Monday, 30 March 2015

Daily Life & Friends

We are now "Marrakchis" for real, living in the acient medina of Marrakech for 2,5 months. Its been a very positive experience to become a part of this community and meet so many nice and interesting people. We enjoy the ultimate luxury to actually have time, which makes it easy to say "yes" to everything fun that comes our way. After hectic careers for some 20 years it is fantastic to have all this time and no guilt what so ever. The transition has been remarkably easy and natural.

Spring is here!

We try to be open to everything that comes our way (a lot), do good things and be a part of our local little "tribe". Our neighbourhood is like a small micro universe where we look after each other and our new friends make our living here very inspiring.

Of course we miss our friends back home in Stockholm! Some of them pay visits to Marrakech but we really miss the daily routines with our dearest and closest ones! The dinners, the lunches, the long walks & talks. 

Morning light in our home town of Marrakech

We spend time studying (French and possibly Arabic later), do a little work online, travelling to Sweden for some board work and get involved in our local community, our new little tribe that we love and appreciate. We continue to work out at our beautiful gym/spa/palace and we meet so many amazing people. Of course we also want to contribute, do good, and therefore we are planning some charity work. We have explored the night life a bit more and found some new nice restaurants.

Disco continues to enjoy the sun and our new hoods.

The outdoor pool of our gym is amazing to relax by after a work out, Palais Es Saadi

The days in the sun pass by in a very fullfilling way. Spring is finally here for real, the almond and orange trees are in full bloom and the temperature is perfect: warm but not too hot.

Let us introduce you to a few of our new and old friends:

Maryam Montague is a humanitarian professional who also run beautiful Peacock Pavilions (boutique hotel), founder of Project Soar (helping underprivilged girls), author of the book Marrakech by design (voted best book on Amazon - buy it!) and a fabolous person. We are discussing to start and develop some "do good" projects together. 
 
Maria Sebant is also a Swede in Marrakech and the owner of Riad Saba. She is great fun. Here we are on a gallery opening some weeks ago.

Eric Marie Saint Germain (right) is the owner beautiful Palais Riad Lamrani with top restaurant Le Table du Palais, where we often come for lunch in the lush garden.

Vanessa Branson is a philantropist, the owner of El Fenn and director of TEDx talks in Marrakech, we attended this inspiring event some weeks ago and were thrilled to meet this great lady who is joining us for drinks soon.

Our Swedish friend Rossana Mariano is a former supermodel and the founder as well as CEO of PR agency RMPR, one of her clients is the Royal Palm outside Marrakech. Here enjoying lunch with us at Palais Lamrani.

YAY - our amazing friends Annelie and Stefan joined for some days of fun, here we are after dinner at Royal Mansour

Checking out the photo museum with Annelie & Stefan - so great to have a lot of quality time with these great guys.

Pop-up dinner with UK celebrity chef at Dar Cigognes. Per with Amanda and Maryam at this dinner party.

Beautiful and talented Andrea is both a riad owner, art lover and fashion entrepreneur who we look forward to get to know even better!

Christian and Ricardo from Brazil are great guys who found us through this blog (!)

Great ladies, Kathryne (left) from the US and Patricks friend from school Chris (right) both live in apartments in Gueliz. Here we are at Cafe Arabe

Brave Jennifer from the US bought a small house close to us and did an amazing job renovating and designing it, almost done!

Susanne is the owner of Munich Models, here we are at TEDx talks at El Fenn

Pauline from Sweden came by for a few days, here lunch at Villa Flore

Childhood friends Jenny and Maria came by for lunch at our riad, turned into a wonderful afternoon!

It's been an amazing time so far and we look forward to more friends and family visiting. We are planning to continue to discover Morocco. After our Sahara adventure in March we will tour the northern parts of Morocco in April and return to the Atlas mountains in May.

