Magical Morrocco

#INSTAGRAMWORTHY

Marrakech is probably one of the most Instagrammable places in the world. Below are a few places you may want to check out for your instagram feed.

  • Follow @morocccanmusthaves to get your Morrocan fix. She has the most amazing pictures of the city that will leave almost your entire stay planned. Give her a follow if you are going. Her account gave me so much inspo and I literally stalked her feed to find everything I needed. She is a doll:)
  • The most Intagrammed Pool-  Le Riad Yasmine, click on the link and see for yourself. Most infamous travel bloggers have been there just to get an Insta worthy shot!
  • Hotel LaMamounia Spa – The spa at this place looks out of a magazine and so does the hotel, majority of the hotel is instagrammable from the marble pillars to the beautiful courtyards. You can get some inspo from famous travel bloggers like @ohhcouture and @doyoutravel
  • Scarabeo Camp– I have linked it below, you can catch the perfect desert shots while the sun is rising or settling. It looks like a painting.
  • Madrasa Ben Yousef – Infamous for the mosaic tiles surrounding the entire mosque, you can literally photograph every corner. I saw many photo shoots taking place between couples here, and also the “Can you take one more” conversations!
  • Majorelle Gardens – You may have to put together a pre-planned outfit for this one. It’s the infamous YSL Gardens surrounded by beautiful lush plants and royal blue walls. Calling for all #fashionbloggers
  • Souks – There is one on every corner so you won’t run out of options but make sure to get a few pics!

NEIGHBORHOODS

We stayed in Marrakesh for 5 nights and 6 Days which was plenty of time. There are only two main neighborhoods to chose from realistically  Either staying in the walls (Medina) or outside the walls (New Town). Below I have listed a breakdown of the two choices.

The Medina (Old Town) – This is definitely the most busiest and central neighborhood to stay in if your’e looking to experience the REAL Marrakesh. Which includes the hustle and bustle, steps from the main Square (Jamaa El Fena) which is filled with countless of restaurants, entertainers, street vendors and much more. Inside the Medina you will also find hundreds of Hotels and Riads so getting around will not be an issue as everything will be walking distance. Staying near the Medina means there are hundreds of tourists and it’s always loud and noisy.

Gueliz (New Town) – Although I preferred staying in the Medina, my husband was not a big fan and thought it would’ve been better to stay in the new town. Luxury shopping, upscale restaurants, world renown hotel chains, nightclubs and Hookah lounges is what you will find in Gueliz. It’s a lot quieter than staying at the Medina. Keep in mind a lot of the sight seeing and street shopping is in the Medina(Old Town) including some amazing restaurants so you will be paying in transportation costs. This truly is a personal choice.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Thanks to Instagram I was able to search some of the most picturesque stays while we were there. I will share them with you below. Keep in mind these are just suggestion because Marrakesh is filled with some of the most beautiful accommodations in the world. The two choices you will make is whether to stay in a Hotel or Riad. Personal choice again, however if you are going to Marrakesh,  you HAVE to stay in a Riad. A Riad is a traditional house in Marrakesh, it is usually a small to medium sized house with anywhere between 4-12 rooms. Most Riads will face the courtyard or inner walls as the concept is derived from Islam. Riad’s usually have a very personal and beautiful touch to them. Marrakesh is home to some of the most beautiful and luxurious Riads in the world. Below are the ones I stayed in however I have also listed some other options to look at.

El Fenn (Riad)– We stayed here and believe me it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed in. And trust me, we have stayed in a lot. Everything about this Riad from the moment you walk in is BEAUTIFUL. It’s actually owned by Richard Branson’s sister Vanessa Branson and her husband. The interior is spectacular with ever corner filled with beauty. The rooms are to die for. We stayed in one of the suites (All of them are designed differently) the elegant decor and of course the infamous bathtub that was featured in Vogue. Trust me this place is heaven. Just look at the pictures! We also trued the spa and opted for the couples Hammam spa package. You have to try this if you have not been to a Hammam before. You will come out feeling like a brand new person, I promise.

 

La Sultana Boutique Hotel –  Imagine Ultimate Luxury! I’m talking about living in a Palace and getting treated like Royalty. This place was unbelievable. I don’t even know where to begin. Our room was ginormous and felt like I stepped inside the Palace of a Sheikh. Marble Floors, Gold sinks in the bathroom, Egyptian cotton sheets, private courtyard and the most breathtaking pool I have seen so far. Below are some pictures that don’t do justice but something to see anyways. There is a heavty price tag on this property ($450/nightly rate). It’s very close to the Main Square and the service is excellent.

OTHER OPTIONS (RIADS/HOTELS)

Le Riad Yasmine – This is the most Instagrammable Riad by far. Well known for it’s beautiful pool.

