Guide to Marrakech and Beyond!
Guide to Marrakech
I know that lots of you lovely people are off to Morocco this easter hols and have asked for recommendations on where to go, places to eat etc so for what its worth here’s our guide to Marrakech and Beyond!
Places to stay in the medina ~
On our trips to Marrakech we have enjoyed staying in a few fantastic Riads. Beautiful and best for budget was Riad Matham (www.riadmatham.com) run by Thierry Gand. They are very welcoming and really look after you. You can have breakfast on the roof terrace - it has fantastic views - and then either request supper in or go out.
There is also the completely different but just as breathtaking art deco Riad Malika (www.riadmalika.com). It feels a bit more ‘hotel’ but also has a 70’s artistic vibe running through it and is a funky place to stay. The courtyard is lush, green and jungly and it’s a maze of rooms - we kept getting lost!
Others to try ~
La Secret Jardin (www.riadjardinsecret.com) - hip Riad
La Maison Marrakech (www.airbnb.com/rooms/411375) - contemporary insta celeb and used for shoots
Places to eat in the medina ~
La Famille (find it on Facebook) - friendly
Nomad (www.nomadmarrakech.com) - great location
Le Jardin (lejardinmarrakech.com) - new and popular so book ahead
Evening drink spots ~
Les Terraces Des Epices (terracesdesepices.com) - fun and lively in the middle of the Souks
Jemaa El Fna: find a cafe that looks over Jemaa El Fna and watch the sun set as the story tellers , snake charmers and food stalls bring the square alive.
Too many to choose from so look at this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/africa/morocco/marrakech/articles/marrakech-restaurants/ - a couple of our favourites are
El Fenn - contemporary Moroccan, tasty and pricey
Foundouk - contemporary Moroccan, close to Riad Matham
In the Palmeraie and out of the medina ~
Now deemed a classic and never a disappointment is the Beldi Country Club (www.beldicountryclub) filled with roses, a beautiful pool and heavenly outdoor dining area. Tempting to live here! Worth it even for a few days.
Of a similar ilk but slightly easier on the budget is the gorgeous Les Deux Tours (www.les-deux-tours.com) in the Palmeraie, about 10 minutes drive from the medina - fab gardens and great pool. The dining is slightly more grown-up than the Beldi but its elegance, the flowers and the sound of the birds all around are special. Writing about it makes me want to put down my coffee, jump on a plane and go straight back. It’s a very comfy stay and all the mini villas have their own plunge pool.
If you have children then a fun place to stay is Les Jardin D’Issil. You have your own comfy tent, a beautiful (but not heated) pool and lots of garden space for running around. It’s on the way to the Atlas Mountains so you can make day trips to them from here.
Things to do ~
The souks are a highlight for most. When people write about losing yourself in the souk they really mean it! Even those with the sharpest sense of direction will most likely lose themselves in the maze of high energy artisan stalls. Just go with the flow and eventually ask someone to take you to the restaurant you want to end up at. Laugh and smile and banter with the shop keepers and know you’ll probably have to do a bit of bartering to actually make a purchase so pick your favourite shop and settle in. Humour is the most effective bartering tool. Obviously we love the rug or ‘Tapis' souk and another favourite is the wood souk. It smells amazing.
As soon as you arrive in Morocco you get a sense of their love of flowers and plants. So as well as your time in the souks and palaces treat yourself to a couple of garden visits. Namely the YSL Jardin Majorelle and the newly restored Le Secret Jardin designed by Tom Stuart Smith.
Jardin Majorelle (www.jardinmajorelle.com)
Le Secret Jardin (www.lejardinsecretmarrakech.com)
There are so many adventures to be had in Morocco - trek in the Atlas Mountains, surf on the coast at Taghazout, relax on the coast at Essouira or the lesser known lagoon at Oualidia or spend a night in the desert down in Merzouga.
Here are some places to stay in those areas
Kasbah Bab Ourika (www.kasbahbabourika.com)
Kasbah Toubkal (www.kasbahtoubkal.com)
La Sultana (www.lasultanahotels.com)
Kam Kam Dunes (www.kamkamdunes.com)
Its a magical country, a proper culture shift in the best sense, and such a quick flight. Go! Enjoy!