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.
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.
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.
Atelier Nihal – Closed Temporarily
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.
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.
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.
El Jouli Miloud
One of the sleeker boutiques in the Souk, El Jouli Miloud carries many Moroccan made housewares and fashions with a more modern sensibility. Designer Miloud El Jouli mixes the ethnic influences of the city with his more contemporary sensibility. If you are looking for sleek lanterns, for instance, or leather ottomans suitable for a loft or wine glasses with metal stems, this is the place to come. The gallery will create wood and glass tables to measure and regularly ship glassware and lanterns to the States. In the back of the shop is a room stocked with colorful kaftans and accessories, including knock-off Vanessa Bruno totes with silver sequin trim.
Jardin Majorelle Boutique
Not your average tourist site gift shop, the Boutique at the Jardin Majorelle carries some of the best Moroccan crafts and fashions. Shoppers get to wend their way through the glorious gardens to arrive at this boutique. The prices are not cheap but the selection is well curated by Bernard Sanz, who worked with Yves Saint Laurent for years, and many of the top local designers have created exclusive lines for him. Products range from vintage photos and prints to colorful leather accessories, silk embroidered pillows and unusual ceramics and jewelry.
A sliver of a boutique selling perfumes and candles based on the regions scents.
Khalid Art Gallery
This gallery is among the most esteemed in the city, and the owners claim that the King of Morocco shops here. Certainly, many international interior designers do. There are many rooms of treasures on multiple floors, which are jam-packed with antiques, including impressive inlaid chests of drawers, alabaster urns, oil paintings, carved wooden Berber doors, enormous ceramic jars, exquisite textiles and the odd French antique. As one of our favorite shopper says, “Don’t buy something because of what you are told about the age or provenance. There is no way to know how old or authentic a piece is, so buy it, only because you like the look and the price.” Some negotiating may be done, and the gallery will ship.
Ksar Char Bagh Boutique
The exquisite small hotel, Ksar Char Bagh, in the Palmeraie only welcomes outside guests for dinners but if you do come, be sure to visit the series of gift shops that are arranged like a traditional village, with five different mud brick buildings. You may have to stoop to enter the low doorways of each house but within you will find one filled with kaftans, another displaying jewelry, another housewares, and another devoted to Morocco-inspired and appropriate bath and beauty products.
La Maison Bahira
This lovely linens shop sells high-quality linen sheets, towels and table linens as well as Moroccan house slippers similar to those you find in the nicer hotels. Its owner Marion Théaud is often on premise to advise on choices.
It’s a bit tricky to find this small shop in a not often frequented part of the medina but if you manage to make it, you’ll be happy you did. Owned by one of Marrakech’s premier talents, Ludovic Petit, this underground space is filled with pretty interiors items of Ludovic’s own design, including embroidered cushions, ceramic tableware, and crocheted Arabian-style lanterns. There is also a small clothing line, as well as charming bags. Ludovic speaks rapid-fire French and can often be found exclaiming Oh-la-la (literally), as he frantically holds staff meetings and works the phones in an effort to keep up with his many hotel and restaurant projects. Take a peek in his atelier in the back to see his craftspeople meticulously making everything by hand.
Maison de la Photographie
La Maison de la Photographie is a small independently run gallery tucked away in the winding streets of Marrakech’s Medina (about 200 meters behind Koranic school Ali Ben Youssef Madrasa). The gallery has over 5,000 original prints and 3,000 glass plates in its collection depicting the culture and diversity in Morocco from the late nineteenth century through to the middle of the twentieth century.
Unfortunately most of the collection isn’t on display due to size restraints but the collection that is, is wonderful. A highlight is the first ever documentary of Berber life, shot by Daniel Chicault, a year after Moroccan Independence (1956), and in color. After leisurely browsing through the gallery’s three-floor collection, visit the shop. Also relax and refresh yourself with a cold drink or lunch on the terrace, from where you can look out across the vast expanse of rooftops that comprise the Medina, as well as spot some of the more famous landmarks of Marrakech.
Ministero del Gusto
When Vogue sent editor Italian Alessandro Lippini to Marrakech in the early 1990s, she fell so in love with the city and its beauty that she decided to buy a house and move. In the process of fixing it up, she met many master craftsmen and began designing her own furniture. Now, she and her partner Fabrizio Barrini run a showroom/gallery out of their house and work on private interior design projects. There’s no better place to see traditional and modern Moroccan made furniture in place than at the Ministero del Gusto, or Ministry of Taste. By appointment only.
Moor – Closed Temporarily
In an all white space that is illuminated by dozens of white lanterns, Moor mixes house wares in a neutral palette like white leather poufs with metallic stitching and grey linen napkins with sophisticated fashion. Think of the kaftan or djellaba fetish as having grown up and you get the idea. A wool or velvet jacket in black or gray may have an embroidered edge but would not stand out as ethnic in New York or Paris. Owned by the same chic duo behind Akbar Delights. Closed Sundays.
Behind a pair of enormous unmarked doors, this warehouse is piled floor to ceiling with irresistible treasures, such as tables and chairs, glassware, mirrors, candlesticks, pots and bowls. It is truly an Ali Baba's cave of wares. Among our favorites are the tribal jewelry and the leather tables in bright colors with nailhead trims and the antique wooden doors which can also be transformed into coffee tables. The quality for many of the items is better than in the souks, and its owners will happily arrange shipping. Ask for Mustapha if you want to see the best wooden doors.