Dar Darma (Riad) – The rooms are so beautiful! I had originally booked this but  at the last minute I changed my mind.  The suites are all unique. You can pick from The Blue Apartment, The Red Apartment, The Orange Suite and The Mirror Suite. The Blue Apartment is the prettiest!

Riad Edward – I was also considering this one till I found El Fenn lol. Riad Edward has 10 Rooms, a beautiful plunge pool that occupies majority of the courtyard, lanterns on every corner. It’s a beautiful place to stay.

La Mamounia – Let’s just say if you can afford it then STAY! The price tag can be as high as $750/per night for some rooms. But apparently it is the most beautiful hotel in the city. See for yourself.

Hotel Sofitel – This is located in the New Town and is so beautiful at night. The hotel lights up to a Pink color at night and is extremely live. Picture The Cosmo from Vegas well this would be equivalent. They’ve got pool parties to some of the hottest parties in the city.

THINGS TO SEE & DO

Marrakech is filled with many activities. Below is a list of places to check out and adventures to add to your bucket list: We tired to do as many as we could.

Atlas Mountain – Many day trips that take you for the day, should cost about 90 Euros per person. It’s usually a full day trip. You can find many tour sites that will take you there.

Scarabeo Camp – Lets just say this is the Ultimate Instagrammable dessert. It looks perfect and it’s GLAMPING! Give it a looksie. They make it look so beautiful you wont want to miss this experience.

Marrakech Day Tour – You can pick a variety of day trips depending on what you want to see. I picked majority of my trips through Viator. We also did the walking tour around the city and it was great if it wasn’t that hot. We walked around all the main points and sights. You can find many walking tours through Viator.

Majorelle Gardens / The YSL Gardens– I did not get a chance to see this as we ran out of time, but I hear it’s not to be missed.

Ben Youssef Madrasa – Breathtaking views of the Madrasa, bathed in Moroccan tiles and picture perfect from every angle.

Sahara Dessert Trip – Majority of them are a minimum of 2 -3 nights if you want to experience the true Sahara Desert.  It takes about 8 hours to get to the real Desert so keep that in mind because anything less than 8 hours is not the real Sahara. I had booked a desert trip and later found out that my meeting spot was 8 hours out and had to get there on my own! I obviously cancelled but no one tells you this, so make sure when you book the meeting point is in the Medina or close to you. There are many other desert similar and closer so you don’t have to go so far out and in that case you can check out Scarabeo Camp. The Agafey Desert is where most people go if they don’t want to travel so far. It’s close and gives you a similar feel and experience. Once again we did not have enough time to do this and we went in the peak of the summer so it was not recommended. If you do go during the cooler season this is also a MUST.

Hot Air Balloon Ride – We did this and it was the highlight of the trip. We booked through Marrakech by Air. It was a AMAZING. They pick you up at 4 am and you come back around lunch time. Approx $225 US per person but so WORTH IT! By the way there was also a 20 minute Camel Ride and breakfast also included in our tour so make sure if you go with them you confirm this. This company is the best one, I searched for many and there are only a handful of tour operators that do the Hot Air Baloon, most people go with Marrakech By Air because the Pilot is hilarious! Our entire ride to the top was filled with laughter!

Hammam Bath – We were staying at El Fenn so we opted for the one in our Riad and it’s so far my most worthy Spa experience evvaaa! The other amazing one in the city is called Les Bains de Marrakech but it was closed for renovations while we were there and they generally closed during the summer for a few weeks so make sure to check ahead of time.

Fez and Essaouirra is also highly recommended.

FOOD

You cant go wrong with food here, almost everything tastes delicious. We tried out a bunch of places in the city. Here are some of my favorite.

Zwin Zwin Cafe – Colorful food and at a colorful terrace. The prettiest pictures for your Instagram feed and most importantly the food is REALLY good.

Cafe Nomad – Incredible view of the city especially during sunset. You will catch the call for prayer while the sun is settling and the whole place just looks magical.

Cafe Des Epices – Beautiful setting with a view of the Medina and great food. (Local)

Comptoir Darna – This place looks and feels very exclusive. The crowd is polished and the food  can get pricey. None the less we ended up here for our first night and spent it with good music, sheesha on the patio and immersed the culture. Must check out if you are looking for a fun night out, They have a bar/club upstairs, Sheesha Patio and International Cuisine.

