City Guide: Marrakech -- Plus, New Moroccan Décor to Swoon Over

Julia Millay Walsh

We have a major soft spot for Moroccan design. So when we heard Rena Thiagarajan, founder of global décor boutique and travel guide Project Bly, and decorator and blogger Caitlin Flemming of Sacramento Street recently traveled to Marrakech to hunt for one-of-a-kind Moroccan finds, we couldn't help but beg them for their insider knowledge. "We went, as many people do, to visit the Souk de Tapis in search of beautiful Beni Ourain rugs," Thiagarajan says. "But perhaps our biggest surprise was learning about the different types of Berber rugs, including Azilal rugs. Much like their cousins, they have simple geometric designs, but many of their more whimsical patterns are available in grays and browns instead of just blacks and whites." In addition to the exotic rugs in their new Moroccan collection, which just launched today, the design-loving duo also sourced beautiful carved wooden chests, finely wrought Tuareg jewelry, antique silver teapots, and more. "The teapots are not only elegant, but they say so much about the culture. It's common to sit down and have a cup of tea with a carpet seller and establish a relationship before the bargaining begins." Thinking of heading to Marrakech yourself? Thiagarajan and Flemming have shared a few of their must-see spots and good-to-know cultural tips below.


2 "Off the beaten tourist path is the Bab El Khemis Flea Market, located just outside the walled medina on the road to Fez. It sells everything from second hand doors to bold striped antique Berber blankets to jewelry." -- RT
3 "The Ben Youssef Madrasa, while on most tourists' lists, is a must-see in Marrakech. Built in the 14th century, it was one of the largest theological colleges, and its richly carved courtyard is so inspiring." -- RT
4 "Staying in a small Riad is a must. We stayed at the Riad Dar Zaman, which is a four-room Riad tucked away in the quiet neighborhood of Sidi Ben Slimane. It has cozy rooms, a beautiful roof deck, and serves a traditional home-cooked breakfast each morning. It's a wonderful place to escape." -- CF
5 "With stunning pottery, Lahandira (Sidi Ishak no.100, Marrakech) was by far our favorite store for its wide array of colors and designs. They also had an endless collection of white pottery that I dropped head over heels for." -- CF
6 "After being in the beating sun all day long, having your clothes covered in dust, getting lost in the medina one too many times, all you want is tranquility and some pampering. The hammam (or Turkish bath) is something locals indulge in weekly, and you should, too. Your skin will never feel smoother." -- CF
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Infinite Rapport Azilal Berber Rug, $875, Project Bly Atlantic Blue Moroccan Teacups, $32 (Set of Four), Project Bly White Moroccan Ceramic Fard Bowls, $20, Project Bly


7 "There's nothing quite like a glass of fresh orange juice from one of the vendors in Djemma El Fnna, the main square in Marrakech. At 3 Dhiram (35 cents) a glass, we made sure to grab multiple glasses a day!" -- ET
9 "Don't be afraid to bargain. They want you to bargain and it's a game for them. By the end of the trip you'll be a pro at it." -- CF
10 "The spice market was heaven for me. Two things that you must buy are sumac (I put it on everything from eggs to avocado toast) and Fleur d'orange oil (it smells divine)." -- CF
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Seekers of the Sun Atlas Berber Kilim, $875, Project Bly Damask Rose Petal Sinia Tea Tray, $300, Project Bly Antique Striped Berber Handira Blanket, $300, Project Bly
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Vintage Silver Kawn Teapot, $110, Project Bly Moroccan Palm Handwoven Bread Basket, $25, Project Bly Imazighen Diamond Symmetry Azilal Berber Rug, $560, Project Bly

Street Photographs: Shantanu Starick, Lookbook Photographs: Jessica Comingore, Hammam Photograph: Mason Rose, Lookbook Styling: Caitlin Flemming

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