1) UNESCO-recognised Dar al-Ma’mun Art Centre and Library
Boasting of a rich collection of over 10,000 books on subjects as wide-ranging as aesthetics and regional Berber culture, the Dar al-Ma’mûn library, art space and research centre for literary translation is a true cultural gem. Like the storied Great Library of Alexandria of antiquity, this astonishing repository attracts philosophers, specialists, researchers and creatives to the FELLAH Hotel, rightfully earning its UNESCO-recognised status. Established in 2010, the Dar al-Ma’mun artists’ residency programme offers support to artists from a wide range of backgrounds in its effort to stimulate intercultural exchange.
2) Artists’ Workshops, Seminars and More: A Vibrant Calendar of Cultural Events
Whilst providing a relaxing respite from the pressures of urban life, FELLAH Hotel also encourages guests to partake in its promotion of cultural diversity. To this end, the hotel has fostered a vibrant community where ideas are exchanged, absorbed and sharpened through cultural dialogue. A typical stay at the FELLAH Hotel might include a reading of songs by Moroccan avant-garde ensemble Nass el Ghiwane followed by a concert by renowned South Korean cellist and composer Ha-Yang Kim and a lecture about the nuances of Arabic translation. With a programme of symposia, lectures, artists’ workshops and more, this international creative diversity is a hallmark of FELLAH’s unique cultural offering.
3) Eclectic Blend of Contemporary Moroccan and European design
Complementing the cross-boundary cultural experience that it provides, FELLAH Hotel extends this blurring of national lines to every aspect of the hotel’s design. Exquisitely handcrafted rattan chairs sit side-by-side with internationally recognisable Eames chairs and reupholstered Arne Jacobsen pieces. Deep, earthy undertones and the use of concrete surfaces interspersed with brilliant Moroccan tile work serves as the understated canvas for FELLAH Hotel’s eclectic mélange of styles from mid-century modern to Moroccan vernacular. Each of its 65 rooms spread across the hotel complex’s 10 traditional Moroccan-style villas is uniquely furnished with a meticulous attention to detail, featuring Moroccan zellige tile designs, vintage pieces and traditional crafts.
4) Micro-Farming and Community Outreach Opportunities
With aspirations bigger than creating a vibrantly self-sufficient enclave for cultural travellers and creatives, FELLAH Hotel’s community vision is far more ambitious — and decidedly local. This local immersion begins in its kitchen, where the hotel’s own micro farm produces home-grown vegetables for the in-house restaurant, and where guests can join in by gathering eggs, or milking and grooming the animals. FELLAH Hotel, through the Dar al-Ma’mûn centre, also provides a host of educational and cultural activities for local adults and children.
5) Nearby Cultural Attractions
Berber Museum in the Jardin Majorelle – The Berber Museum, housed in the Jardin Majorelle, offers an unparalleled glimpse into Berber culture through its world-class collection of Berber artefacts originating from diverse regions of Morocco. Visitors to the museum can also relax on the grounds of the Jardin Majorelle, a breathtaking botanical garden created in the 1920s by the Orientalist French painter Jacques Majorelle and purchased by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent in 1980.
La Maison de la Photographie – Opened in May 2009, La Maison de la Photographie exhibits the history of photography in Morocco, covering the period between 1870 and 1950. Highlights of the museum include the first colour film recorded in the High Atlas by Daniel Chicault, made in 1957, as well as portraits and landscapes that record the changing face of Morocco.
Le 18 – Le 18, or Riad 18, is Marrakech’s foremost exhibition space for the city’s burgeoning contemporary art scene where visual arts, dance, literature and more converge. The brainchild of Moroccan photographer Laila Hida, Le 18 presents a dynamic cultural calendar of events ranging from painting exhibitions to contemporary dance series, literary cafés and more.
Palais de la Bahia – Extravagantly decorated, the Palais de la Bahia in the Marrakech Medina is a brilliant example of 19th century Moroccan and Islamic architecture. Commissioned by Grand Vizier Si Moussa in the 1860s, the palace features stunningly intricate woodwork and dazzling patterned ornamentation. This is a must-visit for any design and architecture aficionado.
Musée de Marrakech – Located in the Dar Menebhi Palace, the Musée de Marrakech showcases both traditional and contemporary Moroccan art through a rotating calendar of exhibitions. Not only is the artwork worth a visit, the restored Dar Menebhi Palace itself is truly stunning. Revealing the influences of the Andalusian style seen in southern Spain, the palace is a richly textured masterpiece of colour and pattern.
6) Discover Morocco’s Contemporary Art Scene
Not only does Marrakech offer a fantastic opportunity to delve into Morocco’s rich cultural history, the city also boasts of a splendid and diverse contemporary culture. Visitors can discover Morocco’s contemporary art scene through its many fine galleries and museums; peruse artworks over a glass of mint tea at the elegant Dar Bellarj gallery and explore North African craftsmanship at the Tiskiwin Museum, housed in a restored Moroccan riad. To discover emerging Moroccan artists, look no further than the Matisse Art Gallery, which showcases works of up-and-coming and established artists including those by renowned North African painter Hassan El-Glaoui.
7) From Moroccan Home-Style Cooking to French-Moroccan Haute Cuisine
Marrakech is a true melting pot of cultures, and nowhere is this more evident than in its cuisine. French elegance and North African flavours converge in this bustling city, exploding in a full-bodied experience of exciting taste and smells. Dine inside an atmospheric Moroccan riad at Dar Moha or sit down for a multi-course tasting menu at the luxurious Gastro MK. From hearty, traditional-style Moroccan meals at Al Fassia Guellz to al fresco rooftop dining overlooking the bustling city and Atlas Mountains at the Terrasse des Épices, immerse yourself in Marrakech’s surpassing food scene.
By Stephanie Avila