Cocktails, great discussions and amazing interiors at Maryams beautiful home and chic boutique hotel Peacock Pavilions

Possibly the most beautiful stairway in existence, at Peacock Pavilions

Some more inspiration from Peacock Pavilions

So what else is new? We are back from London where Lindex opened a beautiful new store to mark the UK entry of the brand. During our days in London there were also som board meetings for Per and Patrick visited friends. There will be some more meetings and studying for both of us, we spend about 20-25% of our time working, which is a good way to stay tuned to the business life back home and keep alert (as way as pay the bills). We are going to do some additional shopping for the riad, have some paint work done (again) and a real live Gladiator and TV star (!!) is on her way to visit us. We also look forward to some fun evenings with our new friends and formalising our "do good" project.

Lindex in London! Per (chairman), Rossana & Eva (board members), Ingvar (CEO) at the first store opening in UK last Friday.

Now we are off to tour the northern parts of Morocco for 10 days! Update will follow when we are back.

Over and out from our life on the edge of the desert, 
P&P

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A day with Marie Claire Magazine

One of the great things about living in Marrakech is that you end up in so many fun situations. Since we tend to say "yes" to everything there have been several of them by now. 

This Sunday afternoon we were sipping yummie cocktails at Maryams place and talking about life and design, as well as magic and whale bones, when a team from Marie Claire Magazine turned up and wanted to know our favorite spots in Marrakech since we all live here and also write blogs. They were doing a huge feature on Morocco and Marrakech. So the following morning the three of us met up with the Marie Claire team and gave them our best insider's tips on shopping, restaurants, night clubs and hotels. This edition of the magazine has a circulation of 150.000 copies so it's quite a big thing.

Sunday cocktails at our dear friend Maryams chic home turned into a day with Marie Claire Magazine 

Maryam is showing Marie Claire her favorite places to shop

Moroccan fashion designers shown by Maryam

Patrick telling the reporter everything he knows about Marrakech

Hopefully they chose pictures where we look nice....

In the souks in the medina you find the traditional objects as well as antiquities. In the new town, Gueliz, there are both the Western brands as well as the young and very interesting Moroccan designers and artists. Many of them use the traditions of Moroccan design but add contemporary design elements to create something new and interesting. There are a lot of upcoming Moroccan designers to be discovered both in fashion and interior design. You will find a lot of good shops in the area around the Majorelle garden in Gueliz.

Cool lanterns, traditional Moroccan style with a modern twist

Keep Calm - in general

Beautiful cheramics

Hats

Moroccan design

Arty

Colours

Patrick and our multi-tasking friend Maryam Montague, check out her blog, shop, book, charity and hotel on: www.mmontague.com

So what did we show Marie Claire?

The new designers and contemporary shops in the Majorelle area. The 33 Rue Majorelle shop is a great place to start, it is a show room for several interesting designers and artists and features both fashion, interior design and eco food. Check it out! 

As for night life, restaurants and hotels/riads you can check the Insiders Guide section of this blog to find out more, but of course le Table du Palais at Palais Lamrani, Maison Mk, El Fenn, Cafe Arabe, La Mamounia, Royal Mansour, Bo Zin, Riad Idra, La Sultana and Comptoir were all on the list.

Once the articles are published we will share them with you in this blog.

Now we are off to London for Swedish fashion brand Lindex first store in the UK and also a Lindex baord meeting for Per. Lindex is an amazing, trendy and conscious brand, check it out at www.lindex.com

Lindex spring campaign with supermodels doing good 
"it's what you do that defines you" #superrolemodel . Who is the superrolemodel in your life? Ours is Maryam, and the three of us is going to do some serious good in Africa... More info will follow!

Who knows what next week will bring. New adventures, new friends, lots of fun and some nice cocktails for sure. To be part of this amazing community and to have found our very own and eclectic local "tribe" here in Marrakech is truly the best thing that happend to us so far. To be continued.

Your Marrakech Insiders,
P&P


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Insiders Guide V: Marrakech by night

Marrakech has always had the allure of decadence and oriental mystique. After all, this is where Yves Saint Laurent, the Gettys, Patti Smith, the Rolling Stones and Twiggy came to party already in the 60:s (not to mention Winston Churchill before them). Today Marrakech is the jet-set destination of the Arabic world and people fly in from all over the globe to have a good time here. Private jets land next to Ryan Air flights all around the clock. 

