One of the trendier shops in the souk, +Michi would fit right in on a street in NoLita in New York or the Marais in Paris. The owners, who are Japanese and Moroccan, have brought a slightly urban edge to Moroccan crafts, so you will find traditional babouche style slippers crafted out of industrial grain sacks. The one-of-a-kind tops and coats have a Marrakech meets Tokyo trendy quality.
33 Rue Majorelle – Closed Temporarily
This new concept store just outside the Medina has been likened to Paris’ famed (and now closed) Colette. The collections were curated by plugged-in stylist Monique Bresson and feature the fashion and home wares of some fifty designers. Kaowa, a juice bar, is also on the premises.
Tucked just around the corner from the Place Jemaa El Fna, Akbar Delights sells some of the most stylish kaftans and Moroccan-influenced fashion in Marrakech. When Yann Dory and Isabelle Duchet-Annez, a worldly brother and sister team who settled in Marrkach, opened Akbar in 2004, it was the first boutique in the souk owned by expats. And while most of the products are made in India, they capture the Morocco vibe in a refined way. Akbar is known for colorful thin cotton cover-ups, which are often embellished with embroidery or sequins. You will also find attractive evening bags, pillows and objects. The brand has been such a hit that Akbar items can be found at Akbar in Paris as well as stylish hotels throughout Morocco like Amanjena and Ksar Char Bagh. In recent years, the proprietor has expanded her buying to include unusual housewares as well, such as bronzed antlers, West African sculptures and wooden cartouches, which were once used as contracts.
Founded in 2006 as a non-profit to provide day care for disabled women, Al Kawtar is a women’s center that includes an embroidery workshop, where young disabled women can learn a craft. Many of their products are sold in a little shop in the souk. You will find house wares such as napkins, place mats and sheets as well as baby and children clothes and women’s shirts and kaftans. All of the products are made of 100 percent natural cotton and linen and embroidered by hand, so custom orders are welcomed. Proceeds go to benefit the center and you may even spot women in the back of the shop working on new pieces.
Al Matjar – Closed Temporarily
Carpet sellers abound in the medina but come to this shop for everything from Berber rugs to intricate woven antiques (it was opened by the son of the owner of the clothing shop Au Fil d’Or). Chabi Mohamed will explain the differences in quality and technique but has learned from his father that it is better to give Western buyers a fair price from the start than to inflate like crazy and play the negotiating game. He ships anywhere in the world and is easy to work with.
Amina – Closed Temporarily
The mother of all candle shops is a ten-minute drive from the center of the industrial zone. There are twenty-six colors to choose from, and the staff will light as many candles as you would like so that you can see them in all their flickering glory. The house specialty is hollowed-out squares of wax for night-lights, clever because they last forever. (You’ll see them in happening bars all over town.) The deep-red ones are fantastic for Christmas.
ART/C – Closed Temporarily
Atelier Nihal – Closed Temporarily
On one of the main shopping streets in Gueliz, or the new town, is a non-descript looking shoe store called Atika. But do not pass it by. Inside, you will find leather and suede shoes for men, women and children. Some are exact copies of Tod’s driving shoes; others attractive derivations of other classic shoe designs, but all are very well made and fabulously priced. The Tod’s like moccasins come in dozens of colors and skins. Look for suede tasseled loafers with wooden soles, tall black suede boots with a stacked heel and hugely popular suede and leather simple slip-ons. There is a small selection of children’s shoes by the cash register, but at the beginning of the same street, the sister store Tesoruccio, sells many more. Closed Sundays.
Au Fil d’Or
This small shop in the souk has a cult following among repeat visitors to Marrakech. The owner makes kaftans, shirts and jackets with traditional elements but a flair that appeals to a Western customer. You will need to descend to the lower floor to see samples. Among the most popular are the velvet and Moroccan cashmere jackets with embroidered trim, which come in blazer and three-quarter lengths, and the suede babouche slippers. If you do not see exactly what you like, Mohammed will have it made within a few days and ships FedEx to the U.S. regularly. Closed Friday
Nawal El Hriti designs simple, sophisticated caftans and djellabas, all hand-embroidered with silk thread by Berbers and with variations like deep necklines and fluted sleeves. Prices are a lot higher than in the souks, but we’re talking high-quality fashion here. It’s best to visit near the beginning of your trip, as El Hriti gets busy, and it can take a few days to make you something. Call ahead, as opening hours can be sporadic.
