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A city that blends ancient traditions and pulsing creativity, Marrakech draws first-time travelers seeking a seductive introduction to Morocco, and repeat visitors who return for its chic shopping and exquisite hotels. In five days, you can explore its rich history and bustling markets and make forays into the nearby mountains and desert for an exotic array of adventures.
After settling into your hotel, hire a guide to give you an introductory tour of the ancient medina and main sights such as the medieval Medersa Ben Youssef (the Koranic University) and imposing Koutoubia Mosque. Stop in to the Musée du Marrakech, which is housed in the glorious 19th-century Mnebhi Palace to learn about Islamic architecture and gardens, and the region’s storied history.
At dusk, see the performers and snake charmers who fill the main square of Djemaa el-Fna nightly. Dine in one of the city’s classic restaurants housed in a restored riad such as Le Tobsil, Dar Moha (the former home of Pierre Cardin) or Yacout.
Royal Mansour Marrakech
Wake up early to be among the first to enter the Majorelle Gardens, which were lovingly restored by Yves Saint Laurent. The exotic plants and dazzling painted buildings are particularly beautiful in the morning light. Make sure to stop in at the on-site Berber museum and the lovely gift shop.
Return to your hotel for a leisurely lunch by the pool. Spend the afternoon exploring the colorful souk, from the spice dealers and lantern makers to carpet stalls and leather shops. The maze of alleys should be navigated in the company of a guide. For dinner, head to Gueliz, the new city, to one of the chic French brasseries that draws the French expat community, like Le Studio or Grand Café de la Poste.
After a relaxing morning at your hotel, where you can try a traditional Moroccan spa treatment like a hammam, exfoliating bath and steam, you will be picked up by 4x4 jeeps to be driven out to the Desert d’Agafay 40 minutes outside the city. At La Pause camp, you can take camels for a trek and dine under Berber tents enjoying a meal of regional delicacies. Return in the afternoon to enjoy a rest before dinner at your hotel.
Rise early to journey south of the city into the Atlas Mountains. The breathtaking scenery, which has often been used as a backdrop for films set in Tibet, is home to Berber villages. You can visit a weekly market; spend time hiking in the shadow of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, or head to an eco adventure park for zip-lining and riding desert buggies. Book lunch at Domaine de la Rosaire, where you may ride horses or go hiking after your meal.
Dig deeper into the city’s treasures depending upon your own special interests. Take a hands-on pottery class and discover the techniques that go into the traditional ceramics. Sign up for a private cooking class in a state-of-the-art kitchen and learn the art of cooking with spices in a tagine, clay pot. Or return to the medina for some advanced shopping, whether you are in search of antiques, hand-woven carpets or bohemian fashions. Have lunch at one of the rooftop restaurants in the medina like Terrasse des Epices.
Celebrate on your last evening with dinner in the Palmeraie, the palm grove on the outskirts of the city, which is filled with fabulous private villas and gardens. Then head to one of the city’s trendy night clubs like Jad Mahal, Le Comptoir or Djellabar.
Each of the Leading Hotels in Marrakech offers a distinctive expression of Moroccan craftsmanship and hospitality. Some are located right in the medina and others lie outside in the Palmeraie, but all blend a respect for the region’s history with the highest standards of luxury in a resort-like setting.
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