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04 March 2014

Marrakech City Guide


Marrakech is a world in it's own; a kind of mini (hectic, sporadic, colorful, vibrant) paradise erupted from the middle of the desert. It's almost impossible to explain if you haven't been; the Medina is the center, a lifeline for the a whole city that dissolves outwards. Inside the walls you have the souks (markets to you and me) and a whole variety of shops and restaurants hidden in holes in the walls. Part of the fun of visiting Marrakech is discovering it; finding your regular haunts. Below is a list of my personal favorites, I suggest you have a list of places to eat since finding good places is a trial not due to a lack of tasty restaurants, but simply because the souks are a maze to say the least. You will get lost, but my advice is to just go with it. Ask people for directions, but don't let them lead you anywhere unless you have change to tip them and think you wont be able to follow their instructions. The centre is Place Jemaa El Fna but try not to spend too much time there; it's filled with tourist traps, and haggling for things will be much cheaper deeper in the souks (in my opinion, the deeper into the souks you go, the cooler the things you find, like my leather bag above). The first time you go in, ask your hotel to book a guide but after that work your own way around; in terms of getting harassed, you won't. Just like in most markets, people will ask you to look in their shop but if you simply say 'non, merci' they usually smile and wish you well. In general, the vendors in the souks are the nicest and least 'pushy', so to say, vendors I've come across.
One final word of advice; you don't need to cover up, but I would anyway. It's respectful, and simply wearing long trousers and covering your shoulders means that you won't get any unnecessary, potentially unwanted attention. If you do get comments made towards you, smile and move on.
Also, brush up on your French because unless you speak Arabic, communicating can be a bit of a struggle.
So, on with the show! Here is my list of must see spots;

THE BELDI COUNTRY CLUB

We visited this place for lunch last time we were here and decided we had to stay next time we came. I'm so glad we did. The restaurants (there are three) are all amazing, the staff smile more than I do (which isn't that hard to do but still deserves mentioning) and it is one of the most beautiful hotels I've every stayed in. The rooms are simple, fairly traditional but cosy and the hotel itself is immensely relaxed. It is also a country club, so there is always something going on from tennis, horse riding, celebrations and helicopter rides to the Atlas mountains. I recommend staying outside the Medina for a more relaxing experience; taxi's are dirt cheap as long as you have the hotel book them, easy. Beldi is a ten minute drive from the main centre and yet somehow still in the middle of the desert. Brilliant.
Bonus for bloggers; every corner is ridiculously photogenic. All photos above are of this absolute oasis/ maze/ wonderland.

RIAD EL FENN

We almost stayed here except they were fully booked; goes to show how wonderful this riad is. The place itself is inside the Medina but is also a little out of the way so it's relatively peaceful. The trick with Marrakech is that all the action when it comes to places to stay/eat happens in two places; behind pretty doors and on the roof. We satisfied our craving to see El Fenn with afternoon Moroccan tea on the roof terrace and soaked in the view of the Atlas mountains.
Having heard from people who stayed here, the afternoon tea is just as good as staying at the hotel. If you're looking for a pad in the medina walls, this is your spot.

LE JARDIN MAJORELLE

I didn't know what to expect from Le Jardin Majorelle other than it was once owned by Yves Saint Laurent (and is on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, with a his memorial and ashes) and if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for me. I won't give too much of it away, but essentially Jardin Majorelle is a botanical garden filled with majorelle bleu and a lot of cacti. It won't take you long to soak up the gardens, but leave time to have some tea or lunch in the cafe because tea or lunch surrounded by cobalt blue and palm trees is always a good idea.

 LES JARDINS DE LA KOUTIBIA

Another place you could stay, but personally we love the Indian restaurant at the top of the hotel. Yes, that's right, Indian. The bizarre thing is that I've found the best Indian food I've tasted (save in India) has been in two places; the Caribbean, and Marrakech. English curry just never quite does it right. Regardless, head up to their roof-top restaurant before an afternoon in the souks and you won't be dissapointed. Again, you have an amazing view over the city and staff so helpful you want to high five them for dealing with Mondays infinitely better than the rest of humanity.
Their Thai Green Curry is also outstanding. I promise I'm not pulling your leg.

 CAFE ARABE

Another fantastic lunch spot; the first time we came here last year, we sat downstairs in the cosy part of the restaurant. Luckily, this time it was a little warmer and we could eat up on the roof. Cafe Arabe has a real buzz to it as well as a brilliant menu; I personally always order tagines wherever we go (save the Indian restaurant) but apparently their pasta is pretty darn brilliant too.
They also bring fresh bread and refill it whenever you finish, very very dangerous.


