Destination overview: Marrakech, Morocco
Saffron, mint & cumin swirling in a world of reds, purples and shiny golds. Electric energy, exotic landscapes and foreign tongues to the tune of a snake charmers flute. Marrakech, Morocco. The allure is as strong as the experience. You can feel Marrakech alongside it’s one million plus inhabitants. A key North African trading post Marrakechs’ Jamaa el Fna square is the largest traditional Berber market in Morocco. Mesmerizing mixtures of story tellers, dancers, musicians and everyday families purchasing household goods and foods. The rich history and colorful charm has drawn the likes of Yves Saint-Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier & Josephine Baker as residents through the years. Numerous wealthy seek homes in the city proper and surrounding area, and it’s no surprise why with it’s gorgeous desert evenings, bold cuisine and warm people. The rest of the world loves it for the same reasons paired with the general affordability. Don’t be too concerned with language barriers if you still speak a little high school classroom French. Most transactions can occur in English supplemented with a few French words. While French is widely spoken by the service industry, middle and upper class, we’ve found that Arabic is the voice of the people so don’t be alarmed if you speak French and receive a blank look. Take plenty of money as Marrakechs’ souks (markets) are full of treasures. Leather and woven goods, lanterns and light fixtures to die for. Our favorite is the artwork, sure there are plenty of Bob Ross wannabees, but with a good eye you’ll find the kind of artwork that tells the story of your travels for generations to come.
Trip planner: Marrakech, Morocco
A stay in the old world Medina (World Heritage Site) at a Riad Clementine is a must to get the true feel of Marrakech. Arched doorways, intricate woodwork, dim lights and trickling waterfalls adorned with beautiful lanterns. You’re not far from the action at these properties located in one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in Africa. You may find amid the beauty that the action around the Jamaa el Fna square and it’s surrounding area can be dizzying and a nearby refuge of peace is just the prescription after the senses have been challenged each day. Our pick, Riad Clementine. Completely renovated in 2000 to escort the property into modern hotel “requirements” the property maintained the history of the building the beautiful architecture and one unique feature for a riad, a second story pool. For a stay that makes it feel like it’s a pool all your own, select a room on the second story, our pick, “Privilege Room #5.” The bathroom has one of the most divine tile bathtubs we’ve ever seen, gorgeous punched tin wall sconces, warm plaster walls and sequin kissed rugs. That’s not to say the bedroom isn’t beautiful, as a matter of fact the photo of “Jane” you see on our homepage illustrates the exotic woodwork and colored glass windows present in the bedroom. Custom metal “Riad Clementine” water bottle holders, a tagine (conical clay dish with lid) of cookies and nuts aptly perched on your own coffee table and beautiful linens are just a few of the special touches in this room. A peaceful haven, you’ll rest well, lucky for you breakfast is served from 8 all the way until the lunch hour, so no worries if your legs are still buckling with jet lag. You did bring your Help Remedies brand Help I have an aching body pills from 3floz.com didn’t you? Trust us, take one, or perhaps two, the flight is a doozie- these with a late breakfast and the snake charmers flute won’t make your head pound. When you venture out, try your best to select landmarks to navigate your way “home” to Riad Clementine. This oldest historic area of Marrakech has a maze of corridors sure to stump your jet lagged noggin’ and it is a sure bet that kids in the area will further get you off course only to have a friend planted where & when you feel the most lost to “guide you back.” Oldest trick in the book huh? It works. Do hire a guide to walk you through the city and take you on a tour (Riad Clementine is happy to arrange this). Don’t be surprised if you ever get stuck in a cab behind a donkey hauling trash, true story, common occurrence. Explore the food, we highly suggest you get your craw full of their fresh dried fruits whether in a dish or alone as a snack. Marrakech is where Jane came to love sweet and savory married in a single bite. A tagine of pickled lemons, green olives, chicken, saffron, cumin, served with rice, golden raisins, cashews and chickpeas. It works trust us, if you are a lamb eater you’ll have one more reason to love Marrakech as they love their lamb. Try the café across from the Majorelle Gardens (where the ashes of Yves Saint-Laurent were spread and a memorial was erected), best tagine dishes without the inflated prices from the main square. However, if you are ready for a special occasion dine at Riad Clementine one evening for dinner, the gardens are magical at night.