HAUTE TIPS & ADVICE (MUST READ)

  • Something to keep in mind is that you will heard the call for prayer 5 times a day as this is an Islamic State. The call for prayer is beautiful and you get used to the sound after a few days.
  • Do not buy the first few things you see the entire place is filled with the exact same things two doors down. You can negotiate closer to half the amount the guy is selling it for so wether you like it or not make sure you are not OVERPAYING and talk them down to almost half the price.
  • Great buys; Pots, Bowls, Tea Kettle, Tea glasses, Rugs, Lanterns, Kaftaan’s, Jewelry, Scarves, Slippers.
  • Drink bottled water at all times.
  • Stay indoors during 2-5 pm if you are going in the summer, it is brutally hot and you wont enjoy any of the activities planned. We did a walking tour during the heat and my husband wanted to leave the next day hahaha
  • Marrakech is an Islamic state which means women cover themselves up. I didn’t pack much for this trip as I had researched this before, instead I purchased a lot of Kaftaan’s while I was there to wear during the day. Make sure to take clothes with you that cover your legs and even shoulders while you are out. The Kaftaan’s are super cheap. I bought a few for 200 Dirhams which is about 10 bucks.
  • Plan a trip during the spring or late November, the weather is perfect. During the Summers a lot of things can be closed due to the heat. Our experience in Marrakech would have been much nicer if we came during the cooler season.
  • Set a price with the taxi guy before going in. They all offer different rates and usually you have to bargain with them. BE careful a lot of taxi drivers will try to scam you. Get a few prices before you go with one or get your hotel or Riad to find you one and negotiate a price for you.
  • How much money to take? I was stumbled upon this and did a lot of research on this topic and could not get a definite answer. We budgeted about $1500 CDN for our 5 nights and majority of our tours were pre-booked and it still was not enough. It totally depends here because if you are shopping you will need a stash put away just for that, you can literally buy everything you see there. Food should cost anywhere between 200 Dirhams to 400 Dirhams average per meal and that is a pretty good meal. Taxis should run you about 100 Dirhams a day if you are going out of the Medina and the rest if for whatever you need. It would be wise to budget 1500 Dirhams a day which is about $200 CDN/per day for two people.
  • Marrakesh is a poor country which means there are a lot of beggars including children, so be careful of that.
  • DO NOT ASK ANYONE FOR DIRECTION. This is the most important advice, Thank god my husband has a world map in his head otherwise we would never make it anywhere. Carry a map and only ask your hotel or Riad for directions. If you ask someone on the street there is 200% chance you will get lost and end up some where else. The little alleys in the Medina have no names majority are based of landmarks. However it could also be fun if you don’t mind getting lost and exploring. Totally depends on you.
  • Once again there are NO STREET NAMES
  • Get yourself a transfer from the Airport both ways. If you are staying in a nice place ask them in advance. Majority of the taxis don’t have air conditioning so if you are there during the heat cabbing it to the airport can be brutal. This should cost about 250 – 300 Dirhams
  • Ask for your bill in advance if you are at a restaurant and have to be somewhere. Some places can take very very long to get your bill. People like to take their time eating.
  • Power outage is common apparently in the summers. We were enjoying a nice dinner and sheesha on a terrace when the power went out. It was beautiful to see but just something to be prepared for.
  • Charity – If you see kids asking for money we bought them food instead. Drinks are very cheap n the Medina. Fresh orange, mango juice is like a dime so we would buy a few for the kids every night. It was great.
  • DO NOT GET HENNA from the Henna ladies. They are very aggressive and can charge you a ridiculous amount. Usually they just grab your hand so you have to be pretty aggressive yourself
  • 4 nights is more than enough to see Marrakesh, go to other places like Fez and Casablanca if you can instead of staying put in one place.
  • Everyone speaks French so learning a few works to speak with taxi drivers and locals would really help.
  • Book your tours in advance there are so many people selling packages on the street and they can be very UNTRUSTWORTHY. I booked majority of mine ahead of time.
  • ENJOY the Riad. I learnt this the hard way, I was so excited to go here that I crammed a lot of activities for our entire stay, however due to the heat we had to cancel majority of it and it left us no choice but to enjoy our Riad. Which is was what I should have done in the first place. Morocco can be exhausting due to the hustle and bustle however it can also be the most luxurious and exotic place you may visit in your life, so enjoy the day your Riad/Hotel. Enjoy the plunge pools, the food and experience.
  • It’s a perfect girls trip, you can literally shop from morning till night, my hubby got bored of the markets and souks so if you are planning a trip with the girls, there is no better place. Food, Shopping & Spas. That is ULTIMATE girls trip.

MUST TRY

  • Moroccan Tea, the best you will ever have
  • Camel Burger – Tastes amazing
  • The pastries
  • Orange & Mango juice from the Medina
  • Hammam Bath
  • Lamb Tagine – So good!
  • Hookah/Sheesha

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2 Comments

  1. Taiya
    December 15, 2016 / 10:35 am

    This is awesome. I’m so excited for my trip now
    Thanks for the great information

    • hautebyhuda
      December 15, 2016 / 1:45 pm

      You will have a great time. Take lots of long and covered clothes:)

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