Travel guide to Marrakech: What to do and where to stay
With party season well behind us and the coldest months still ahead, I'm not the only one considering escaping the UK for some much-needed winter sun. Only three and a half hours by plane from London (roughly the same time it takes to get to Greece), there are multiple non-stop flights to Marrakech every day, making getting there simple. In any case, despite the short trip, the different cultures and scenes make you feel as if you've arrived somewhere else entirely, at the cost of a trip to Europe.
Where we stayed
Marrakech, also known as Morocco's Red City, is well known for its riad-style architecture, which, for the uninitiated, is basically a traditional Moroccan house planned around an inside nursery or patio. Isn't that cool? Riads are typically located within the old city (or Medina) walls, but if you need to be somewhere a little more tranquil, you can choose a riad a little further away.
Map book Widan - a store inn located 10 kilometers from the city center - finds the ideal harmony between peacefulness and reasonableness arrangement. The inn, which was founded in February 2020 by Mustapha Amalik (who is also the Broad Secretary of the Provincial Committee of the Travel Industry in Marrakech), survived the pandemic and is now making its mark.
The hotel is set against the backdrop of the snow-covered Chart Book Mountains, making it an ideal location for relaxing on a poolside seat and reading another book.
One of the setting's features is the chart book's areas of strength for Widan's offering. Abdul, a culinary expert, uses local, seasonal produce to prepare traditional Moroccan dishes on a menu that also incorporates elements of Mediterranean cooking. While breakfast is remembered for your package, I would strongly recommend the tea function on arrival, as well as requesting one of the lodging's couscous items (which additionally is the public dish of Morocco).
Depending on the type of outing you're planning, there are numerous extensive convenience options to consider. Solo travelers could choose a Lesser Suite (what I stayed in), which has its own bathroom and a smaller-than-usual seating area. Similarly, the private estates are enormous and even include their own pools, which are ideal for a gathering occasion.
Lesser Suite rooms at Map book Widan start at 180€ (£159) per night.
Premium Suites are also available for 240€ (£212) per night, as are Confidential Manors for 600€ (£529) per night. Every single price includes breakfast.
If, on the other hand, a hotel is more affordable for you, there are a few options to consider in Medina.
What we accomplished
Most importantly, I don't have a green thumb — in fact, I've effectively, but unfortunately, figured out how to kill every plant I've ever owned — and yet I participated in the famous Jardin Majorelle. Perhaps this is because the one-hectare greenhouse behaves like a smaller-than-expected desert garden in the middle of the city. Perhaps it's the fact that the location is steeped in history, having been established by craftsman Jacques Majorelle in 1923 before being claimed and reestablished by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé in the 1980s.
With desert flora, endless drinking fountains, and a cobalt blue manor, there's no shortage of 'framable moments here. In addition, if you're interested in fashion, you can visit the nearby Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech.
Obviously, no trip to Marrakech is complete without a visit to the city's well-known souks. The air in the outside business sectors is well-known. The souks are clearly and seemingly endlessly clamoring, with the convoluted design resembling a maze to a greater extent.
I thoroughly enjoyed wandering through the souks. My favorite stores were those that sold custom-made carpets and knickknacks, which are ideal for any keepsake shopping you need to do.
Because the souks are a popular tourist destination, there are a few things to keep in mind while you're there:
- Stay together or with an aide - this is not the type of place where you want to get lost.
- Organize a gathering place with your group if you want to avoid becoming isolated.
- When it comes to shopping, wheeling, and dealing is almost expected in this market, so you don't have to accept the initial cost you're given.
- Protect your assets/keep them hidden to avoid pickpockets.
- Finally, if you plan on doing some shopping at the souks, make sure to
- take out some Dirham before you arrive, as most sellers do not accept
- cards, and the ATMs nearby frequently have long lines.
A Hammam may be for you if you're hoping to incline toward the health component of your colder season vacation. This is a traditional spa style that has been around for a long time, and locals will frequently embrace the washing custom on a consistent basis. Rather than using warm water, Moroccan Hammams use steam to help purify the skin, similar to a sauna, before the body is scoured with dark salt and then flushed.
Few bathhouses have enough space for separate male and female areas, or they will work with a timetable in which people have different time allotments.
Public Hammams frequently expect guests to wear some sort of bathing suit, whereas private wet rooms (such as the in-house Hammah at Map book Widan) may accept a bottoms-only, or completely bare, premise. Regardless, it's a good idea to check on the state of your chosen Hammam early on. Also, as always, do what you're comfortable with.
While I was just in Marrakech for the weekend, I'm already planning my next trip, which will include a sightseeing balloon ride near the Atlas Mountains (Ciel d'Afrique has been providing this service in Marrakech for more than 20 years) and possibly a short trip to the nearby Sahara Desert.
What to Eat
Dardar Marrakech: A housetop bar in Medina with excellent Moroccan food and an impressive cocktail menu. Obviously, the housetop setting lends itself to a breathtaking view of the city.
Comptoir Darna: An open, lively café specializing in Moroccan and fusion cuisine. What is the most notable feature? There are also hip-twirling exhibitions - supper and a show!
How to Get Around
The most secure way to travel all over is to book a vehicle, which was coordinated by our lodging group and may be more important for those staying outside the Medina.
Other useful information
While I didn't feel threatened at any point during my trip, it's not unthinkable for solo travelers (particularly women) to have different experiences. Similar safeguard administers generally apply wherever you're traveling: keep your assets somewhere safe, use good judgment, and always have a crisis contact's subtleties in your possession.
Here are a couple of extra tips I picked up on the way for anyone planning a trip to Marrakech:
- Be aware of what you wear (a free dress that covers arms and legs is recommended)
- Respect the neighborhood culture and customs (for example, avoid public displays of love)
- Simply book exercises (visit counting) through legitimate travel organizations.
- Hydrate (and request drinks without ice)
- Ask permission before photographing someone.
For more information on how to make your trip as safe as possible, go to SmartTraveller, where you can find cutting-edge security data and an explanation of local customs to be aware of, as well as the Moroccan Public Travel Industry Office.