Sunday, 27 September 2015

Marrakech Art Biennale 2016 Edition

Save the dates! From February 24 until May 8, 2016, the sixth edition of the Marrakech Art Biennale takes over Marrakech and the city will be buzzing with creative, modern and international art. Not to mention the amazing parties and events going on all over Marrakech during this period. Installations, video, light, street art, theatre, film and much more by international artists will take over the public (and private) spaces of the Red City. This is an excellent and unique time to visit Marrakech so make sure you make your reservations soon, hotel rooms are very scarce during this time. (Our best insiders tips on where to stay in Marrakech you can find in previous blogposts HERE and HERE)

 
During it's 10 years the Marrakech Biennale has become one of the most exiting art and cultural events in the world and today it ranks among the top 20 (of a total of 170) biennales in the world! New York based artist Reem Fadda is the curator of the 2016 edition and the creative plattform for all artists will be the theme "Not New Now".

   Cool art at the Baldi Palace, 2014


    Reem Fadda - curator of the Marrakech Biennale 2016


   Installation from the 2014 edition of the Marrakech Biennale
 

   A full size "ship" stranded on a desert dune, 2014 edition of the Biennale

The Marrakech Biennale was founded 10 years ago by Vanessa Branson, sister of Sir Richard Branson. The Bransons are all true Marrakech lovers. Vanessa owns chic boutique hotel El Fenn, her brother has the most beautiful property up in the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah Tamadot, and their mother is the founder of both the Polo Tournment in Marrakech s well as the Eve Branson foundation.

Vanessa fell in love with Marrakech many years ago. She was very frustrated by the way the arabe world was portraied in western media and in order to change this image and focus on the generosity and warmth of people here she founded the Marrakech Biennale hoping to achieve more understanding through art. This mission is more important than ever today.

Since we now know Vanessa we have been fortunate to meet the very talented team working with the biennale and we are also trying to help out where we can to support this great initiative. The 6th edition of the Marrakech Biennale, 2016, is more easily referred to as "MB6".


Here we are with super talented and do-good philantropist Vanessa Branson, the founder of the Marrakech Biennale.

It is free entrance to all the exhibitions and since the Biennale is executed all over Marrakech it is really easy to attend. If you are interested in attending the private and amazing parties, some unique lectures and guided tours there are VIP packages available. If you are interested in VIP tickets or becoming a sponsor of the Marrakech Biennale please email us for more information, per.sjodell@gmail.com . This is a great way to make a difference, support the arts as well as inter-cultural relations and having an amazing time. 

Some really interesting artists, philantropists, celebrities and tourists flock to Marrakech for this unique event. The first and the ladt weeks of the Biennale are thw moat intense and fun ones. The weather during this period is great: beautiful and warm springtime here in the Red City with the Atlas mountains clearly visible and crisp air. We loved the 2014 edition and we can't wait for the sixth edition of the Marrakech Biennale, it is supposed to be the best one ever! You will want to be there!

Come join us for an amazing time!
P&P





Saturday, 19 September 2015

Restaurants & Hotels in Marrakech - Update (Insiders Guide VIII)

Some of the many exciting things about Marrakech are the very vibrant and dynamic restaurant and hotel scene. There is always a new great restaurant opening and a new even more luxorious hotel being launched.

The food here is an exciting blend of the North African, French and Italian kitchens with additional influences from Asia. The quality of food and the interior designs of the restaurants are truly world class, allthough the service range from excellent to poor. The number of huge luxury hotels, small chic riads and charming B&B:s grow every month. We keep busy with dining in new places, having cocktails in new lounges and checking out at new palatial hotels. It's a though job but someone has to do it.

Since we have some new favorites we felt it was time for an update on where to eat and where to stay. For a complete list including spa:s, pools and nightlife check out our Insiders Guide section of this blog! 

WHERE TO EAT - OUR NEW FAVORITES

La Villa Canaille - This is an excellent French restaurant with bistro style menue and an extensive (and expensive) wine list. This place recently changed location and is operated by an award winning French chef. It has a stylish outdoor/indooe dining room with a very urban vibe.

La Villa Canaille - very good French food bistro style. 50-60 Euros pp for a three course dinner (excl wine)

Riad 72 - Riad 72, also known as Riad Living, is a stylish guest house where also non residents can enjoy Moroccan or international food on the roof terrace or in the courtyard. Friendly service, nice ambience and good food. Relaxed atmosphere and a reliable kitchen.

