As fascinating as the Marrakesh souks are, sometimes bargaining can take its toll on the psyche. For less pressure and no hustling, head to Gueliz, in Marrakesh’s new city. There, in less cramped environs, you can shop in leisure for fashion, housewares and souvenirs. Goods (with the exception of carpets) have fixed prices and are often higher quality than what you’ll find in the souks. The leather, for example, is generally export-quality—odor-free with dyes that won’t fade. Additionally, it’s here in Gueliz that you’ll discover Marrakesh’s newer and more contemporary designs and designers. Items have a Morocco-meets-Europe look, meaning that you’ll be more likely to use them when you get home. You’ll pay more in Gueliz, and it’s a distinctly less atmospheric experience than the souks, but you’ll leave relaxed and unconcerned that you might have been ripped off by a wily shop owner with his “best-price-just-for-you” approach. Here are some of my favorite shops, and if you can’t make it out to Marrakesh, but want the look, take a peek at my online shop, M.Montague.
My favorite rug shop in Marrakesh is in the new part of the city. It’s on the pricey side, but has a truly beautiful selection. This is where I take my clients—celebrities as well as folks like me—who value quality over quantity and just want one or two really fabulous Moroccan carpets.
Scenes de Lin
This elegant French-run shop offers spendy (but gorgeous) soft homewares. Check out the throws and placemats with hand-embroidered trims, pretty hand painted glasses and fringe-happy hammam towels. This is where we buy our ultra-soft robes for our own boutique hotel, Peacock Pavilions. Everything is in very good taste.
Majorelle Garden Gift Shop
Once you’ve wandered through this tiny but sublime botanical garden, head for its gift shop. Inside you’ll find chic hammered teapots, luxe jewelry, embroidered cushions and more. Everything is made in Morocco (of course), but the store design and goods were recently refreshed by American Creative Director Steven Direnza.
This concept shop is filled with goodies from Morocco’s best contemporary designers. Look for small homewares, jewelry, fashion and foodstuffs—all perfectly packaged and at home in Marrakesh or New York. Lots of great gifts to slip into your suitcase.
This oh-so-stylish boutique features sublime and not-cheap tunics with hand beading and hand embroidery, designed by Frenchie Yan Dobry. The tiny housewares section is also admirably curated. If I could afford it, I’d take every single thing home. Don’t forget to look up and admire the sea of white lanterns overhead.