Hotspot Destination: 4 Days In Marrakesh, Morocco
It’s no surprise that Marrakesh is a beloved touchstone for designers and decorators with local handcrafts and architecture influencing anyone who has ever picked up a shelter magazine. Yet the city has established itself as a destination not only for design aficionados, but adventure-seekers, bohemians and those in search of a little R&R. It’s beguiling, romantic and above all, an overwhelming feast for the senses. No matter what your passion, it’s a worthwhile trip to make.
Where to Stay in Marrakesh
When the downtown area called the ‘medina’ gets to be too much, and it will, the riad you choose will act as an oasis from the sometimes disorienting amount of stimuli in the city.
The Riad El Fenn is a design daydream close to the heart of the medina. Stepping inside for the first time, the hotel feels modern yet otherworldly. You can rent the entire Riad Vanessa, named for co-owner Vanessa Branson, which is a four-bedroom private guesthouse within the El Fenn and complete with its own terrace and pool. Traveling without a large party? Private pool suites offer their own terraces and plunge pools for a romantic getaway.
The best part is you can watch the sunset over the city with views of historic minarets from El Fenn’s beautifully landscaped terrace. Be sure to take a day to enjoy the hotel’s spa and pool, too. Downtime will feel downright necessary after a few days in the medina.
Dining in Marrakesh
If you find yourself craving a break from the couscous and tagine, spring for a dinner at La Mamounia. While the opulent hotel offers French and Italian restaurants, Le Moracain puts enough of a luxurious twist on traditional fare that the meal will feel completely new and unexpected. If you’re with a large party, start with the Moroccan salad tasting menu. It’s an impressive selection of salads, including rosewater and orange blossom morsels, each more divine than the last.
And it’s worth it, if not for the gorgeously prepared food, but for the view of immense, fragrant gardens and an excuse to wander a little bit in the rarefied hotel. After all, it’s where Poppy Delevingne held her second wedding party.
You no doubt came to Marrakesh for a few treasures from the souks. Whether you’re looking for Berber rugs, Fes pottery, kaftans, Moroccan wedding blankets, or just babouches, there is someone in Marrakesh selling it. Be prepared to haggle: some suggest immediately halving the first quoted price, others advise simply settling for a price you’d be excited for back home.
Regardless of your interest in handcrafted goods, you will be called to a stall with each step you take in the medina. Just by stepping into a souk, you’ve more or less agreed to purchase something at that point. But don’t be afraid to explore all of the stalls before buying anything. You can always find your way back and you’ll likely have a better idea of prices and selections.
What to See in Marrakesh
Almost 1000 years old, Marrakesh has amassed a trove of history. Simply wandering the medieval medina is taking a trip back in time. A stop at the Ben Youssef Medersa is essential for any tourist, along with the Berber Museum at Yves Saint Laurent’s Majorelle Garden. Other sights include the Saadian Tombs, the old Jewish quarter and Bahia Palace.
For those short on time, exploring the medina will inevitably lead you to the medersa, so prioritize walking on foot through the historic market. And be sure to stop from time to time for a mint tea to do some people watching.
Browse the gallery above for some of favorite spots in Marrakesh.