Postcard from Tangier | RES IPSA - RES IPSA

Postcard from Tangier | RES IPSA

Our Brand is Travel. One of our ten core beliefs is that a person should travel as far as they can as often as they can. One of the ways we try to live this core belief is to visit a place we've never been to whenever we're on our way somewhere. Coming back from a month working out of our Marrakech atelier, we decided to answer the call of Tangier, a near-mythical destination for literary tourists. Tangier, founded in the fifth century B.C., has been ruled by Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, English, Spaniards, and then a loosely-policed international zone in the mid-20th century. Or, from the Romans to the Rolling Stones, as one book put it.

An astonishing number of classics were written in Tangier: Paul Bowles wrote The Sheltering Sky here, Tennessee Williams wrote Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; William S. Boroughs wrote Naked Lunch; portions of Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad were written here, and Mohamed Choukri wrote For Bread Alone. One of our favorite books, Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist, takes place in Tangier.

Where to Stay:

Villa Augustine
Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Marchan neighborhood, Villa Augustine offers a blend of luxury and historical elegance. This charming hotel is an oasis of tranquility with stunning views of the Mediterranean. The villa's historic architecture and not one, but two terraces, provide a perfect backdrop for a serene escape. The kasbah and great dining are all an easy walk from the hotel.

Where to Eat: 

Villa Mabrouka
Once the home of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, Villa Mabrouka offers a dining experience as unique as its history. The restaurant serves a fusion of Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine, set against a backdrop of lush gardens and elegant interiors that reflect Saint Laurent's sophisticated taste (it's also a 12-room hotel and you can even stay in Yves's bedroom). The home-turned-hotel also has a terrace bar with panoramic views of the Strait of Gibraltar. 

El Morocco Club
Located in the Kasbah, El Morocco Club is a chic restaurant that pays homage to Tangier's cosmopolitan past. Housed in a historic building, it offers a menu of contemporary Moroccan dishes with a French twist. The ambiance, complete with live jazz music, transports diners to a bygone era of glamour. The real star of the show is the dive bar downstairs that serves perfect negronis and where strangers end up chatting like long-lost friends.

Chez Hassan
For a more traditional (no-frills-but-delicious) experience, Chez Hassan is a must-visit. This beloved local spot serves up authentic Moroccan fare in a cozy, unpretentious setting. Known for its delicious tagines and warm hospitality, Chez Hassan offers a taste of Tangier's culinary heritage. We had grilled skewers of shark, swordfish, tuna, and calamari with Moroccan salads.

Perched on the coastline, L'Océan is renowned for its seafood and breathtaking ocean views. The restaurant's history is intertwined with the sea, offering dishes that highlight the freshest local catches. Dining here is a sensory experience, with the sound of waves complementing the flavors of the sea. We ate grilled fresh fish with an Aperol spritz and a view of the ocean--it was a whole vibe.

Café Hafa
Established in 1921, Café Hafa is a legendary spot frequented by artists, writers, and musicians. Overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, this café has retained its vintage charm, serving traditional mint tea and pastries. Its terraces offer panoramic views, making it a perfect place to relax and soak in the ambiance of Tangier. Over the years, it has hosted numerous famous personalities, including The Rolling Stones, William S. Burroughs, and Paul Bowles, making it a symbol of Tangier’s rich cultural heritage and bohemian spirit. It's the perfect spot to read a book and sip mint tea.

A City with History
Tangier's rich history is evident in its architecture, cuisine, and cultural landmarks. From the ancient medina to the bustling markets and historic sites, the city invites exploration and discovery. Each hotel and restaurant mentioned above not only offers exceptional service and cuisine but also provides a window into Tangier's storied past.

Parting Thoughts
Whether you're sipping tea at Café Hafa, enjoying a meal at Villa Mabrouka, or simply wandering the streets, Tangier captivates with its blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication. We hope this postcard inspires you to explore the Tangier or simply a place you've never been in your hometown. 

Safe travels and happy exploring!

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