Marrakech has been high on my destination list for a long time so when presented with the opportunity to pop down between Madrid and Lisbon last year, I jumped at the chance, even if only for a couple days.
Marrakech is bursting with history. Walking through the souks is like stimulation overload. Traders and travelers alike have been coming for centuries for these good but there is a new scene in the Old Medina that is bubbling with raw creativity of old age craft transformed for the modern aesthetic. The result is an art and culture destination that is overwhelming rich in history but feels fresh and exciting. Young creatives are pushing historical artistic limits and bringing a renewed POV to old age craft techniques, fashion, cuisine and art.
(Souks in the Medina)
Staying in a Riad in the Ancient Medina is a must. It is a physical representation of the convergence of historical and modern creativity. Riads are century old residences that have been renovated into boutique hotels boasting all the modern amenities but still retaining their traditional charm and feel. Most are centered around an interior courtyard and have stunning rooftops organized for relaxation and meals. Staying in the Medina vs. in a hotel in Guilez or “New Town” allows for a deeply intimate experience with traditional Marrakech. Below are images from Dar Darma, the beautiful Riad we called home for our stay.
» Treat yourself to an afternoon at the spa at Les Bains de Marrakech. Show up early to relax post treatment, drink tea and prepare for your traditional Hammam.
» Spend the mid morning exploring the Souks around Jemaa el Fnaa then break for lunch. Trust me, you’ll need a break to plan everything you’re going to buy. For bartering, simply decide what you’d be happy paying for something and go for that price. Don’t make a game of it, it’s not worth the pressure and the goods are worth the extra coin.
» Break from them souks and eat lunch at Le Jardin Marrakech, it’s an oasis among the chaos of the Medina.
» Grab a horse and carriage ride from Jemaa el Fnaa to the YSL Garden & Rue 33. They’re located side-by-side. YSL Garden is a must see and Rue 33 a lovely boutique filled with modern Moroccan designers. Great for an afternoon excursion out of the Medina.
» Eat at Grand Café a la Post in Gueliz one night for an old school French meets Marrakech experience. It’s a Marrakech staple.
» Check out the Saadian Tombs for some of the most stunning mosaic you’ve ever seen.
(Entrance to Jemaa el Fnaa)
All photos via STH.