A year-round destination, the glamourous allure of Marrakech has attracted visitors for centuries. Walking through the UNESCO-listed Old Town, your eyes may fall on the inconspicuous wooden doors that line the winding alleys. Behind them are riads – traditional houses, often of unimaginable size, built around a central courtyard. Beautifully decorated, these hidden dwellings reflect the appeal of Marrakech itself – a city offering a thousand discoveries for those who delve below the surface. With a number of 5-star hotels in Marrakech, you can easily combine adventure with luxury.
The first port of call is inevitably the Djemaa el-Fna – Marrakech’s central square and gateway to the Old Town. Lined with rooftop restaurants and filled with market stalls, here you can sample Moroccan cuisine, marvel at snake charmers or take a seat in one of the many cafés to watch the theatrics unfold. Try the local speciality, jus de pomme – a surprisingly delicious mix of milk and apple juice. Although busy during the day, it’s in the evening that the square really comes alive with rows of food being barbecued for the hungry, and music and performers at every turn.
Next to the Djemaa el-Fna is Marrakech’s famous souk, where bargaining is mandatory. You could easily spend a day here, not least because of its labyrinthine nature. Make sure to leave plenty of space in your suitcase – even the shopping-averse will find something they want.
When you’re exhausted by the heat and bustle of this vibrant city, an absolute must-see is the Jardin Majorelle. This cobalt-blue villa was once owned by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. Its carefully designed gardens are extensive, beautiful and filled with water lily-strewn water features. Perhaps the most peaceful place in Marrakech, the house and gardens are painted an enchanted mix of cobalt blue, vivid yellow, cyan and lilac. Studded with hundreds of cactus plants and palm trees, it’s truly one of a kind.
Marrakech’s history is rich and intriguing and the city offers endless historical and cultural sites to explore. Some must-sees include the Palais de la Bahia, Musee de Marrakech, Saadian Tombs, Palais el-Badi and the beautiful Ali ben Youssef Medersa.
No trip to Marrakech would be complete without a visit to a hammam to scrub away the city’s dust. With plenty to choose from, the most renowned are Hammam Dar el-Bacha and Hammam Bab Doukkala.
There are a number of 5-star hotels in Marrakech and around the city. The all-inclusive Kenzi Club Agda Medina is a short drive away and set in serene olive groves. With two pools and a spa, it’s the perfect place to relax. The Sirayana Boutique Hotel and Spa is another 5-star delight. Designed by Imaad Rahmouni, guests can enjoy the hotel’s magnificent views across the Atlas Mountains, as well as its heated pool and exceptional spa.
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