A City Guide to Marrakech, Morocco

A City Guide to Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech’s ochre streets exert a magnetism that has long enticed the curious to its labyrinthine souks and well-proportioned boulevards. Here’s where to head when visiting the Moroccan city

Marrakech is as boisterous as it is beautiful.
An enthralling city of contrasts, its labyrinthine streets of
burnished sandstone invite exploration, prompting most to make
straight for the medina after stepping off the plane, flitting
among the crowds in the souks of spice merchants, leather sellers
and lantern makers for a sense of its historic Berber origins.

There’s a magnetic energy to the city’s ancient interior – a
buzz that requires most to seek tranquillity on a rooftop terrace
or in a dimly lit hammam once in a while – but beyond the souks,
you’ll find the destination’s future. Like other Moroccan cities,
Marrakech has a dual identity; its ancient trading centre backed up
against a colonial-built quarter of palaces, cafés, wide boulevards
and leafy gardens. Escape the intensity of the medina and you can
explore modern Marrakech, which fosters a leading craft industry,
independent homeware boutiques and the vivid colours of those
intricately designed gardens.

Ever international in outlook – but distinctively itself in
character – this North African city prides itself on its local
craftsmanship and instinctive hospitality. Plenty of design-driven,
locally owned independent businesses make use of both, and now
share the streets with French-influenced hotels, rug workshops run
by Aussies and LA-esque concept stores. The growing community of
foreign residents is testament to the city’s magic: most of us
dream of moving to the places we visit, but rarely do destinations
entice so many into actually making it their home.

Streets of gold: a complete guide to Marrakech, Morocco

The sharply designed interiors of Riad Mena
Photo credit: Richard Powers


Riad Mena

Philomena Schurer Merckoll’s seven-bedroom riad is pure magic.
Homely in atmosphere, Riad Mena feels like a private house owned by
your very chicest friend. Filled with art, the boutique riad is
serene and spacious, with multiple living rooms dotted throughout
the property. Our favourite rooms are The Eileen Gray, which is
made for design lovers with a penchant for mid-century furniture,
and The Writer’s Den, the smallest room of the house, which is
primed for writing and daydreaming. Spot something you love here?
Stop by The Pink Door, a gallery-boutique situated in an adjoining
house, to pick up something similar.


70 Derb Jdid, 40000

A whitewashed bedroom at L'Hôtel Marrakech


L’Hôtel Marrakech

This 19th-century riad designed by Jasper Conran is an elegant
sanctuary composed of five suites, a lap pool set within a fragrant
garden, and various dining spaces and places to perch. The
understated bedrooms ooze old-school glamour – four-poster beds
topped with Egyptian-cotton linens and the like. The Casablanca,
the largest suite, comes with its own private terrace overlooking
the courtyard garden, with key features including an impressive
zouac ceiling, antique furniture and art from Mr C’s collection.
Head up to the roof terrace to dine under the arbour and be wowed
by attentive service and munificent, multi-course meals. If the
heat gets too much, make a beeline for the lemon-hued salon, where
floor-to-ceiling French windows add an airiness to sun-drenched
white surrounds.


Lahcen ou Ali, 41 Derb Sidi Massoud, 40000


Beldi Country Club

Forming a douar (a village), Beldi Country Club comprises
restaurants, pools, a spa, boutique hotel, souk with umpteen stalls
selling everything from pottery to carpets and glass, olive
orchard, tennis court and more. Thanks to its location away from
the bustling city centre, a stay here is the perfect balancer to
Marrakech’s freneticism. With 42 spacious suites in all, each
blending Moroccan tradition and chic French design, it’s easy to be
smitten with this place – cue a jaunt to the rose garden, composed
of 15,000 blooms, for further convincing. On night one, dine amid
fragrant gardens at Le Palmier Fou, followed with a tipple at the
Cactus Bar.


Km6 Route de Barrage, 40000

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A pink bedroom at El Fenn

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