You’ve all been patiently waiting to hear about my recent trip to Marrakech, Morocco for the Design Leadership Summit and I’m excited to say….today is the day!
My trip started with a much-needed glass of champagne and a relaxing flight to Madrid. I have to admit I relish the times when no one can reach me by phone and I am not able to be on the internet. Two movies and a few hours of sleep later I was in Madrid, and then on to Morocco.
The whole experience was an adventure beginning with my stay at the lovely Four Seasons Hotel. Having only been open a couple of months, this brand new property was a lovely representation of Moroccan customs and decor.
We were greeted with Moroccan mint tea and there were gorgeous flowers and Moroccan design elements EVERYWHERE I looked.
I was in Morocco for the Design Leadership Summit and I was privileged to be one of the speakers during our sessions at the Four Seasons. I was asked to give a brief talk known as a “moment of inspiration.”
I took that opportunity to tell the story of what brought me from Arkansas, to the national design community and eventually landed me across the world in Marrakech. I even had an exciting special guest video appearance by my friend and fellow Arkansan, President Bill Clinton! He addressed our group of top architects and designers, noting that we were in “one of his favorite cities,” Marrakech.
We were also addressed by the popular blogger and my social media friend, Maryam Montague author of the gorgeous blog “My Marrakesh” and upcoming book, Marrakesh by Design. I loved having the opportunity to finally meet Maryam in person and see her beautiful presentation about the design inspiration of this Northern African city she calls home.
In between sessions we had the chance to venture out into the markets–including the Medina, which is the main public shopping area in Marrakech and the Souks, which are smaller individual shops.
There was so much color inspiration in the Medina. I enjoyed taking lots of photos and shopping with my designer friends there!
One evening we dined in an old sugar factory. It was such a lovely setting. Another night, we split up in to small groups and ate at various Riads, or guest houses, many of which are now small hotels.
Our final night began with drinks in the Majorelle Gardens owned by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Berge.
And the rest of the evening was spent driving in Hummers through the red city of Marrakech out 40 miles into the desert to a breath-taking dinner under the stars.
There were oriental rugs and candles lining the stairs to the top of a mountain for cocktails. Then we experienced authentic native music, camel rides, henna tattoos, and dined on Moroccan fare!
Aside from all this fabulousness, we did enjoy a bit of free time. During one of these periods, we ventured to the gorgeous hotel la Mamounia for drinks. Trust me, this is definitely a sight not to miss!!
Other fun sights included sneaking a peek at a few camels, monkeys, and unfortunately snakes and their charmers along the way. The people of Marrakech were also a highlight, as they were a very kind and welcoming bunch that were intent on making sure we loved their city.
This trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience in many ways. To see all my photos from the trip, you can follow my Marrakech Pinterest Board here, and check out my Instagram (@tobifairley) feed with hashtags #Marrakech and #DLS2012 .
I hope you’ll come back the rest of this week to hear about my travels to High Point Market and Chicago for the KBIS/Visions trade shows and a little celebration for my 10th wedding anniversary.