Meanwhile in Marrakech, it's me, Maryam. I am an American designer, hotelier and humanitarian, as well as founder of the #tribalchic lifestyle brand, M.Montague.
I was born in Cairo, and raised in Tunis and New York, before living in Dakar, Kathmandu and Windhoek for my work in humanitarian aid. I then moved with my architect husband to Morocco where we pitched our own tent on a working olive grove on the outskirts of Marrakech. There we designed, built and decorated a boutique hotel, Peacock Pavilions, a favorite spot for travelers, as well as a place to host private retreats (yoga, photography, art, dance etc.). Peacock Pavilions has been a shoot location for diverse brands, such as J. Crew and Tory Burch, and has been featured in numerous media outlets, from Elle Décor to the New York Times.
My work in humanitarian aid has taken me to the remote reaches of 40+ countries and into the workshops of countless artisans. So a few years back, I launched the M.Montague Souk, a curated online shop of tribal-inspired and Moroccan home décor. It's there that I share my picks of both new and vintage homewares, including my own line of unique products. For those adventurers looking to join in on the fun, I have also led design safaris in Marrakech for individuals and brands, including Tory Burch, Martha Stewart, and Lily Allen.
I also love to write and take pictures. My blog, My Marrakesh, has won a few times in the Annual Weblog Awards and is the only Africa-based blog to be in the Blog Hall of Fame. My first book, Marrakesh by Design was released by publishers in the US, UK and Australia, and (pinch me) was named a Best Book of the Year by the editors at Amazon and featured in over 100 media outlets. As a freelance writer, I have also contributed to articles about Moroccan lifestyle for numerous publications, including National Geographic, The Financial Times, Food & Wine, The Guardian, Time, Travel and Leisure, and many others.
A social entrepreneur at heart, in 2013, I founded Project Soar, a non-profit organization dedicated to uplifting underprivileged girls in our community through art, design and movement. My Souk and Hotel contribute to sourcing Project Soar and I am now in the process or expanding the program to new sites.
My husband and I and our two children continue to live at Peacock Pavilions where we share our own slice of the Moroccan desert with resident peacocks Maurice, Persephone and Gigi, five cats, one mischievous yellow lab, and any guests stopping through.