruled Marrakech.

The Palmeraie is home to exclusive private mansions... well as to luxurious hotel complexes, like Palais Aziza & Spa.

And the luxury villa resort Dar JL.

The Palmaraie is worth a visit just to look at all the cool gates.

The Palmeraie by night is also something special!

A larger development plan of the Palmeraie was launched in the 1920s. Then it was stated that no building could be higher than a palm tree. It was also made illegal to cut down any palm trees. That's why you sometimes can see palm trees growing up from the pavements all around this area.

This road got an extra roundabout since its forbidden to chop down the palm trees. 

And the entrance to Jnana Tamsna got some extra personality with this palm tree.

And who really needs to have a large parking space in front of the house?

The Palmeraie is a great place to stay when visiting Marrakech, chose one of the amazing resorts like Palais Aziza, Dar JL or Jnana Tamsna. You could also go to this part of town just for the day to visit the pool of some of the resorts who are open for outside guests or go to Nikki Beach who has daily packages. Here you can spend some time cooling down from the hot Marrakech sun with some refreshing drinks and perhaps a pool side lunch.


Nikki Beach is the luxury beach club you can also find in Saint Tropez and Miami.

You could also visit one of the 20 golf courses of Marrakech in the Palmeriaie.

It's of course possible to do a short excursion to the Palmeraie for a few hours by car, on a camel's back or why not on a moped or a classic sidecar?

Some take the moped to the Palmeraie...


...but why not try one of these two options? Classic sidecar vs Camel. 

And if you're lucky you get to meet a baby camel!

This is how we like to explore the Palmeraie!

Greetings from the palm grove






Monday, 13 March 2017

Surf Week

It was time for another ocean break and some waves. We left Morocco and took the convenient 2 hour flight to the Canary islands. Our friends own several beautiful villas located in the most stunning natural reserve on Lanzarote. Dramatic black lava mountains as a backdrop and one of the best beaches for surfing in the world in front of the house. We were off to relax, hang out and enjoy the surf.

Surfs Up! 

This time we stayed in the newest house bought by our friends, the very stylish Villa Viha, located in Nazaret with spectacular views. We enjoyed a great week with lots of fun, great food, nice local wines and some good surfing.
Our friends' new place, Villa Viha, the perfect surf crib
A beautiful view to wake up to at Villa Viha.

Reunited with dear friends Annelie and Stefan
Beautiful nature

Enjoying a great lunch at Guide Michelin restaurant La Tegala
Beautiful Famara beach, one of the best surf beaches in the world
Patrick is checking out surf boards
Per is ready to surf

Annelie and Stefan are great surfers and bought their houses on Lanzarote to be close to the waves

We enjoyed several lunches and dinners at the house with this great view...
...or this stunning view!
And one of the days we celebrated Per's birhtday with this cake!

We visited LagOmar, the super cool villa of Omar Sharif, that he lost in a game of Bridge

After a great week with our friends on Lanzarote we continued to Gran Canaria and Las Palmas for a weekend at the iconic Santa Catalina Hotel. To be honest, Las Palmas is very tourstic and not that charming but there is a beautiful old town, some good restaurants and a nice marina. We also visited the cool museum of modern art located in a very cool building and with some great contemporary art by female African artists.

Iconic Hotel Santa Catalina (Agatha Christie & Winston Churchill used to stay here)
The cathedral of Las Palmas
The charming old town
Old town of las Palmas
Now we are heading back home to Marrakech for a few really busy weeks with some great new Red City PR clients and exciting projects.

Ocean break is over for this time
Time to get back to business!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Insiders Guide - the new edition

As tourism is blooming in Morocco, more and more people want to visit Marrakech and be swept away by the Red City. Every week we get so many mails from people asking us about the best Riads, hotels, restaurants, and attractions that we recommend and what not be missed when visiting.

Beautiful Red City is visited by millions of tourists every year.

We have shared our best tips and secrets of the red city many times before (see our Insiders Guide HERE , HERE, HERE). However, there is so much going on now with several new launches and exciting openings! For instance, over 3000 five-star rooms and suites will be added to Morocco’s bed capacity with the 22 new luxury hotels opening up in 2017. This is one of the strategies to attract 20 million tourists to Morocco by 2020.

So we felt it was time to update our list of recommendations! We really love the cosmopolitan vibe here and Marrakech has really turned into one of the coolest, most exotic but still easily accessed destinations.
Where to stay in style:
-Palais Riad Lamrani (the most stunning palace/riad in the medina)
-Palais Aziza (a stylish luxury hotel and spa with excellent location and beautiful gardens)
-Es Saadi Palace (five star luxury resort and private villas in Arabian style)
-Dar JL (the most exclusive property in Marrakech is set in a huge park and available for private rentals)
-Peacock Pavilions (boho-chic boutique hotel in an olive grove outside town)

Enjoy the beauty of Dar JL
Stylish and beautiful Palais Aziza

Where to stay on a budget:
-Coq Berber (Our Italian friend owns this cool Riad that is very near our own Riad.)
-Riad Saba (A very nice Riad owned by our Swedish friends)
-Riad Linda (Our Scottish friends run this nice Riad near the big square)
-Riad Camilia (A stylish and charming Riad in the heart of the medina)
-Riad Anayela (Our German friend owns this cool Riad in the Northern medina) 
Riad Camilia has such a cool tile floor
Where to eat
-La Palace (super trendy restaurant with great food, cool bar and a trendy crowd)
-La Table du Palais (the restaurant of Palais Riad Lamrani offers Moroccan/French food with a twist)
-La Famille (vegetarian restaurant in a lush garden)
-Le Trou au Mur (this restaurant will open shortly and be the talk of the town! The menue will be "forgotten Moroccan food" and stylish comfort food in a cool setting. Foodie heaven)
-Le Jardin of the Royal Mansour (amazing food by New York star chef in the new garden of luxury hotel Royal Mansour)
- Naranj (Oriental food with a twist)

Palais Riad Lamrani and La Table du Palais
Vegetarian lunch at La Famille

Where to party
-Theatro (hottest night club in town)
-Jad Mahal (live performances, DJ:s)
-Raspoutine (new club, the Marrakech edition of this Paris concept)
-Epicurien (cool, jazzy lounge)
-So Lounge of Sofitel (always a fun place to go)

The new club Raspoutine is so cool (and so red)
Where to shop
-33 Rue Majorelle (concept store featuring young Moroccan design with a twist)
-Jewels (exclusive, world famous tribal chic jewlery)
-Hanout (stylish Moroccan inspired modern design)
-Heritage Berbere (amazing hand made perfumes, candles and difusers) 
-Artsi (uber cool designer with a unique style)
-Mustafas carpet shop
-Aya's (Caftans and babouches, in the Mellah district)
-Moushapha Blaoui (Iconic store that shouldn't be missed)

Shopping for carpets in Mustapha's store
Where to spa
-Dior Institut at Es Saadi Palace
-Dar Justo, Le Bain Bleu
-Hamam de la Rose
-Palais Aziza Spa
-Royal Mansour Spa

Dior Institut at Es Saadi Palace

Where to go outside Marrakech
-Villa Anouk in Essaouira, amazing beldi chic boutique hotel in the coastal town of Essaouira (see previous blog post HERE)
-Scarabeo Camp in the stone desert (see previous blog post HERE)
-Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas mountains (see previous blog post HERE)

What do you think about Villa Anouk's bathroom?
Keep exploring!