“Being a child of the African diaspora, I am in awe of the extraordinary creativity that comes from our community here in Marrakech,” says Meryanne Loum-Martin, whose boutique hotel, Jnane Tamsna, is a preferred hideaway for artists and writers in the Palmeraie, a sprawling oasis at the city's northern edge. Though the Paris native, who is Morocco's sole Black female hotelier, admits it can be hard to peel herself away from the property, she has spent the past 25 years getting to know the city. Here, she shares her ideal itinerary, including the art galleries—and nightcaps—worth scouting out.
Mornings in the medina
“After breakfast, which I always have under the sun in the hotel gardens, I'll head down to the medina. Even now I experience it with the same excitement as when I first visited. A favorite shop is Aya's, owned by a fascinating friend of mine named Nawal El Hariti. She does traditional-style Moroccan clothes that never look folkloric and can be worn all over the world. Otherwise I might hunt down antiques inside the old souks; I especially love Palais Saadien for rugs.”
Break for lunch
“This really depends on where in the city I am. If I'm still in the medina, I will do L'mida, for modern Moroccan fusion with views of the Atlas Mountains. I love their Italian bresaola with Berber amlou, a mix of argan oil, ground roasted almonds, and honey—like a healthy Moroccan nut butter. If I'm in Gueliz, I will go to Plus 61 for the cuttlefish served in a lemon-and-coriander dressing; near Le Jardin Majorelle, lunch will be at Atelier Moro.”
The neighborhood to spend an afternoon in
“Sidi Ghanem is an industrial quarter filled with creative shops. I like going into Marrakshi Life, where you can watch artisans weaving clothes in the customary way. I also love Peau d'ane, where Bernard Henriot designs amazing light fixtures and metal furniture. Severine Pailès, at De Bouche à Oreille, does the best frames ever, as well as custom prints. Friends of mine fly in from Paris with pieces for him to mount. And nearby, Voice Gallery always has an exhibition worth dropping in for.”
The museums to check out
“Dar El Bacha-Musée des Confluences is a space that celebrates the history of religious tolerance in Morocco. At any given time, it could have a Jewish, Christian, or Muslim exhibition. It has the most gorgeous little coffee shop too. I also enjoy Maison de la Photographie; and, of course, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent is a must.”
Once the sun goes down
“When I have friends in town I will take them to Dar Zellij, in the heart of the medina, for fabulous Moroccan food, or to Le Marocain, the restaurant inside La Mamounia, which is very good. The French restaurant L'Ô à la Bouche is also excellent. For an after-dinner drink, Baromètre Marrakech is the best cocktail lounge in town. And different nights take me to different places. On Wednesdays I'll go for live jazz on the roof of La Pergola, in the medina, while on the weekends, the best DJs can be found at Kabana, a roof terrace with great views.”
The 1 in 10 Project We introduced this new initiative to celebrate the more than 10 percent of people around the globe whose jobs are tied to tourism in some way, from hotel concierges to tuk-tuk drivers. With the pandemic still ongoing, we're spotlighting these individuals—who are so often the most memorable, and essential, part of our travels—with features like this one that give a glimpse into their everyday lives.
This article appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.
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