Sunday 31 March 2013

Moroccan style

At Café Arabe in the Medina of Marrakech, Moroccan style cocoons you in vivid carpeted, cushioned interiors ...

and cool blue terraces and courtyards painted in intense Majorelle blue ...

Marrakech's exoticism and mystery, its sense of being a 'place out of time' as Yves St Laurent called it, make it a place where Western fantasies have played out for decades.

It was the Rolling Stones favourite destination in the 60s, from the first time they rolled down there in Keith's blue Bentley ...

Image source 1, 2, 3

Keith Richards (left), in Moroccan sheepskin and jewellery, chilling with cigarette and cannabis pipe on a roof terrace in Tangier; Brian Jones with Anita Pallenberg (centre), photographed in Morocco by Cecil Beaton, shortly before Keith claimed Anita for himself; Talitha Getty and husband Paul, photographed (right) on their roof terrace for Vogue by Patrick Lichfield, were recalled by Yves St Laurent as "lying under a roof of stars in Marrakech, beautiful and damned". 

YSL had his own love affair with Maroc ...

Reclining in djellaba and one of his many Morocco-inspired drawings. Source: Une Passion Marocaine, Pierre Bergé

Lanterns and carved wood front door at Café Arabe

Café Arabe, 184 Rue Mouassine, Marrakech, is one for the address book ...
Thank you Elizabeth Wix for this and so many other great recommendations!

Maroccan style ranges from intense colour to cool silver and carved ebony ...

... water and orange trees are the inevitable backdrop.

There's style in spades at La Mamounia - Marrakech's legendary hotel, a place of dreams ...

Entrance to La Mamounia

Winston Churchill, who had a twenty five year love affair with Morocco (he declared it 'the loveliest spot in the world' and Marrakech 'the Paris of the Sahara'), was a regular at La Mamounia, where he wrote and painted watercolours of the landscapes from its balconies. 

Churchill's granddaughter, Celia Sandys, recollects that after a wartime conference in 1943 with President Roosevelt in Casablanca, Churchill insisted to Roosevelt "You cannot come all this way to North Africa without seeing Marrakech". 

A few days later the two were gazing at the sunset over the purple Atlas Mountains. 
Roosevelt, having been carried from his wheelchair up to the rooftop, reclining on a divan, was so moved by the scene that he turned to Churchill saying "I feel like a sultan: you may kiss my hand, my dear."

Photos above all taken in the gardens of La Mamounia
Visit their website here for completely spectacular views of the hotel and its gardens

Tiles are at the heart of Moroccan style. Zillij date back to the old Moorish tradition of ceramic tile-making using geometrical mosaics (introduced to Portugal and Spain by the Moors ... the word azulejo from the Arabic zellige meaning polished stone) ...

Collage of tiles photographed at Musée de Marrakech, La Mamounia hotel, Riyad el Cadi, Bahia Palace, Medersa Ben Youssef

Marrakech is known as the City of Ochre or Red City.

If you love Moroccan style, take a look at this fabulous Dutch online source of products inspired by the Red City and the Sahara - El Ramla Hamla (meaning the red sand), which I'm mad about. And then look at their blog here about living between Amsterdam and Marrakech, with stunning photography and design.


  1. Oh I love Moroccan design & interiors, so, so inspiring! Morocco is on my travel wish list. I am just afraid I will buy so many home goodies there that I will be refused to enter the plane back LOL Happy holidays, Karen!!

  2. Dear Karen, It's only been 2 years since we visited Marrakech and the La Mamounia. My heart aches just looking at your beautiful photographs. I want to be there again. ox, Gina

  3. Blissful photos!
    So glad some of my recommendations were a hit (one can hardly go wrong in Marrakesh really!)

  4. Thank you, Karen, for bringing all those Moroccan colors to our eyes. There is so much to feast upon in this post.

    I know that I will be returning to take several more long looks.


  5. Gorgeous shots! Love this place.

  6. After this post I feel positively sated, like I'd had a festive banquet of the most luscious wonderful foods.
    Amazing. Are you ever coming home? (And why?)

  7. Looking to buy Moroccan rugs? Discover the best place to buy exquisite Marrakech carpets and Modern Moroccan Berber rugs in Morocco, a Special Collection of Rugs Designed to Make Your Home and Store Comfortable. Moroccan Carpets


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