For those of you that crave glamorous getaways, this gloomy March could be the perfect time to swap the trench coats and rain boots for some colourful kaftans in none other than one of the most captivating cities I have fell in love with; Marrakech. As much as I would like to travel in the chicest way possible- I have a fear of small planes (and big planes) so that rules out the option of taking a private jet, the only other alternative to Marrakech is flying with low budget airlines. Though the journey may be rough, the final destination is definitely worth it. The minute you step down, you are totally disconnected with the rest of the world . The 3 hour flight from Paris or London completely fades once you are surrounded by the beauty of Morocco. The warmth of the sun embraces you during the day and the cool air comforts you at night.
One of the most luxurious hotel in the world, La Mamounia, is a must see. The ex GM of the Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong, Didier Piquot, who was in charge of the 3 year refurbishment ,now manages this fabulous property. Not only is this hotel a haven for relaxation under the sun ,but the rooms opulence leave you enchanted in this Moorish fairytale palace setting. When we celebrated my mother in laws birthday we were mesmerised by our riad villa located in the gardens. I would like to emphasise that Marrakech is all about food, a feast for the eyes, from breakfast to dinner the city tantalises your taste buds. I am definitely not one to indulge in the idea of a buffet (I refuse to stand in line in front of a table where everyone is breathing on the food) however the breakfast buffet at La Mamounia is simply irresistible. I have never seen anything like it. I can't even describe it, the abundance of food is breathtaking.
For dinner at night , there is Dar Marjana- an authentic Moroccan restaurant. Although somewhat touristy, the music, the belly dancers, the rose petals, the lanterns ,the aromatic orange trees in the open courtyard, one should have this exotic experience. The best way to get there, is by horse carriage from La Mamounia. To satisfy every womans hunger to shop- The souks in the Medina are the best place to start. ( the movie Sex and The City 2 was filmed in the souks)
From La Mamounia, look up for the Koutoubia mosque ( it is 77 meters tall, you cant miss it ) and walk in that direction. I love spending all my afternoons in the souks, one of the best ways to do
it is to get lost. The good thing about this is no matter how big the market is and how much walking you do, you will always end up in Djeema alfna square, and you will find your way home. The abundance of fresh mint, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, mace, turmeric, ras el hanout , preserved lemons, the colors, the scents, will make you dizzy!
One gets so tired walking for hours in the souks that nothing is better than sitting down and taking a short break with a sweet mint tea.This is why on my first trip I ended up buying at least 10 carpets. The reason being was because I stopped at a carpet store and the kind hearted owner offered me one of the best mint teas Ive had. I felt compelled to buy a carpet each time. Luckily, I still use those carpets for when I'm entertaining with a Moroccan theme at home. Just be aware of the shipping cost . As the sun goes down and the stars come up, Djemaa El Fna comes to life ! fortune-tellers, henna artists, singers, belly-dancers, musicians, snake charmers, food and drink stalls suddenly appear et la fete commence ! Marrakech is a city packed with wonderful activities- from sight-seeing, shopping, to quad biking in La Palmeraie dunes and desert to a trip to la Vallee de l'Ourika with breathtaking views.
Monday Market !!!!! upon your arrival at La vallee de L'Ourika, the sight of hundreds of donkeys parked await you. There is a donkey parking, with hundreds of donkeys awaiting their master. The same people bring from home their tagine which will cook for hours on fire burners. It puzzles me how you can tell apart which one is your donkey , and which one is your lunch box from everybody elses. Something you must experience.
A day trip to Essaouira is situated 3 hours away from Marrakech by car on the Atlantic ocean- it Is a must see. I could talk about it for hours, but I dont want to bore you! not to mention the time we went skiing in the Atlas, 2 hours away from the city. Another story . I can say like Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech is my passion . I can give you great Moroccan recipes, show you how to entertain the Moroccan way, I will probably end up in Marrakesh one day. If only my husband would have agreed to buy that riad 20 years ago ...
Last but not least, I will be more than happy to introduce you to a fantastic guide, which has become a dear friend over the years, Fouad, will definitely show you the very best that Marrakech has to offer.