Marrakesh has an old fortified city known as ‘Medina’ and an adjacent modern city called ‘Gueliz’. The old part is home to the world famous souks, and historical palaces while the new part contains western shops, clubs and restaurants. This blend of new and old, modern and traditional, gives it a unique attraction when it comes to a destination for a romantic getaway. Discover a new culture, party the night away, or simply relax under the Saharan sky, this city offers it all. Mild winters and hot dry summers mean good weather is almost guaranteed for most of the year. Here is Belle About Town’s guide to must-see attractions inside the city to ensure you have a romantic stay to remember:
Must see sightseeing spot – Jamaa el Fna: You will be hit by the hustle and bustle of market the moment you step foot inside. It is nestled inside Marrakesh’s Medina quarter and is the centre for all activity in the old part of the city. During the day, it is buzzing with orange juice stalls, monkey and snake charmers as well as henna tattooists. Shoppers will also be pleased to know that one side of the square is jam packed with souks shops selling pottery, jewellery, bags and shoes. However, you can quickly escape the noise of the square on the other side, which boasts cafe terraces, ice cream parlours and restaurants. As evening falls, the square fills with dozens of food-stalls, dancers, story tellers and magicians. Atmospheric lighting adds to the mystical atmosphere – making Jamaa el Fna the perfect spot to enjoy a romantic evening meal.
For a romantic stroll – Jardin Majorelle: This secret garden is a must-see attraction within the new part of the chaotic city. It provides a much needed rest for travellers who will be in awe by the vivid colours on display. Electric blue and yellow pots contrast with pink pathways to dazzle the eyes. This vision is set off beautifully by the brilliant sunshine, which falls on the exotic variety of cacti, palms, olive trees, and bamboo trees. All this provides many photo opportunities to take the perfect holiday selfie. So be sure to post it on social media and make all your family and friends back home green with envy. It was designed by the expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle in 1924, during the colonial period when Morocco was a protectorate of France. The gardens were neglected after Majorelle’s death in 1962, but were revived some years later by Yves Saint Laurent and the artist Pierre Bergé who bought the grounds in 1980. Yves Saint Laurent loved the gardens so much, that after died in 2008 his ashes were scattered in the Majorelle Garden. There is even a memorial where visitors can pay their respects to the fashion designer. Jardin Majorelle also houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakesh, which includes North African textiles from Yves Saint Laurent’s personal collection as well as ceramics, jewellery, and paintings by Majorelle. The grounds are quite small and visitors can comfortably see it all and pose for photographs within an hour.
For a spot of culture – El Bahia Palace: Marrakesh is home to many palaces, but if you only have enough time to see one, then make sure you visit here. It is set within two acres of garden and was built in the 19th century by Si Moussa, who was a grand vizier of the sultan. He used part of the palace for his harem and today visitors can see a marble-paved courtroom which is surrounded by rooms that were intended for his concubines. Many of these rooms open onto the garden which allow you to enjoy the beauty of the lush greenery, jasmine flowers as well as cypress and orange trees. The disused El Bahia Palace is now home to an art gallery, and visitors can spot unusual sculptures, such as a mirrored skip, pottery displays and giant hammer tools.
Party the night away – Le Comptoir: For the ultimate hot spot that boasts great food, delicious cocktails and a mysterious atmosphere then head to Le Comptoir. This decadent Art Nouveau villa is crammed with Marrakshi hipsters and Casa playboys who come to flirt in the first floor bar, or lounge in the cushion-strewn courtyard. In the evening, squadrons of belly dancers descend among the guests and mesmerise all visitors with their dance routines. Cocktails start from £7 and its open every day from 4pm to 2am. The stylish décor and lighting all adds to the feeling of decadence – which makes it the perfect night spot.
Where to Stay – La Mamounia: For a hotel that is both ravishing and regal, then look no further than La Mamounia. This hotel is set in lavish royal gardens, styled with Moorish opulence. Anyone who stays here will be in good company as Winston Churchill was a fan and regular visitor during the winter. The hotel oozes decadence and is perfumed by the scent of orange blossom, jasmine and cedar, which grows in its gardens. No trip to Marrakesh would be complete without a hammam experience as its stunning spa is the only place you need to go to pamper yourself. It also boasts two pools, which are the ideal spots to enjoy a cooling dip. Meal times are a treat here thanks to its four restaurants and ice cream parlour.
- For more information on visiting Marrakech, where to stay and what to do, head to the Visit Morocco website.