A wonderful collection of Marocco's thriving indigenous modern artists, illustrating the traditional thuja technique in a modern context. Vibrant colours and shape shock the senses. Particularly recommended is the work of Said Quarzaz and Trifis. Quarzaz makes warped furniture I wish I could own!
Avenue Oqba Ibn Nafiaa, Essaouira
+212 524 78 44 46
Hidden just at the edge of the ramparts of Tangier's casbah high above the medina, is this gem of a small hotel with only ten rooms. During restoration work the owners discovered an old hammam within their walls, which now is the secret centrepiece of the hotel. Sooner or later you will share a beer with your convivial host and he will offer to introduce you to the oldest form of wellness - his master of ceremony will heat the private hamman with fire wood, give you a perfect rubdown in the steamy marbled vaults scented in oriental fragrances and wrap you in cosy blankets afterwards. Fresh mint tea on the diwans on the roof terrace overlooking both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean complete the joutney back to the old Tangier of poets, spies and smugglers ...
This is a very special riad located in the Medina of Marrakech. I stayed there four days with my boyfriend, and we loved Dar Darma! Our Mirror Suite was beautiful with a nice living room and beautiful mirrors. We also had a cookery lesson with the chef of Dar Darma and it was so funny!
11/12, Trik (rue) Sidi Bohuarba, 40000 Marrakech, Morocco
00212 5 24 38 07 08
We have just returned from a week in this beautiful villa and felt compelled to post it because it was such amazing value for money (£60 each per night!) and very lovely.
It was just the two of us but we got the run of the whole place. There was a free shuttle to the centre of the marrakech but we found it hard to drag ourselves away from the private pool and garden so only used it once. The lovely housekeeper deserves special mention - her cooking was sublime.
+44 (0)20 8940 9493
It is a small cafe and bookstore upstairs in a side street in Marrakech. I found this place so wonderful to have an afternoon snack/lunch as the food was great and with such a tranquil atmosphere, you could just admire the books that surround you on the walls. My girlfriend and I enjoyed a lovely lunch and a smoothie with a delightful coffee afterwards while we wandered through all the old unique books about travel, fiction and some obscure academic books. I even managed to pick up an old copy of a book on neo-classicism to remember the place. We spent hours there just reading and drinking, looking out onto the Moroccan skyline. A great place to find a truly unique book while enjoying some traditional and contemporary cuisine.
Before travelling to Morocco I arranged a trip to the Sahara from Fes where I was based. Our guide arranged for us to travel there in a taxi. Eight hours is a long journey but we saw some fantastic scenery along the way. In hindsight though I might have arranged the taxi myself so I could have ensured a seat belt!
On arrival in Rissani we were met by Hassan and travelled in a 4x4 for about half an hour to the edge of the Sahara. We then collected our camels and rode to our camp among the sand dunes while the sun was setting. I had booked the trip as a surprise for my boyfriend's birthday and thought we would be with lots of other people. As we went in late November it was really quiet, just us and the guides (three). We didn't see anybody else the whole time we were there. We stayed in a luxury bivouac and in the evening had a lovely meal and played morrocan music around the campfire. In the morning the two of us climbed up a sand dune to watch the sunrise which was absolutely spectacular. Looking around we couldn't see anybody else at all just sand dunes for miles and miles. It was very romantic. The trip was extremely well organised and Hassan is very friendly and knowledgable. I would highly recommend it. It's a real once in a lifetime experience.
Our trip was arranged through Hassan from www.sahara-magic.com
First of all, be aware that in Morocco, you really have to go down south to explore the real Sahara. Forget about Western Sahara for safety reasons at the moment.
You can also, in my opinion, skip the Merzouga region. There are the highest dunes in Morocco but the place gets incredibly crowded.
Instead, you should try to go to the end of the Draa river to eventually discover the largest dunes of the country. The dunes inspired the famous movie maker Bernardo Bertolucci for his masterpiece “Tea in the Sahara”. I would rather get there by plane from Ouarzazate or Marrakech through the stunning High Altas route.
