If Fez feels Arab, and Casablanca and Tangier European, it is Marrakech, the Red City that has a true African feel to it.

It is the first great city north of the Sahara, and became not only the centre of caravan routes and a vibrant trade, but an Imperial city of Morocco.

This is recalled in the riad with African artifacts from Mali and Benin, that still today find their way from West Africa through the desert, north to Marrakech.

Traditional textiles

Riad Porte Royale at one time belonged to a silk merchant, so it seemed appropriate to accent the white walls with a selection of textiles.

These include a Haik (Berber shawl) a fragment of Ikat, and a Suzani.

Ikat is a traditional technique resulting in a streaky effect, created by tying and dyeing lengths of silk before weaving.

The term Suzani means "needlework"- specifically, the exquisite silk thread embroidery panels made by Uzbek women in Central Asia, which were used as hangings, bed covers, table cloths and prayer mats for their households and their daughter’s dowries.

Bambara-Warka mask (Mali)

Traditional textiles

Dogon Granary door

These doors protected the window-like opening into each family's grain storage building, and used a simple sliding door lock.

Primordial beings, ancestors, Kanaga masks, sun lizards and scenes of life symbolically served to protect the entrance by making it sacrosanct.

Egyptian cotton sheets

In our own bedrooms we use fresh Egyptian cotton sheets for the beds. Art does not have to be something that hangs on a wall... but can be part of the daily experience of life.

Dogon granary door