Location – Morocco, Marrakech, North Africa
Flight time – London Stansted to Marrakech – 3 hours
Language – Arabic, French, English
The first thing I felt when I arrived in Marrakech was the heat. It was 36C but that sunshine felt so good on my skin. After a few minutes outside, the cold air-conditioning from the taxi I entered was just what I needed. The taxi took me straight the Movenpick Mansour Hotel located in the new town which is just outside of the Madina. The city is split into New Town – where a majority of the hotels and resorts are located, and Old Town – where a majority of the Riads are located.
The city itself felt like stepping into the past while remaining very much in the present. (It no doubt reminded me of Cairo). On arrival, I was immediately taken up with the gorgeous decor of the hotel. There was a hidden revolving door that opened as soon as I approached it. Through the doors, in the middle of the space, was an amazing large hand sculpture painted in white with beautiful unique patterns. That lead to the main reception and lounge area. The check-in process was swift and the staff were very welcoming. I arrived at the hotel around 10 am and although my check it was not until 2 pm, the friendly staff allowed me to check in early and enjoy the hotel’s full facilities at no extra cost. As soon as I finished unpacking, I booked a spa treatment for my last day and headed straight to the pool for some much-needed relaxation.
TIP: Always book your spa treatment in advance of travelling or as soon as you arrive because the slots get filled up quickly.Bougiebelles
Le Jardin Majorelle and Yves Saint Laurent Museum
My first stop was the Yves Saint Laurent museum and Le Jardin Majorelle Garden. Sitting on two and a half acres, is this botanical garden – Le Jardin Majorelle will take your breath away. It truly is the best place to recharge. This paradise has plenty of fountains and beautiful flowers. I spent an afternoon there, taking lovely photos and enjoying the splendour of the space. Like most places, the afternoon is a popular time for tourists to visit so it was crowded.
TIP: Consider visiting attractions earlier in the day to avoid large crowdsGood travel sense
The Yves Saint Laurent museum houses beautiful works and collections from Yves Saint Laurent. The display takes you on a historical journey of some of his best works from inception to present day. He designed his haute couture collection in Marrakech and throughout his career, his pieces were influenced by the colours in Morocco.
Quad biking in the desert
I am definitely an adventure junkie, so the idea of quad biking in the desert sounded like a day well spent. It was an exhilarating experience. Palmgrove and rock desert itself was absolutely stunning. We drove for the first forty minutes through the pure desert at approx. 30 mph. It felt a lot faster because of the quad bike. Our first stop was up a hill where you could see the entire desert horizon and the mountains in the distance.
We were then guided to what looked like camp in the middle of the desert – and given traditional Moroccan mint tea with a snack. It was all laid out on these beautiful old Arabian cushions and tables inside a tent. What a great way to spend a day.
I highly recommend the Hammam bath experience when you visit Morocco. I enjoyed mine at Lotus privilege spa. After my quick wash, I was sent into a warm room for five minutes, and then to a very hot room were my bather (she) was waiting to begin the treatment. She poured water all over me and began to slather my skin with black soap made from black olives. I instantly felt my skin soften up. I sat there for some time while the soap soaked deeper into my skin. Then she began the exfoliation all over my body with a rough textured glove called a kess. Then the rinse began and I could see all the dead skin cells wash off my body. After the exfoliation, she applied a clay masque rich in minerals that tightened the pores. Once that was rinsed off, she washed me in water that smelt like lemon and oranges. Did I mention that at this point my skin felt like a baby’s bottom! I was then taken to the cool room and offered mint tea before my sixty-minute argon oil massage. I must confess, fell asleep. It truly was a relaxing way to spend the day.
Shopping in the Medina
Jemaa el-Fna is located in the main square of Marrakech. It is the most popular souk for tourists to Shop. I visited during the late afternoon and stayed until the evening. The night souk has a completely different vibe. It’s super vibrant and lights up like a scene from Aladdin. From jewellery & perfumes to carpets & tea, it is every shopper’s paradise. I bought some black soup, a few scarves and kaftans for myself and my family. There are several restaurants and cafe to enjoy that will keep one occupied for hours.
Food, cocktails and dancing
Below is a list places I would recommend for food and a good vibe:
- La Salama – very instagramable and has an amazing vibe.
- Dar Yacout
- Palais jad mahal
- Sofitel Hotel – has an amazing buffet.
- Le tobsil
Rooftops, lounges and clubs
- Sky lounge at Pearl hotel
- Le Comptoir Darna
- So lounge at Sofitel hotel
- Churchill bar at La Mamounia
- Club 555
- Lotus club
Remember to always stay safe