Marrakech is a beautiful city with a beautiful culture but there are some things that you need to be aware of before you go! So here are my top tips for having an amazing time in the red city.
Be aware that you are in a different culture, you’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy! Be respectful and take time to learn a few local sayings, helps massively if you speak French as most people are fluent. Salam Alaykoum means peace on you and it’s one of the most commonly heard sayings, how sweet is that? Shukran means thank you and it’s pronounced with a ‘cho’ sound at the start, be polite and say thank you in the local language!
You are going to a Muslim country so you don’t really want to be wearing shorts and a crop when walking about the centre, not only will you more than likely get stares it’s pretty disrespectful. I actually found dressing here a lot of fun as the city is a riot of colour it’s nice to play up to that. During the day make sure your shoulders, arms and legs are covered, no plunging necklines either! Night is a little more relaxed but go for maxi dresses or jumpsuits, short, bodycon & strappy are all no no’s.
Invest in some kimonos to cover up, some cute lightweight trousers and my personal favourite, the headscarf! We never got any hassle, just some boys shouting lady gaga and fish and chips (weird right?!) but we did cover our head’s when we went to the market as it was the busiest place we would be and we didn’t want any undue attention when haggling, we do have candy coloured hair after all.
When you are in the Market it can be a little overwhelming, there is so much to see but my advice is take your time, figure out of theres anything you really want and then haggle your little butt off! There are so many stores selling similar things but the best thing to do it wait, don’t buy the first teapot/plate/cushion that you love, there will be a hundred more further into the market and if theres not, just go back to that first shop!
When haggling start with half the labelled price, this may sound really cheeky but our guide informed us that vendors get really offended if you don’t haggle as they want everyone to walk away feeling happy! Start with that and then when you reach an agreed price either buy or walk away if you really think it’s still too much, there will always me more shops, look out for all the homeware & the spices as they will make your house look and smell just like Marrakech when you are home & feeling blue.
Eating and Drinking in Marrakech is an experience in it’s self. I must admit I struggled a little as a Vegetarian but there is always a Vegetarian Tagine on offer if all else fails and the bread is to die for, there are central ovens where all the bread is baked traditionally for all houses, you just take your bread in the morning and pick it up later, trust me when I say you will never eat bad bread in Marrakech.
Here are my top places to eat, drink & be merry.
The Grand Cafe De la Poste – This place is a haven for interior lovers, it exudes old world glamour and elegance, from the soft lighting and the open fires to the opulent fabrics and stained wood I could while away many an afternoon here relaxing, reading and watching the world go by. You have to try the Moroccan wine, the Gris is named so because it falls between rose and white, it is delightfully fresh and light.
The Es Saadi – The garden resort is something that has to be seen to be believed, the decor is breath taking, after a tour around the immaculate villas we stopped for lunch in the 20 acre gardens, set beside the pool & covered in crisp white table cloths you could easily imagine this as the set of an old hollywood movie. For lunch I went for the chargrilled mediterranean club sandwich with avocado and fries, I wasn’t disappointed! But with a chef trained by the famous Michelin Star Pourcel Brothers that was never going to be an option.
La Sultana – This boutique hotel is slap bang in the middle of town, although once inside you would never know. Court yards filled with beautiful balconies, pools, flowers and rose water the senses are overloaded here. I could have spent all day just taking photos! Head up to the rooftop bar for some traditional Moroccan tea (trust me you wont be able to get enough) and sweet pastries. The view from the bar is incredible, try and go for sunset to see the city in all it’s colourful glory. They also have a couple of resident cats, that are more than willing to snuggle up for a little scratch behind the ear.
Buddah Bar – This Restaurant may be part of a chain but it is well worth a visit. The food is pan Asian, with the restaurant more than willing to provide more vegetarian options than there are on the menu. The sushi is presented on giant platters and with a cocktail list to die for this is definitely a must visit, there is a dj spinning tunes late into the night and a definite party atmosphere. Go for the food stay for the cocktails.
So Lounge – Different from anywhere else we were in Marrakech, the So Lounge is decidedly modern, all white with a boutique feel. Dinner was amazing, I had pan fried gnocchi which was a nice change, the cocktail list is extensive and the staff are more than willing to make up something thats not on the menu. Whilst you are eating there is a live band, singing everything from French Ballads and pop to mowtown and rock, you can even request songs if you are so inclined. The night gets a litter rowdier after 10 and remember you can still smoke indoors in Marrakech so it did get a little hazy towards the end of the night! The band were completely amazing and we danced until we dropped, a perfect end to a wonderful trip. This is one place I will definitely be coming back to.