Marrakech is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco. The historic centre has been part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites for years, the climate is mild, the hotels are top notch, the food is delicious and you can buy quality leather bags/clothing at a very good price. Isn’t that enough to book a flight here? It was for me and my BFF.
Suite with butler
From the large selection of hotels on offer, we chose Sofitel Lounge & Spa. As every minute of our child-and-husband-free weekend was precious, we wanted to check in as quickly as possible so we could be on our way immediately. So, we were very disappointed when it appeared that our room wasn’t ready (even though it was the end of the afternoon). A complementary cocktail was offered to ease our wait. When we checked again after 30 minutes, the room still wasn’t ready. We made it clear to them that we were extremely displeased, and suddenly there was a solution. “Can we offer you a free upgrade?” Yes of course! For the first time we were happy we were no longer 20 years old, as we certainly wouldn’t have been allocated a suite with a butler. Talk about good fortune!
The hotel was fantastic. Our room had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and the butlers waited on us everywhere. Decadent!
There were fabulous (double) sunbeds beside the pool, they serve the most delicious cocktails and the butler even comes by to clean your (sun)glasses! Beautiful chandeliers are suspended among the trees which, at night, turn the garden into a fairy tale from 1001 nights.
I have been to quite a few nice hotels, but the breakfast here was truly top notch. A large buffet with all types of fruit was in the middle of the hall. A professional smoothie maker mixed the best juice for you. There was also a selection of small dishes, all of which extremely tasty. After a big breakfast we decided to go straight into the city to burn off some of those calories.
A taxi will drop you close to the historic centre for a few euro. First, we walked through the Medina, a true maze of small streets. It is pretty chaotic and comprises of a large selection of shops, stalls and terraces. Shopkeepers try to lure you in and sell you their goods. Did you see something you like? Don’t be too enthusiastic. Haggling is key! It is a fun game between seller and buyer but be respectful. I am a big fan of stalls with nuts, dates and other treats. I am still salivating when I think of the delicious sugared peanuts I bought there.
Rahba Kedima Square is the old square. There is a true Moroccan atmosphere here. It isn’t as touristy as big brother Djemaa el-Fna. Slaves used to be traded here, but nowadays you will find mostly shops selling herbs and spices. Be sure to take a look in the Taj Apothicaire Bérbére. These Berber chemists have a potion for every ailment.
Place Djemaa el Fna is the place to be in Marrakech. It is one of the largest and most famous squares of North Africa. You can buy the typical souvenirs in the souks beyond the square, but you can also find beautiful, authentic Moroccan goods. The aroma of the spices draws you in from a long way away. There are also numerous street artists, from musicians to snake charmers. The food stalls are most popular in the evening. You have to visit it obviously, but it was too touristy for me.
From the square you can see the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech.
Ville Nouvelle, the modern quarter of Marrakech, is home to a lot of different types of shops like craft shops, department stores, exclusive boutiques, designer shops, antiquaries etc. You will also find the more luxurious restaurants here.
Gallerie des Tanneurs
The perfect souvenir is a beautiful leather bag or piece of clothing. Gallerie des Tanneurs is very famous. If you have a good picture of a coat (for instance), they can make it in 3 days, tailored specifically for you. The leather is of great quality, and the products have a luxurious finish. So don’t be tempted by the fake Louis Vuitton (of poor quality) but spend the same amount on a nice bag that will last for years.
Tip for foodies
There is an abundance of very good restaurants, but I really have to recommend Palais Jad Mahal. It is across from the hotel and beside Louis Vuitton. You enter through a gate and end up in a fairy tale. The décor in the restaurant is very beautiful: Large chandeliers emit a soft fairy-light, the tables are laid out perfectly and the chairs are covered in velvet. You’d come in just to look at the interior, but the food is heavenly too.
Marrakech is the perfect destination for a weekend in spring or autumn. They can certainly expect me to visit again.
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