Marrakech is an ideal holiday location to choose, especially when the long winter months start to settle in. A short 3 hour plane ride transports you into thirty degree heat, balmy summer evenings & a fab setting for a long weekend away. Having found a deal on Voyage Prive, we swiftly booked our trip.
Arriving in Marrakech was pretty painless. A tip is to definitely make sure to have booked the airport transfer before you land as the idea of starting the haggling with a taxi driver once you’re in a sleepy daze from the journey is not the one (those skills will come in handy later).
Hotel Pullman Marrakech Palmeraie Resort and Spa – located about fifteen minutes from the old town and surrounded by palm groves, this meant we could easily access the action of Marrakech but also have the, much needed, opportunity of relaxing by the pool and topping up the vitamin D levels. Complete with a spa, air conditioned gym and three swimming pools, it’s a calm oasis that is a world away from the bustling souks.
We slathered ourselves in suncream and jumped straight into glistening water to cool off.
The Souks – my first trip into the Souks sent me into sensory overload. Having only left the greyscale working life 8 hours before, you’re hit with the amazing colours and huge amount of people trying to get you to look at their shops. Full of spices, textiles and more lamps that Aladdin’s cave, this is the place where you’ll find all the gifts you need to take home for friends (and yourself of course).
Your haggling skills come in particularly handy when negotiating with traders in the Souks. Everytime we checked the price of an item, they would quote huge prices, that you could usually get down to much lower. We found that if you start low but are happy to stretch to a bit higher they tend to be more receptive. If they don’t come down on the price, don’t panic – wander away. They’ll either call after you or you’ll find someone else selling a similar thing a couple of stalls down.
Nomad – this is a fabulous spot to relax after exploring the hectic souks. Overlooking the “Spice Square”, grab a seat up on the roof terrace & peruse the menu, after ordering the traditional pot of mint tea. With friendly waiters and a huge array of modern Moroccan cuisine. Even though it’s slightly pricier than other places, the freshly sourced ingredients and a great atmosphere make it a lovely place to stop for lunch.
- Dress conservatively and respectfully whilst exploring. Although they are very used to tourists, Marrakech is still an Islamic city so it’s worth investing in
- Keep hydrated with bottled water, particularly in the summer months when the temperatures sore. With my stomach not being used to foreign water, I stick to bottled water at all times in order to avoid any unwanted contamination.
- Morocco has a closed currency which means you can only withdraw money once you arrive at the airport. Take out as much as you think you’ll need as you are unable to change it back to pounds once you are back in the UK.
- Avoid taking photos of snake charmers & monkeys in the main square of Jemaa el-Fnaa, unless you’re willing to pay the hefty price tag that goes with it. They can walk up to you with them and drape them on your shoulder, so just be firm and say ‘no thank you’ to avoid the confrontation. Head up to Café du Grand Balcon watch the mayhem from above.
- Take a rucksack and don’t keep all valuables in one location (for obvious reasons).