Riad 72, around 50 Euros pp for a three course dinner (excl wine)

Mai Thai - This is one of very few Thai restaurants in Marrakech, a modern take on the Thai kitchen and very good value for money. The service might be a bit off but the food is good and the decor of the restaurant is very cosy. Also open for lunch.

Mai Thai - approx 40 Euros for a very nice four course menue (excl wine)

La Table du Palais / Palais Riad Lamrani - this is still our favorite for lunch! A beautiful and carefully renovated palace with a lush garden, very friendly staff and amazing food. Only open for lunch. This is possibly the most beautiful riad in Marrakech and the owners have filled both the palace and the garden with contemporary art. We love to spend an afternoon here enjoying the food and ambience.

Palais Lamrani - approx 30 Euro for a brilliant three course lunch (excl wine)

Riad L'Orangeraie - Here you find a very exclusive dining experience with amazing food and the most beautiful outdoor setting. Attentive staff, ambitious menue and great wines. Pricy but well worth the money. Very cosmopolitan and very impressive from start to finish.

Riad L'Orangeraie - a four course tasting menue is approx 80 Euros pp (excl wine)

La Sultana  - This beautiful palace is a very nice place for both lunch and dinner. At night the roof terrace is magical and you have the most amazing views over the medina. Very good food, both a la carte and fine dining menue is available.
 
La Sultana - around 80 Euros pp for a tasting menue and the same price for a three course dinner (excl wine). We love the truffels and mushroom lasagne!

Atay - Here is an easy going and nicly decorated little restaurant with a roof terrace and friendly staff. Basic but nice. Good for lunch, dinner or a coffee. Moroccan casual and cheap.

Atay - 15-20 Euros pp for a three course dinner (no wine available)

Kui Zin - another local restaurant with friendly staff, good food and a nice terrace here as well. Located close to Atay. We prefer the roof terrace to the indoor dining space.

Kui Zin - 15-20 Euros pp for a three course dinner, lunch + water for 6 Euros pp (no wine available)

Lotus Privillige - a very stylish and modern riad with a cool lounge ambience. Open for lunch and dinner. Food is mainly Moroccan. Ok wine list. Very beautiful courtyard and relaxed crowd.

Lotus Privillige - 50-60 Euros for a three course dinner excl wine.

Villa Flore - An amazing art deco house with very nice interiors. Open for both lunch and dinner. Great value for money. Good French food and easy going ambince. The French owner is a friendly lady who likes to mingle with her guests.

Villa Flore - 30 Euros pp for a three course dinner excl wine. Three course lunch for 15 Euros pp.

Gratuia this is a new favorite located in central Gueliz (new town). Operated by a (very) laid back (non english speaking) French woman this little place boosts great food and good French wines at a very reasonable cost. We love to hang out here for lunch or dinner. Both outdoor and indoor dining.

Gratuia, 25-30 Euros for a very nice three course dinner (excl wine), a bottle of Chablis is around 35 Euros.

 
WHERE TO STAY - OUR NEW FAVORITES

Riad Idra - very stylish and chic boutique riad with great staff and very nice interiors. Excellent location, very private and a modern twist on the riad experience.

Riad Idra, rooms starting from 175 Euros/night

Palais Selman - this beautiful palace is located 10 minutes outside the medina, a very posh and grown up resort with stylish pools, a great spa, nice restaurants and an amazing stable of pure bread Arabian horses that room the grounds. 

Selman, rooms starting from 350 Euros/night at Selman

Riad Nashira - Italian operated hotel with a great restaurant. Stylish and modern hotel in a newly built building with 25 rooms, swimming pool and a spa.

Riad Nashira, rooms starting from 200 Euros/night

Peacock Pavilions - super stylish and tribal chic boutique hotel located in an olive grove some 20 minutes outside the medina. This place is like stepping into a magical fairytale world and well known all over the globe for it's style and charm. The hotel is curated by the owner Maryam Montague, who is an aclaimed designer, author, stylist and social media guru. Many retreats and celebrities favor Peacock Pavilions.

