Marrakech has long been beckoning travellers to its ochre walls and palm tree groves – and with good reason. There is a wealth of history to discover here; exotic sights, sounds and smells; treasures to be found in the souks and adventure in the old medina streets. And all this set against the backdrop of the stunning and often snow-capped mountains of the High Atlas. There is much to see and do here and the city also makes a great launching pad to the mountains, the coast and the desert sands. Read on for more information…
Where To Stay
> FOUR SEASONS
The Four Seasons Marrakech is renowned for its excellent service, catering to individuals, groups, couples and families alike. Spacious and peaceful, it’s a place of calm, quiet luxury, ideal for a relaxing break in Marrakech. There are five resort restaurants, bars and lounges to choose from as well as an outstanding spa and kids’ programme. Close to the old town and also to some of the city’s great golf courses.
> RIAD ADORE
Riad Adore, a newer riad in Marrakech, is at once stylish and contemporary and friendly and intimate. Led by Julianne, the staff team are excellent and always look after our guests superbly. Located close to the souks and the Jemaa El Fna, you are ideally placed to explore the city’s old medina and then it’s an easy stroll back to relax by the pool or in the spa of this comfortable and refreshing riad. Prices for a double start at £100.
> PALAIS NAMASKAR
An award-winning hotel in the Marrakech Palmeraie, Palais Namaskar is both idyllic and stunning. Opened as recently as August 2012, it has a high level of personalised service from its staff. The hotel itself is a fusion of Moroccan architecture and tranquil sophistication: abundant pools and calm pathways lead to the spacious and harmonious rooms, suites, villas and palaces. A tranquil place to enjoy some luxury, privacy, wellbeing and rest under Moroccan blues skies.
> VILLA DES ORANGERS
Stepping over the threshold of the Villa des Orangers is like entering a new world: a transition from the busy life of the city to an oasis of tranquillity and beauty. Ideally placed for exploring the old town of Marrakech (the Koutoubia mosque is a stone’s throw away), this hotel also provides an escape from it at the end of the day. Built in the 1930s, it was transformed into a luxury hotel at the end of the 1990s by local craftsmen using traditional methods. It’s without a doubt a beautiful place to stay and relax: gardens, pools, flowers all in harmony with the traditional décor.
> LES DEUX TOURS
Hotel Les Deux Tours is located in the Palmeraie, the historic and beautiful palm grove on the north side of Marrakech, and it offers rooms, suites and villas for a truly relaxing stay. Rest by the pools on the comfortable day beds, wander through three hectares of gardens, fountains and pools, or enjoy a traditional hammam in the spa. The food is excellent with many of the ingredients sourced from its own organic kitchen garden. Prices for the classic rooms start at £100.
> ROYAL PALM
Relaxed and peaceful yet luxurious, Royal Palm Marrakech is situated on a vast estate just a few miles from the city, with spectacular views of the High Atlas mountains. Facilities are superb: each villa has a private swimming pool and hammam; there is an 18-hole golf course, a sport centre, kids club and 3500m2 spa by Clarins; and you have the choice between three restaurants offering fine dining with excellent service. Prices for a suite start at £300.
> RIAD FARNATCHI
If you’re looking for outstanding service and an amazing riad experience in the heart of the medina in Marrakech, then look no further than Riad Farnatchi. There are nine suites available or the venue can be booked for private house parties. The owner, James Wix, and his staff do all they can to provide you with a unique and memorable experience during your stay. The riad itself provides a high level of comfort and style from the private sitting areas to the custom made furniture to the amazing dining facilities and cuisine. Prices start at £220 for a suite.
> RYAD EL BORJ
Conveniently located just off the busy Jemaa El Fna square, Ryad El Borj is a tranquil and welcoming haven. After a full day discovering the wonders of Marrakech, this is the perfect place to rest and relax – under the shade of the orange trees on the central patio, or up on the terraces or in one of the many lounges. Views from the tower room over the medina and the High Atlas are stunning and the riad itself is beautifully decorated. Prices for a double start at £50.
What To Do
Join Maurice and his team for a whole new perspective on Marrakech and its surroundings. Founded over 25 years ago, Ciel D’Afrique will take you on an unforgettable, early-morning floating journey over the beautiful, now-miniature landscape of fields and small villages. After touching down you’ll visit these same villages and experience the famous Moroccan hospitality as you sip mint tea with the locals and enjoy a second breakfast Berber-style.
> COOKERY CLASS – SOUK CUISINE
Meet Gemma your host and owner of Souk Cuisine and start the day by exploring the local markets, getting to grips with choosing the best ingredients before returning to the beautiful riad courtyard where you will begin your cookery class. Your host and her local chefs are excellent and will give you great insights into Marrakshi cooking traditions and daily life in the old medina during the workshop as you cook and then eat at least four authentic dishes. A great way to delve deeper into Moroccan culture and experience medina life and food first-hand.
> COOKERY CLASS – LA MAISON ARABE
You won’t need to stay long in Morocco before you discover that it is a country passionate that’s about its food. For a chance to share in that passion why not enrol in a half-day cooking workshop run by La Maison Arabe. At your own fully-equipped individual workstations, you will learn to cook an authentic tagine plus a side dish or dessert. On top of this, you’ll learn about baking Moroccan bread and making the local mint tea. After the class, enjoy the food you have made in the beautiful garden surroundings. A must-do activity.
> MEDINA TOUR
Take a tour through this ancient centre, a UNESCO Heritage Site, said to be the second largest medieval complex in the world, after Cairo. The medina of Marrakech is a beguiling labyrinth of alleyways, souks (markets) and workshops where little has changed since the Middle Ages. Absorb the local history by visiting the ancient Badi and Bahia Palaces and viewing the impressive 12th century rampart surrounding the city’s medina – and soak in its colourful, lively and exotic atmosphere.
Altitude : 466m
Best time to visit :
all year round
Temperature range :