03 Feb Travel guide – Marrakech
“Before Marrakech, everything was black. This city taught me color.” – Yves Saint Laurent.
Renowned for its clay colored buildings, fairy tale riads, narrow mazes of the souks with market goods spilling out into the alleyways, sand colored camels and magical mosques – Marrakech is beautiful and photogenic. It is as enchanting in real life as it is in pictures. A photographer’s retreat, these are the most beautiful places in Marrakech.
Djemaa El Fna
The loudly beating heart of Marrakech where you will find wonderful madness. During the day henna ladies, monkey wranglers, water sellers and snake charmers are out in full swing while at night a market of food stalls pop up while acrobats and storytellers bring the entertainment. Please stay away from taking pictures with monkeys or snakes – those animals are not kept in good conditions and supporting their owners with a picture is directly supporting animal cruelty.
Tucked away down a quiet street in the Medina, Riad El Fenn is an interior designer’s dream filled with lush palms and expertly created Moroccan wears. Drenched in all the colors of the souks, every space is stunning, luxe and made for the ‘Gram. There is a library with an open fireplace, three majestic swimming pools, hammocks strung between lemon trees, soaring ceilings, a celebrated spa and a cinema. If the price to stay is out of your budget, pop by for a boozy lunch on their rooftop or grab a snack by the pool but not before you pose on the luxurious yellow velvet couch.
This palatial hotel is as five-star as five-stars get. Especially famous are the beautiful indoor pool with its little pavilion and the open-air, marble corridor. Mind you, you will need to ask for permission to get there even if you are an overnight guest. For pool access, you do not have to book a room (though we highly recommend you do if you can afford it and have to celebrate a special occasion) but can book yourself a spa treatment to get in. And believe us, that has never felt so good.
It is hard to explain the special kind of magic that you will find at the souks. A maze of alleyways and squares in the medina filled with hand-crafted slippers, colorful spices, woven baskets, leather goods and so much more. Make sure you haggle and do not miss out on the carpet souk – not only can you walk away with a Moroccan rug for cheap, but you will also get that coveted Magic Carpet Ride photo. Head there after dusk to admire the wonderful stalls with the flickering lights.
Set in Marrakech’s renowned spice square (Places des épices), NOMAD is a lively restaurant that serves modern Moroccan dishes. It boasts exquisitely designed dining rooms and two terraces offering stunning vistas of the souks and the snowcapped peaks of the Atlas Mountains. The rooftop comes with a sprinkler system making it the perfect place to cool off when it gets hot.
Jardin Majorelle is a beautiful botanical garden, an artist’s landscape garden and a memorial to the late French fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent. They are overwhelmingly chic, decorated in bright Majorelle blue and canary yellow and filled to the brim with lush flowers and exotic cacti. Walk the gardens and enjoy lunch in the misted Garden Café.
Recently opened to complement Jardin Majorelle, this museum is probably the prettiest in the world. Its sensational facade comes in shades of orange and was designed by Studio KO to mimic the texture of fabric. The French fashion designer spent a good part of his life in the North African country and his expression is honored with this museum. Here you will learn all about the fashion legend’s life and see some of his greatest designs.
A secret? Perhaps not, but realistically there was no way this Moroccan oasis could be kept under wraps. Housed in a thoughtfully restored palace that dates back to the 16th century, the bountiful exotic and traditional Islamic gardens offer a hideaway from the busyness of the souks. After a wander through the walkways, head up to the rooftop café, a millennial pink wonderland, for a view from above.
Each floor of Le Salama is as decadent as the next, but the rooftop is where the magic happens. With hundreds of plants draping from the ceilings, whimsical decor and huge windows overlooking the city, this place at sunset is the ultimate chill out spot. Ask the waiters for a Fez to get into the true Moroccan spirit!
Just outside Marrakech, Beldi Country Club is in a beautiful location, surrounded by olive trees, palm trees, rose gardens, reed beds, cacti and ponds. Internationally renowned for its celebrity weddings and high-fashion photo shoots, this hotel is pure romance. Spend an afternoon swimming in the oasis-like pools, visiting the exquisite spa or feast on the dish of the day overlooking an endless rose field.
Ben Youssef Madrasa
Originally founded as an Islamic College, this beautiful structure features intricately carved cedar wood and stunning mosaics and is one of the most famous historical sites in Marrakech. Make sure you visit early in the morning to take a tourist-free photo in front of the colorful tiles in the main courtyard.
Featuring a jaw-dropping tiled courtyard with an indoor pool enveloped by exotic greeneries, this little boutique hotel is the perfect setting. Take a dip in the turquoise, tiled pool or relax in one of the lounge chairs surrounded by towering greenery. You never want to leave.
Set within the dusty, rose-colored walls of Marrakech’s Medina, Royal Mansour is a maze of 53 private roads and intricate courtyards lined with colorful mosaics. Do not miss the spa which, has a reception covered in white lattice as well as a blooming conservatory housing an interior swimming pool. Lay down on a warmed marble slab while being pampered before a dip into a cool plunge pool. Curl up with a Moroccan mint tea in your dressing gown afterwards and you will feel reborn.
If you want more desert action than just a 30-minute camel ride, opt to spend a night under the stars with Scarabeo Camp. This luxury glamping experience, not even an hour’s drive from Marrakech, is the Aladdin dream come true. An elegant and simple backdrop, exotic camels and spacious and comfortable Beduin tents, are all you need to completely unwind and disconnect from everyday life and the city’s bustling energy.
Have any favorites we need to add to this list? Let us know in the comments and we will check them out the next time we are there!