Morocco: Northern Africa Melds with the Mediterranean World


March 19 – 29, 2019  and
April 2 – 12, 2019 


Situated on the portal between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Morocco’s location at the crossroads of East and West has facilitated cultural exchange for centuries. Our 10-day program introduces these successive layers of influence at sites between Tangier and Marrakech. Building upon settlement by the indigenous Berber tribes and the empires of Carthage and Rome, a sequence of seven powerful dynasties have ruled the country since the 7th century. For nearly 800 years most of Andalusia across the narrow Strait of Gibraltar was partly under Moorish control, allowing for further artistic dialogue. France held much of Morocco as a Protectorate for the first half of the 20th century, and remnants of this relationship are felt throughout the country today, as well. Long renowned for the talents of her architects and craftspeople, this up-tempo expedition introduces Trust members to Morocco’s impressive cultural achievements, including a half-dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Participants seeking an occasion to procure examples of Morocco’s admired arts and crafts should anticipate plenty of purchasing opportunities!


ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)

Tuesday, March 19 and April 2

Participants gather in Tangier at the charming Hotel Mövenpick, perched on the coast across from Gibraltar. This enigmatic city has lured artists, writers, and musicians from Delacroix and Matisse to Burroughs and the Rolling Stones. We venture into the Old City in the late afternoon to tour the American Legation with the Director, John Davison. This is the only American historic landmark located overseas and was presented by the Moulay Suleiman to the United States in 1821 for use as the consulate. We return to the hotel for welcome drinks and dinner.

D included
Overnight: TANGIER

Wednesday, March 20 and April 3

Accompanied by Jonathan Dawson, an English journalist expat and long-time resident of Tangier, we set out for a comprehensive exploration of this ancient port city. Adjacent to the Grand Zocco, St. Andrew’s is a fascinating Anglican church that merges Moorish architecture with Christian theology. Passing into the royal portion of the fortified city, we discover the Medina and visit Mr. Dawson’s home, Rock Lodge, to relish the stunning views. After lunch at the acclaimed L’Ocean, we are invited to explore an interior decorator’s fabulous house, collection, and garden. In the evening, Gordon Watson, a London-based antiques dealer, welcomes us for dinner.

B, L, D included
Overnight: TANGIER

Thursday, March 21 and April 4

Leaving Tangier, we head southeast along the coast to scenic Tetouan, established in 1305, where Islamic and Spanish architecture are seamlessly blended in sites such as the 17th-century Royal Palace. The city was the capital of Spain’s Moroccan colony, and the Medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, having served as a place of refuge for Jews and Moors escaping the Spanish Inquisition. We investigate the museums of the Luqash Madrasa and Benabound House before turning our sights southward, arriving at the comfortable Hotel Echchaouen before dinner.

B, L, D included

Friday, March 22 and April 5

Chefchaouen, called the “Blue City,” is nestled in the hollow of two mountains and admired for the iconic indigo-washed buildings. Founded in the 15th century, exiles from Spain were also welcomed here. Steep, narrow streets, small squares, and ornate fountains make this a delightful and picturesque town rife for a morning study. Continuing to Fes, with lunch en route, we arrive at sumptuous accommodations at the Hotel Les Merinides before enjoying an afternoon at leisure.

B, L, D included
Overnight: FES

Saturday, March 23 and April 6

Founded in the 9th century, Fes is the oldest royal city in Morocco and considered the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. Our exploration begins in the Medina with an investigation of the spice market, tanners’ quarter, and important buildings, including the University of al-Qarawiyyin (established in 857) and the intricately wrought architecture of the 14th-century Madrasa. Following a restorative lunch, we set off to examine the impressive ethnographic collection of the Dar El-Batha Museum of Moroccan Art, which is situated in a late-19th-century palace with a fine Andalusian garden.

B, L included
Overnight: FES

Sunday, March 24 and April 7

Heading east toward Rabat, we stop over at the ruins of the Roman commercial hub Volubilis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated for its beautifully preserved mosaics. We proceed to the royal city of Meknes, the 17th-century capital of Morocco under Moulay Ismail, where the remnants of his building campaign include the gigantic ramparts, the royal stables and granary, and the sultan’s tomb inside a stunning mosque. After crossing the agricultural plains, we reach Rabat and settle into lodgings at the Mgallery Diwan. Dinner this evening is at the invitation of a former governor in his home, Villa Sbihi, a short drive north of the city in Salé.

B, L, D included
Overnight: RABAT

Monday, March 25 and April 8

The capital of Morocco and the official residence of the king since the early 20th century, Rabat reflects worldly elegance blended with traditional Moroccan character. Our morning tour commences with the fortified Kasbah Oudayas, the 17th-century royal residence and its Andalusian garden. The Mohamed V Mausoleum is a magnum opus of Moroccan craftsmanship standing adjacent to the medieval Hassan Tower. We return to Salé, a port town founded in the 11th century and later embellished by the Merinid dynasty, who constructed the Medersa of Sultan Abou el Hassan, noted for its colonnaded gallery covered in tilework and carved plaster and wood. We return to Rabat to visit the Medina and souks.

