Hello my darlings, Happy New Year! Yass 2020.. I’m so ready! The year has been off to a good start already and I’m excited to see what the rest holds.
I went to Marrakech last November and had such an amazing time however, I don’t feel the need to take you through my exact itinerary because I feel like so many people have been there already and if you haven’t, you probably know all the hotspots by heart because they’re so easy to recognise in photos lol. Now what I will focus on is definitely things you should know before heading out there and the things people hardly tell you. I’ll also be sharing photos of where I stayed, visited and of course all the food! Enjoy x
1. Get Your Cash Ready
Yes! Tres Importante! Most places only accept cash, except proper hotels of course but you’ll be spending most of your time in restaurants, markets, museums etc. so be sure to get all the Moroccan Dirhams you think you’ll need for your trip before you leave the airport. I’m not sure who has the best rates but I changed my money at Marrakech Menara airport.
2. Issa Negotiation
This was my least favourite thing about Marrakech. Before every taxi ride and before buying anything, it felt like a full on negotiation. The locals can sense you’re a foreigner and tend to inflate prices all the way up to about x5 which is just ridiculous. Of course the Nigerian in me wasn’t going to let myself get cheated but sometimes you’re just not in the mood to haggle are ya? My advice will be to offer less than a half price, if not a third of the price they’re quoting. For taxis, it helps to get a rough quote from the porters/bell boys from your hotel and declare to the taxis that you won’t pay more than that.
Still on the topic of haggling, the sellers in the markets will try to pull and convince you to look in their shops but if you’re genuinely not interested, please just ignore them and keep it moving! I found that they got quite irritated/aggressive if after all of their pitching, you refused to buy into it. There was a lady who convinced me to get some henna and claimed it was only 5 dirhams and would take 5 minutes (to be honest, looking back it sounds quite silly and I wasn’t even particularly interested lol). I took a seat and then she said it was 150 dirhams..??? I tried to leave and then she just wouldn’t let me go and kept coming up with different prices “100 dirhams, 70!” lol and I’m just like?? Why? Lets just say when I left, she wasn’t pleased and trust me, its like that everywhere.
Riads versus hotels? I experienced both so I stayed at the lovely Riad Hel’lo for the first 2 nights and then Radisson Blu Carre Eden for the last 2 nights. Riads are basically traditional Moroccan residences usually with the rooms around a courtyard and fabulous, traditional moroccan decor. I think it was definitely good to experience both because I got to experience the full traditional moroccan culture as well as the luxury pool and spa life in marrakech as well.
Riad Hel’lo was a super cosy, peaceful and rather central riad with the best hospitality! I was well taken care of by Jad and Usamad who were very helpful. The rooms usually go for about £80-£90 per night (breakfast included). Breakfast was not very protein based but fairly decent- so breads, crepes, fruits, fresh juice and some yoghurt.
Radisson Blu was a vibe, I got upgraded to a junior suite which is always nice. Although I wasn’t a massive fan of the breakfast, the a la carte menu was fantastic! I had this lobster bisque spaghetti 3 days in a row! It was that good! Basically, the seafood options were phenom and I’m not even a big seafood lover. See below:
When deciding on a riad or hotel or both, I think its important to pick one that resonates with your personality. Many of us love room service, spa vibes and an all round luxury experience and in that case, I wouldn’t recommend a riad. Of course there are luxury riads such as La Mamounia and Royal Mansour whose prices start at about £1000 per night so it depends what works for you really.
So I wasn’t a massive fan of the moroccan cuisine unfortunately but that might just be about where I had it? I’d heard so much about Tangines but when I had it, I wasn’t wowed. I also went to a popular brunch cafe in the souk called Cafe Des Epices where I had an average sandwich.
Although in marrakech, I explored so many other cuisines and had some of the most amazing food I’d ever had. Bo-zin was my absolute favourite restaurant- I cannot explain it! The vibe was insane and the meals were so delicious! Honestly the best dim sum i’ve ever had anywhere in the world. I would 100% recommend it for a fancy dinner/night out. I also went to Comptoir Darna which is a restaurant and club with belly dancing performers which was also good fun- 7/10.
Although I didn’t have that much time in Marrakech, I love that there are so many things to do depending on your interests – Beach clubs, Hammam and Spa sessions, Quad Biking, Hot air balloon rides, wining and dining, shopping etc. Its definitely an experience!