A perfect day in Marrakech


What: Insider-Tips for Eating, Drinking, Shopping, Sightseeing
Where: Marrakech, Morocco

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That’s me on the roof terrace of the Nomad, one of my favorite restaurants in Marrakech

My first encounter with Marrakech was 22 years ago. Back then, I shot a report for the TV channel Premiere (now ‘Sky’), about a gigantic luxury villa in the Palmeraie, which is owned by the fashion designer Giorgio Armani and has already been rented by movie diva Elizabeth Taylor. Idyllically located, beautifully furnished, with a pool in the garden and a view of the Atlas Mountains and the adjacent property of Yves Saint Laurent. Marrakech has always had a special fascination, prominent names like old-rocker Mick Jagger and style icon Diana Vreeland have left their marks here. I fell in love with this city and, since then, have always returned enthusiastically. Recently this past Easter weekend.

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One of the green courtyards of Riad El Cadi

Now is the perfect time of the year for a break in the city of cultural contrasts with its African, Arab and Berber traditions: during the day the sun warms (if it comes out) at 25 degrees Celsius – then the day can already start with an open-air breakfast. The best way of doing so is on a roof terrace with view over the rooftops of Marrakech. For example, in the Riad El Cadi, a with Moroccan antiques decorated boutique hotel, which is run by the Berliner Julia Bartels. She inherited the complex of seven houses of her father, the former German Ambassador of Morocco in 2003. And this is how a lawyer became a hotelier. Riad El Cadi is located in the exciting Medina but is still an oasis of calm. For something a bit more luxurious, I recommend the Riad El Fenn, that was opened in 2004 by the art ambitious founder of Marrakech’s Biennale, Vanessa Branson – sister of the millionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson – and is one of the most popular tourist attractions.

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The ultra-chic rooftop of the Riad El Fenn with its inviting seating areas and sun shades. In the El Fenn a very nice concept store opened most recently with an adjoining restaurant where people tired of tajine can also eat pasta

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Riad El Fenn is a little gem among the riads, the rooms are partly equipped with camel leather tiles, each room is individually designed

Marrakech has become a true oriental fairy tale, especially in the old city, the medina, which labyrinthine streets invite more to random findings rather than targeted searches. My tip: Invest in a guide that leads you through the souks. Inform yourself in advance of destinations and addresses and what you want to see. Whoever has the time, can just drift. This is the best way to explore the Medina and surrender to its charm. One of my favorite places in the souks is Rahba Kedima. Here, the dealers present basket- and leather goods, spices and argan oils and provide mediums against mosquitoes, moths or sleeping problems. At the end of the square lies the famous Café des Epices, opposite is my favorite, the Nomad, on which you can enjoy the best lunch on the roof terrace. Underneath is a pretty and small shop, where modern design and ceramics are sold.

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In the square Rahba Kedima I bought an embroidered bag and placemats decorated with colorful tassels. Of course I did quite successfully haggled as haggling is part of the oriental shopping mentality

Also, the carpet dealers’ neighborhood lies adjacent to the Rahba Kedima square. If you wanted to buy a carpet, a Beni Ourain for example, you should definitely compare the prices. For me, the best of all carpet dealers are the Soufiane brothers. Hidden, so that you can hardly find them on your own, you call beforehand and arrange a meeting point. Entering Soufianes house, you have arrived in paradise of carpets: antique and new Berber carpets or Soufianes own carpet design – the prices are fair and the goods will be delivered right to the front of your door.

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Carpet fans will be spoiled for choice at Soufiane’s place

In Marrakech a day goes by in a flash. Suddenly it’s time for a sundowner, and that I recommend on the rooftop of the no longer new, but still wonderful Kosybar at Place des Ferblantiers. Here, one is closest to the snowy peaks of the High Atlas and meanwhile can watch the storks that have built their nests on the ancient walls of the city. More romance is hardly possible.

