One of our favourite places…

One of our favourite places…

 

 

So I am finally sitting down with a glass of rose to write about our stay in Marrakesh. I remember last year I had intended to write about our trip but the school easter holidays always fall straight afterwards so its not as easy to find the time  to sit and write. I’m not trying to be a ‘Travel Blogger’ I will leave that to the experts but it is a place I love and I thought it might be nice to put a few thoughts on the blog. Jamie and I always try to get away for a few days on our own around my birthday at the end of March. We have managed to do this pretty much every year for the last 15 years. Anyone with children will know that this is very precious and rare time so it is important to pick somewhere that is easy and fits your requirements for those few days. Our idea of a break without the children may not be everyone’s taste I appreciate that but we really just want to chill out with the odd cultural trip to see the ‘real’ country. Jamie first booked Marrakesh three years ago as a surprise. He knew that I loved the sun and we couldn’t really do a long haul flight for just 4 or 5 days. Marrakesh is warm all year round but actually the best months to visit are March, April and May. During the Summer it is really hot and humid and apparently year reached 54c last summer!

What to expect:

Language:

In Marrakech, you’ll hear a variety of languages including French, Spanish, Arabic, and Berber. English is common anywhere touristy, but it’s definitely handy to know a few words of French.

Culture:

Morocco is a Muslim country and so you’ll quickly notice some cultural differences.  I would recommend packing lightweight, loose fitting clothing that covers your shoulders and knees (think maxi skirts/dresses and scarves). I would say that this is only relevant outside of the hotels, in the Medina and really just use your common sense. The Moroccan people are so so lovely and kind but it is important to respect their culture

Currency:

Morocco uses dirhams

Getting around:

It is pretty easy to get around the city of Marrakech by foot and by taxi. We mostly took taxi’s straight from the hotel. They are very inexpensive and most drivers can speak English

Shopping:

I love the Moroccan style. There are so many incredible handcrafted goods here. From leather bags to artisan rugs to spices, Marrakech is a shopper’s dream.

Bahia Palace:

This 19th-century palace is now home to the Moroccan Ministry of Cultural Affairs. For a view of North African architecture at its best

Atlas Mountains:

What is so amazing about Marrakesh is that you could be standing on your sunny balcony looking at the snow topped Atlas Mountains. There are various different trips available. Day trips in a 4×4, organised short stay tours, visits to the mountain villages with a lunch stop and so many more. I would recommend Sahara Atlas Tours as a first stop for tailoring what you would like to see and do

Yves Saint Laurent Museum:

Yves Saint Laurent had a villa in Morocco and was inspired by its colours and architecture. The museum dedicated to the fashion house is now open. I have yet to visit but I have been told it is a beautiful and inspiring place. As well as clothing the museum showcases hundreds of drawing from the designer and his fashion house

The Medina:

Well, what can I say? It is a lively colourful place with baskets galore, homewares, pottery, rugs, lanterns, food, clothes, designer dupes (not good ones) and lively and loud people desperately trying to get your attention. It is full of food stalls, snake charmers (if you saw my Instagram stories you will know how much Jamie loves a snake!!) I guess at night it can seem slightly overwhelming but Marrakesh is a safe place as long as you are sensible. Very much like anywhere really. So a great place to eat, shop and experience the real Marrakesh. Also worth noting that most of the outside food stalls and cafes in the Medina do not serve alcohol only the restaurants and bars on the outskirts

 

 

Where to stay:

Marrakech is famous for its beautiful riads (guesthouses often converted from family homes) and you’ll find amazing little boutique riads dotting winding streets all over the city. There are all kinds of different options when it comes to accomadation depending on your requirements. Apartments, small boutique hotels and larger hotels with excellent kids activities. Each time we have visited we have stayed at the The Fours Seasons Marrakesh  

To be honest we just want to be spoilt when we go. No cooking or the dreaded dishwasher and this hotel is just lovely! From the minute you arrive you feel special. Greeted with Moroccan tea, amazing floral displays and a personal service it feels relaxing immediately. The hotel is located about 5 mins in a taxi from everywhere including the Medina. It is based on a 40 acre sight with views of the Atlas mountains from a high percentage of rooms. The facilities are first class including a gorgeous spa, kids pool and club, adults pool, restaurants and 24 concierge service. Every day they will offer to clean your sunglasses, bring you complimentary fruit drinks, organise your sun bed for you, bring you pure white linen and towels. The list goes on!