Welcome to 1001 nights!

Fashion designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Miuccia Prada, Mathew Wiliamson and the Hermes family all have homes here. Gwyneth Paltrow sips cocktails on the roof terrace of El Fenn, George Clooney enjoys a romantic dinner at Maison Arabe, Al Pachino takes his coffee at ExtraBlatt, Daniel Craig rides his bike outside town, Angelina Jolie is shopping in the souks, Kylie is relaxing at Royal Mansour, Nicole Kidman is partying with Lenny Kravitz and Madonna does pilates on the roof terrace of La Sultana. The rich and famous flock to the red city for a good time, as do the wannabees, tourists and business people.

Lenny Kravitz and Nicole Kidman are both Marrakech fans. Here seen entering Jad Mahal the backway a couple of weeks ago.

There is always a party going on and some of the worlds most wellknown DJ:s and artists regularly perform at different venues here. The attraction of Marrakech remains and grows stronger every year. As night falls the party and decadence begins once again. Morocco is the most liberal country in the Arabic world and Marrakech is the most liberal city in Morocco. Anything goes. Come follow us into the exotic, dark and seductive night of the Red City. Below we list the current hotspots for a fun night in Marrakech.

Night falls and the party begins once again

Comptoir Darna
"Le Comptoir" is an institution in Marrakech and the favorite place of many celebrities and models. The interior is beautiful and the huge staircase is an art piece, where the beautiful staff and equally beautiful guests glide up and down. The food here is excellent, a fusion of Moroccan and French cuisine. You come here for a late dinner, at 22:30 there is a traditional show with belly dancing and other performances, actually very tasteful. The bar upstairs is crpwded and as night falls the DJ:s pump up the music and the party begins. You can either start your night here and move on or stay until morning,

Comptoir Darna

Lotus Club
It is dark and decadent. The nightly perormance by the Oh-la-la girls is actually tasteful and fun. The bar is always crowded and the music is very commercial (pop). This is the more grown up version of the Comptoir show. The party factor is really high and you find a lot of Moroccans here. To dont be afraid to go to "a show club", its is great fun and very stylish. The Moroccan version of Moulin Rouge you might say. We were suprised with the quality of the food and very attentive and friendly service (the burger must be the juciest and best in town).

Lotus Club and the Oh-la-la Girls

Bo Zin
We LOVE Bo Zin! This great Asian restaurant with its amazing outdoor spaces, excellent bartenders and international DJ:s is perhaps the most cosmopolitan place to go. After dinner the party goes on both inside and outdoors, the champagne flows and the beautiful people flock here. The interiors are beautiful and the music great. Its located 20 minutes outside the medina so you need a taxi or car servoce to get here. The style, ambience and quality of this place is out of this world. We adore to hang out here during those hot summer nights.

Bo Zin

Jad Mahal
This is actually one of our favorites. If you dont want to change location we would recomend Jad Mahal, its a "one-stop-shop" for a night out. There is a good restaurant, beautiful bars, live bands playing upstairs and a busy night club downstairs. It is spacious, spontanious and fun. The guests are ordering bottles of vodkam, dancing on the tables and singing out loud. Ocasionally famous guests take the stage for a small performance. Once we were greeted by live horses and elefants when entering this club, its that kind of place, very Studio 54.

Jad Mahal

Theatro
Theatro is the hottest night club right now. Located by the casino and part of Palace Es Saadi it is a vibrant and international club that atteacts the younger crowd. There is some serious partying going on here and if you want to dance the night away we suggest you go here. Its urban, sweaty, beautiful and happening.

Theatro

Diamond Noir
The Diamond Noir is an institution in Marrakech, this grand old dame of a night club has been around the block and is still going strong. Perhaps its lost the crown to Theatro but it is still a night club to rely on for a fun time. Attracts upscale prostitutes as well and also the gay crowd,

Diamond Noir

VIP Room
This is a very easy going and more laid back club that is easy to get into and attracts fun seeking tourists. If you have been on a "Finland Ferry" you will know the feeling of this place. Not posh, but still great fun if you just want to hang lose.

