Marrakech is the holiday destination if you are looking for a quick hit of sun minus the transatlantic flight to the Caribbean or long haul to the Far East. Situated in the North West of Africa, at the foot of the beautiful Atlas mountains, Marrakech offers everything from a relaxing break by the pool to a history filled, cultured city break.
With endless Riads and hotels to choose from, it can be a bit of a minefield when it comes to knowing what kind of Marrakech holiday you want to book and most importantly where to stay, so we did the hard work for you. We stayed in the remote 15 room Riad of Ksar Char-Bagh in the luxury suburb of Le Palmarie and the luxury Four Seasons Hotel in the centre of Marrakech. Both offering brilliant Moroccan getaways, we've rounded up the highlights so you can make your own choice...
The Boutique Hotel: Ksar Char Bagh
Inspired by 14th Century Moorish Architecture, Ksar Char-Bagh is surrounded by palm trees and beautifully manicured gardens. Don’t be scared by the dirt track that your driver has to take to reach this beautiful hotel, as upon entering the imposing wooden doors, your attention is quickly turned to the incredibly ornate inner courtyard just off of which our bedroom was located. Our room had its own garden, a marble bath built into the ground (one of the highlights) and walk in wardrobe. Rooms are more basic than a well-equipped global chain hotel, but this is part of its charm. With a palm tree lined swimming pool, gym and underground spa, the Ksar Char-Bagh really is worth the visit and definitely for those looking to switch off, as internet really isn’t its fatest, often losing connection.
Why go there:
- The rural location and 15 rooms makes it one of the most peaceful and beautiful hotels we’ve ever been to
- The inner courtyard and its ornate replica Moorish detailing really are breathtaking
- Onsite underground spa
A few pointers:
- Food in the hotel is quite restricted. If you are looking for an authentic cuisine everyday then this isn’t the hotel for you as much of the food was quite international, but upon request they were quite accommodating.
- A taxi is required to go anywhere, so do factor this into your holiday. Each way to the city centre is about 200 dirhams (about £15-20) which can quickly add up. We suggest working something out with the hotel’s driver (which we first thought was complimentary)
The Luxury Hotel: The Four Seasons
Arriving at the Four Seasons was a completely different experience to the Ksar Char-Bagh. A short walk from the Medina, and the Menara gardens, The Four Seasons is perfect if you wish to combine sightseeing with a relaxing break. Rooms are kitted out to the standard you would expect from the Four Seasons, with international phone chargers, wifi and the beautiful pool areas are extensive and peaceful away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. The service is impeccable and attention to detail pretty amazing.
Why go there:
- Its central location means taxis are cheap and you have marrakech’s hotspots on your door step
- A family pool and quiet pool for adults
- On-site spa and gym
- Various cuisine options are available
Top 6 things to do in Marrakech
1. Dar Yakut
This beautiful riad/restaurant has been kept with its traditional decor and is a must visit. One of the most glamourous restaurants in Marrakech, the menu is fixed at around £50 per person, but be prepared for a banquet. Definitely worth spending the money. Upon arrival you are taken upstairs to have a pre-dinner cocktail with local musicians playing in the background. One of my favourite experiences. Be sure to book.
2. Ben Youssef Madrasa
This Islamic school, founded in the 14th century now lies empty, but provides a beautiful tourist attraction. With incredibly ornate tile work on the walls and floors, it was once Morocco's largest school with dormitories that could house up to 130 students.
3. The Souks
Wandering through the endless souks within the Medina are like stepping back in time. I reccomend doing this during daylight as I did end up lost within the maze like streets which can be a little unnerving. Prices arent as cheap as they may have been 10 years ago, so bartering is a must. Head to Rue Mouassine for some of my favourite shops.
4. Les Jardins Marjorelle
The Majorelle Gardens were at the top of my list of things to see, but unfortunately were in fact a little disappointing and a half an hour is more than enough to have a wonder round.
Laetita Trouillet can be visited by appointment in her studio in the fashionable Guelize district. An expert on where to go, what to do and where to shop in Marrakech, she now has her accessories line Lalla stocked all over the world. Be sure to look her up. Open every day from 10h30 – 18h30 Tel: +212 (0)5 24 37 52 72
6. El Fassia
Run by an all women's collective, El Fassia makes one of the best tagines in Marrakech at affordable prices. We dined there twice in 5 days and would have gone back again if we had time. Once again be sure to book. Tel: +212 24434060
You can fly from Gatwick to Marrakech with Easyjet from £68