When in Marrakech
Posted on March 19th, 2018
Escaping London for a short city break can be ridiculously rewarding. Five days in Marrakech for some sunshine and blue sky was a very good call. My brilliant trusted bespoke travel agent Mr B loves to travel hop. Something I’ve got used to, and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. The upside is, it makes your trip feel a lot longer.
When in Marrakech we stayed at;
We arrived and headed straight for the pool at the Four Seasons. Having just watched Call Me by Your Name (truly, the most beautiful film), Timothée Chalamet look-a-likes seemed to be everywhere. It was quite distracting!!
After another day relaxing by the pool, we headed into the Medina to stay at Riad 72. Having never stayed in a riad, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Nothing prepares you for the contrast between the insane hustle & bustle of the souks to the quiet side alleys and the oasis of calm once inside the riad.
The inner courtyards were fantastic. I mean just LOOK at this floor! The beginning of my obsession with floors whilst in Marrakech…
The attention to detail was exquisite. From the roof to the floors, to the staircases, and to the mobiles they give you programmed with essential telephone numbers in case you get lost out in the souks!
Another Riad worth checking out is El Fenn. Beautiful, a gorgeous spa, and stunning roof terrace.
For our last night, we headed out of the Medina to the peace of the Mandarin Oriental. Our room was beyond gorgeous, with our own hammam, enormous bathroom and amazing terrace with plunge pool and magnificent views towards the snow-capped mountains. We stayed in for room service and were rewarded with beautiful sunset views over the Atlas Mountains. It couldn’t have been more perfect. The outside areas though need a little TLC, and felt a bit soulless after the cosy riad.
When in Marrakech we ate at:
Everywhere I recommend, I would suggest you book lunch or dinner, we hadn’t and we paid the price for it. It is always much easier to cancel, is my new moto. One tip I would share is that the wine in Marrakech is frankly undrinkable, so stick with a spirit or enjoy the detox, or buy your own at Duty Free!
Four Seasons: Lunch – delicious bread, big salads and portions. Yum yum… A great buffet breakfast was set up in the most stunning blue tiled room, and taken in the sunshine on the terrace.
Terrasses des Epices: Sunset supper on the rooftop was fabulous. A great vibe, great live music, good food and service that just made you smile every time they came to look after you.
Riad 72: Fresh fruit, yogurt & a selection of bread & pancakes for breakfast. Everything is locally sourced, and for lunch and dinner you need to chose ahead of arrival. You should definitely eat in your riad one night, but then go out and explore.
Nomad: We couldn’t have dinner as it was booked, but had a very relaxing coffee, juice and a snack on the roof terrace looking out over the market. If you like Ottolenghi style food this is your place. We will definitely book ahead on our next trip.
Café des Epices: In the market square across from Nomad. A great pit stop for a juice and to watch the world go by. Go early and watch the street sellers set up their stalls.
Le Jardin Secret: We had lunch here, but honestly don’t bother. The coffee was cold, and the food not great. Thankfully it didn’t dampen the beautiful view, but maybe just stop for a cold drink!
Grand Café de la Poste: A French colonial brasserie in the New Town. Mr B had eggs & bacon, which he said was spot on for a late brunch. I had a prawn salad which was delicious. If you have had one too many tajines, this is one for you. I would go back for supper as I suspect the vibe would be fabulous.
Villa des Orangers: This was my Mother’s Day treat. A beautiful restaurant set in a dark warm room with a big sofa & fire, sumptuous and cosy. The food was sensational, and again, little details made this evening just perfect. Very grown up, we were the youngest by a long shot, and not cheap. Set within a very beautiful Relais & Chateaux hotel. Would be lovely for lunch too.
And if we’d had time:
La Famille: A great friend went and said it was fabulous. Tables outside.
La Mamounia: Beautifully restored, lunch would have been a treat.
El Fenn: Supper on the roof. Get there before 7pm for a drink as it then shuts to visitors.
La Maison D’Arabe: Supper by a pool in a very beautiful hotel.
Jardin: Casual French or local menu. Close to Terrasses des Epices.
Comptoir Darna: For a big party night out.
Bo Zin: Eat outdoors and party the night away.
When in Marrakech… my places of interest:
Lots of walking and meandering. Although I did wear my beautiful sandals, I never ventured into the souks without my trusted Papouelli trainers. Bikes, motor bikes, come whizzing past and they will take your toes off if you are not careful!
Jardin Majorelle & YSL Museum:
Go early and get your ticket to both the garden and museum at the museum. You then jump the very long queues for the garden.
“When Yves Saint Laurent first discovered Marrakech in 1966, he was so moved by the city that he immediately decided to buy a house here, and returned regularly.” Pierre Bergés.
YSL Museum: Who doesn’t love the style of the man that invented ‘le smoking’ tuxedo for women? This space is dedicated to the one and only, along with a fabulous photography exhibition by André Rue
Jardin Majorelle: I fell in love with the colour, the cacti, the contrast to life outside and the history. In 1980 Pierre Bergé & Yves Saint Laurent acquired the garden after years of neglect and did an amazing job restoring it. The result is an oasis of calm, beauty and colour. It’s glorious.
Palace of the Beautiful. It is a masterpiece of Moroccan architecture and design. It also fed my obsession for beautiful floors and tiles.
Le Jardin Secret in the Medina:
Not just another garden, but an oasis of calm in the middle of the Medina. Fountains in the centre of a Riad are said to be the beating hearts of the home.
Divided up by craft, either hire a guide, or just wander and see what you find. I found it a little overwhelming, especially as I’m no good at bartering!
- Flight: 7.40am out of GTW on EasyJet, returning 8pm flight gives you full days there on the days you travel.
- Hotels: Move around so you get the best of the Medina whilst also having time to enjoy the sun.
- Shopping: Have a clear idea of what you want, so do some research first. Bowls, rugs, lighting, shoes… Leave room in your bag home!
- What to pack: Closed shoes, and I wouldn’t wear stringy tops, for the souks. Something warm for the evening. A cross body bag is a good idea.
- Instagrams that helped me plan my trip: Claire Menary, Bei.wei.wei & Food Feels (should be your go to for restaurant recommendations anyway). Check their feeds for images & suggestions.
I can only tell you I can’t wait to go back. We had a wonderful, wonderful trip and I just loved it. Here are my real hidden gems, ones I wouldn’t miss & I will be uploading all my images over the next few days to my Pinterest page for your own design inspiration!
We travelled in May 2018