Since dinner is equally important as lunch, but served in much darker rooms, I have no pictures for my two reccomendations; Le Comptior and Jad Mahal. Please take this picture of a toy car as my apology. Both options are equally charming, both have belly-dancing shows around ten which are great fun and both serve fantastic french/moroccan food with yes, you guess it, more fresh bread.
Seriously, the bread guys. It's so good.
If you're staying at Beldi, their dinner/lunch is also equally as fantastic.

Those are my favorite spots in the city; if you are going, I'd love to hear any new recommendations you come up with. One final tip for buying things in the souks; haggle. It's the polite thing to do.
For more pictures of my stay, take a peek at the hashtag #intothefoldmarrakech on instagram.

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25 comments:

  1. Ah I had to chech thia post after drooling over all your pica on Instagram. Visiting Marakesh has always been on my mind and this post has only cemented its position on the bucket list. Such stunning pics darl look like you had the best time! And I hope your not suffering from the blues after returning back to not to sunny England aha! xo

    stylegrande.blogspot.com

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  2. Love this guide, looks beautiful! Marrakech has always been at the top of my travel list.

    www.maisieivy.com/

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  3. Marrakech looks so beautiful. Been loving your posts from there! I hope my boyfriend agrees that we should definitely travel here sometime soon! xxx

    Sarah Nunn | UK Style Blog

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  4. Your photos always look so beautiful! Now I really want to go to Marrakech :)

    www.littlebigcorner.blogspot.com

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  5. oooh my, sweet heaven indeed !

    http://franchemeetsfashion.blogspot.cz/

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  6. Your photos are so beautiful and you really make me want to visit Marrakech. I'm drooling!!

    ellenunderwater.blogspot.co.uk

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  7. Marrakech looks absolutely stunning! I've always wanted to visit Morocco, it really does look so photogenic for every blogger! This is such a wonderful guide if anyone is going soon and I definitely would not turn down a Thai green curry, they are my favourite
    xx

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  8. Looks amazing and one of places I want to go before I die. x
    http://marveling-mind.blogspot.com

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  9. wow, just exactly as I saw in one of the TV documentaries about Marrakesh, very beautiful. I like the way how they build their houses, really very idea to have an inside secluded open area and enjoy meals there. I enjoyed all the pictures, thank you for sharing darling. <3 xoxo
    www.stylehenge.com

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  10. ok....WOW... this place looks amazing !! you truly captured the beauty. Those places and the mixture of colours... perfection. I hope i get to go there someday. Thank you for sharing your experience I enjoyed your post.

    Sara
    www.itsmylittlethings.blogspot.com

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  11. Wow, this photographs look freaking amazing!
    Makes me want to jump on a plane and leave.

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  12. really amazing pictures! :)

    xxxxx
    www.dominiquecandido.com

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  13. Lovely pictures! :)
    Kisses
    Tabea

    http://wolkedrei.blogspot.de/

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  14. these photos are all so beautiful, you have definitely made me want to have an adventure in marrakech. seriously so beautiful!
    x

    frockled.blogspot.com

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  15. waw! such gorgeous place ... <3

    http://mancinasspot.blogspot.com/

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  16. Oh wow! These pictures as beautiful Camilla! I hope you are having a lovely time :)

    Take care,
    Daniella xox

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  17. LOVED this. desperate to visit Morocco.

    Georgina at itotallypaused.com

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  18. Really nice photos! thanks for this little guide xx

    www.lam-style.blogspot.com

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  19. Such a magical place, beautiful! :)

    http://laurettie.blogspot.nl

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  20. I haven't visited Marrakech (and I don't live so far from there) but people always told me that it is a very vibrant and
    photographable city.

    beautiful pictures!


    Selma

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  21. I so so wanna go there but Im still unsure about the "safeness" of Marrakech as long as you are just 2 girls. Do you think there can be problems? Because I dont want to stay in the tourist area and explore the city on my own. Oh and would you say food, shops, etc are expensive over there?
    Id love to receive your tips but I dont have blog - so it would be lovely if you reply on this comment here :-)

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  22. Now this really makes me dream about jumping right on a plane and leaving London!
    Beautiful photos!
    xx

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  23. I like the decoration of the house,it is fantastic.

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