Sunday, 2 December 2012

A treasure of unique photos…. Marrakech a generation or two ago….

A treasure of unique photos….
Maison de la Photographie in the medina of Marrakech is definitely worth the visit - here some snapshots of old Marrakech.

Caravan in the Palmeraie Marrakech

Henri Regnault Portrait of a slave 1870

Snake charmer in Place Jemaa el Fna' Marrakech

Unknown man Marrakech

Bab el Majlis Marrakech and some mosque minarets circa 1920

Pottery merchant Fes

Popular storyteller Casablanca - circa 1920

These photos are so beautiful and special. There are not many old photos from the very old days of Morocco. I have written before about the museum ”Maison de la photography” in Marrakech. If you are maybe one day in Marrakech you have to go. The owner, a French man, has collected a treasure of unique photos. I love old pictures, but because there are so less of these kind of photos, they are extra special.

Entrance tickets are very reasonable, 40 dirhams, last time I was there and you can use them more than once.

Maison de la Photographie must have the highest roof terrace in Marrakech with a really fantastic view over the medina and the Atlas mountains in the distance. Well worth a visit.

All photos are owned by Maison de la Photographie, Marrakech

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Come and stay with us when you come to Marrakech - that beguiling, exotic city in North Africa

The Last Storytellers - Marrakech

To enrich your experience of Marrakech and Morocco, buy the book "The Last Storytellers: Tales from the Heart of Morocco" by BBC Africa Editor, former BBC correspondent in Morocco, Richard Hamilton

Come and stay with us when you come to Marrakech: two chic riads - affordable luxury   and

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Beni Ouarain beauties – Oriental magical carpets

Guest blogger - Melanie from Lifestyle from Amsterdam to Marrakech

Design flair and these beautiful hand-made rugs from Morocco

It’s not the first time that I write about the gorgeous Beni Ouarain rugs. Im so in love with them that I went to Morocco to find some beauties for my shop El Ramla Hamra. I found them all beautiful and wanted them all. Especially the vintage ones.  They are making new ones now just for commerce, but I think they are not the same like the old ones. The vintage ones have a history of decades. A Beni Ouarain rug is timeless and makes the spaces in your home so complete, warm and sophisticated. The rugs are characterized by the beautiful diamond patterns. The handmade rugs are getting more and more popular in the international interior design world. The high pole variants are so soft and thick that you almost can fall asleep on them. Modern or a classic interior it doesn’t matter for the Beni Ouarain. He feels at home at any interior…

Photos featured in: 1.Lou Lou Pear, 2. El Ramla Hamra, 3.Wolfeyebrows, 4.Elle Decor, 5. El Ramla Hamra, 6. Elle Decor, 7. sf girl by bay, 8. Vogue living Australia, 9. The little corner

Le Loft Restaurant Marrakech

Le Loft
18, Rue de la Liberté
Guéliz, Marrakech
05 24 43 42 16
Every time we go to Marrakech we find new restaurants – one recent addition, located in the new town of Guèliz, is Le Loft.
It’s on the Rue de la Liberté, number 18. The décor is modern industrial with some interesting heavy-duty ceiling fans. The look is cool and trendy with pop art on the walls and old Charlie Chaplin movies projected on to the wall above the seating area. International cuisine with good reviews.
One drawback is that there is no roof terrace – so unless those fans are truly powerful, it may seem a little too warm in the summer.
Moderately priced.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Jemaa’ el Fna – the restaurant at the end of the world

Marrakech’s iconic spot – Place Jemaa’ el Fna

Camel’s head, sheep’s testicle, calf’s feet and plenty less exotic treats – all to be had at Marrakech’s famous open-air restaurant.     


We are pleased to publish this fascinating article on Marrakech's most famous spot - by guest blogger Derek Workman.

In 2008, Paula Wolfert’s book, Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, won the Cookbook Hall Of Fame award, twenty-five years after its publication. At the time, Moroccan cuisine would probably have seemed pretty exotic. These days fancy food trucks and posh catering carts may be blocking the highways in Europe and the US, but Morocco’s biggest street food heaven hasn’t moved in a thousand years.
Jmaa el Fna, The Place of the Dead, The Mosque at the End of the World, North Africa’s most vibrant and exotic square, the ancient heart of Marrakech, where snake charmers, storytellers and acrobats entertain the passing crowds. By day the bustle of henna artists, potion sellers, fresh orange juice vendors and red-robed water sellers; by night the curling smoke of a hundred barbeques spirals over the largest open-air restaurant in the world.

When dusk falls, handcarts are wheeled into Jmaa el Fna and unfolded to reveal portable grills, tables, benches, pots and pans. While the mounds of food are prepared young men in long white coats work the crowds trying to convince you that the succulent dishes served at their stall are the absolutely top-notch best; “Delilah Smith created our menu”, “All our fish comes fresh from Sainsbury’s”. And Sainsbury’s would probably be proud of the fish the stalls served, dipped in flour seasoned with salt and saffron before being deep-fried in bubbling oil until crisp and golden.

There are stalls to fit every taste and pocket; a bowl of harira, a traditional rich tomato and lentil soup with beef or chicken, seasoned with ginger, pepper, and cinnamon, or b’sarra, white bean soup with olive oil and garlic; add a sandwich served in a khobz, a small, round flat loaf with the top nipped off to form a pocket, filled with freshly deep-fried slices of liver dribbled with a green chilli sauce, or a hand-full of merguez, thin spicy sausages, and you will be set up for a stroll around the souks. (Keep an eye open for the really esoteric mixture of merguez, hard-boiled egg and tuna fish.)

