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little black book JOSEPH ALTUZARRA’s Marrakech

The New York-based ready-to-wear designer reveals his favourite spots for culture, inspiration and delicious food in the city of Marrakech.

Interview by Georgina Lucas.

WHERE TO STAY

‘I love Marrakech, it’s so alive with energy and a sense of joy – I can't help but feel inspired when I’m there. On my last trip, we stayed at the Royal Mansour (royalmansour.com/en), which I can’t recommend highly enough. It felt like a quiet, serene bubble in the city, a series of beautiful gardens and private riads. The service is impeccable; it’s impossible not to feel relaxed and at home.’

Royal Mansour Terrace
Royal Mansour

HIDDEN GEMS

‘One of my favourite spots is the Serge Lutens’ house. You need to make an appointment and go with a tour guide, but it’s totally worth it. Serge Lutens designed and has built the house over the last 35 years, filling it with Tuareg jewels, decorative objects, sculptures, Oriental paintings... He worked with the best artisans on every surface and corner of the house, creating a magical, out-of-this-world escape in the city.’

HOT SPOTS

‘The Jardin Majorelle (jardinmarjorelle.com) and Yves Saint Laurent museum (museeyslmarrakech.com) are my favorite places to visit. Buy tickets in advance so you don't have to wait in line, and enjoy the serenity and beauty of the gardens filled with cacti, succulents, and exotic flowers.’

El Fenn and the Kasbah Tamadot dining terrace
Marrakech Koutoubia Minaret and spices in the souk, Marrakech

EAT & DRINK

‘Dar Yacout (daryacout.com) has a beautiful terrace overlooking the city; it’s a great place to take in the view and have a drink before dinner. El Fenn (el-fenn.com/eat-and-drink) is my favourite place to eat – a cool, casual spot where I could spend hours. Nothing beats eating delicious food – tagines, lamb burgers, salads – on an open terrace in the middle of the Medina. Don’t miss lunch at the Kasbah Tamadot (kasbahtamadot.icastelli.net), a beautiful hotel about an hour away from Marrakech, with a large open terrace overlooking the Atlas Mountains. The food and the landscape are well worth the drive, and along the way you can stop at various villages to meet with local Berber people and discover their culture and traditions.’

Yves Saint Laurent museum
Yves Saint Laurent museum

ESCAPE THE CITY

‘We had the most amazing dinner in the middle of the Agafay Desert (agafaydesertluxurycamp.com), in a camp set up with three or four tents. Arrive in the evening before sunset to walk along the dunes with a guide, then have dinner under the stars – it’s completely other-worldly. My only regret is that we should have spent the night.’

A PERFECT DAY

‘It would start with a long walk through the Medina, visiting textile stalls, buying spices and stopping by Soufiane Zarib (soufiane-zarib.com), my favoUrite place to buy carpets. For lunch, I would sit on the terrace of El Fenn (el-fenn.com/eat-and-drink) and enjoy a delicious lamb tagine overlooking the city. In the afternoon, I would visit Le Musée du Parfum (lemuseeduparfum.com) to learn about how perfume was originally made in Morocco, and then get a chance to make my own. For dinner, I’d leave the city to eat under the stars in the desert.’

Kasbah Tamadot
Kasbah tents.

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photographs: GETTY IMAGES. NICHOLAS MATHÉUS.

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