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Travel Often | THE KATIE KIME BLOG
Travel Guide: 6 Favorites from Marrakech, Morocco

Travel Guide: 6 Favorites from Marrakech, Morocco

When you hear Morocco, if you’re like me you immediately think of rugs and textiles. I’ve been fortunate enough to source some of my favorite pieces while here, but this country has so much more to offer. To give you a glimpse into Moroccan life, let’s go on a tour of Marrakech together, a city I spent three days in on my most recent trip.  Here are some of my favorite memories and experiences from Marakkech, Morocco.

[title maintitle=”Favorite Hotel” subtitle=”Royal Monsour Spa”]

We stayed at Royal Mansour. Originally a public swimming pool, in 2010 the king (Mohammed VI) commissioned the hotel and chose the spot. He’s well-regarded throughout Morocco and is considered a “kind and humble man.”

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#kktravels Katie Kime Travel Guide, #kkprints, #katiekime, #morocco, #katiekimeprints

A traditional Moroccan house or palace is called a riad – which always includes a striking interior courtyard. Mohammed IV wanted to capture a more palatial grandeur with the hotel, so rather than traditional rooms, he chose mini-riads for each room at the hotel. It’s easy to see why it was recently named one of the the World’s Best Hotels. The attention to detail in the hand-carved stone, ornate wood finishes and level of service was astonishing.

 

Morocco Trip

One unique feature of Royal Monsour that it’s located walking distance of one the largest mosques in the city.  You can hear the prayer call while in a bathing suit getting a beer at the pool right around the corner. So you have this constant fusion of East means West happening.
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[title maintitle=”Favorite Tip” subtitle=”Blending in with the locals”]

While there’s absolutely bartering in Morocco, it’s not like Turkey or other countries where it’s a staple of every transaction. Don’t take the first price they quote you, but stick with it and you’ll find a middle ground you’re both happy with.

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[title maintitle=”Favorite Meal” subtitle=”La Grande Table Marocaine”]

We had several incredible meals in Marrakech. With its close proximity to the sea, Europe and the Middle East, Morocco is a melting pot of cuisine. At La Grande Table Marocaine we enjoyed appetizers of dates and olives and line caught fish as the main course.

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Quick tip: Pay attention to currency conversion. We had our most expensive meal of our lives because Greg missed a zero (or two) on the wine order – oops!

Also on the food front, there’s no shortage of local tea, coffee and oils to bring home as gifts for your friends and family.

[title maintitle=”Favorite Find” subtitle=”Rugs, Rugs, and more rugs”]

It’s easy to get lost in the maze-like alleyways that make up this amazing, historic city. Around seemingly every corner there’s another souke (or marketplace) waiting to be explored. Rugs, jewelry, traditional textiles and pottery fill the shops.

But let’s be honest. It’s really all about the rugs.

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In order to navigate the chaos of the markets, we hired an expert broker named Said. He showed us around the markets for hours, introduced me to artisans and merchants. I was blown away by the diversity of wares and the kindness of the shopkeepers. It was thrilling.

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As Said carried our bags and bags of samples back to the hotel (we talked everywhere), we had a fascinating cultural exchange. About 100 yards before we were going to say goodbye he said “When we get to your hotel I am going to tell you ‘goodbye,’ but I am not going to shake your hand. I know in your country it is a sign of respect to do that – and I respect you – but for me and my religion that is not a sign or respect.”

I was originally confused by his statement, but as he explained more, we began to talk about the differences in culture between our countries. It was a perfect example of the balance of traditional and western that exists in Morocco – a line they walk every day.

And we both walked away knowing that while we’re different, there is much more in common in our humanity. Rather than putting a cloud over an amazing experience – it put an exclamation point on it.

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[title maintitle=”Something I Didn’t Know” subtitle=”Marrakech is lush with foliage and florals”]

I had no idea how lush the city would be. I expected an arid, super dry climate, but what I found was a city filled with gardens and gorgeous foliage around every corner.

