Mirrors are just one of the finishes at the Royal Mansour
It’s all about the details at the Royal Mansour. The construction of this Marrakech luxury hotel was overseen by Morocco’s reigning monarch, Mohammed VI. He employed over 1,500 Moroccan artisans specifically to show off the finest in Moroccan craftsmanship, including some very beautiful mirrors.
Left: Mirror in the dressing area of one of the riads Right: Mirrored vanity
The dressing areas in the guest riads were very impressive, with duel walk-in closets. The dressing areas including velvet-lined jewelry storage that could easily accommodate an Oscar Night’s worth of fine jewelry and watches.
A gorgeous bathroom with exquisite finishes and a mirror over the sink
The details are really what jumped out at me during my two day stay here. Anyone who has remodeled a bathroom– and survived– would be blown away by the quality and sheer number of fine finishing touches. The custom zelij mosaic tile inlays, to the individually chosen wash basins, tubs, and and marble for the 53 one, two, and three bedroom guest riads.
I was particularly charmed by this sink/mirror combo in one of the guest Riads
Room rates start at about $2,000 per night.
Royal Mansour Marrakech
Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti,
Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Disclosure: this post would not be possible without the generosity of my hosts at the Royal Mansour.
The Courtyard of the Maison de la Photographie in Marrakech
If you’re into photography and looking for things to do in Marrakech, don’t miss visiting the Maison de la Photographie. The raid style museum located right in the medina showcases a private collection of fascinating Moroccan photography, including vintage Berber photographs from 1870 to 1950. The museum also screens short films and documentaries about Morocco. It’s a great way to gain a visual insight about Moroccan history and culture.
Looking down at the peaceful courtyard at the Maison
Maison de la Photographie founders, Patrick Manac’h and Hamid Mergani, opened the museum in 2009 in a converted fondouk, in an old section of the medina. The Maison de la Photographie has a thoughtful edit of images hanging, and can easily be visited in an hour or so. The museum’s archives are located in another building off site. I particularly enjoyed the portraits of Moroccan women through the ages.
The rooftop cafe at the Maison de la Photographie
There is a even a lovely rooftop cafe which overlooks the medina so you can have a nibble and a drink after looking at some very interesting local photography. The Maison de la Photographie is also in prime location, very easy to reach from the nearby and more often visited Ben Youssef Madrasa. The Maison de la Photographie also had the most interesting selection of fine art post cards I found in Marrakesh.
The Portraits of Moroccan women are definitely worth checking out
Entry fee 40 MAD (approximately $ 4.80 USD)
Monday-Sunday 9:30am – 7:00pm
Black and white tiling is one of the main motifs in the hotel’s decor
Editor’s Note: Anastasia Chernykh lives in Ukraine and is the social media manager for My Life’s a Trip. She’s also a great photographer. Anastasia joined me on my recent trip to Marrakech and stayed for two nights at The Selman. I asked her to cover the hotel for the blog. Here is her report. – Jen
When you come to Marrakech for the first time, it is definitely a must to stay at riad (the one I stayed in was pretty nice), but Medina can be really overwhelming for a visitor. And if you get tired of the crowds it’s time to check out another traditional Moroccan option- a palace hotel. A short taxi ride brought me from the madness of the old city to stylish and calm oasis which is Selman Marrakech.
Selman Marrakech is one of the newest hotels in a city, opened in May 2012 and already won Villegiature Awards as the best hotel in Africa in 2013. The palace hotel, created by French architect and designer Jacques Garcia, is a perfect extension of the Red City from outside and a real work of art from inside. Plush interiors, black and white mosaics, dark marble, purple curtains, Persian rugs and of course hotel’s highlight – photographs and paintings of horses hanging on the walls throughout the property.
Dark & Chic at Selman Marrakech
I stayed in a deluxe double room which was a great combination of traditional decor and modern technology with a framed mirror slash flat screen TV, full mini-bar, coffee machine and signature Marrakech’s ochre colored furnishing.
The king sized bed was extremely comfy. The spacious bathroom with a separate shower (wow that water pressure!) just made a perfect ending after another full day of exploring Marrakech.
Left: working and sitting area Right: Selman’s welcome amenity, complete with local wine
King sized bed and sitting area in the Double Deluxe Room
Bathroom decorated with zellige tiles and black marble
The ground floor room came with a private terrace facing the garden. Soft chairs and glass tables with palm trees reflections made it the best working place I could imagine (thanks to a free in-room wifi too).
Outdoor Patio of the Room 110
Green diversity at Selman’s Garden
The heart of the property is the tropical paradise with 80 m long pool surrounded by palm trees, snow white sunbeds, beach cabanas and jasmine flowers. Pool Bar offers drinks and snacks for guests until the sun goes down.