There in Mahmid, you will be able to find camel riders to take you through these stunning landscapes. Unforgettable experience and away from the crowd.
Zagora was the perfect stepping off point into the desert, having rented a car in Marrakech and loaded with a map it took us a full day to arrive at Zagora which while we hadn't planned to actually go to, it just seemed to be the accumulation of following where the road took us.
We decided to stay at the la Perle du Draa hotel, it was basic but had a pool which in the middle of august was a massive plus to say the least.
It was hot and we struggled to sleep, with the wind coming in off the Sahara burning your nostrils and the back of your throat.
That said, without any form of preplanning, it was the adventure I had wanted so without complaining we got through the night, although my friend got up during the night and slept by the pool while I had to have more than one cold shower during the night!
This said it was the best holiday I have ever had, pure fun and excitement from the very first moment, cheap as chips, no fixed planning or being dragged around from pillar to post by organised tours.
With days spent in the oasis in Ouarzazate, with trips out to the dunes we couldn't have wanted for much more.
Rising early on the first morning to drive out to see the sunrise over the dunes was one of the most enlightening experiences I have ever had.
The hotel was basic, but the experience made it all the while worth doing.
Tour Operators - Marrakech - La Palmeraie
»Marrakech Loisirs // Special Events:
New Years 2011 in the Sahara Desert: 3-days Sahara Special
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Join us this December to celebrate the New Year with a bang! Entertain yourself in true Moroccan Berber environment, unleash your senses re-live nomadic traditions and watch the stars pass into a new year... with typical tribal dancing/chanting and berber style feasting.
Marrakech-Loisirs is proud to offer you this once in a life time opportunity to come and part-take in this majestic communion in true Moroccan Berber style...
Pick-Up: 30th Dec, Marrakech, Ouarzazate or preferred point.
Included in the price, all transportation, camel riding to your camps,, accommodation (tents) and food...non-alcoholic drinks, entrance fees excluded.
*Please note this tour has limited availabilities, please contact us now to confirm your place!
+44 (0)843 289 5824 (24hr-HotLine)
+44 (0)208 144 5854 (UK)
+212 (0)66 500 6973 (Morocco)
Catching a ferry across the straits of Gibralter you arrive in Tangier. From here you catch the, rather crowded, train through Rabat and Casablanca, finally rattling in to Marrakech. The true desert experience began after days of trekking above the snow line of Mount Toubkal after which you arrive in Zagora, Morocco's hottest town when you can ride a camel into the world famous, breathtaking, Sahara desert. Sitting around a camp fire with your Moroccan guides and camels under a full moon really is a magical, albeit surreal, experience. From here journey back to Marrakech and visit the desert settings for films such as Gladiator and Lawerence of Arabia. The soaring temperatures all year around are uncomfortable, so be sure to spend slightly more on good quality hotels, especially in Zagora, to ensure you enjoy your adventure.
Cafe du Livre. Bookshop and cafe. Hidden away, and tricky to find, in the patio of the Hotel Toulousain, in Guiliz, but well worth the effort this great bookshop is a meeting place for the English speaking community. Thousands of books, fiction and non fiction, old and new, line the walls of this stylish place, including a permenant collection of moroccan books that you can browse whilst enjoying an excellent coffee, fruit juice or glass of wine.Enjoy breakfast, a light lunch or tapas cooked by two star Michelin chef Richard Neat (of Casa Lalla). The food is great. Local guides, International Newspapers, free WiFi, readings, poetry, what more could you want.
Cafe du Livre (in the patio of Hotel Toulousain) 44 rue Tarik Ben Ziad,Gueliz, Marrakech. (+2443 2149)
Morocco as a country is the most culturally rich place I've ever visited and more specifically Marrakech. Both Ryan Air and Easy Jet fly direct from many UK airports and flights are very reasonably priced.