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Morocco Trip

[title maintitle=”Favorite Memory” subtitle=”Relaxing at the spa”]

One memory that will stick with me for a long time will be our visit to the spa at Royal Monsour. It was truly one of the most inspiring spaces I’ve ever been in, with lacy carved marble, natural light and just a feeling of lightness that’s hard to describe. It inspired me in so many ways and I can see it as an influence on many collections to come.

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Royal Monsour Spa

Royal Monsour Spa

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#kktravels Katie Kime Travel Guide, #kkprints, #katiekime, #morocco, #katiekimeprints

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Morocco Trip

 

[title maintitle=”One Last Thing” subtitle=”The architecture”]

Also known the “Red City” for its red hued building stone, Marrakech boasts some of the most diverse, stunning architecture I’ve seen. Every building we entered had some sort of ornate charm. The mix of colors, patterns and the sheer magnitude of some of these buildings was breathtaking.

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Shop Moroccan Rugs and Throws

 

Cheers to Charleston #TBT

Cheers to Charleston #TBT

Headed back to Charleston for the first time since stopping there in our traveling reception schedule. I’m excited to be back with Hampden for tomorrow’s Katie Kime Pop Up Shop!

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Last weekend our traveling reception hit Charleston to celebrate our marriage with five of my closest college friends and a few significant others. The unbreakable bond between this group of girls was formed when we lived abroad in Italy during our junior year of college. Since then our reunion rendezvous have spanned the country, even other countries and we’ve never not convened together for multiple nights per year since we graduated, ahem a few years ago… Like fine wine, they each only seem to get better with time and through marriages and divorces and job layoffs and parents getting sick and losing people we love in different ways and babies and (more babies on the way!), our friendships have at times ebbed and flowed but more often solidified and grown and deepened. What comfort there is in sitting on a southern front porch with women who know you as well as anyone and feeling so completely embraced and loved and known and feeling the same for them.

In addition to well, just a lot of talking and wine, we also reveled in Charleston’s thriving scene of restaurants, bars, shopping and design. I’ve always loved that city but it too seems to be getting better with age. Among the highlights: dinner at 5Church  which is quite literally an old church turned bar and restaurant, watching Duke beating Yale at Bay Street Biergarten, doing some serious damage at Hampden, one of the absolutely finest curations of fashion in the country, and our closing dinner at Sermets where we sipped martinis and laughed at each other’s idiosyncrasies and inappropriate jokes well into the night.

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Above and below we all stayed at  Zero George, an idyllic bed and breakfast in the heart of Charleston with an amazing bar and restaurant for guests and non-guests alike.

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Kettle corn-filled Duke bags as a part of the welcome baskets. Also included homemade cookies from King Street Cookies, Yeti cups of the boys, and so on…

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Below, pre dinner cocktails in Pia Pauro

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En route to Charleston, in one day, I finished what is one of the best books I’ve read in years. Captivated, crying and inspired, the only way I know how to describe what this book was like for me is to say it made me want to be great. The way you want to be when you’re young and unadulterated and a little less certain about how hard life will actually be. It made me feel small and not that smart and not that challenged in all the best ways imaginable. And at the same time so incredibly equipped, as we all are, to impact the little plot of the world we’ve each been given but often fail to recognize in the way Paul Kalanithi did. Read it! It will not disappoint.

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Image Via Cup of Jo

Charleston is also home of Indigo Market, a scavenger’s dream of Palm Beach chic meets regency meets Dorothy Draper. Also a must-see when visiting. For a commercial project I’ll be designing there next year I fully intend to wreak havoc on this darling market.

 

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Image Via

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Below, then and now.

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Main Image Image Via Long Island Lady

 

Katie Kime Travels | Antibes, France

Katie Kime Travels | Antibes, France

A few weeks ago we planned a last minute trip to the South of France. The intent of our European trip was to arrive in Scotland, with a beloved coach and friend.  Given the impromptu nature of the trip I frantically began trying to find the most accessible coast line. Italy stole my heart years ago when I first visited at 18 and then for good when I studied abroad in Florence. Last year’s Amalfi trip sealed the deal once again and I thought for sure we’d end up back there this time. But the trek to the south was a little far so I contacted my friend Merrill who plans all of our last minute excursions and she once again assembled the most amazing itinerary, this time to the South of France.

