AXS offers bicycle tours, rentals and sales in Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. The tours range from easy to expert and offer both on and off road options. It's run by Americans and Moroccans and all the guides speak great English. The bicyces are top of the line Giant bikes and differ depending on what tour option you take. This was the highlight of my trip to Marrakech - definitely the best way to see the city and an easy day trip into the Atlas mountains, which are very beautiful.
Just to show that these tips do work, when I had a long weekend in Marrakesh with my family I contacted Abedellatif who was recommended as a guide in the Villa Dinari post, even though we weren't staying there. He was really charming, and an excellent guide. He showed us lots of places we'd never have found, even with a guide book, because he was born and brought up in the Medina. We enjoyed his tour so much that we went on a tour with him to the Ourika Valley and saw a wonderful local market. I really do recommend him, and if we ever do go back to Marrakesh we'll definitely stay at his lovely home (he took us there for tea on our way back from the Ourika Valley).
Villa Dinari Alpha 41, Lots Bouzaoui, Commune al Ouidane, Marrakech Morocco
+212 524 32 89 22
We were slightly apprehensive at first being a hen party group in our forties. But we were certainly wrong: it's the most fun thing to be doing in Marrakech. The quads get you out into the rock desert and the landscape are a great way to enjoy Marrakech and its unique views.
I've just returned from a trip of a lifetime walking in the desert with an excellent guide, a docile dromedary carrying everything for a night's camping and the dromedary minder who led me on spectacular rides into the sunset. Imagine, the only sound was birdsong, no other people to be seen, delicious meals and a star filled sky at night - truly a dream come true! Reach the desert by 4X4 from Marrakech.
This is an excellent auberge type of accommodation at Ait Oufi in the Dades Gorge, a stunning area of Morocco north west of the desert. We took this route on our way over to the coast south of Agadir. Unfortunately we were short of time so only had one night here with Ismail, his sister and brother. We would certainly return to experience more of the excellent menus on offer and also the chance to take guided tours in the area, led personally by Ismail. The brothers are all very innovative and skilled at providing a range of services to their guests. Ismail speaks excellent English.
You will certainly have a wonderful culinary experience as they have expertise at providing dishes you would not expect to be served in Morocco - e.g. amuse bouchee of goat's cheese and roast pepper served in a pastry tartlet, butternut squash soup, timbale of rice with pigeon stuffed with mushrooms. To finish we had the most scrumptious sugar tart. All of this provided a most welcome change after two weeks of tagine and couscous. Post-dinner stories all sincerely related gave us a real insight into the past life and experiences of this berber family. Any journalist seeking a heart-warming story would find some good copy here.
Riyad Al Moussika is a beautiful, peaceful place to relax and unwind after a busy day sightseeing and shopping in the souks! Just a five minute walk from the main square, it is the perfect place to stay. We stayed in the green room which had it's own roof terrace, perfect for a bit of sunbathing. The room was spotless, with a view over the beautiful courtyard and pool. The breakfasts were great, as was the complimentary mint teas and pastries. We booked one evening in the restaurant of the riad, which was the best meal we had throughout our stay in Marrakech. The manager and staff were always friendly and willing to help. Would definitely recommend.
Close to Badi Palace, Kosy Bar offers a rarity in dry Marrakech - alcohol. Emerge from a steamy hamman, rehydrate with water, before skipping over the menu's expensive beers and opting for the more reasonbly priced chilled white wine, the perfect respite from the hot, bustling city. Head for the highest of the two roof terraces, and look down on Marakech in action, and watch and listen to the nesting storks patiently stood on the old city walls. Or marvel as the waiter tries to negotiate the narrow, spiral staircase to the terrace while carrying trays of drinks.
47 Place des Ferblantiers, Mellah, Marrakech
We found the great KifKif little shop thanks to another tourist at our Riad who had mentioned it to me. They sell a good selection of jewellery, handbags, scarves, clothing, babouches.
Prices are fixed and the pendants, ear-rings and other items I bought seem well made and are just that little bit different and quirky. Besides, you are left free to browse without pressure to buy!
Riad Magellan was a lovely small boutique-hotel with really friendly staff. I wish we had more time as we would have happily stayed there much longer. We even got a free cooking class where we learnt how to make amazing salads and a beef tajine, which we had for dinner at candle light near the fire place on our last night. It was wonderful! That location is perfect to get around in the Medina.
62 derb el hammam, Mouassine, Marrakech
Mimosa and jacaranda gave way to walnut, apple and cherry orchards as we climbed.
Kasbah Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains can only be reached on foot or by mule. I chose a mule, and friendly Berbers guided me along a river valley where women washed clothes and gathered firewood. We stopped for mint tea in a village house, admiring brightly coloured carpets hung from walls above the narrow alleys.
The Kasbah is perched high like a fortress, surrounded by snow covered mountains, a gentian blue sky and a view to a distant waterfall. With warm sun and a cool breeze on my face, I devoured tagine of lamb and the sweetest ever oranges. I envied those staying, with their wood burning stoves and deckchairs.
