In 2011, Jen Rubio worked over at the infamous Warby Parker, where she met Stephanie Korey. In 2015, Jen made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 and started her new company with Stephanie, who joined her in the ranks of the Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2016.
Beingpassionate world travelers, the two women banded together to create Away, a luggage company designed with the dedicated jetsetter in mind.
I've always had a fondness for Morocco. After going to Skybar at the Mondrian and meeting dozens of Moroccans and getting to know Miss New York 2015, Iman Oubou, I've felt a strong desire to take a trip to Morocco at least once in my life.
Fortunately, Jen made it back out to Morocco recently, a place she has gone almost a dozen times in the last ten years. She first visited Morocco back when she was taking a class on Moorish architecture and just fell in love. Her favorite city is Marrakech. Since she just took her trip and has been back so many times, I was able to get her top insights for traveling to Morocco.
These are her top 7 tips for visiting Morocco:
1. Stay in a small riad.
Jen can't imagine staying anywhere but in a riad in Marrakech. When with a big group, they rent out the 8-room Riad Majala, which really feels like a private residence. She also loves Vanessa Branson's Riad el Fenn, a contemporary, artsy take on the traditional riads.
2. Get drinks or tea at the big hotels.
Even if you're staying in a riad, Jen feels it's worth visiting the palatial La Mamounia and the Royal Mansour. Jen raves about how the tile and lightwork in the Royal Mansour is jaw-dropping, and they have a great bar with a grand piano.
3. Go to a hammam.
Jen explained that a hammam, also known as a Turkish bath, is like a steam bath. She suggest to schedule a traditional scrub. The ritual is a respite from the dust and crowds. Jen's favorite private hammams are Le Bain Bleu andFarnatchi Spa, located right in the medina.
4. Watch Djemaa el-Fna come to life.
Djemaa el-Fna is Marrakesh's main square and open-air theatre. Jen suggests that you pick a café with a terrace overlooking Djemaa el-Fna and show up an hour before sunset before the rest of the crowds show up. She says it's incredible to watch the square come alive with the lights and smoke of hundreds of food stalls. Afterwards, she suggests you go downstairs and have dinner.
5. Visit Chefchaouen.
Marrakech is where Jen spends most her time, but she also finds great things to do outside of the city. Chefchaouen, the famous blue city, is worth seeing and is a four-hour drive from Marrakech. It's situated in the mountains, and the narrow streets are lined with buildings covered in shades of blue powder and paint.
6. Road trip through the High Atlas mountains.
Last year, Jen did a road trip through the High Atlas mountains to get to the Erg Chebbi dunes of the Sahara. Jen felt that driving through the high, red rocks of the Dades Gorge is stunning. She said it helped inspire the red color in the new Moroccan inspired capsule collection.
7. Visit the Scarabeo Camp.
Forty kilometers from Marrakech is the stone desert of Agafay. A French couple runs Scarabeo Camp, a full-on glamping situation with billowing white bivouac tents, hotel-worthy beds, and vintage Moroccan decor. Jen spent the weekend here with a handful of girlfriends from London and loved the experience
Inspired by her love and continued passion for Morocco, Jen released a brand new Morocco collection within the Away product line.
Everything Away designs is inspired by true travel stories, from the features on the bag to their limited edition colors. Having spent a lot of time in Morocco, Jen has always been in awe of the exuberance of the country, and particularly, Marrakech. The colors in our Morocco collection were inspired by the vibrancy of Morocco: from the red walls of the medina and red rocks of the Dades Gorge, to the leafy tops of Argan trees in fields and green tile patterns in riad courtyards Jardin Marjorelle, and especially by moments, like the dusty blue skies just before the sun rises over the main square, or the soft blue glow of lights in a hammam.
These seven tips were just the highlights of Jen's trip to Morocco, a place that I definitely want to visit soon. Is Morocco somewhere you want to visit? What do you think of the new Away Morocco collection? I'd love to hear more! Comment below.