NEW Palmeras del Califa
- Complete redecoration at Las Palmeras del Califa
2019 sees a new look for Las Palmeras del Califa, the smaller sister hotel of La Casa del Califa. Sharing a garden wall but with a different aspect to the Califa James Stuart & Regli Alvarez (Califa owners) decided to bring a new look to the Palmeras which gets its name from the view to the imposing palm trees of the ‘Jardín del Califa’. Working with interior designer Ellie Cormié (who brought a new image to the Califa’s iconic tapas bar ‘Califa Tapas’ and the Califa rooftop bar ‘La Teteria’) James and Ellie came up with a more colonial African feel reflecting some of James’s southern African family heritage while retaining some of the feel of La Casa del Califa. The original Califa hotel has references to both James’s childhood in the Middle East and Vejer’s Moorish legacy.
James’s great grandfather at 20 yrs. old arrived in southern Africa in 1881 and after prospecting for diamonds joined the Pioneer column working its way through southern Africa. The original map in the ‘Patio Arabe’ at Palmeras shows the African continent as it was then, the interior largely undiscovered by Europeans. James’s great grandfather lived his whole life in southern Africa and both James’s grandmother and father were born there and his brother and family continue the family tradition living in the Cape.
On a landing outside the Red room is a photograph taken in 1904 of Mabukatawari the house James’s grandmother grew up in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia).
These guns were originally part of a collection owned by the notorious game hunter Roualeyn Gordon Cumming (1820 - 1866). Bought from the family by James’s father they have travelled all over the world and are now at peace in Las Palmeras. The shorter gun is a Kabyle or Moukalla musket and the longer gun is a flintlock Camel gun, both date from the early 1800's and are most likely North African.
Ellie Cormié gaining inspiration in Essaouira.
James Stuart and Younes who makes the large Califa lamps in his workshop on the outskirts of Marrakesh. The 1,80m. tall lamp hanging in the Arab patio is entirely hand made with the etching taking 2 men 2 full weeks to produce plus another week for polishing and finishing.
Aschraf and José Diego carefully manhandling 'Bobby'. With horns of over 1,60m. in length this prime example of an Oryx Gazella is finally closer to his natural home in Africa. After starting his life in Botswana, travelling to Scotland where he spent several decades and now almost a hundred years later has a view to the hills of the Alcornocales forest.
Choosing textiles for the rooms - as the rooms have colours rather than numbers and James didn't want to change the colours Ellie's selection needed to fit in with the colour scheme while achieving the natural organic tones they were looking for.
Among the Palmeras art are 2 new photos for the Califa photo collection. Both photos date from the early 1940's. The first is by Marcelin Flandrin titled 'Femme et palmiers, Marrakech' while the second by Jacques Belin shows a woman collecting barley titled 'Champ d'orge dans le Sud, circa 1940'. These prints are taken from the photographers archives in Marrakesh, a visit to the 'Maison de la photogaphie' is well worth a visit.
'El Patio Árabe' is itself a work of art. This is the oldest feature remaining of the original house and dates back to at least the 13th. century when Vejer was still part an arab town. The original stone work discovered during the restoration and the style of the arches help the dating of the building.For more information on Vejer's history click here.