Where to Shop
Quartier Industriel Sidi Ghanem 322, route de Safi. Marrakech (00 212 524 335 938; www.akkal.net). Committed shopaholics should take a ride out to the Quartier Industriel at Sidi Ghanem. This is the city's warehouse belt, home to several fine factory showrooms. Akkal does modern takes on classic Moroccan shapes in furniture and ceramics, but also sells linens, clothes and pick 'n' mix dinnerware in the most fantastic colours. Prices are half what you'd pay in Europe.
9-11 rue Mouassine, Bab Fteuh, Marrakech (00 212 524 441 076). Wealthy Marrakech socialites hoping to turn heads at the next soirée pay a visit to Beldi. A tiny kiosk of a boutique at the entrance to the souks, it is the display space for the work of brothers Toufik and Abdelhafid. Together they tailor seasonal men's and women's collections of Moroccan clothing in the most beautiful colours and fabrics, fashioned with flair and an eye to Western tastes. Beautiful handmade velvet coats lined with silk start from around Dhs1,700, men's shirts in fine linen start from about Dhs500.
1 Rue Ksour, off Rue Sidi El Yamani, Bab El Ksour, Marrakech (00 212 524 437 702; www.comptoirdarna.com). Florence Taranne's Kulchi boutique, near the Medina's Bab El Ksour gate, had its origins in her small shop in the courtyard garden of supper club Le Comptoir (see Nightlife). Her own-label clothing is light and playful, marrying trippy colours and patterning with Moroccan cuts and embroidery. Accessories include raffia shoes from Essaouira, leather shopping bags with khamsa (hand) motifs and T-shirts by Hassan Hajjaj (as worn by staff at hip London restaurant Momo).
MINISTRO DEL GUSTO
Derb Azouz 22, el Mouassine, Marrakech (00 212 524 426 455; www.ministerodelgusto.com). This gallery is owned by fashion-editor-turned-furniture-designer Alessandra Lippini and her partner, Fabrizio Bizzarri. It has become a key shopping destination in Marrakech. Go for the gorgeous wooden furniture, bas-relief panels and local objets d'art. Lippini often works by special commission from interior designers. Appointments are preferred, but there is always someone there to open the door to a casual visitor.
142-144 Bab Doukkala, Marrakech (00 212 524 385 240). It's a lazy cliché but no description better fits Mustapha Blaoui than 'an Aladdin's cave'. Hidden behind blank-faced double doors, it's a warehouse piled with floor-to-ceiling irresistibles from candlesticks and lanterns to pots and bowls and tables and chairs. There's enough ornamentation and inspiration here to furnish a whole series of Changing Rooms. The helpful staff will happily organise shipping overseas.
Riad Zitoun Jdid 23, Derb Zanda Daika, Marrakech (00 212 524 385 272; www.tamsna.com). Riad Tamsna houses a gallery, as well as an emporium selling all sorts of homewares, from bed and bath products to local delicacies and pots of preserves. There is also a restaurant specialising in a Moroccan fusion of Indian, French and Lebanese cuisine.
At the heart of Marrakech, filling the alleys north of the central square, are the souks, mile after constricted mile of tiny, closet-sized emporia. The sheer number of shops is overwhelming - 100 of them in 100 metres - although many seem compelled to offer exactly the same non-essential wares, particularly babouches (canary-yellow slippers, from Dhs30), jellabas (embroidered gowns, from Dhs100) and etched brass platters the size of manhole covers. Every section of the souk has its own speciality, with alleys devoted to everything from spices and ironwork to the ingredients necessary for casting magic spells.
Areas worth seeking out include the Criée Berbère, a knot of dimly lit, roofed passageways that was once a slave market but is now the centre of the carpet trade, and the Kissaria, a ladder of arrow-straight, shoulder-width alleys lined with stallholders specialising in cotton, clothing, kaftans and blankets. The most photogenic is the Souk des Teinturiers, or dyers' souk, rendered dazzling by drying sheaves of coloured wool. The shops nearby major in pottery, lanterns and assorted pieces of metalwork. Souks are generally open daily 9am-7pm and closed Friday mornings. Hotels all but push guides on clients, warning of the dangers of unaccompanied forays into the souks; but you don't really need them. It's almost impossible to get lost: the myriad alleys may be winding but the Medina is not that big and you only need ask a local for help to be set back on the right track. And as for guides securing cheaper prices when haggling, forget it - any savings made are more than gobbled up by