Kebabs shops appear on almost every street corner around the globe these days, but in Marrakech vendors snub the effete pressed meat served elsewhere in favour of slices of real lamb, glistening with dribbling fat, sprinkled with cumin and salt as the cook hands it over to you wrapped in a paper cone. Chicken with preserved lemons, delicately spiced with kasbour (fresh green coriander) and served with piquant olives; brochettes of lamb and liver, seasoned with red pepper and cumin, carefully grilled over charcoal, which spits and smokes as the luscious fats fall on to it; beef or lamb tajines, cooked with raisins, prunes and almonds, have their conical tops whisked off by the waiters, just as the lids of elegant silver salvers would be at the Savoy. (Although you may want to leave the tajine of sheep’s or calf’s feet and the sliced camel’s head to the locals to enjoy, and it would take a certain amount of culinary courage to sample a cooked sheep’s head or bowl of sheep’s testicles – cooked, of course.)

On the west side of the square, a row of chefs steam mounds of snails in battered enamel bowls. The menu is simple, snails or snails, but as the little gastropods served in a tantalizing broth are a gastronomic institution in Morocco, it isn’t always easy to get a seat at these stalls. Apparently wonderful for the digestion, locals drain the broth after having their fill of the snails. (They also often carry a safety pin to wheedle the little devils out, but a toothpick is usually provided.)

Vegetarians might not savour their best gastronomic experience, but it can delicious. Hard-boiled eggs are chopped and mashed with potatoes, with the inevitable sprinkle of cumin, (served alongside salt and pepper on every stall). Bright vegetable salads, glistening piles of savoury chick peas spiked with fresh-ground black pepper or bowls of lentil stew cooked with finely chopped onion and garlic; fried aubergine with a hot green pepper served alongside a pile of fresh cut and fried potatoes, all washed down with a glaringly orange Fanta.

Young boys man-handle small handcarts or struggle with large wooden trays laden with glistening sweetmeats through the densely packed crowds. Delectable as the pastries may look, aren’t always that sweet. If your taste is for fruit for dessert, try, carmose, prickly pear, and the vendor will carefully remove the skin for you.

For a simple wandering snack, strings of sfenj donuts are held together by a strip of leaf to make carrying easier. They are delicious with a coffee, and come either sweet (with egg beaten into the batter) or savoury. Also useful for a back-up snack on long journeys.

If you haven’t washed your meal down with a drink at the stall, a glass of fresh orange juice will be squeezed before your eyes at one of the many carts around the edge of the square. You might also find raisin, pistachio and pomegranate juice, which have a mysterious flavour of their own. The Technicolor yogurts sold in big glasses look more off-putting that delectable, but raib, a home-made yoghurt with a milkshake consistency slides down the throat deliciously.

The beautiful chaos of the food stalls is entertainment in its own right, but when you have eaten your fill there is still the raucous street entertainment of Jmaa el Fna to keep you from your bed.

For your stay in Marrakech come and stay with us at Riad Ariha ( or Riad Chi-Chi (


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Spa package at Riad Ariha Marrakech

 Treat yourself. Riad Ariha is offering a special Spa Package – plan a great long weekend, a girlie get-together or a romantic stay.

3-night stay in Jasmine with 3 course-meal the evening of your arrival, a hammam and exfoliation and a truly relaxing one-hour massage – 425 euros

3-night stay in Jacaranda with 3 course-meal the evening of your arrival, a hammam and exfoliation and a truly relaxing one-hour massage – 395 euros

Check with us for availability. For even cheaper rates or longer stays, contact us directly at

Other beauty treatments are available in the riad: manicures, pedicures, facials …

Sunday, 9 September 2012

12th Annual Marrakech Film Festival 2012

Official 12th annual Marrakech film festival logo

Book your stay with us now in the exotic, exciting city of Marrakech for the
12th annual Marrakech film festival 2012 - November 30th to December 8th, 2012.

Not only is November/December a great time for weather in Marrakech, you can have the added entertainment value of a great film festival.

Marrakech is likely the cheapest place to get into festival films in the world.  We paid around $1 a couple of years ago to see a film that would cost 15 times that in Europe or North America.

So book your holiday time off from work now and come and stay with us November 30th to December 8th – see our websites for great room discounts too: and

Official Film Festival website:

This year’s theme is a ‘Tribute to Hindi cinema’ – Bollywood has come to Marrakech
“Tribute to Hindi cinema

The Marrakech International Film Festival keeps on supporting talents by paying tribute to the cinematic culture of a country.

After displaying the eclecticism and richness of Indian cinema in the last years, it was only natural that this edition should be devoted to Hindi cinema, to celebrate its centenary.
More than a tradition, there are deep relationships between Morocco and Indian cinema, as shown by the many talents embodying the vivacity of the Indian film industry who have been invited by the Festival throughout the years, including Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shashi Kapoor, Yash Chopra, Saif Ali Khan, Shekkar Kapur, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Nandita Das, Pan Nalin,...”

The always lively central Place Jemaa el-Fna sets the stage for Marrakech’s International Film Festival.  Every evening at 6 p.m. during the film festival the city’s central square, is transformed into an open-air cinema.

Festival visitors in the past have included Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Sigourney Weaver, Susan Sarandon, David Lynch and many others.

Marrakech film festival - view films in the open air in the main square