For our Packing List series, designers and more women we love open their suitcases to show us how they prepare (and what they bring) for their far-flung adventures.
In light of her wanderlust-inspired collection, LoveShackFancy, it’s no surprise that designer Rebecca Hessel Cohen is one incredibly well-travelled woman. This past year alone, she visited at least 5 countries—from Mexico to Morocco—and more cities than you can count on two hands. Hessel Cohen fell so much in love with the latter that she put together a guide to the best places to visit, stay, shop, and sip on a visit to the magical city of Marrakech and its environs. Read on for her picks, and a rundown of what she packs.
REBECCA HESSEL COHEN’S MOROCCO: WHERE TO STAY
The new Mandarin Oriental or the Royal Mansour: the spa was absolutely beyond and the food at the hotel is the best you'll ever have. The service is incomparable! This was my favorite place we stayed.
OUT OF TOWN
Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot is a magical place with horses, donkeys and a gorgeous pool with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains as the backdrop. We had a private dinner party here one night and danced under the stars dressed in traditional djellabas. We stayed in a red tent that was one of the coziest rooms we've ever seen.
VIDEO: The Cheapest Places to Travel Each Month of the Year
WHERE TO EAT
I love the traditional Moroccan restaurant at La Mamounia hotel, Le Marocain. You sit in a private room and the servers serenade you over tajines and red wine. And of course, all the fresh Moroccan teas!
Dar Yacout is one of the best Moroccan restaurants in the Medina—very charming; Al Fassia is a delicious, traditional restaurant owned and run by women; and Selman hotel and La Sultana are musts for brunch. Le Jardin des Épices is a very nice place you can go to when you visit the Jemaa el Fna. Great to stop there for tea and a snack.
But Royal Mansour hotel’s restaurants are my favorite in Marrakech. You can either go to La Grande Table for a romantic dinner or the more casual La Table, or Le Jardin by the pool for a more casual experience. We are obsessed with every restaurant here.
WHAT TO DO
We spent a day in the Atlas Mountains. Seeing how the locals have lived for thousands of years and their love of family and tradition is truly special.
Jardin de Majorelle, the gardens of Yves Saint Laurent, are magnificent—everything is the most insane blue color.
The gardens at La Mamounia are also heavenly. I especially love exploring them under the moonlight.
Place Jemaa el-Fnaa is a public square famous for snakes, fortune tellers, monkeys, small shops and of course, the souk. I fell in love with traditional Berber fashion and the velvet, beaded pieces from royal Fez families.
It’s amazing to spend one day in La Pause, which consists of tents in the desert. You can ride quads on the dunes, go horseback riding, and visit the local villages.
WHERE TO GO OUT
El Fenn has a really cool vibe for drinks after dinner. Raspoutine, a club from Paris, just opened—we danced there a few nights with close friends. Le Bo-zin is perfect for a group dinner—a real party spot. You won’t even remember the food! Ling Ling from Hakkasan is at the Mandarin Oriental, where we spent a couple nights, and you must gamble in the casino at La Mamounia hotel. On my last trip, I spent New Year’s Eve at La Sultana, which was unforgettable. We all wore gold, danced with belly dancers and had a ten-course Moroccan meal.
How She Packs
OVER-PACKER OR UNDER-PACKER?
Over packer always! I packed two bags for myself, but I traveled with my husband and two little girls, so all together we had about eight bags! My favorite luggage is from Louis Vuitton.
What's in the bag?
I try to bring as much LoveShackFancy as possible (it's usually all I bring, besides vintage these days). I tend to pack lots of dresses and miniskirts: For Morocco, I brought our new Spring Cécile dress, which I absolutely love. In the Mountains I wore our classic Victorian dress. At my favorite hotel, the Royal Mansour, I wore our new Rebecca dress for Summer and the Beth dress from Resort. For New Year's Eve, I wore my favorite indigo dyed lurex dress. I mixed in a few of our new tops with my jeans for walks in the souk.
Shop It: 1. Louis Vuitton suitcase, $3,550; louisvuitton.com. 2. LoveShackFancy Cécile dress, $545; net-a-porter.com. 3. LoveShackFancy Beth dress, $365; net-a-porter.com. 4. LoveShackFancy top, $225; net-a-porter.com. 5. 3x1 Jeans, $245; net-a-porter.com.
A Large iPad, Snacks, Crayons for the girls to keep them busy, my leopard Charlotte Olympia slippers and eye mask, an oversize scarf from Isabel Marant, a cashmere blanket from Cashmere and mini blankets from Bonpoint for the girls, big cozy J. Crew camp socks, and a miniskirt to change into if I’m traveling somewhere warm.
Shop It: 1. Saint Laurent bag, $895; mytheresa.com. 2. Crayola crayons, $1; target.com. 3. iPad, $330; bestbuy.com. 4. Charlotte Olympia slippers, $595; net-a-porter.com. 5. Lanificio Colombo blanket, $833; lanificiocolombo.com. 6. J. Crew socks, $15; jcrew.com. 7. YumEarth lollipops, $5; amazon.com.
WHAT'S YOUR BEST PACKING ADVICE?
I lay out all my clothes on the floor and create different categories: day time, night time and then all the extras. “Extras” usually turns into a pretty bag category. I completely overpack though, so for this trip we were gone for 14 nights and I probably had about 20 night options.
WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL AIRPLANE OUTFIT?
When I'm leaving NYC I usually wear 3x1 Skinny jeans, Lanvin suede booties, a vintage sweatshirt, fringe oversize Isabel Marant cashmere scarf and a Faith Connexion suede bomber jacket. When I travel home you never know! Sometimes I’ll get on the plane straight from the beach in a bikini and LSF dress, then change on the plane and layer it all. I'm in complete denial that I’m returning from traveling until I actually get home. I try to prolong it as much as possible!