I'd recommend staying a week or more here and checking in to one of the many Riad's within the Medina. By doing this you will almost immerse yourself in Moroccan culture and way of life; it never ceases to amaze me. I'd start by exploring your neighbourhood and meeting some of the locals. Hello (Salam), Goodbye (Beslama), Please (Afak) and Thank You (Shukran) will always go a long way as many people only speak the local dialect, not English or French. Ask the owner or manager of your Riad where the local Hammam baths are; they are well worth a visit! Some may offer a massage for en extra few Dirham.
Before starting to haggle in the Souks it may be worth talking to other tourists and staff at the Riad about prices to expect to pay for goods. Shopkeepers will always try to take you for a ride - don't give in too easily - if the price is too high for you, walk away, they'll soon run after you. Be sure to spend plenty of time in the Souks, especially in the evening as everything lights up - it almost seems magical. Don't forget to enjoy a freshly prepared meal in the stalls at Djemaa el Fna and to take in the various forms of street entertainment. Djemaa el Fna transforms into a vibrant hub at night for both local people and tourists.
As for things to do, I personally recommend visiting the El Badi Palace and the Saadien Tombs - all for a bit of local history. The Majorelle Gardens are also well worth a visit, I'd go in the morning when it's slightly quieter. There is a cafe there, but prices are rather steep, so take water and a snack. If you have the time to explore outside of Marrakech, take a Taxi (approx 1 hr) to the waterfalls at Ourika Valley. Wear sensible shoes and hire a guide when you get there.
As for Cafes, Restaurants and Bar's here are my top 3: Cafe Bourgainvillea - situated within the souks, perfect for afternoon tea and very reasonably priced. Cafe Arabe, is a restaurant just a bit further on and serves delicious food. After your meal, sit up on the rooftop terrace and enjoy views across the city. Expect to pay prices similar to those in the UK. African Chic, is cocktail and lounge bar in the Gueliz - the new part of the city. Most evenings they have a great live band playing, it's perfect to enjoy a classy evening.
All that's left to say is to enjoy it. You won't forget the Marrakech experience in a hurry!!
Cafe Bourgainvillea: 33 Rue de Moussaine, Medina, Marrakech
Cafe Arabe: 184 Rue de Moussaine, Medina, Marrakech
African Chic: 6 Rue Oum Errabia, Gueliz, Marrakech (0524) 431 424 www.african-chic.com/
Our stay at Dar Najat began with a pre-arranged transfer on our arrival from Casablanca to Marrakech. From the moment we entered the Riad, Olivier the owner made us feel that his home was ours. Our room on the first floor, was cosy with windows opening onto the delightful courtyard. Olivier then gave us a brief orientation to Marrakech and guided us along the short ten minute walk to Jemaa El Fna, pointing out several landmarks to enable us to retrace our steps on our return.
Our first evening meal was served on the roof top, where we enjoyed Olivier's interpretation of a classical tagine accompanied by delightfully presented starter and dessert, not to mention Olivier's selection of Moroccan wines. You can always rely on a Frenchman to discover the best wines in any country!
One of our experiences was to purchase some of the local cooking ingredients with Sakina the cook. This included an impromtu tour of the Jewish area and some hassle free assistance in puchasing an authentic tagine and some spices. In all, we ate at Dar najat for five of our seven nights and were never disappointed with the food or the wine
During our stay Olivier also arranged a Hammam and a day in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. In summary, we enjoyed a very relaxing week in Dar Najat thanks to the charming and thoughtful attention of our host Olivier and his delightful staffs.
We loved our stay at Riad Dar Eliane, perfectly located in the Marrakech medina, just minutes from the souks and the main square. It was quiet, peaceful and beautiful. The owner John was incredibly helpful, giving us a good intro to the city and even a quick tour of the souks. He was always on hand to answer questions or advise us on places to explore. We ate one night on the terrace, a delicious home cooked tagine, sitting under the stars gazing over the rooftops towards the Koutoubia Mosque, a fabulous view and a delicious meal. We ordered wines and beers every night which we drank in the Riad but alcohol is not available in the medina. The breakfasts were fantastic, the other guests were very friendly, and overall it was a great experience. We had a truly wonderful time and I would recommend it to anyone of any age. It is great value, with a wonderful owner and staff and in the perfect location. We loved it and plan to return.
