Marrakech: Palmeraie & Guéliz

Our base in Marrakech was Dar Sabra, just one of the many luxury resorts and spas concealed amid the palm trees of the Palmeraie district. This desert oasis is only navigable by red dirt roads that look better suited for four-wheelers and motocross than taxi traffic. Thankfully, our driver was willing to risk his suspension (and probably his sanity) shuttling us blathering American girls back and forth to the city!

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We decided to spend the day in the buzzing Guéliz district, or (thanks to French colonialism) the ville nouvelle.  Its broad avenues speckled with art deco architecture of bygone glory days, this is Marrakech at its most urbane.

For a little bit of Moroccan glamour, look no further than the 1980s love shack of designer Yves Saint Laurent. Jardin Majorelle is a stunning cobalt pavilion sprouting with exotic flowers and cacti.

Chelsea's Bday

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It has a brilliant boutique with an array of YSL accessories and traditional Berber crafts to tempt you!

Jardin shop1

Jardin shop

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We sought out the most incredible Lebanese eatery for lunch. La Cuisine de Mona came highly recommended, and it more than lived up to its celebrated repute. Hardly noticable down a residential side street, we lucked out getting an empty table on the itty-bitty shuttered terrace. We ordered Ses Assortiments de Mezzés to share, only for owner/chef Mona to spoil us rotten with plate after plate of freshly prepared, sensational food. A true testament to her culinary talent, Mona had cooked that very morning for the King of Morocco!

House lemonade - made with a dash of orange blossom water

House lemonade – made with a dash of orange blossom water

Tabouleh and eggplant

Tabouleh and eggplant

Moujadarah (Lentils with grilled onions) and Hummus

Moujadarah (Lentils with grilled onions) and Hummus

Baba Ghanouj  (Smoked eggplant puree, sesame cream, lemon juice)

Baba Ghanouj (Smoked eggplant puree, sesame cream, lemon juice)

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Arayes Lahmé (Lebanese bread stuffed with ground beef, parsley, onions and broiled)

Arayes Lahmé (Lebanese bread stuffed with ground beef, parsley, onions and broiled)

Falafel

Falafel

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Mouhalabiyeh (Yogurt with pistachio nuts and orange blossom water)

Mouhalabiyeh (Yogurt with pistachio nuts and orange blossom water)

After our meal, Mona scuttled out and crowned us with traditional fez hats for a photo! What a dear, she is!

with chef/owner Mona Farah

with chef/owner Mona Farah

We spent the remainder of the sunny day exploring the modernized parts of the city – including an invigorating scrub-down at a traditional hammam – then retreated back to Palmeraie for a well-deserved glass of wine by the fire. Bliss!

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