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RETURN TO TANGIER

James Andrew in the Kasbah Museum garden. Click to enlarge.

Dressed for an afternoon exploring the Kasbah, I’m sporting a Tom Ford royal and ivory glen plaid silk jacket and ocean blue silk pocket square, Liberty of London floral print shirt, Paul Stuart blue and white ribbon belt, Uniqlo white jean, Polo Ralph Lauren blue leather driving mocs, Cartier Tank Divan, Lock & Co stray hat, and my fragrance is Madini Tangier gardenia.

As many of you may remember, WIJW made a journey to Tangier back in 2017 and were mesmerized by the place. We’ve been plotting a return ever since and thankfully we just recently made a tremendous return to Tangier. My beloved Scott Mcbee and I had not taken a proper holiday in ages and so we were more than happy to treat ourselves to an extended stay, giving us ample time to luxuriate and catch up with our fab collection of friends there.

On our recent stay, we managed to discover even more of the elusive charms and beauty of Tangier. Getting lost in the Kasbah is always a treat and a visit to the Kasbah Museum and Garden is a terrific treat. When in the Kasbah. a lunch at Salon Bleu is always a good idea with its divine cuisine and incredible vistas – and a stroll through the Laure Welfling gallery should certainly be included.

The Kasbah Museum courtyard.

On our last visit, we stayed at the legendary El Minzah Hotel. It opened its doors in 1930 at the command of John Crichton-Stuart, the 4th marquis of Lord Bute (a British aristocrat with extensive interests in the area). It was a Moroccan/Andulusian confection in the tradition of the grand hotel of yesteryear. Located near the medina, it is terribly handy to all the must-see sights, restaurants and boutiques. Needless to say we were excited to return there, but we were in for a pretty huge disappointment. Sadly the hotel has recently been subjected to a rather hideous refurbishment – bathrooms redone with commercial tile (think: something below a Home Depot find); industrial looking wall to wall carpet in the hallways; cheap fabric and tile throughout the hotel – all very in le goût Saddam Hussein. I am utterly baffled by this, seeing that there really is no shortage of Moroccan artisans and craftsman! The hotel could have been refurbished with the most marvelous Moroccan materials – instead it was just cheap and soulless. One wants to feel like one is in Morocco! Luckily none of the architecture has been messed with, so there is hope that a tasteful redecoration could happen – fingers crossed – El Minzah could be rather fabulous once again. Until such time, I cant say I would suggest it to anyone. This is definitely not up to WIJW standards.

The Kasbah Museum Garden.

It was a bit of a struggle for me at El Minzah. As a decorator, I am extremely sensitive to my surroundings, so, alas, I spent way too much time thinking what I would have done differently with the design and decoration. Luckily my exquisite friends provided endless distraction – especially Monica di Valmarana who was instrumental in sharing some of the sometimes elusive beauty and charm of Tangier – she organized a lovely luncheon at the seaside restaurant – L’Ocean. It is certainly one of the best restaurants in Tangier – no wonder the chicest of the chic Tangerinos are always dining here.

Additionally, di Valmarana opened up some of the creative heart of Tangier – the sources available in Tangier for tiles, wicker, rattan, pottery, etc., as well as clothing. Olas, an off shoot of de Velasco, has branched out on their own and are doing marvelous things. In fact, I will be doing a bit of custom clothing with them – kaftans and jackets in Taroni fabrics. Stay tuned!

James Andrew in the El Minzah hotel courtyard.

Whilst at El Minzah enjoying the courtyard, I’m wearing a Gucci white cotton safari jacket, lilac linen Moroccan style shirt from De Velasco, Tom Ford floral pants, Polo Ralph Lauren white leather driving mocs, Cartier Tank Divan watch , and my fragrance is
Madini Tangier gardenia.

2 Comments

  1. Dean Farris says:

    James dear boy,

    Only YOU would be so outrageously aesthetic as to wear Madini Tangier gardenia in Tangier!

    Fabulous post on this trip!

  2. James Andrew says:

    Dear Dean

    I jadore gardenia!!!

    Thank you for your kind words!

    JA

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