Cold February seems to be the time that people start planning their first trip to sunny places. Me as well. Marrakesh was a long time dream of mine, now I have been there twice and this will not be the last, as there are very different types of trips you can make when flying to RAK:
- exploring the city and staying in the Medina;
- staying outside of town in a SPA Resort or a kasbah and mostly sun tanning during the day;
- staying close to the mountains in a camp;
- driving around the country to visit Essaouira, Ourika Valley and Ouarzazate.
This post will be about number 1. And the next one, already planned about number 2. Stay tuned.
Last September we traveled for a long weekend to Marrakesh (Marrakech en francais). It was a great idea to extend the summer through September, because it is still very hot there even in the evenings. It was my second time in Marrakesh, so I already had an idea of what is the Medina and how the city is organized.
Marrakesh has its old town, Medina and there is where you will find the Jemma Al Fna square, all the souks, palaces, mosques. And Medina is big enough not to feel cramped inside the old walls. Outside of the wall, you will find modern areas, I mean with modern buildings and malls, like Gueliz, for example. And further away (30 minutes) is an area called Palmeraie with big hotels, clubs and Nikki Beach.
Choosing a hotel
I was looking for something close to Medina, walking distance, but also in a quiet area. Some small family owned riad with something special to it, and not more than 150 euros a night. There are so many riads inside the city, its is just incredible and so beautiful most of them. Here is a list of recommended ones from a local friend:
All of these are pretty central, they are pretty authentic and well located, as our local friend told us. She also recommended to stay out of the Palmeraie, as its too far from everything. The best restaurants, clubs and terraces and are on the other side of town. After a long (very long) search, I decided to check the new (back then) RIAD GOLOBOY and it turned out exactly what I was looking for. It was located inside Medina, adjacent to famous Mamounia Hotel, in a quiet narrow residential street.
Every morning there was a breakfast served on a rooftop terrace, from which you cold see empty plots with palm trees in the back.
- Souk des Teinturiers, Wool Dyers Souk, Tanneries (go with a local)
- Maison de la Photographie
- Ben Youssef Madrassa
- Menara Gardens
- Djemaa El Fna ( we were told that the stall with grilled meats is ok). Get some orange juice! The restaurants around it are very average.
- Dar Si Saïd Museum
- Jardin Majorelle Yves Saint Laurent (quite expensive to enter and mostly shows a collection of cactuses)
- Bahia Palace
- Koutoubia Mosque
Dinner with show
Both places quite posh, but good food and fun, dress code, turns into club after. We went to Le Comptoir.
Bo-Zin (modern lounge)
Churchill Bar in Mamounia
Our favourite was Le Jardín. It’s in the inside garden, had very good food.
Avoid by all means Henna cafe.
I loved the colonial style of Grand Café de la Poste in Gueliz área. Good for European food, when tired of Moroccan.
Dar Moha (both quite fancy in a palace with live music, on the photo)
Alfassia ( our favourite with Eiso, real moroccan food, only locals go. Go to one in Gueliz)
Le Marocain in Mamounia