We stayed at Hotel Belle Rives, the F. Scott Fitzgerald villa turned hotel. Martinis at his beloved piano bar, print-filled hotel rooms and a 4th of July spent on the Riviera made for the vacation dreams are made of. Dinner at Eden Roc, the locale of one of Slim Aarons’ most iconic snaps was the ending highlight of a much-needed adults-only trip. See below for some of our favorite moments and spaces.

[title maintitle=”Favorite Hotel” subtitle=”Hotel Belle Rives”]

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Hotel Belles Rives - Antibes

Hotel Belles Rives - Antibes

Hotel Belles Rives Bar - Antibes

Suite at Hotel Belles Rives - Antibes

Suite at Hotel Belle Rives - Antibes

Antibes Ocean Swim

Hotel Belle Rives - Antibes

Hotel Belles Rives - Antibes

 

 

Antibes Hotel Du Cap Eden Roc

Katie Kime Travels Antibes

Antibes Beach View

Antibes Yacht View

 

 

 

 

KK Travels: Cascais, Portugal

KK Travels: Cascais, Portugal

After a whirlwind trip through Morocco and a wedding in Comporta, I dropped my partner in crime off at the airport and had an open design day to myself in the coastal town of Cascais, Portugal, about 40 miles outside of Lisbon. Getting there was no small task – stick shifting in my rental around crazy roundabouts in a foreign country was an adventure.

[title maintitle=”The Hotel” subtitle=”Farol Hotel”]

I stayed at the Farol Hotel, decked out with its outdoor lounge areas, pools and gorgeous suites on the beach. There’s nothing like relaxing next to the ocean to stir up inspiration, and the Farol Hotel puts you face-to-face with it.

Cascais, Portugal | Katie Kime

Farol Hotel, Portugal

Farol Hotel, Portugal

[title maintitle=”The Town” subtitle=”Cascais, Portugal”]

The former fishing village gained popularity in the 1800’s when the royal family vacationing there as a resort destination. The combination of history, stunning beaches and culture made it an ideal spot to spend a day to dream and recharge.

Cascais, Portugal - February 25, 2016: two men talking near the monument of the King Pedro I and Edificio do Relogio, in historical city center of Cascais, Grand Lisbon area, Portugal.

Cascais, Portugal | Katie Kime

The central Ribeira beach in Cascais

Cascais, Portugal | Katie Kime

[title maintitle=”Free Download” subtitle=”Mary Oliver Quote”]

I spent the day dreaming up new designs and was clearly inspired by the fishing boats, sea and Mary Oliver – and created this fish pattern. To download a version for yourself, click here.

 

Cascais, Portugal | Katie Kime

5 Great New Austin Restaurants

5 Great New Austin Restaurants

One of the best – and worst – parts about living in Austin is that there is always an amazing new restaurant popping up.  A buzzy new spot opens just about every week. We’re here to help narrow down the options for you to just five fantastic restaurants that have opened recently.

[title maintitle=”Eberly” subtitle=”Gatsby Meets Austin”]

Eberly | Austin, TX

Much of the buzz about Eberly, where we staged our Fall 2016 photo shoot, has rightfully been about the impressive – and we don’t use that word lightly – design of the space. It’s an amazing space to enjoy a meal in. But don’t get hung up on just the gorgeous digs. Instead, dig into a truly killer steak and frites, or their dessert menu, including scrumptious marcona almond Basque Cake. But the real crown jewel is the cocktail program, which you can enjoy at the attached Cedar Tavern Bar or in-restaurant.

