Headed to Oasis Festival in Morocco? Here’s Where to Hang in Marrakech

Headed to Oasis Festival in Morocco? Here’s Where to Hang in Marrakech

The best spots to hit between your favorite artists.

The best spots to hit between your favorite artists.

Text: Alex Frank

It’s the fifth year in a row that people have convened in Morocco for Oasis Festival, a weekend of contemporary electronic music in the ancient city of Marrakech. And, yes, while the main event is all the incredible acts to see—from Four Tet to Hercules & Love Affair, from Theo Parrish to Petite Noir—you’re also in Marrakech, the storied and mythologized center of old North African culture. There are, of course, the famous attractions like the Souk Semmarine (a massive market) and Jardin Majorelle (a botanical garden with structures painted in bright blue), but there are also some smaller, newer, older, or surprising things to see, too. While the festival goes between September 13 to the 15th, in between sets from your favorite artists, here’s what to check out in the Ochre City.

Oasis Festival 2018 in Marrakech. c/o SOLOVOV

The Mbari House 

Oasis Festival itself has teamed up with the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Art Comes First, and Marché Noir on the Mbari House, a pop-up of art installations, panel discussions, photography from the likes of Mali’s Malick Sidibé, M’hammed Kilito, and Cyrus Kabiru, and, because it’s Oasis after all, it’s own set of special performances and live DJ sets from acts like Sampha and Walshy Fire. 

Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Yves Saint Laurent bought a placed in Marrakech in the mid-60s, and the city’s color palate and glamour consistently informed his designs throughout the decades. In 2017, the YSL Museum opened very close to his original villa. A wide swatch of the designer’s creations over his 40-year career are on display. 

Cactus Thieman 

Outside the city, there is a sprawling 17-acre cactus nursery called Cactus Thieman, with around 150 different species of cacti. The landscape was first planted in the 1960s, and features, amongst others, a 75-year-old 26-foot variety called the Pachycereus pringlei.

Ben Rahal

Moroccan rugs are famous around the world, and here’s where to get the best. Ben Rahal has been open for around 60 years, and has thousands of carpets, particularly a wide variety of tribal and Berber styles from regions all over Morocco, like the Middle and High Atlas. 

Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden

Though Morocco has a centuries-old mystique with cultural and artistic treasures that date back a millenia, MACAAL focuses on contemporary African art. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as a cafe and a sculpture park. 

Riad Mena & Beyond

A riad is a style of traditional Moroccon home, possessing a courtyard garden in the interior of the structure. There are many throughout the city that have been turned into boutique hotels, and if you’re looking for the right one to snag a room in, the Riad Mena & Beyond is the choice. It’s beautifully designed (featuring the work of Louis Barthelemy, who embroiders erotic Egyptian tapestries), and there is a pool in it’s courtyard, as well as a spa. They also have a permaculture farm outpost 45 minutes outside of the city that you can visit for a picnic or a swim. There are only six rooms at this riad, so book fast.

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