322 Sidi Ghanem, Route de Safi
Tel: 212 24 33 59 38
Committed shopaholics should take a ride out to the Quartier Industriel at Sidi Ghanem. This is the city's warehouse belt, home to several fine factory showrooms. Akkal does modern takes on classic Moroccan shapes in contemporary ceramics for the home and gardenfrom classic tajines to garden potters to decorative vases. Prices are half what you'd pay in Europe.
Open daily 9 am to 6 pm.
911 Rue Mouassinee
Tel: 212 24 44 10 76
Wealthy Marrakesh socialites hoping to turn heads at the next soiree pay a visit to Beldi. A tiny kiosk of a boutique at the entrance to the souks, it is the display space for the work of the Baroudi brothers, Toufik and Abdelhafid. Together they tailor seasonal men's and women's collections of Moroccan clothing in the most beautiful colors and fabrics. Everything is fashioned with flair and an eye to Western tastes. Handmade velvet coats lined with silk start from around 1,700dh ($184), men's shirts in fine linen start from about 500dh ($54). The brothers own a second shop in the Medina dedicated to their own home-decor products.
Open Saturdays through Thursdays 10 am to 5 pm.
24 Rue Al Gundafi
Riad Zitoun Kedim
Tel: 212 24 42 73 07
This traditional hole-in-the-wall herbalist shop stocks a wide range of spices, medicinal plants, and exotic lotions, potions, and infusions. The most popular product, however, is vitamin Erich argan oil. Available only in Morocco, it comes in a cosmetic version that does wonders for the skin, and an edible version that can be used in cooking and is said to lower cholesterol. The proprietor speaks English and will custom-mix aromatherapy oils and organic (no alcohol) perfumes. You'll find it on a quiet passageway between Riad Zitoun Kedim and Riad Zitoun J'did.
Open daily 10 am to 1 pm and 3 to 7:30 pm.
1 Place Douar
Riad Zitoun J'did
Tel: 212 24 42 90 42
Midway between the Bahia Palace and the Place Jemaa El Fna, along the increasingly shop-edged Riad Zitoun J'did, this boutique specializes in ceramicsfrom simple soap dishes to colorful dinnerware, tajine dishes, pitchers, and teapots. Jamade also carries a well-edited collection of classic Berber jewelry and embossed leather bags. Much of the work is by local designers and a women's cooperative. Prices are fixed but fair.
Open daily 10 am to 1 pm and 3 to 7:30 pm.
9 Boulevard El Mansour Eddahbi
Tel: 212 24 43 89 67
At first sight, this antiques shop in Guéliz, run for generations by the Bousfiha family, doesn't seem particularly impressive. But walk past the usual pots, Berber jewelry, and lanterns to a small door at the back of the shop. Through it is an Ali Baba cave of treasures: a cavernous warehouse of carpets, marble fountains, antique kasbah doors and windows, even whole palatial coffered ceilings. It's one of the city's most important antiques shopseven Tom Cruise was wowed at the collectionand arguably one of the best museums in Marrakesh.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 9 am to 7:30 pm.
Rue de la Liberté, which bisects Avenue Mohammed V in Guéliz, is home to a high concentration of the new town's chicest shops. Attika Chaussures sells well-made women's (and some men's) shoes, most of which are knocked off from the latest models from top designers. Priced at about $75, the TODs-like driving shoes and loafers in a vast range of colors are a huge hit. The place is usually packed with aggressive European buyers so don't be shy (34 Rue de la Liberté; 212-24-43-64-09). Nearby, look for hand-embroidered linens and a huge range of striped woven cloth in brilliant hues and organdy in pastels that can be fashioned into custom-made curtains, tablecloths, or place settings at Scènes de Lin (70 Rue de la Liberté; 212-24-43-61-08; www.ilove-marrakesh.com/scenesdelin). Other addresses to note include: quality leather goodswallets, bags, briefcases, luggage, jackets; suede shirts and skirtsat Place Vendome (141 Ave. Mohammed V; 212-24-43-52-63); Moroccan pottery, perfume bottles, tea glasses, prints, paintings, lanterns, and much more at L'Orientaliste (15 Rue de la Liberté; 212-24-43-40-74); and three levels of African and Indian furnishings, fabrics, carpets, and artifacts at Darkoum (5 Rue de la Liberté; 212-24-24-67-39). For an afternoon pick-me-up, look to Jeff de Bruges for the best chocolates in town (17 Rue de la Liberté; www.jeff-de-bruges.com), pastries at Al Jawda (11 Rue de la Liberté; 212-24-43-38-97; al-jawda.com), or Kechmara for lunch.
In the alleys north of Jemaa El Fna, you'll find Marrakesh's souks. The sheer number of shops is overwhelming, although many offer the same non-essential wares, particularly babouches (canary-yellow slippers, from about $3), djellabas (embroidered gowns, from $11), and etched brass platters the size of manhole covers (from $30). Every section of the souk has a specialty, from spices and ironwork to the ingredients for casting magic spells. Areas worth seeking out include the Criée Berbère, a knot of dimly lit, roofed passageways (once a slave market) that's the center of the carpet trade; and the Kissaria, a ladder of arrow-straight, shoulder-width alleys lined with stalls specializing in cotton cloth, clothing, kaftans, and blankets. The most photogenic is the Souk des Teinturiers, or dyers' souk, which dazzles with drying sheafs of colored wool. The shops nearby major in pottery, lanterns, and metalwork.
The staff at your hotel will most likely try to push a guide on you, but you don't really need one. Hassle from overeager salesmen has been stifled by government crackdowns, and while the alleys are winding, the Medina isn't that big, making it almost impossible to get really lost. (If you do lose your way, ask a local to help set you back on the right track.) And as for guides securing cheaper prices, forget itany savings made are more than gobbled up by their own commissions and kickbacks. Do remember that bargaining is a way of life here. To avoid getting ripped off, first get a good idea of what's a fair price for everything from pottery to carpets at Ensemble Artisanal, a state-sponsored store with fixed prices at the edge of the Medina on Avenue Mohammed V (212-24-38-67-58). When you find something you like, start at one-third the offered price and walk away when you've hit your limit.
Souks are generally open daily 9 am to 7 pm, except for Friday mornings.