Ultimate city guide: Marrakesh

Jenessa Williams

A treat for all the senses, Marrakesh is the perfect destination for those who like to completely immerse themselves in a new world. From the fragrant scents and noisy bustle of the souks to the richly pigmented colours of the traditional riads, there’s a picture-perfect moment around every corner…

Stay

where to stay in marrakesh

Make the Pullman Marrakech Palmeraie Resort and Spa your oasis in the middle of the action. Situated on a vast estate of lush palm trees, environmental farmland and tranquil waters, it is only a short shuttle bus away from the city centre, providing five-star rest and relaxation.

where to stay in marrakesh

A purpose-built kids village provides plenty of entertainment for little ones while maintaining the contemporary design aesthetics of the hotel brand. There’s plenty of onsite activity for adults too—tennis, mini-golf and kayaking are just some of the sports on offer, as well as the onsite spa for cutting-edge care.

When it comes to your room, there is a vast degree of choice from the classic room right through to the deluxe suite, all equipped for both business and leisure use. Enjoy free wi-fi, satellite TV and the option to upgrade to pool and lake view, all competitively priced in accordance with Pullman’s price guarantee for direct bookings.

 

Eat

where to eat in marrakesh

New to Moroccan food? Al Fassia Aguedal is a great place to start. Run exclusively by women, you can choose to dine in their formal seating or their more relaxed, cushioned area, open seven days a week. Split dishes between the group to get the best of all the flavours on offer—the pigeon bstilla and roast leg of lamb are particular local favourites.

Stylish eatery NOMAD (above) is also a recommendation amongst seasoned travellers, and for good reason—their way with spice rivals anything you’ll eat in the city.

There’s plenty of options for vegetarians here too. Harissa and turmeric roasted cauliflower, lentil salad and seasonal vegetable couscous are just some of the mouth-watery entrees. Be sure to leave room for saffron-scented Moroccan date cake. It's a local tradition.

 

Shop

marrakech souk where to shop

Shopping at a Moroccan souk is unlike anything we know in the western world. Trading in pretty much everything you could think of, bartering is encouraged—in fact, to take a set price is often considered something of a cultural faux pas.

The Souks of Medina are a great place to start, and a perfect opportunity to sample the regions street food or pick up handmade leather souvenirs.

For something a little more orderly, 33 Rue Majorelle is the place to invest in homewares from some of Morocco’s up and coming brands, all presented within a stylish gallery-esque store.

Expect lampshades, decorative trinkets, cushions and throws—all finished with the intricate hand-detail that so clearly defines Morrocan design.

 

Learn

learn in marrakech

A simple walk around Morrocco will demonstrate it’s affection for intricately decorated architecture, but a trip to the Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts will allow you to enjoy it in peaceful glory, showing artefacts that demonstrate the humble beginnings of Moroccan settlements.

Colour lovers can’t help but be impressed by the sights of The Tanneries, a traditional method of dying leather. Watch as experts dip animal hides in an array of naturally-sourced dyes made from local spices, flowers and henna. The smell may be a little overwhelming at first, but a few dabs of readily available essential oil should put pay to any discomfort.

If you prefer to get hands-on, a local cooking class is a great way to immerse yourself in Moroccan culture. Faim d’Epices is one of the best organisations for such an activity, with a shuttle to their fields where you will learn to prepare a complete Moroccan dish including breads and salads, before indulging in the fruits of your labour amongst the olive trees.

 

Get outdoors

get outdoors

No botanical gardens of Marrakesh are likely to be a disappointment, but a true must-see is the Riad Madani Gardens, for which photos really can’t do justice. Coloured a startling pink, the contrast against lush greenery is true exoticism, a frequent backdrop for Vogue magazine photoshoots. Majorella Gardens is similarly beautiful, otherwise known as "Ochre City" for it’s bold, cobalt blue design.

To take in the views across the city, a trip through Toubkal National Park should satisfy your inner adventurer. Home to the highest mountain in North Africa, the air is fresh and quiet, a wonderful spot for inner contemplation.

Similar contemplation can be found nearer the city at Atay Café, a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views across the city from its three terraces. The food is well-priced and well-seasoned, incorporating dishes from all around the world to enjoy as the sun goes down.