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View to the snowy peaks of the High Atlas and the storks that have built their nests on the ancient walls of the city

It’s also romantic in the evenings at the restaurant Dar Yacout. A legend in the Marrakech-gastronomy, mainly due to the pretty interiors designed by Bill Willis. However, the food quality is not really in the price-benefit-ratio. (Menu 700 DH = 70 Euro per person). For someone who likes it a bit more down to earth, hip and trendy, I suggest the Le Jardin to enjoy delicious chicken skewers (110 DH), grilled sea bream (150 DH) or lamb tajine with prunes (120 DH). Who can’t get tired of shopping can find here on the 1st floor at Norya Ayron individual caftans and beautiful clutches, the perfect outfit for Marrakech’s nightlife. This, however, mainly takes place in the New Town, Guéliz – but this another fairy tale from 1001 Nights. BvH

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How about a romantic Candlelight-Dinner directly at the pool of the restaurant Dar Yacout?

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It is still one of the most beautiful restaurants in Marrakech

Marrakech – the Pearl of the South

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The restaurant Le Jardin is the perfect place for lunch or dinner …

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Watch your step …#turtlescrossing 🙂

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Delicious at Le Jardin are the brochettes: barbecue skewers – here with chicken and vegetables

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Le Jardin is a melange of green tones: turquoise tiles and lime green colored walls plus the house “Jungle”. There are also small rooms with open fires for colder nights

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On the first floor at Le Jardin Norya Ayron sells her individual creations …

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… like this colorful silk caftan …

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… or these casual leather Clutches: my newest summer must-have!

An oriental Fairy Tale

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I call that service:

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The Nomad offers sun hats to the guests for the duration of their stay

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Lunch at Café Nomad: I love the appetizer plate ‘mezze’ ( 70DH = approx 7 €) . A glass of Rosé (highly recommended are Moroccan wines ) and a perfect view to the colorful market

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The Souks in the Medina:

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A big chaos, a colorful world of commodities without fixed prices …

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Here, haggling is part of the shopping mentality

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In the carpet kingdom of Ismail Soufiane: He offers antique and new carpets. You can get here also the stylish Beni Ourain Berber carpets

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Ismail served freshly prepared mint tea – a sign of Moroccan hospitality

Shop’til you drop

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Leather poufs currently experience a style-revival. I remember that my parents already had Moroccan leather poufs in their living room

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At the Kif-Kif shop you can find beautiful home accessories und textiles

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The souks of Marrakech are the Mecca for every jewelry freak: Here I bought exceptional pieces such as bracelets in sterling silver

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Tour guide Achmed (on the right) also explains the attractions, such as the former Medersa Ben Youssef …

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… with its wonderful tiles …

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… And the fantastic facade ornaments. Incidentally, the Medersa is a Unesco World Heritage Site, as well as the entire Medina

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Magnificent antique door at the Riad El Cadi

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Breakfast on the rooftop of Riad El Cadi …

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… and amazing antique details

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So beautiful: A Sundowner on the rooftop terrace of the Kosybar

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Good night, Marrakech!

Tips:

Best Tour guide for the Medina with its attractions and the Souks is Achmed: +212-661088938.
You should know that the guides like to show you shops, where they are involved in sales

All roads lead – in this case – to Djamaa El Fna , the square of the hanged , where the exciting nightlife of Marrakech awakens at nightfall latest. Tip: If you get lost, simply ask for “La place” …

Contacts:

Soufiane Zarib
24 Db Amseghi Sidi Ishak
Marrakech
+212-661853487

Riad El Cadi
86/87 Derb Moulay Abdelkader, Dabachi
Marrakech +212 5243-78098
www.riyadelcadi.com

Riad El Fenn
Derb Moulay Abdullah Ben Hezzian, 2
Marrakech
+212 5244-41210
www.el-fenn.com

Kosybar
Place des Ferblantiers، Rue de Berrima
Marrakech

+212 5243-80324
www.kosybar.com

Le Jardin
32 Route Sidi Abdelaziz
Marrakech
+212 5243-78295
www.lejardin.ma

Nomad
Rahba Kedima
Marrakech
+212 5243-81609
www.nomadmarrakech.com

Dar Yacout
79 Sidi Ahmed Soussi
Marrakech
+212 5243-82929
www.daryacout.com

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