Bustling Marrakech is a captivating assault on the senses

Jardin Majorelle
I want to treat myself for my 30th birthday and take a holiday to Marrakech for a couple of days with my partner. It is somewhere that I have always wanted to go and want to make the most of our short time there. Sightseeing, food and shopping are all top priorities!

I want to treat myself for my 30th birthday and take a holiday to Marrakech for a couple of days with my partner. It is somewhere that I have always wanted to go and want to make the most of our short time there. Sightseeing, food and shopping are all top priorities!

Firstly, happy birthday! Marrakech is a vibrant and bustling city in the northwest African nation of Morocco. When you first arrive, the city can feel like an assault on the senses; unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells await, but it is these new experiences that make Marrakesh so captivating.

There are few more pleasurable ways to spend time in Marrakech than wandering around the seemingly endless maze of markets in the central medina. My advice would be to have a list in your mind of what your want to buy before you enter; it’s easy to get caught up in the haggling and end up wasting your money on countless items that will only serve to fill your suitcase. Every section of the souk has its own speciality: carpets and textiles, woollen hats, cooked snails, spices, clothing, and most importantly, raffia bags and baskets, which you’ll need to carry all your purchases in.

Home to a collection of plants from the four corners of the earth, the stunning Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech is one of the most visited sites in Morocco. Renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé discovered Jardin Majorelle in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech. They bought the Jardin in 1980 and saved it from falling victim to a hotel complex. They undertook the restoration of the garden in order to reflect the vision of founder Jacques Majorelle and to restore its beauty. When Saint Laurent passed away in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the rose garden of the Villa Oasis.

The Saadian tombs in Marrakech date back to the 15th century. Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour ed-Dahbi spared no expense on his tomb, importing Italian Carrara marble and gilding stalactite plasterwork with pure gold to make the Chamber of the 12 Pillars a suitably glorious mausoleum. Once only accessible through a small passage in the Kasbah Mosque, the tombs were neglected for many years until aerial photography exposed them in 1917. You can explore the compound by yourself or engage in a fully guided tour.

When the sun goes down, the Jemaa El-Fna becomes a bustling hub of over 100 food stalls offering everything from slow-roasted lamb to steaming snail soup. Marrakesh is known for its flavoursome and hearty cuisine and the food here is cheap and tasty. You will be bombarded with street chefs trying to entice you to their stall but stick to the busiest ones for the freshest meats and only drink bottled water. Moroccans eat late so don’t expect to get dinner before 8pm.

A very tourist friendly destination, millions of visitors flock to Marrakech each year and it is easy to see why; the atmosphere is intoxicating and intriguing, unlike any other city.

Where to Stay

Kenzi Menara Palace (*****)

Prices start from €119 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

The Kenzi Menara Palace is situated in a quiet location on the edge of Marrakech with views of the original ramparts and the citrus groves of the Agdal Royal Gardens.

Riad Les Lauriers Blancs (***)

Prices start from €58 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Les Lauriers Blancs is located in the Bab Doukkala district of Marrakech, near the medina. Breakfast is served every morning and traditional Moroccan specialties can be prepared on request for lunch or dinner by the on-site chef. Riad Les Lauriers Blancs also offers free cookery courses.

Royal Mirage Deluxe (*****)

Prices start from €66 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Just a five minute drive from Jemaa El Fna Square, this hotel offers stylish air-conditioned rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. Guests can also relax in the hotel’s spa that features a fitness centre, sauna and hammam.

Les Borjs de la Kasbah Hotel Spa (****)

Prices start from €67 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking.

Les Borjs de la Kasbah is a recently built luxury boutique spa hotel in the Kasbah quarter of the ancient Marrakech medina and only yards from the Royal Palace.

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.Hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!