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The Insider Guide: Marrakech
Medina rooftops and Atlas Mountains from La Sultana Hotel.
Hotel La Sultana Marrakech
For those wanting the authentic Marrakech Riad experience but like to be pampered in five star luxury, then this is probably the place. Found set back from a busy street in the Kasbah, this exquisitely presented upscale property, made up of five adjoining Riads, has been sympathetically and immaculately restored to create a unique hotel and spa.
Each of La Sultana’s historic Riad houses retains their own architectural identity, but share an attention to outstanding craftsmanship that is a celebration of Moroccan artisan creativity.
Service is flawless – attentive yet discreet and friendly too. Guest rooms and suites feature beautiful design details, including Zellige tiling, tadelakt plasterwork, antique furniture as well as modern in-room amenities such as broadband Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth speakers. The roof terrace, one of the largest in the medina, offers views over the Saardian Tombs, the minarets, the city and to the Atlas Mountains in the distance.
Riad Laksiba
A friendly and uncomplicated Riad guesthouse tucked away in the Royal Kasbah district. Fully restored with beautiful materials and using authentic techniques, Riad Laksiba offers guests the opportunity to be immersed in a timeless Marrakech. The welcoming team can arrange a private transfer from the nearby airport and meet you at the car and guide you through the romantic labyrinth of the Kasbah to the Riad’s front door. Once inside, there is a classic courtyard patio with plunge pool, surrounded by five simple yet comfortable guest rooms, four of which have additional seating area out on the courtyard terraces. Traditional breakfast is included in the good-value rate.
The open roof terrace has a typical Berber tent, a great place to sip mint tea in the shade, listening to sounds of the city. Riad Laksiba prides itself of helping you ‘go native’, avoiding the tourist traps and instead seeing the authentic side of this ancient and modern city. As well as offering recommendations for places to eat, the kitchen can also prepare a classic Moroccan meal for guests.
La Sultana Restaurant
A la carte Mediterranean style, with two acclaimed tasting menus: a classic Moroccan and gastronomic French. The setting is memorable, around the pool or under the stars on the roof terrace. If you want to take the recipes home, you can learn how to make them at the hotel’s cooking school.
Clock Café
Billed as a ‘cross-cultural café’ this bar/restaurant in the Kasbah rocks with live music and culture, bringing together North African and international arts - and all served with a tasty menu of fresh Moroccan bites. Clock Café is part of the dynamic modern Marrakech social arts scene that doesn’t want to forget its roots.
Marrakech has its fair share of stylish restaurants, but setting the standard for the city’s chic lounge bar restaurants is Bô-Zin, a short taxi ride outside of the medina. This spacious restaurant has an exclusive, elegant feel, yet it’s relaxed with a friendly, fashionable staff. Aperitifs in the garden leads to dinner on the pergola terrace or in the designer dining room decorated in warm ochre colours with subtle lighting. The playlist sets the mood and ambience and soon dinner is followed by dancing. The bar spills out into beautifully-lit gardens, with daybeds, and elegant seating distributed amongst sculptures and architectural planting. Bô-Zin’s elegant design and different areas, means it’s a fun and stylish destination for a party or a romantic dinner.
La Mamounia Spa
Critics might suggest that the city’s iconic hotel has lost its heart and soul since undergoing a multimillion-euro refit. However, the impressive style of its 2,500-square-metre spa is undebatable. What’s more, the hotel’s new ‘Detox Spa Pass’ offers non-residents the chance to use the gym, indulge with a healthy lunch at the hotel, experience a detox treatment, relax in the spa pool and stroll the famous gardens.
Desert sports adventure
The great sand dunes of Merzouga and the beginning of the Sahara desert is within a day’s drive of Marrakech. Travel by 4x4 with an expert driver and discover the remarkable landscape of southwest Morocco. Stay in the rural Riad Madu or be adventurous and go glamping in the Madu Bivouac nomad camp, and share stories around the fire.
Chez Zemouri Ahmed
This entire insider guide could be dedicated to shopping, such are the richness of options in Marrakech. A visit to the Berber style souks of the Medina are of course a requisite, where there are still real bargains to be had, if you buy products the locals use, like baskets, or spices etc. For high-quality artisan products and antiques try this small store, crammed with fascinating artefacts.