« Marhba » (welcome). Over the top and noisy in the Medina or zen and quiet thanks to her palm trees, the red city will fulfil her promises. Colourful, exotic and trendy with her fashion designers, her cafes, arty riads and her inventive restaurants. Put on your babouches and follow us!
Marrakesh, at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, has also been a favourite destination for stars and tourists alike. The city is both inspiring and fascinating. The dry air of Marrakesh smells of spices that you can find in the souks, sounds of horses’ shoes that will take you on a carriage ride and of the honking of scooters ridden by girls slaloming in the streets of the Medina. In front of you, the fortified walls of a brown-ochre colour and the palm trees touching the sky lining wide avenues. From the Palmeraie to the Hivernage neighbourhood, from the Guéliz to the Jmaa El Fnaa square, from Riad Laarouss to the Road to the Ourika valley, Marrakesh will show you all her colours.
In Marrakesh, enjoy being a tourist. Obviously, one must walk in one of the narrow streets lined up by shops that ends up at the Jmaa El Fnaa square, wide and at the heart of the old medina. You will get lost in the old town or so you should. Gigantic, the medina is a labyrinth where each neighbourhood – derb – is different. Everywhere, at the corner of every tiny street, where a scooter or a donkey cart will force you to step aside, you will be amazed. Craftsmanship, spices, basketry, carpets, crockery, accessories, furniture and leather craft, 45 000 craftsmen are working there. There is no way that you do not end up shopping! At last, you are on that circus-like square where snake charmers and orange juice sellers are standing side by side. There, one can eat, dance and come across colourful people…
Walk away from the colourful crowd. Want a breathtaking sight? Then, head to the Bahia Palace, near the Mellah. From there, for a remarkable visit, ride a horse-drawn carriage and go to the Saadien tombs inside the Al-Mansur mosque. Enjoying History? Go to the Koutoubia, the jewel of the Hispano-Mauresque architecture. Have a break at the Menara gardens. Watch the sunset from the main pool designed by Almohads in the 12th century.
The grass is always greener on the other side… the side being the Majorelle Gardens which are enchanting. They were bought in 1962 by Yves Saint Laurent who fell in love with them and are absolutely delightful. Bougainvillea, papyrus and cactus are contrasting against the deep blue and saffron yellow walls.
You love shopping? Between Sidi Ghanem, the industrial neighbourhood where local designers are settled, to the Dar El Bacha street, from the surroundings of the Spices square where Norya Aryon sells her kaftans loved by Sharon Stone and Kate Moss or the crockery by Zou&Co to Bab Doukkala where the Antique shop of Mustapha Blaoui is or the Gueliz where you will find some unexpected shops such as Kaftan Queen. Marrakesh is the city of designs! You can go window-shopping at the Al Mazar, Carré Eden or Ménara Mall. Between two shops, have a break on one of the rooftops of a charming riads in the medina Choose between the Nomad or the small oasis of La Famille or at the Café de la Poste, an art deco cafe near the Guéliz.
Marrakesh is a night-bird. Looking for a nightlife spot? The Hivernage and the Palmeraie neighbourhood are the right places to start with. Enjoy yourself at a hamman, a beauty ritual not to be missed. Then, have a meal in one of the many restaurants in town. Traditional cuisine, fusion cuisine or French cuisine, the pick is yours! And then, let’s get this party started! Head to one of the trendiest club in town, such as the So, where one can dance until dawn.
Looking for a thrill? Marrakesh and her contrasted landscapes, between mountains and the desert has plenty of opportunities. Go quad riding in the countryside or along the palm trees, zip lining, water skiing, horse riding in the mountains or camel riding in the Palmeraie. More of a golfer: the golf courses are amazing there. Go hiking in the Ourika Valley, a natural sanctuary. Once you have done all of that, you will still have plenty of options.