[title maintitle=”Grizzelda’s” subtitle=”Upscale Tex-Mex”]

Photo via Eater Austin

Photo via Eater Austin

We know what you’re thinking – does Austin really need another Tex-Mex spot? If that spot is Grizzelda’s, then answer is unequivocally yes. With some of the best margaritas in a town replete with them, sneaky good chips and salsa and a taco menu to die for, we’re all in. Small things like their house-made tortillas really stand out. Not to mention, the mix of wallpapers, splashes of color and a gorgeous bar make it one of our favorite places just to hang.

[title maintitle=”Mattie’s at Green Pastures” subtitle=”Southern Swank”]

Mattie's at Green Pastures

Photo courtesy of Mattie’s

Green Pastures has long been an Austin staple, but when it underwent a gorgeous renovation in 2016, it reopened with fresh new life as Mattie’s. Sporting one of the best patios in Austin (complete with peacocks roaming the grounds), Mattie’s delivers on the food front as well with farm-fresh American cuisine and cocktails done with precision.

[title maintitle=”Bougie’s Donuts” subtitle=”Fun + Fancy Donuts and Coffee”]

Bougie's Donuts | Austin, TX

Photo courtesy of So Much Life

The gourmet donut craze reached Austin in earnest when Portland staple Voodoo Donuts arrived on the scene in 2015. And to this point, we’ve yet to cultivate our very own classic shop. Sure we have Gourdough’s, but it’s more dessert than traditional donut. Enter Bougie’s Donuts.

With a goal to “elevate the traditional donut experience,” the shop opened in Sunset Valley in late 2016. Recipes range from savory bacon rosemary with sea salt to lemon and lavender and triple berry. Pair your donuts with a Cuveè pourover and call it a morning.

[title maintitle=”Bistro 1683″ subtitle=”Pop-Up Dinner Featuring Chef Gaggeneau”]

Bistro 1653

One of the great things about Austin becoming a destination food city are the unique opportunities like pop-up dinners from incredible chefs. Following a successful Bistro 1683 pop-up in New York City last summer, Michelin Star rated Chef Gaggenau of Los Angeles-based Gaggenau Restaurant set his sights on Austin for his next destination dinner. We were lucky enough to get an invite to the evening, which featured course after course of amazing American fare. A truly memorable evening.

KK Travels: Sublime Comporta Hotel, Portugal

KK Travels: Sublime Comporta Hotel, Portugal

When one of my best friends from college announced her wedding in Portugal, I knew I couldn’t miss it. And when I found out it was in Comporta, a quaint beach town on the west coast of Portugal, it was a no brainer – my husband Greg and I would have to make the trip. Here are highlights from a truly incredible beach weekend.

[title maintitle=”The Hotel” subtitle=”Sublime Comporta”]

We stayed in the villas at Sublime Comporta. Appointed with private decks, pools and enough natural light to make me want to stay forever, it was hard to leave our little home away from home – even with the beach just a short jaunt away.

Sublime Comporta Portugal | Katie Kime

[title maintitle=”The Beach Bar” subtitle=”Sal Restaurante”]

Just down the way from the Sublime Comporta, was a little beach bar called Sal Restaurante, where the wedding guests enjoyed a rehearsal lunch and drinks. Recently named the best beachside cafe in the world by Condé Nast, the location was unparalleled, looking out over Pego Beach. We enjoyed some of the most fresh and delectable sangria I’ve ever tasted and watched the sunset.

Sublime Comporta Portugal | Katie Kime

Photo via Sal Restaurante

Sublime Comporta | Portugal | Katie Kime

Photo via Sal Restaurante

Sublime Comporta Portugal | Katie Kime

Sublime Comporta Portugal | Katie Kime

[title maintitle=”The Wedding” subtitle=”A Truly Romantic Occasion”]

Like the entire weekend, the wedding itself was an intimate, dreamy night. Kathryn looked absolutely stunning, we danced, drank and enjoyed catching up with old and new friends. I’ve long shared an entrepreneurial bond with Kathryn and her twin sister Lizzie, who are the masterminds behind Lizzie Fortunato jewelry.

The lesson, as always: if you can get married on the beach in Portugal you gotta do it.

Sublime Comporta Portugal | Katie Kime

Sublime Comporta Portugal | Katie Kime