Become a photographer in Marrakech at new design hotel inspired by the poem ‘L’invitation au voyage’
9 May 2016
Get creative inside the new riad and across Marrakech with a disposable camera
Belgian architect Charles Kaisin has a story behind each rooms intricate designs
Take Almaha’s photography tips across the city and discover a unique backdrop
Combining a strong design aesthetic with thoughtful and warm hospitality, Almaha Marrakech, a new riad conceived by Belgian architect and designer Charles Kaisin, draws inspiration from the famous Charles Baudelaire poem ‘L’invitation au voyage’. Set in Marrakech’s oldest neighbourhood, the Kasbah, Almaha’s 12 individually designed bedrooms, feature local textiles, tiles, lighting and other pieces, both old and new, that reveal their unique craftsmanship. The first thing many guests do is take a photograph of the unique interior design they encounter upon entering this special riad.
Small enough to give guests an individually tailored experience, Almaha Marrakech offers a range of luxurious facilities. From the underground hammam and spa, to the vast roof top terrace with individual spaces for each of the 12 bedrooms, where guests can take breakfast, or enjoy the swimming pool. The riad also features a stunning restaurant ‘The Library’ and a bar ‘The Pixel Room’, both reserved for riad guests exclusively.
Blessed with strong sunlight and vibrant colours, Marrakech is a photographer’s paradise, which is reflected in its growing art and photography scene. Currently housed in the historic El Badi Palace, the new Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Art (MMPVA) will later move to its new impressive freestanding space designed by Sir David Chipperfield. For now, the backdrop to the modern MMP+ building housing changing modern exhibitions, is the vast ruined palace which features outdoor sculpture pieces by Moroccan Fatiha Zemmouri. As guests walk around the ruins, Zemmouri’s striking installations, include a massive, meteor-like rock made of polystyrene and plaster wedged between two walls, a wonderfully eye-catching photo moment. Visitors can then aim the camera up to capture atmospheric shots of El Badi Palace’s resident storks, whose nests adorn the ancient walls of this once splendid building.
Guests of Almaha Marrakech can be inspired to get behind the camera themselves with the riad’s list of suggested places and times to best photograph the so-called ‘Red City’. Here are a few:
Best building– the Koutoubia Mosque is distinctive for its beautiful minaret and can be seen from much of the city. While non-Muslims may not enter, surrounding it are viewpoints from which to capture all aspects, particularly its glowing orange walls as the sun goes down.
Best square– the Djemaa el Fna in the Medina offers everything from the classic shot of the food vendors theatre at night amongst the smoke to the snake charmers performing by day. In a city where tourists must show sensitivity towards locals unhappy to be photographed, here many happily pose – but you will have to pay a small tip.
The souks are home to myriad squares where you will find a photographic array of stalls and workshops dedicated to local crafts. Whilst smells can’t be photographed, the various colours on display will at once excite. Just ask the stall or shop owner before taking the photograph and buy something or return later to purchase.
Best place for sunset– the Palmeraie is a riverside road to the north of the city. It’s the perfect spot for sunset, catching shots of silhouetted palm trees in the foreground.
Best place for sunrise– sunrises are beautiful times to photograph, reward the photographer with fewer crowds and make it easier to capture the vast colours of the city as it comes alive. Also look out to the surrounding Atlas Mountains revealed as the day starts. Each terrace at Almaha has distant views of the mountains.
Best place for the unexpected – whether you get lost in them figuratively or literally, the world-famous souks are a key part of any visit to Marrakech. In this network of connecting alleyways you’ll find the air heady with the scent of mint, lemon and olives, as the multi-coloured lanterns, traditional slippers, rich rugs and leather bags catch your eye. And of course, the colourfully heaped domes of spices are hard to ignore. Front doors to homes are themselves individual works of art.
Best place for still life– designed in the 1920s and 1930s, the Jardin Majorelle is a cool, tranquil spot to escape the heat while you photograph still life subjects such as cacti and bamboo. The bright colours are striking throughout with the floor painted a welcoming sea colour blue whilst orange flower pots add to the tropical feel. Restored by Yves Saint Laurent, today guests can visit a memorial dedicated to him.
Finally where better to take photos than throughout Almaha Marrakech where Charles Kaisin has given thought to every detail.
The Pixel Room - 20 people created this unique room. 23,000 transformed images onto silk of Jemaa el Fna have been used in the Pixel Room, showcasing thousands of Marrakechis who cross the square daily. Look closer and guests will see the square and parts of the city recreated, all on diamond shaped fabric.
The Library – It took well over a month for the 1083 books in the library to be folded to recreate the poem that inspired Charles Kaisin. The French literature books have been folded, not damaged, and are still able to be read. Each page is folded to show a letter in the spine of the book. With all these letters together, guests can discover and read the whole poem.
The Patio – located on the ground floor, the patio is draped in white curtains which reflect off a green tiled water display which fills each evening illuminating the stars. The gentle lighting through traditional lanterns makes this a very romantic setting for an evening photograph under the night sky.
Almaha Marrakech even has its own scent throughout the riad. The orange tree fragrance which burns, may not be a photograph but it draws guests to the many plants and vegetation around the riad, for yet more photographs.
Whether visitors are of the instagram generation or more traditional offline photographers, Marrakech and Almaha Marrakech offer the best possible backdrop, to master that perfect photograph.
Derb Ben Zina 55 – 40040 La Kasbah, Marrakech – Morocco +21 252 4386782
Instagram: @almahamarrakech or #almahamarrakech
Accommodation, breakfast, afternoon mint teas and pastries from €310.00 per room per night
Three nights stay with daily breakfast, dinner one evening, one disposable camera per room, entrance each to the El Badi Palace where the Museum for Photography & Visual Arts is, return airport transfers, priced from €930.00 per room for the three nights
Media enquiries: boutique da silva public relations
Peter firstname.lastname@example.org +44 7727 084058
Charles Kaisin available for interview via boutique da silva public relations
Information on Charles Kaisin http://www.charleskaisin.com