Prepare to be mesmerised by this magical Moroccan city
Here at MC HQ, we’re mad for Marrakech’s myriad of souks and spices. Here’s a guide to seeing the city in style.
Marrakech, Morocco’s enchanting royal city, offers a complete change of scenery in the space of a weekend. It’s easily reached on direct flights from London and Manchester – see Skyscanner.net. While it’s often sunny, from now until April you’ll also need to pack some warm clothes and a brolly. Marrakesh Step by Step (£7.99, Insight) is a useful guide, or check out Visitmorocco.com
For the traditional experience, pick a riad inside the Medina that offers a boutique oases of calm amidst the bustling maze of alleys and hawkers. We chose Riad Azzouna13 (azzouna13.com) and opted for the Menzeh Jouj Suite, one of only five rooms. In the sunny months breakfast is served on the terracotta-rich roof terrace with views across the city and out towards the Atlas Mountains. Suites from £98 a night.
For something a little more polished, head outside the Medina for the popular but peaceful neighbourhood of La Palmerai. Our fashion team stayed at Les Deux Tours (les-deuxtours.com) where the 35 rooms are decorated in a serene Arab-Andalusian style, with blazing fires that are heaven in winter. There’s also a heated outdoor pool and a hammam where sensual treatments are on offer. Doubles cost from £141.
Eat and drink at
Marrakech’s most famous hotel La Mamounia. Thick carpets, heady incense and dark corners abound, unless you’ve got deep pockets a cocktail will suffice. While you’re there, take a turn around the gardens and follow in the footsteps of the many famous cliental and royalty before you (mamounia.com).
For an evening with a difference, head to Comptoir Darna and arrive late to experience the live belly dancers and Morocco’s best DJs. The Assortment of 7 Moroccan salads should not be missed. (uk.comptoirmarrakech.com)
Foundouk – voted one of the world’s best sky-high and rooftop restaurants, share the Moroccan pastilla with chicken and almonds to start and follow with a rich tagine (foundouk.com)
Terrasse des epices in the heart of the Medina is the place to be seen, DJs by day, star light by night. Book to avoid disappointment and visit the boutique shops below for a more civilised fix of the souks (terrassedesepices.com/en)
While you’re there…
Ask the hotel to arrange a guide to help you explore the medina and other top sights, such as Medersa Ben Youssef and the richly coloured Jardin Majorelle – but get there early to avoid the queues and instagrammers.
Haggle in the souks for leather bags, ornate lights, wooden bowls and decorative tea glasses.
Visit Beldi Country Club (beldicountryclub.com) for its amazing textiles and rugs at fixed prices and grab a spot of lunch by the pool.
Take a day or two to visit the Atlas Mountains to hike, bike and explore Berber villages. We stayed at Domaine Malika for an experience worthy only of Don Draper (domainemalika.com)
Additional words by Sarah Hayman