Having grown up in Casablanca, 36-year-old fashion designer Sofia El Arabi has always maintained a close connection to Morocco. A quick browse through her Instagram profile, and it becomes instantly clear that her native country is dear to her heart.
With every photo posted comes an element so distinctly Moroccan. Making her poster-girl of sorts, so much so you might even describe her as an unofficial member of the nation’s tourism board.
“Morocco at its core is this very unusual mix of landscapes from the past and the future, integrated within a whole urban setting, and this special identity inspires me” she says.
“People live in these streets, they shout, they talk loudly, women from the high-rises meet others from the old medina, frequenting the same markets, it’s all mixed up. It is a pure painting,” she adds.
This source of inspiration plays out in every aspect of Al Arabi’s life. Another look at her label, Bakchic, and her connection to Morocco becomes all that more visible. “I started with the external expression of culture. How can Arab history explain our contemporary sense of style, how can we extract the best from our shared past with the Western world and so on. I like thinking of clothes life pieces of history,” she says.
To get a glimpse into these slices of Moroccan history, we asked El Arabi to reveal her favourite Moroccan getaways.
Riad El Fenn
“For me, this is the most beautiful place in the Medina of Marrakech. Each room is designed with colors and subtlety. What I love the most is having a drink in the amazing rooftop with a view of la Koutoubia”
“This is one of the most prestigious places in Marrakech. The rooms are unique and the service is perfect. When I have dinner with friends travelling here, I like sharing the finest Moroccan food with them at the hotel’s restaurant, Le Marocain.”
La Maison Arabe Spa
“I’ve recently tried their Hammam and massage and it’s three hours of pure escape.”
“When I want to have a good “homemade” Moroccan lunch, I go to Amal Restaurant. It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of disadvantaged women through restaurant training. It’s very popular in Marrakech and delicious!”
La Maison Marrakech
“This Airbnb is always fully booked because of its success. You’ll have to book it at least one month before your trip. A slice of heaven in the middle of the old medina. It’s owned by Nichole Francesca and has a unique aesthetic that she designed by herself. A pure nugget.”