I love Moroccan decor – the colors, textures and patterns. So Morocco has been a dream destination for a long time. This year I finally decided to plan a trip with friends to immerse myself in Moroccan design and shop the souks of Marrakesh.
If you read regularly, you’ll know my favorite kind of getaway is a house party – a modern riff on the traditional country house holiday – where friends gather to eat, drink, talk, relax and explore.
This trip would be a Moroccan house party in a 16th-century riad with seven amazing, creative friends.
We booked a riad in the heart of Marrakesh. A riad is a traditional home with a courtyard in the middle. Ours had a small fountain in the center, too, and all the living spaces and bedrooms opened onto this private oasis.
The walk home from the souks was always exhilarating, but once we opened the tall wooden doors and stepped into our courtyard, we were immediately soothed. Here’s one corner of our riad…
This is the interior of my bedroom! Unbelievable!
Each room was unique, exotic and comfortable.
Here’s our Moroccan kitchen – stocked with everything we needed to make our own meals or snacks.
Even better – the house was staffed with a smiling cook called Hamisa, who made us a huge breakfast every morning…
…and dinners when we wanted.
Of course, we ate many delicious dishes cooked in a traditional Moroccan tagine.
The tagine’s conical shape creates an intense steam bath for food, meaning the vegetables and/or meat is tender and full of flavor. Plus lifting the lid off a steaming tagine is celebratory in itself!
Tagine recipes often include dried fruits and nuts mixed with spices, so the dishes are spicy, savory and slightly sweet all at the same time. In other words, delicious!
All your senses are heightened in Morocco.
Throughout Marrakesh you’ll find layers of beautiful geometric tile designs like these.
This Moorish design style is influenced by the Islamic practice of not showing people or animals in art, which some religious leaders saw as a form of idolatry. Whatever the reasoning, the resulting Moroccan decor based on geometric shapes and patterns is unique and beautiful.
Here’s a patterned Moroccan sink in our tiny powder room at the riad. I love the simple copper plumbing, too.
The markets and shops surrounding us were also filled with color and pattern. Look at these beautifully-painted plates and bowls, made in Morocco and nearby Tunisia.
In the narrow streets of Marrakesh, the simplest houses and doorways are adorned with pattern and color.
Even the food stalls are ornate and intricate…
And color is everywhere!
Check out these Moroccan poufs and rugs…I seriously need a container ship to take home everything I want from the souks of Marrakesh!
At night, the central square in Marrekesh, the Jemaa el-Fnaa, really comes alive. Food stalls, cafes and restaurants are everywhere and the smell is amazing.
Snake charmers and fortune tellers come out to play, as they have for centuries. Everyone has something to sell!
And despite all the delicacies that I don’t often eat…like these delicious prickly pears…
…it was also easy to find the comforts of home, albeit in slightly different packaging.
One of my fellow travelers was my business partner, Kellie Smith of Design Asylum Blog.
We collected some amazing pieces that you’ll soon see on our home decor website SmithHönig…but more importantly we came home inspired to create!
We’re working on details of our new Maroc daybed, which will debut soon on www.smithhonig.com.
We’ve also brought back some beautiful leather bags and Moroccan caftans, which you’ll find there soon, as well.
In the meantime, here’s our Medina Arch pillow – my own design – featuring Moorish details. It is available in linen texture and velvet suede…and also comes as wall art in metal, leather, wood and canvas.
And here’s our iconic Moroccan Knot pillow – don’t you love these colors?
There are so many places in the world I still need to see, so I don’t often plan return trips. But Morocco is the exception. I feel I’ve had the tiniest taste, after eight days of exploration and I can’t wait to go back.
All in all, Morocco is still at the top of my travel list – and I can’t wait to go back!