Marrakech: Queen Of The Desert

Harper's Bazaar India|June - July 2020

Marrakech: Queen Of The Desert
The ancient city, with its luxurious riads and colourful gardens, paves the way for Africa’s design future
Cosmo Samuel Brockway

Yves Saint Laurent famously said, “Marrakech introduced me to colour”. The fourth-largest city in Morocco, Marrakech sits as an ochre-red oasis deep in the Maghreb desert. History hums here like a hypnotic drumbeat in every stone. I first encountered the city during a hedonistic hen weekend, which is, perhaps, the perfect introduction. It was a whirl of kohl-eyed belly dancers with candle-covered headgear, moonlit courtyard dinners, and mornings spent recovering next to rooftop pools with the throb of the Medina below. Party note: The best mint in the world is grown here so the mojitos are scrumptious.

The last few years have seen an influx of creative minds and lotus-eating travellers chasing the scent of nowness that Marrakech holds with effortless style. This is a place, as long-time resident Vanessa Branson muses, with “a cultural future not just a medieval past”. In part thanks to the highly successful Marrakech Biennale, the city has positioned itself as a design hub to rival its southern continental sister, Cape Town. It is no surprise that the city has been crowned the very first African Capital of Culture for 2020.

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June - July 2020