NAME: Elke Steen
WHAT DO YOU DO: Artist & Marketing
STAR SIGN: On the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces
LIVING: Newtown, Australia
Villa Anouk, Essaouria
Essaouria is Morrocco’s version of a beach town, and Villa Anouk is located about 10 minutes from town (If you can follow the extremely complicated instructions to find it.) Anouk, a former New York stylist has created something really magical. Every detail of the villa was created by local artisans, from the ornate wooden ceiling carvings to the most incredible (and ‘grammable’) indoor pool. She has created a little home away from home. She will ask you what you would like for dinner each night and you can pet her 2 big friendly giant mastiffs.
There are the obvious spots to recommend (Nomad, Le Jardin), but you can find incredible food in hotel restaurants all around Morocco. These are usually Riads, with the restaurant set outdoors in the interior courtyard. If you’re lucky, there might be some turtles wondering around!
Moroccan cooking uses fresh ingredients all packed into rich slow cooked lamb and apricot tagines, or vegetable cous cous. You’ll also become very familiar with Mint Tea, a very sweet beverage served everywhere. Lucky its delicious, as often you get the impression it would be rude to decline it.
Wandering around the Medina is the best way to discover the local culture and take in the amazing architecture. The colours are amazing. Though it is virtually impossible not to get lost.
Yves Saint Laurent’s, Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech is a must visit. There are more than 300 exotic plant species that grow in the garden and splashes of bleu Majorelle on the exteriors. The museums within are also worth discovering.
A Hammam (bath) at La Mamounia, Marrakech. Starting with a steam, black soap made out of olive oil blended with black olives is then scrubbed (really hard!) with a keesa all over your body. Its slippery and hot, but you will come out with the softest skin.
Visit the Atlas Mountains, 40 minutes from Marrakech. The frightening road lead you to the most beautiful views looking across vast bright pink mountains. You can visit for a day, or stay for a few nights at Kasbah Bab Ourika.
You can find beautiful homewares in the Souks, from baskets to woven cushions and intricate earthenware. As long as you have time to shop around and do your research, a Moroccan Rug is the ultimate souvenir.
Moroccan Olive Oil is amazing, and you wont regret lugging some home. It is also clever to pick up as much Argan oil as you can, as long as you make sure its the good stuff.
For unique homewares, shoes and other bits and pieces visit Lrnce’s studio in Marrakech. You will want everything.
To be respectful of local culture (and protect your skin) bring linen shirts, long dresses, light pants. Don’t forget a good shawl and a hat.