I had discovered Shangri-La – not surprisingly, Toubkal has stood in for Tibet. I wanted right then to do the long trek to the top of Toubkal – at 4167 meters the highest mountain in North Africa. But it was Christmas Eve and time to return home.
Day trips can be arranged to the Kasbah with a pick up from your hotel in Marrakesh.
+212 524 485611
Marrakesh offers so many choices, that it was hard to decide, but Riyad Al Moussika has been the right one.
We spent a weekend in this spot of beauty and we were totally satisfied. I share completely all the positive reviews and me too I highly recommend this place.
62, derb Boutouil - Kennaria
+212 524 389067
We ate here three times and each time it was relaxing and inviting and the service very professional. Both the Moroccan and Italian menus were extraordinary.
The restaurant is in a gorgeous Moroccan building with a very romantic atmosphere that contributed to making our wedding anniversary so memorable. I very much recommend this restaurant.
17 derb Cherkaoui, Marrakech
+212 (0)524 389067
My wife and I went here to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. It was absolutely marvellous! This place is an old palace in the medina of Marrakech quite close to the main square and fantastically restructured and refurbished keeping the Moroccan authentic style. Beautiful swimming pool in the garden, and hammam that we tried twice with a massage: great experience that I recommend. Gargantuan breakfasts of fresh ingredients mainly home made. Our suite, the blue one with Carrara white marble floor, gorgeous wood ceiling and a huge bathroom, was so nice and relaxing we were reluctant to go out. I want as well to underline the high level of service that the wonderful team gave us. They truly made our trip amazing.
Phone +212 (0) 524 389 067
62 Deb Boutouil, Kennaria 40,000, Marrakech
My first experience of the Riad Azoulay in Marrakech last year (though not my first time in the city) turned out to be a real stroke of luck and was so nice that I really wondered if a second visit would match up to my recollections. I didn’t need to worry – the same air of serenity, the same friendly attention, the same stimulating fusion of ‘east meets west’ in the decoration, the food and every carefully managed detail made me feel I’d never left. Meti, the beloved Bichon Frisé, was away having babies (for those who know her, mother and puppies are all doing fine, I’m told) but in all other respects Riad Azoulay retains its unique charm, keeps its quality intact and, happily for me, continues to remain a welcome oasis of calm in the wonderfully chaotic Medina.
A lovely little riad, in the medina, very pleasant staff. Respite from the chaos outside, and the hard sell. And a great breakfast.
DB Tbib, N° 46, Riad Zitoun Jdid Marrakech 40000 Maroc
+ 212 5 24 39 04 25
As well as the changes in time from GMT to daylight saving in Spring and Autumn it is as well to be alert to the fact that 'daylight saving time' is suspended during Ramadam. This is a moveable religious event with the start and end announced the day before the beginning of Ramadam. Confused? So were we and so was Easy Jet. On July 21st 2012 the Airport clocks were set at Ramadam/ local time, Easy Jets website gave the flight times at Ramadam time, however the check in desk gave the flight as Daylight Saving time and so we missed the flight, along with other passengers from other flights. We had to pay £50 penalty for a new ticket!
A beautiful little art deco boutique hotel built in the traditional style around a courtyard, a five minute walk away from the famous Jemaa el fna square. Wonderful staff, very helpful, especially Oliver the owner. And the food was seriously We found it easily but Oliver gives you a mobile phone so you can ring them in case you get lost and the staff will come and get you.
This is an incredible, unique place to stay and visit. It is a hotel inside a museum, made by local artist and teacher, Hassan Ouleddroun. There are two comfortable en suite bedrooms inside the museum, made from all the artefacts he has found round the village (where they filmed Ben Hur!) from ancient times. Hassan is a a brilliant artist too, so you may be lucky enough to pick up some of his work. (He is quite shy about his talent, although his work is now in Madrid, New York and round the world where the elite have found him!). Ibrahim is the resident hotel keeper. He or his lovely wife will rustle you up a delicious cous cous and bring you lovely fresh breakfast feasts on the roof terrace or inside. A brilliant, secret find. Complete bargain! I'm tempted to keep it secret but Hassan and his family need guests to fund the museum and school.
Say Helen and Chrissie sent you!
Hassan Ouleddroun, Hay EL Wahada 117, Ouarzazate, Morrocco
It's a beautiful eco-lodge in a stunning setting, at the foot of the Atlas mountains of Morocco. It is a traditionally built stone building standing above a green valley, offering amazing views. The interior is very tasteful, using local materials ans items, but providing all the comfort and luxury western people need. We had a wonderful, very relaxing stay, surely something different than the usual hotel experience and a great escape from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.
I decided I wanted to visit Morocco and was going to go to Marrakech until I was told to try out some surfing from a friend. They recommended African Spirit as they had booked with them so I did too and I can't recommend them highly enough. The whole experience is something that I will never forget. I like to think by the end of the trip I was able to surf reasonably well! There is also a lot more to do other than surf but I would definitely recommend giving surfing a try, it is good fun!
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