The SurfJack Hotel

As soon as you stroll up to the front desk at the SurfJack hotel in Waikiki, the sounds and colors of old Hawaii entice you to venture further inside. As 1960s surf music plays on the speakers, a strong retro vibe is felt with vintage-inspired décor paying homage to mid-century Waikiki. Zahara basket in tow, we made our way poolside.

AVELA’s Zahara Basket is the perfect accessory for carrying poolside essentials, like sunscreen, a pareo, some reading material and sunglasses. Relaxing with a good book in a poolside cabana, the turquoise allure of the pool says it all: ‘wish you were here’.

After soaking up the sun, we made a short stroll over to Olive & Oliver to complete the full surfjack experience.  Here, you can sip on a sweet latte from their cafe while browsing the beautifully curated clothing, accessories and home goods.  You can find our beautifully hand-printed AVELA pareos here in many colors and patterns, along with our tasseled Kali purse that will brighten any outfit.  Just another beautiful day in Hawai‘i Nei!

Essaouira

After a 4-hour bus ride through the desert, it was nice to stretch our legs with a walk through the cobblestone streets of Essaouira.  A stroll through the medina is an overwhelming experience- with the nutty smell of argan oil being made, motorcycles and bikes zigzagging through the crowd and people haggling over goods in Arabic, French and Spanish.  Every turn into another narrow alleyway brings something new.

medina

Essaouira is also an important fishing port. The harbor is a bustling place of business, as boats bring in fish every morning.  Anything from eels, to stingrays, to sea urchins, are sold here and seagulls squawk overhead as men haggle over prices. 

The color blue is everywhere in Essaouira – every door, window, decorative detail and fishing boat is painted some hue of blue, whether it be a deep indigo or light turquoise. Our daily walks around the medina required multiple stops to admire the many blue doors that line the winding alleyways and make this city so unique. 

bluedoors

Marrakech

The color of Marrakech is undoubtedly pink, to match the warm hues of the desert that surrounds it. We saw as we entered that even the towering walls that surround the medina, or city center, are painted a pale pink. 

Inside, the maze of narrow streets seem only accessible by foot, but motorbikes often whiz passed you or heavily loadead horse-drawn carts squeeze their way through. Walking through the medina, we are constantly hassled by shopkeepers.  Mounds of colorful spices are advertised for all different medicinal and culinary purposes- yellow mounds of turmeric, bright blue chunks of raw indigo, pink blocks of jasmine perfume. 

spices

It is impossible to choose between all of the artisinal goods made here- pottery, shoes, textiles, baskets- each item unique and beautifully handmade. However, haggling is a huge part of life in Marrakech so we had to be prepared. Negotiations go back and forth until you finally agree on a price and shake on it. Walking away with your treasure feels like a serious accomplishment.