Best Places to Stay
A family run hotel. This place felt like a second home to me. I quickly became friends with the staff there. The family is beyond friendly and was always helpful. Anything I needed was quickly attended to – great customer service! You can easily book this place through Airbnb or through their website.
An exciting maze of differently styled riads. At this property, relaxation, luxury, and the comforts of home converge together. While it is on the higher end of the budget spectrum, trust me when I say it is worth the splurge.
Luxury on a dime! This place is elegant yet comfortable but accessible to those on a budget. Whether you want a private room or are comfortable with sleeping dorm style, they can accommodate all of the above. The hosts are pleasant, friendly, and are always willing to help should you need it. After just a few nights of staying there, they had remembered my name and made it genuinely enjoyable to come back so I could chat with them.
Things to do
A quirky little corner cafe with two terraces and a ground floor level. You can get intricate henna done here by real professional artists who practice this on a daily basis. When I went I was able to browse the wide array of different henna designs while lounging on the top terrace and relaxing with a cup of hot tea. This shop is run by a fascinating woman who is an expat from America. After growing up and living many years in the States, she realized she wanted more from her life. She came to Morocco and instantly fell in love with it; she decided to open up this shop and make it her new home.
Heritage Spa has a variety of options for massages. When you first enter, you are greeted and brought into a cozy little room where you then choose which type of massage and oil you want. After changing in a little cubby area, you are escorted into your room for your relaxing and stress-reducing massage. Trust me when I say this was exactly what I needed after a long journey. They modify the pressure to your preferences and make sure everything is perfect. I left refreshed and rejuvenated and you better believe I will be returning here next time I am in Morocco.
Hammam (Moroccan Bath house)
As long as you aren’t too body shy this is such an amazing and cleansing experience. As you immediately enter into an old fashioned sauna you feel as though you have been brought back to a different time. After checking in, you are escorted into the bath rooms where you are then scrubbed clean (practically) from head to toe. You will be shocked at how much dead skin will fall off your body when they get going. Not to be too graphic but I had what looked like pieces of spaghetti rolling off my arm by the end of it. It may sound off-putting on paper but it was so cleansing!
I highly recommend to go out and enjoy the vivacious night life in this city. You will find a lot of clubs and bars located in new town, which is a great way to experience more of the contemporary side of Marrakech.
Explore the Market
Make time to experience the beauty of the street markets! They have a wide range of items that they sell including change purses, scarves, shoes, herbs, tea, tea cups, jewelry, and even leather cushions and rugs plus so much more. The options are endless! One tip to remember is you are expected to barter with the merchants. I always follow the rule of thirds: ask them what they want for it and then offer them a third of that. Typically you will meet somewhere in the middle. There are instances where merchants of especially high quality will not budge much on price but in those cases it can be worth paying the higher price if it is an item that you really desire. Before negotiating I always come up with the maximum I would be willing to pay for whatever I’m considering and don’t allow myself to pay any higher.
Places to See
Medersa Ben Youssef
Le Jardin Secret
Jardin Majorelle & Musee Berbere
Mosquee De La Koutoubia
La Mamounia (You can get a day pas and enjoy the luxurious spa area)
Zaouia De Sidi Bel Abbes
Places to Eat
La Table Du Riad 72
Cafe Des Epices
Food To Try
Chicken or Pigeon Pastilla
Lemon Chicken Tajine
Taxis are a great way to get around the city but unfortunately they aren’t normally able to bring you right up to your hotel. Most of the hotels and hostels are down very small streets and you may have to meet them at the nearest major road or walk from the car to the place you are staying. Within the main souk you shouldn’t pay more than $2 USD to get around. Once you have gone outside the walls and over to new town or different shopping plazas taxis can run you anywhere from $10-20 USD. Taking a taxi to the airport is a great option but will probably cost anywhere from $15-30 USD.
I didn’t know about group taxi services until I got to the city but you can usually find them in most major cities. They allow you to travel for long distances for a fraction of the cost. I went from Marrakech to Imlil for $35 D, which is the equivalent of $3.50 USD. They might try to upcharge you a couple of dollars so don’t hesitate in trying to negotiate a bit.
There are not a lot of took tooks in Marrakech as there are in other major cites like Delhi or Bangkok. I think there are a total of 30 took tooks in the whole city. They are an ideal option for transportation if you don’t want to wander the little side streets. The took took will cost you about $5 USD for a ride anywhere inside the main souk. If you want to ride in one of these nifty little automobiles you may have to ask the place you are staying to call you one.
Let me preface this by saying I think there are far more good people than bad in Marrakech but you must be aware of the scams people will inevitably try to pull on foreigners.
“May I Take your Picture”
A friend of mine once went to one of the main markets and, in the process of taking pictures of the snakes on display, a man asked if she would like her picture taken with the snakes. She didn’t think anything of it and agreed but before she knew it, he was telling her that he wouldn’t give her her phone back until she paid him $50 USD. She of course needed her phone and didn’t want to get into an altercation with this man so she was forced to give up the money. Be hyper aware if you ask someone to take a picture for you and I recommend to not be alone if you ask.
This one will come up at almost every shop in the souk. Don’t be fooled, the merchants have an agenda to make money; you are not their friend and they are definitely not yours. If you hear this be aware you are likely going to get overcharged on whatever item they are selling.
“Come with me, I will show you the way”
This one happened to me on the first day. I was totally fooled just thinking they were being kind people watching out for me and trying to help me find my way. Do not be fooled as this is a common trick people will play on unsuspecting foreigners. Sometimes even if you say you don’t need the help they will walk slowly in front of you and demand money for the help. Don’t pay them.