B, L included
Overnight: RABAT

Tuesday, March 26 and April 9 

A morning flight brings us to Marrakech, where we check into the elegant Jardins de La Koutoubia Hotel. Following lunch on the hotel terrace, we set off to investigate the colorful and lively souks in the Medina, offering a feast for our senses as we taste local produce, smell the fragrance of the local spices and oils, and feel the texture of the local fabrics. Shopping opportunities abound! Our stroll concludes at the famous square of Jemaa El Fna to appreciate the local performers.

B, L included
Overnight: MARRAKECH

Wednesday, March 27 and April 10

Marrakech is considered Morocco’s most cosmopolitan city, displaying a synthesis of ancient and modern architecture. Our excursion opens at the Koutoubia Mosque, a masterpiece of Islamic design dating back to the late 12th century, followed by the ornate Badii Palace and Saadian necropolis of the 16th century, and the 19th-century Bahia Palace, where we appreciate the intricate ornamental work executed by local artisans. The morning romp ends with the collection of Bert Flint, a Dutch anthropologist who assembled Moroccan folk art and artifacts. Lunch at the chic Hotel Mamounia provides sustenance for our afternoon tour through the Bab Debbagh to the Museum of Photography. At the Museum Douiria Mouassine, a recently restored 16th-century aristocratic house, we encounter Moroccan traditional arts, before enjoying a respite with Moroccan mint tea at Dar Cherifa, a medieval noble dwelling now serving as an art museum. Dinner this evening is hosted privately in the medina at Villa Medani by kind arrangement with former French diplomat Thierry de Beaucé.

B, L, D included
Overnight: MARRAKECH

Thursday, March 28 and April 11

Our final day begins with an excursion to the famous Majorelle Gardens, created by the orientalist Jacques Majorelle. He planted an extraordinary collection of flora that flourishes among elegant ornamental lakes and an Art Deco villa, painted in an iconic shade of cobalt blue. Yves Saint-Laurent purchased the estate in 1980. The remainder of our morning is further dedicated to sites connected to the great French designer.

The Berber Museum displays his personal collection of antiques representing Morocco’s tribal culture. The Yves Saint Laurent Museum recently opened nearby to display highlights of his design collection. Leaving the hustle of the city behind, we venture southeast into the Ourika Valley in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains for lunch with British expat Mrs. Lynn Guinness. We further explore the verdant valley before returning to Marrakech for a final celebratory dinner.

B, L, D included
Overnight: MARRAKECH

Friday, March 29 and April 12 

Independent departures from the Marrakech airport. Participants wishing to extend their stay in Morocco may elect to seek out the country’s oceanside resorts in Essaouira, journey into the Atlas Mountains, or travel further south into the desert.

B included

Terms and Conditions

Land Arrangement Cost:
$6,550 per person, based on double occupancy for 10 nights.

Transatlantic airfare is not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation of your registration from the Trust.

A deposit of $1,500 per person is required by May 1, 2018. Reservations and deposits are taken on an as received basis. You will receive a written confirmation from the Decorative Arts Trust. Do not make any irrevocable airline reservations until you receive your verification. Please make checks payable to “The Decorative Arts Trust” and mail to 20 South Olive Street, Suite 204, Media, PA 19063.

Single Supplement:
The single supplement is $950, to be paid along with the final balance.

Final Payment:
Will be due by December 15, 2018. Invoices for final payment will be mailed in early November.

Membership at the Sponsor level is required for participation in Study Trips Abroad. Your membership contribution is fully tax deductible. If an increase in your membership level is necessary, the Trust will invoice you for the appropriate level upgrade with your final payment.

A donation to the Decorative Arts Trust of $500 per person is required for Study Trips Abroad. This gift is fully tax deductible and helps support the Trust’s mission and programs.

The schedule outlined in this itinerary is contracted for at this time but subject to change as necessary. A suggested reading list will be sent to you.

Each trip and the optional extension are limited to a maximum of 25 members and require a minimum of 15. The trip and/or extension will be canceled if under-subscribed, and deposits will be refunded. We will organize and maintain a waiting list on the basis of the time registrations are received. This is a strenuous trip. We regret that we cannot be responsible for those needing assistance on this trip. By registering, you are certifying that you do not have any mental, physical, or other condition of disability that would create a hazard for yourself or other passengers. The Trust reserves the right to decline anyone as a participant in this Study Trip Abroad should the person’s health, actions, or general deportment impede the operation of the Study Trip Abroad; the rights, welfare, or enjoyment of others; or the standing of the Decorative Arts Trust. A valid United States passport is required for this itinerary.

Included in Trip Cost:
Hotel accommodations for 10 nights in 4- and 5-star hotels, 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 7 dinners, private coach transportation, local guides, admission in museums, historic houses, and gardens, gratuities for professional guides and coach drivers, and porterage.

Not Included in the Trip Cost:
Airfare, airport transfers other than specified above, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included.

Cancellation and Refund:
If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to The Decorative Arts Trust. All cancellations are subject to a $250 administrative fee. Deposits are non-refundable after May 1, 2018. Cancellations arriving by December 15, 2018, will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations arriving by February 1, 2019, will receive a 25% refund. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after February 1, 2019.


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