Peacock Pavilions - the house of magic

The pool of Peacock Pavilions, rooms from 200 Euros/night

Four Seasons - where ever you go there is a Four Seasons, also here in Marrakech. This is a nice and family friendly resort that we recommend for families with children. You can also go for a relaxed lunch by the pool or dressed up dinner in one of the restaurants.

Four Seasons, rooms starting from 350 Euros/night

 
Have you booked your next trip to Marrakech yet?
P&P

Friday, 11 September 2015

Gone Surfin' - Ocean Break Famara

Eternal summer, what a beautiful feeling those two words have! This summer has been long and all about ocean breaks. We enjoyed amazing times and waves both in Essaouira and Mirleft during July and August (see previous blog posts Here and Here). And beginning of September it was time for yet another ocean encounter as we left Morocco and went to Famara on Lanzarote (Canary Islands). It's only a short flight from Morocco so a few hours after breakfast in our riad in Marrakech we were in Europe and on Lanzarote.

Beachside Villa, the surf crib of our friends and our home for a week.
 
Our friends, Annelie and Stefan, own two beautiful villas right on the beach here. Famara is a small village set in a natural reserve with dramatic black lava mountains as backdrop in front of the most amazing beach. This is one of the world's best spots for surfing, Famara beach has been voted best surf beach in Europe many times. The nature is gorgeous and there are several charming villages with nice restaurants in the area.

The houses of our friends, Beachside Villa and Surfside Villa, are both beautiful properties with the best possible beach location and very stylish interior designs. We enjoyed a great week and excellent company. We surfed, we went running on the beach and in the mountains. We had long wine lunches in the sun and talked the night away after sumptious dinners. This is our third time here in Famara and we can't wait to come back again. If you like dramatic nature, great waves, beautiful beaches and are looking for an exotic and exclusive getaway we can strongly recommend Famara and Beachside Villa!
 
Poolside with ocean views

A secret garden at Beachside Villa

The landscaped lava garden outside the house 

We love this place!

Here we are with our great friends Annelie and Stefan

Welcome to Famara beach!


Famara beach - one of the beat surf spots in the world

Beautiful nature

The tide is high

Baywatch Famara
 
On our way to dinner, taking the beach walk
 

Surf's Up! Annelie & Stefan is getting ready to hit some waves...

...and so are these two surf dudes


Part of the surf board collection
 
 
Maybe one day...


Beach selfie
 
Road trip over the island

Teguise is a charming little town on the mountain overlooking Famara, great for lunch or shopping for surf boards.
 

All houses in Teguise are white and the town has a very hippie-chic feeling to it

 
 
Lots of charming restaurants and coffee shops in Teguise

Puerto Calero is a very posh little harbor in the area with the ambience of a Caribbean island

The shopping street of Puerto Calero, where you find brands like Ralph Lauren, Gant, Lacoste, Nike and many more


Amura, our favorite restaurant for a long lunch, Puerto Calero 


Beautiful sunsets, Beachside Villa

 
Dramatic skies

Beachside Villa at night

What to do in Famara:
-Surf, kite surf, swim and relax on the beach
-Go hiking or running in the beautiful mountains or along the beach
-Visit the charming small towns and harbors in the area (Teguise, Caleta de Famara, Puerto Calero)
-Drive over the island and enjoy the scenery
-Take a wine tour at the local vinyards
-Shop for surf stuff, aloe vera products, local wine and cheeses

Where to stay:
-Beachside Villa (3 bedrooms, pool, ocean and mountain views)
-Surfside Villa (2 bedrooms, ocean and mountain views, direct beach access)

Where to eat:
-Amura (fine dining in Puerto Calero)
-Risco (easy going with great food and ambitious wine list in Caleta de Famara)
-Cantina (bistro with international food in Teguise)
-Buenavista (good and laid back Italian restaurant in Famara)
-BBQ on your own terrace overlooking the ocean and a dramatic sunset
 
Thanks for a great time, we love you guys!

Tomorrow we are leaving Famara and our friends. It's time to head back home to Marrakech. September, October, November are great months weather wise in Morocco, warm and sunny but still crisp and fresh. The snowy Atlas mountains are visible again. It's the best of seasons here.

Next week will we need to get busy again with our Arabic studies and some other projects. We look forward to come back to Famara, hopefully in March. We will however meet up with our friends Annelie and Stefan before that both in Stockholm as well as in Marrakech.
 

Bye Bye Ocean breaks, Hello Autumn!
P&P