At the end of the pool there is one of the three Selman’s restaurants, Pavilion, which serves lunch (and has a Sunday brunch complete with an equestrian show) Dinner and breakfast are served at Le Restaurant Selman located at the lobby.
Selman’s main pool is one of the longest in Marrakech
Le Restaurant Selman
Pool Bar is open for guests until the sunset
The most beautiful (living) thing you can see on a property, which makes Selman so special- horses. Pure bred Arabian as well as local Berber horses are housed on the hotel’s grounds. They are part of the private collection of the Selman’s owner, Abdeslam Bennani Smires, who breeds Arabian horses. Some of them can be seen in the Jaques Garcia designed paddocks near the pool. The horses are friendly and highly photogenic!
KM 5, route d’amizmiz+212 524 45 96 00
Room rates start at 4,000 MAD ($477.62)
Special rates at the Selman can be found here.
Wall of luggage tags at the L’Aventure Travel Pop Up Shop
When I found out this week’s #FriFotos theme was the alphabet, I decided to take the opportunity to tell you about the really cool Parisian pop up shop I just visited.
If you’re going to be in Paris before the end of December, I highly recommend checking out Louis Vuitton’s travel-themed pop up shop, L’Aventure, located at 22 Avenue Montaigne. The store not only explains the history of Louis Vuitton’s brand origins as luggage makers to French aristocrats and now the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. The shop will close on December 31st, 2013.
Wall of Louis Vuitton trunks, both old and new
The shop is full of travel related eye candy as well– from Louis Vuitton City Guides to colorful luggage tags you can have monogrammed with your initials right on the spot (it’s a free service for up to three initials). There is even a beyond fabulous Louis Vuitton leather hammock that I was temped to try out while the monogram machine was warming up.
Left: Dear Santa- can I have this leather swing? Right: The Louis Vuitton leather hammock’s chic gold clasp
Service at the shop was top notch and I thought it served as a really good introduction to the brand. City guides and luggage tags and other accessories were surprisingly affordable, making them perfect holiday gifts.
One, two or three letter monograms are free of charge at the L’Aventure Pop Up
Left: The alphabet by LVMH Right: The monogram machine warming up
Not going to Paris anytime soon? You can check out the Louis Vuitton City Guides in Digital format using the Louis Vuitton Amble app for iPhone. The app is free and the Digital City guides on Amble come in multiple languages and are available as an in-app purchases (the Paris Guide cost $9.99).
An artist hand-painting Louis Vuitton travel accessories shows the hand craftsmanship that goes into the brand
So even if a custom monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunk is beyond your budget, the Amble app and City Guides are a digital budget luxury.
Colorful Louis Vuitton City Guides in Paperback format
L’Aventure Travel Pop Up Shop by Louis Vuitton (open through the end of December 2013)
22 Avenue Montaigne, Paris
Phone +33 1 45 62 47 00
Snake handler with his charges on Jemaa el Fnaa
My trip to Marrakech was my first with my new iPhone 5s and I wanted to check out the slow motion video feature everyone was raving about. Unfortunately, I discovered the slo-mo only works if you send the video from your iPhone to another iDevice. The video plays normal speed when you upload to YouTube. It’s still pretty cool and the sounds give you a good feeling of the craziness that is Jemaa El Fna.
Snake charmer on Jemaa el Fnaa
Water Carriers on Jemaa El Fnaa (shot using Hipstamatic)
Henna Painting on Jemaa el Fnaa
Henna is a popular souvenir to take home from Marrakech. You can find henna painters like this one on Jemaa El Fna.
Figs, dates, and dried fruits for sale on Jemaa El Fnaa
In addition to snake handlers, musicians and acrobats, Jemaa El Fnaa also is one huge food court selling everything from fresh and dried fruit to roast meat on skewers.
Looking down at Jemaa El Fnaa
For the best view at Sunset, head to the Le Grand Balcon du Café Glacier on the Square. There is no web site, no phone, and address is simple: Jemaa El Fna, Marrakech, Morocco. Grab a mint tea and watch the sunset over the square and the night action begin. I set up my iPhone on a tripod and sipped mint tea while I shot this timelapse video.
Time Lapse of Sunset Over Jemaa El Fna Square in Marrakech
Laterns after dark on Jemaa El Fnaa
The square stays busy after dark. Sellers sill peddle their wares and the food stalls smell exotic and delicious.
Nightscape of Jemaa El Fnaa
Travel Tip: Never trust the signs around the medina pointing you to Jemaa El Fnaa. The local kids are known to move them around and confuse you so they can earn a few Dirhams showing you the correct direction to the big square.