VIP Room

Practical information: 21 (9pm) is a good time for dinner, be sure to make reservations. After dinner you can continue for drinks and music. The dancing and the clubs start late, around 2am in the morning is a good time to start clubbing. The most posh places are located in the Hivernage area - around Sofitel, Palace Es Ssadi and the Louis Vuitton store. You dress upp in Marrakech. Especially the women look like they are straight  off the catwalksmin Paris wearing expensive houte couture and looking fabolous. 

You don't need to be rich or famous to get into the hotapots we list above, just make sure you make dinner reservations well in advance and dress well. Ask for a drink table (some bottles of champagne, vodka) if the clubs dont let you in and you will be escorted in and treated as royalty, cash is always king here. Check out the web sites and FB pages of the clubs and restaurants mentioned above to find out what extraordinary events that might be going on during your visit.

We are sure you will love the night life of Marrakech. Our best nights have been combining a late dinner with some drinks and music at another place followed by late clubbing, that is 3 different places in one night. The most important thing to bring for a fun night: good friends (and nice shoes).

Spread your wings and fly!

Lets get this party started, have an amazing weekend!
P&P

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Souks or Louis Vuitton?

Yes, you have the souks. The world famous, amazing souks of Marrakech. The main purpose to come here. The place to search for hidden treasures, to get lost in the maze, bargain with the proud artists, find unique design items and perhaps some crap as well. 

Interior designers from around the world flock to Marrakech for inspiration and buying. The beautiful Riads of the city continue to inspire and seduce. And the souks of the medina is where you find the most sought after items that are used to create the special ambience of the hotels, riads and homes in the red city.

Navigating the Maze of the Marrakech Medina
The world famous souks

The souks of Marrakech, a maze to get lost in and to get seduced by.

Souks

Shaded alleys

Slippers in all colors


Magic carpets

Lamps and magic from 1001 nights

Or, you could go to the new city, Gueliz, to find comfort in the main stream western brands. Nice to know you have the best of two worlds. 

Louis Vuitton is always a safe place to go. 

We are both huge fans of LV and get all our bags and most accessories from LOuis Vuitton. Some of the other premium brands like Gucci and Hermes have their stores in selected five star hotels like La Mamounia.

Pers previous employer Gant has a flagnship store here as well 
(Per used to be the Managing Director of Gant Sweden)

Lacoste

Adidas. You find the fakes of all these brands in the medina, 
in Gueliz you find the original brand stores.

Another one of Pers former employers, H&M, opened up recently in Marrakech (Per used to be the global marketing director of H&M)

This is where we get our coffee to the Riad

Insiders tips:
Friday is the holy day of Islam so in the souks a lot will be closed Fridays. Fridays is also the day off for workers, for educated people Sunday is the day off. European run businesses apply the regular Saturday-Sunday off. However, due to tourism peaking weekends a lot of shop keepers choose to stay open. Moroccans are hard working, if there is business to do at 10pm they will do it at 10pm. For religious Moroccans Fridays remain a sacred day regardless of tourists so if you are a serious shopper make sure you don't save your purchases for a Friday.

Antique Moroccan doors are beautiful pieces of art that are great for decorating your home

Our favorite things to shop in Marrakech:
1. Lamps, lamps, lamps
2. Kilim carpets
3. Antique doors
4. Tray tables
5. Silver laterns
6. Le sense de Marrakech products

Classical Moroccan silver laterns

Kilim patchwork

Keep it secret - KIS
KIS, keep it secret, is the name of a beautiful little bohemian chic shop located between Cafe Arabe and the main square. Here you find selected fashion items, interior pieces and other cool stuff. Check it out, the most amazing changing rooms in the city! Here you can find the Le sense de Marrakech products.

Keep it secret - KIS boutique

Shop til you drop!
P&P