No39, Derb Maada, Azbezt
This raid is really great, a fabulous place to stay and the perfect place to relax after a day in Marrakech which can be very full on. The staff were friendly and attentive. They welcomed us in with mint tea and then gave us a map and offered us advice on what best to do and how to find our way around. We highly reccommend the dinner - we had a Moroccan salad, chicken tagine, beautifully spiced vegetables and a fruit desert with wine. Our room was charming, very comfortable with a good shower. It is a 10 minute walk to the main square but we liked this, because we saw a different side to Marrakech.
My girlfriend and I stayed at Riad Dar Eliane for four nights and were made to feel very welcome from the minute we entered the hotel. It is decorated in a Moroccan chic style with a good sized roof terrace that's great for sun bathing and relaxing. It is located about 10 minutes from the main square, Jemma el fna, 10 minutes from La Foundouk a spectacular restaurant and about 10 minutes from Cafe Arabe a more relaxed restaurant.
Each morning we had a traditional Moroccan breakfast in the open riad courtyard. We opted for an evening meal on our final night and were given a traditional and tasty three course meal for around 25 Euros each.
The riad also organized for my girlfriend to have a traditional hammam treatment and massage at the Didi spa near the square. Marrakech is quite a hectic place, which made us realize how fortunate we were to have such a relaxing riad to come back to. Bouchra and her team really did their best to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable and we had a great time.
No39, Derb Maada, Azbezt, Medina
This is a lovely place. It’s down a side passage off a bustling thoroughfare in the northern medina, lined with shops and full of shoppers, tradesmen and people on motorized scooters.
Our room was excellent and we found all staff at the riad to be very friendly and helpful. Bouchra the manageress met us when we arrived and gave us information about how to get to the Jemma El Fna square.
The food was really good and very plentiful and we'd happily recommend eating here one night on your stay.
The riad offers to get a taxi to pick you up at the airport for a 10 euro fee. This is a reasonable deal and the driver takes you to the nearest point that cars can reach, from there the riad is about a five minute walk.
We walked through the more modern part of Marrakech, Gueliz where many of the western style hotels and you really could be anywhere in Europe in this quarter.
I stayed at the riad for four days. Superb service by the staff. Was the highlight of my stay in Marrakesh. Ever obliging and courteous. Seldom have I come across such service in my extensive stays in hotels across the world. The riad is of moderate size and located within walking distance to the Jemaa El Fina. Great experience walking through the souks to reach the Jemaa. It takes between five to 10 minutes. The hotel is tucked in a cul-de-sac. The rooms are furnished in a very Moroccan style but with modern amenities. The library is well stocked with books on Morocco. Enjoyed my evenings reading books on Morocco, to better understand local culture. The food was superb. Requested for pastilla and this was duly served the same evening. Arranged for day trips to Imlil and Ait El Bendahou via the hotel. These trips were reasonably priced with knowledgeable guides who spoke good English. The riad was originally built by the pasha of Marrakesh (sort of a ruler who was the the chief of the Marrakesh area) during French colonisation. So there is a lot of history in the riad.
Phone +212 (0) 524 389 067
62 Deb Boutouil, Kennaria 40,000, Marrakech
Medina in Fes is absolutely stunning not only because it's the biggest old town in the Arabic world. In there you can find an incredibly big market where you could get everything, numerous tanneries and an awful lot of impressions. Here's how I saw Medina in Fes: www.fm1721.com/experience/africa/morocco/
Plan at least one whole day for discovering Medina! Also choose your tannery viewing carefully as there are lots of crooks in Medina.
Medina, Fes, Morocco
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