 

The adult pool

 

The kids pool

 

Me!!

 

 

 

The bar. They make the best Aperol Spritz!

 

The hotel at night

 

Where to eat:

Again this really depends what you want and where you stay. Our hotel has beautiful restaurants but we love to get out of the hotel at night and experience somewhere different. Most restaurants will offer both traditional Moroccan food which is very much red meat and chicken based. Lots of tagines, meatballs, cous cous and lots of Mediterranean influences. I would say there is pretty much anything available including amazing vegetarian choices. We went to a lovely Italian on our last night which was in the most beautiful riad just off the Medina

 

 

The Medina at night. Lots of food stalls and markets. A really fun and inexpensive way to dine!

Where we ate:

Comptoir Marrakesh

Comptoir is fun! There is a dark candlelit restaurant serving Moroccan food with other choices if required, a club and the most beautiful candlelit terrace. At 10pm every night there is a show with belly dancers! It is a popular choice for tourists but the atmosphere is lovely and it feels very traditional if that makes sense!

This is a picture from last year. Look at her face!!

 

 

Bo Zin

Bo Zin was recommended to me by my lovely friend Louise. We have been twice now and I have to say I love it. From the moment you arrive outside, walk through a dark curtained doorway into a candlelit Moroccan tent style entrance. The decor is stylish with modern furnishings and hundreds and hundreds of candles. There is a DJ playing cool music (god I sound ancient) a long bar full of beautiful people! If nothing else it is a great place for people watching. The elite of Marrakesh most definitely!

 

 

Pepe Nero

We took a taxi to this restaurant and there is a little story that I must share…. The Medina is busy at night and the taxi driver had explained that this restaurant was quite hard to get to. We got out of the taxi in the square and used Google maps to direct us. Off the Medina are small dusty streets that wind along and often look the same. They are busy with motorbikes and scooters carrying local families whizzing by. The streets then become more quiet and it felt like a James Bond or Jack Reacher movie! That may sound silly but as we walked (I was in heels obviously!) we had no clue how to find this apparently amazing riad housing a highly recommended restaurant. For a split second it was actually a little scary but we then saw a small sign with the most beautiful carved wooden double doorway. Inside was a sunken riad with a pool, ghost chairs, traditional archways and the most amazing restaurant. I guess what I am trying to say is never judge a book by its cover!

The food was delicious. Both Moroccan food and Italian is available. I would warn you that the portions are large!

 

La Villa Des Orangers

This hotel and restaurant has been highly recommended and I think will be where will stay next time. Ideally located for visiting everything you need to in Marrakesh. Based at the foot of the Koutoubia Mosque, 5 minutes from the souks, and halfway between the Royal Palace and the famous Jemaa El Fna Squa

What I wore:

I wasn’t sure if I should add what I wore to this blog post but I then thought what would like to see if I was reading a similar write up… I have linked my outfits below (most you would have seen if you follow me on Instagram) In March it is still cool in the morning until about 10am. We sat outside for breakfast, it was sunny but not hot. I mostly wore long sleeve kaftan style dresses. In the evening again it is still cool. I would say like our summer evenings but not a hot sticky night like you would expect in the summer in Greece for example.  A blazer, biker jacket or wrap would be fine. It really starts to warm up in April and May so I very much doubt these would be needed at all

Cleverley Wrapped dress 

Aspiga Beach resortwear

 

By Cabo

Tallulah and Hope

Hansine

Ridley London

Finery London jumpsuit

Atelier Ziiga Lace top

Ethereal London maxi dress

 

Well I hope some of this has been helpful if you are considering a visit to Marrakesh. We love it there and will be going back again many times. We have made some special memories to cherish,  it is a magical place which can offer so many different experiences. We really have only just touched the surface but I hope this little blog post has given you a bit of an insight to one of our favourite places

Thank you for reading

Love

Jane

x

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