Marrakech Bohemian life is the boutique’s motto, and here you will find local classics like kaftans and straw bags with a hippie twist, for instance, peace signs and fringe; leather poufs in pastel and metallic colors; or cowboy boots in kilim. And yes, you will find the colorful Moroccan slippers, babouches, for which the store is named.
Mohamed Karimi has a sliver of a shop in the souk where he sells a small selection of his carpets. He will wave you in and explain origins and dying techniques and you’ll pay a fraction of what you would pay at home if you could find one. However, he keeps his best stash in a private showroom nearby so if you are really looking for something special, ask him to take you there.
Popular with Marrakech socialites and the likes of Paloma Picasso, this chic little den offers lush velvet coats, hemstitched caftans and loose linen shirts. Considered the haute couturier of Marrakech, the wizard behind Beldi sells kaftans that are all made of the finest silks and crèpe de chine with detailed embroidery. Many expats come to view the vintage fabrics that he imports and order custom pieces.
Ben Rahal Carpets
Rug buyers who want a more civilized experience than hunting through the souk can go to this shop on Rue de la Liberté and look through a more edited selection. It’s the favorite stop of one of our most stylish Marrakech shoppers.
Boutique Bel Hadj – Closed Temporarily
In one of the foundouks (former coach house kind of dwellings) not far from the main square, you will find a master beadsmith. Mohamed Bari is truly the necklace guru of Marrakech. You have to climb up to the second floor of the foundouk to find him, and in the complex, where he has three storefronts. In two, he displays his finished products, which range from antique extravaganzas to decorative strands of amber and silver. Across the courtyard, where he is usually found, is more of a workroom, where you can select the beads and work with him to design something. Closed Fridays.
Boutique Fadila el Gadi – Closed Temporarily
Right next to the boutique Lalla and under the restaurant Terrasse des Epices is a very attractive shop that sells the ceramic products made by a village cooperative in the Atlas Mountains. All of the proceeds benefit the community.
This lovely boutique houses a curated selection of Moroccan designs. Favorite finds include home goods, olive wood kitchen utensils, woven carpets and bath products.
Chez Zoe – Closed Temporarily
Caroline Hamile, the French owner of Chez Zoe has a small outpost at the front of La Mamounia and other hotels in town sell her tasseled terry bathrobes and embroidered bath linens. Many of the top hotels in the city, including the Villa des Orangers, have their linens embroidered (with oranges, of course) here. For those who want to see the entire range of possibilities, you can schedule a visit to her showroom in the Industrial Zone. She will also do custom embroidered linens. You will have to go early in the afternoon, though, because the power is shut off at 6.
You will find many of the same things next door at Maison Rouge, which has the same owner. Look for modern Moroccan housewares, fashion and gift items. You will also find metallic leather bags with fun sayings, ribbon bracelets with wooden charms, tasseled terry robes for kids, stylish scarves and bright leather poufs that are perfect for kids’ play rooms.
Créations et Passementerie
The narrow, non-descript entry to this shop is deceiving. Make your way inside and you will find two floors of colorful fashions and accessories. The ground floor contains racks of silk and cotton caftans and blouses as well as the cotton throws that are great for bed coverings. Upstairs, you will find the tassels and embroidery trims from which the store gets its name. Tassels of every color are sold along with pom-poms, decorative balls, silk cords and ribbons as well as jewelry and bags adorned with them.
David Bloch Gallery
This black, box-shaped gallery, squeezed in between a red wall and a building, catches your attention with a huge wooden sculpture of a man near the entrance. Modern art here includes psychedelic walls, aluminum and wood sculptures and mixed media paintings. Most of the art is collected from street artists and is divided into styles, such as abstract art, surrealism or calligraphy. Some design books and minimalist electronic music add the final touches to this modern gallery. There’s also a sister gallery in Casablanca.