If you are looking for a trip where you can shop til you drop and then be pampered like a princess, Marrakech is your place. With it's endless souks, delicious breakfasts, and lavish hammams, Marrakech is one of my favorite places for an adventure.
If you have a Pinterest account then chances are that you have seen multiple posts of Riad Yasmine's, now famous, pool. Trust me when I say that the rest of the hotel and the people who run it are just as lovely as the Riad's interior garden. Located just outside of the medina, this hotel is also very affordable with rates starting at 90 euro/night which includes a delicous breakfast.
The design at El Fenn has an eclectic Morocco vibe. The restaurant and bar area have a "Casablanca" feel and the rooms are more traditional with lots of brightly colored textiles. You could spend a few days here without having to leave as the hotel boasts a pool, spa, and even a cinema room. Rates start at 200 euro/night for a standard room and the hotel also has private houses available if you are traveling with friends.
Located in the heart of the Medina, Nomad is the perfect place to take a quick break from all of the craziness. Make sure you ask for a table outside on the rooftop and get ready for some amazing 360 views of Marrakech. If you are worried about too much sun ask to borrow a hat. The food is all very healthy and delicious, it's a great place for lunch. If you are considering this place for dinner call ahead and ask about alcohol, when I went there wasn't any, though they have had it previously.
As I mentioned in a previous post, La Pause has been one of the most magical experiences from my travels. It is an eco resort located about 90 minutes from Marrakech which in addition to rooms, offers camel rides and traditional Moroccan tent dinners. La Pause can arrange your transport to and from dinner. Make sure you arrive in time to enjoy the sunset.
La Mamounia is one of, if not the most, posh hotels in Marrakech. The interior and grounds are gorgeous and a must see, however a simple lunch will set you back around $40USD. Instead go for a drink (I suggest Le Marocain) and after wander around. If you are lucky you'll be able to talk one of the hotel staff into allowing you behind the glass doors to snap some shots of this gorgeous room.
Marrakech's medina is made up of endless souks. Some of my favorite discoveries have included straw hats, bags and baskets, bedding, and obviously rugs. I love the medina for insanely cheap home goods. After returning from Morocco it's been hard for me to buy anything for my house in the states as the price now seems like a rip off. Don't be afraid to wander around and compare prices and quality. But be prepared to bargain and don't feel bad if you walk away. You will come home with some amazing things and some funny stories.
I went to several rug shops in Marrakech and Dar Mejbar was my favorite. The owner was fun to bargain with and he had a great selection of rugs including both berber and persian styles. Its easy to get carried away with rug shopping so make sure you consider these tips before you go.
This garden and now museum was once home to fashion design Yves Saint-Laurent. The garden itself has a lot of lush plants, a stark contrast to the desolate and dirty medina, and makes for a nice peaceful break from all the craziness of the city. If you go it's worth going into the museum for a look at the collection traditional north african textiles, jewelry, and ceramics. I recommend going to Jardin Marjorelle right when it opens the garden can get quite crowded which subtracts from its beauty.
Just about every hotel in Morocco will have a hammam. This is a special spa where a lovely lady will scrub your skin with a rough luffa until all of your dead skin is off. It's a bit uncomfortable but your skin will feel like a baby's bottom when you are done. After your scrub get a massage and I bet you'll be served mint tea. I went to the hammam in the basement of La Maison Arabe and had a wonderful experience, the setting was also very beautiful and relaxing.
There are several beautiful mosques in Morocco and Koutoubia Mosque is not exception. It's located across the street from La Mammounia and worth a walk through the garden and a viewing of the gorgeous pink brick.
Marrakech can be reached by plane, train, or car. If you are coming from or going to another city in Morocco it's important to consider your purchases. The train is very small and barely has enough room for a checked luggage bag, let alone a wrapped up rug. Private drivers can be hired easily for reasonable prices to take you to other cities.
Whether it's shopping or a taxi cab ride, most prices are up for negotiation in Marrakech. The city is famous for its medina: a maze of spices, trinkets, and rugs. Need a new pair of shoes? The medina has it. Looking to get a great Chanel knock off? Yup, it has that too. Did you come to Marrakech to buy rugs to fill your new house? You're in the right place.
We need to talk about how, for the price of buying a Moroccan rug in the states, you can buy a plane ticket to Morocco, get a rug, and still have enough money left over to eat a delicious Moroccan breakfast.