Marrakech ranks among the great shopping cities of the world. Indeed, it’s possible to spend several days there doing nothing but shopping and have a splendid time. I have no doubt that some visitors do exactly that.
Because of this, there is no shortage of lists of must-see stores in Marrakech. Some of those establishments are worth your time, but some are not.
The following list includes reviews of some of the most frequently recommended shops, as well as a few gems I discovered myself.
Near the Majorelle Garden, this sleek décor and clothing store appears on almost every list of recommended Marrakech shops. Like the Majorelle Garden, it is something of a disappointment. Most of the items inside can be had in the souks for less (four wooden coasters for $60 is a bit much). But if you’re nearby, stop in to pick up some argan oil, which is attractively packaged and well-priced.
33 Rue Majorelle
33 Rue Yves Saint Laurent. Tel. (212) 524-314-195
Unfortunately, it’s necessary to pay for entry to the Majorelle Garden to access this stylish shop, with an impressive selection of gorgeous pillowcases, leather goods, clothing and accessories. If you visit the gardens, don’t miss this store, but don’t make a special trip to the overcrowded, underwhelming gardens just for the boutique.
Majorelle Garden, Rue Yves Saint Laurent. Tel. (212) 524-313-047*
This small, bright shop also appears on most Marrakech shopping roundups. If you have lunch at Nomad, the restaurant directly above, by all means stop in to browse the modern Moorish ceramics and argan oil-based skin products, all of which have fixed prices. But again, if you’re not averse to bargaining, similar products can be had elsewhere, and likely for less. The more remote Sidi Ghanem showroom has a larger selection.
1 Derb Arjan. Tel. (212) 524-381-546*
Located in the shopping passage leading to Musée MACMA in the Guéliz neighborhood, this elegant boutique was more appealing than any caftan shop I saw in the medina. The breezy women’s clothing inside results from the collaboration of a British designer and Moroccan tailors, and the fixed prices are reasonable.
61 Rue Yougoslavie, 39-41 Passage Ghandouri. Tel. (212) 524-420-797*
This pretty stall in the souks sells tubs of the wonderful black soap used in Moroccan hammam treatments, some enhanced with fragrances like amber or eucalyptus. These products make excellent inexpensive gifts, as do the argan oil-based bar soaps.
L’Art du Bain
13 Souk El Badine. Tel. (212) 668-445-942*
Brass lamps can be found all over Marrakech, but Miloud El Jouli has the most spectacular array. Even if you have no intention of purchasing a lamp, it’s worth visiting this fabulous, glittering store. It sells everything from small candleholders to intricate shield-shaped wall sconces to dramatic multistory chandeliers appropriate for the entry hall of a pasha’s palace. I found the globes, with their calligraphic designs, to be particularly tempting.
Miloud El Jouli
48 Souk Charatine Talâa.*
If you visit only one shop in the medina, make it Mustapha Blaoui. Located on an appealing street leading from the Bab Doukkala neighborhood past the Dar El Bacha Palace into the souks, this Marrakech institution has no sign on its old wooden door (look for “144” in metal studs on the lintel above). Push the door open, and you’ll discover a sprawling, rambling warehouse with all manner of tempting goods, ranging from Berber rugs and hand-painted ceramics to brass lamps and antiques.
144 Arset Aouzal, Bab Doukkala. Tel. (212) 524-385-240*
Not far from Mustapha Blaoui, this jewel box of a shop displays a gorgeous collection of art and antiques. The ceramics selection is particularly strong, as is the selection of inlaid-wood furniture. I found myself coveting two large growling marble lions. And at the back of the shop, I discovered a beautiful mantelpiece of marble and bronze, inscribed with Hebrew. It had once graced a home in Marrakech’s Mellah.
41 Rue Dar El Bacha.
The ground floor of this shopping gallery didn’t have anything especially unique, but I did find some appealing storefronts on the second level. The cheerfully colorful handbags and embroidered shoes at Tilia Artisinat merit a browse, and Zahra Shop had an eye-catching collection of black-and-white ceramics. The nearby Terrasse des épices restaurant runs two notable businesses in Souk Cherifia, the sleek La Boutique, which has a fine choice of argan oils and argan-based products, and the Le Barbier, a “men only” hipster-inspired barbershop.
15 Souk Cherifia.
We met Abdul Le Cif at the entrance to the Dyers Souk, just as we were about to return to our hotel. I was glad we took him up on his offer of a tour of the dim and slightly intimidating souk. Fabric dyers with deeply stained hands were hard at work, and skeins of pink silk dried in the rafters, glowing in the streams of sunlight. Le Cif’s stall was at the rear to the right, with a startlingly bright and colorful collection of fabric goods. It’s a more than usually atmospheric place to buy some beautiful scarves or a lightweight bedspread.
Many Marrakech shopping roundups recommend visiting the Topolina branch in the Sidi Ghanem neighborhood, well outside the center. I prefer the storefronts on Rue Dar El Bacha, both an easy walk from La Maison Arabe hotel. Both the men’s shop and the women’s shop employ wonderfully colorful patterned fabrics in their unique clothing pieces and shoes. The women’s items are suited to a wider audience than the men’s, which are rather fashion-forward. The fixed prices were quite reasonable.
114 and 134 Rue Dar El Bacha. Tel. (212) 679-726-026.*