A Winter Weekend in Marrakech

For my grandmother's birthday this year, my mom decided to take her on a girl's trip to Morocco for the first time. I secretly plotted to join them in order to surprise her there and then. Disguised with a headscarf and sunglasses, I sat in the lobby waiting. Mamie arrived, tired from her flight, and gave me a polite "Bonjour Madame" as she sat across from me. I tried my best to suppress my laughter, but it was too much to hold back. She was completely shocked and we all had a good laugh. 

That same morning I had arrived bright and early with time to visit the YSL museum and the Jardin Majorelle. The weather was beautiful. 

We stayed at a perfectly located riad (Art Place Riad - Book HERE) facing the Place Jemaa el-Fnaa and with the most excellent service and room. The first time walking through it was overwhelming due to the sheer number of people, animals, sounds, smells, but definitely exciting. 

A lot of our weekend was spent in the souks haggling (as is expected) of course, but we also took a trip to the Palmeraie to ride dromedaries (a first for Mamie), and drove to the berber villages of the Atlas mountains. Part of the fun (and the exhaustion) of going through the souks (repeatedly) is being conversational, kind, and firm. Get some prices from different places before you buy anything. Typically you can divide the original price they gave you by 2 or 3 to get the real value. You have to be patient so try to enjoy the process. I visited a shoe stall 3 days in a row trying to get these suede embroidered slippers (babouches). We talked for a while and by the end, we had tea and I finally gave in to a final price. Everyone was happy and we had a great time. We also spent a lot of time getting pulled into the spice stalls, learning about everything even if we didn't buy, the vendors were just happy to just get us inside. So make sure you have a little space left in your luggage, because shopping here is an experience in itself!

Here's a list of the places we ate at(all of which I really enjoyed for totally different reasons):

  • Café le Studio - stylish and delicious venue tucked inside the YSL museum.
  • Nomad - modern moroccan, casual dining on a rooftop with beautiful views of the souks and the distant mountains
  • Dar Cherifa - design-oriented and chic Riad restaurant with traditional moroccan cuisine. I loved the various art displayed around the restaurant. 
  • Fouquet's inside the Naoura Barriere hotel - to celebrate Mamie's birthday with drinks, we came here for a beautiful dining experience. 

Places I wanted to go to but didn't have a chance:

  • La Famille - we actually tried having lunch here but I failed to make reservations in time. I did walk into their courtyard and it's super cool.
  • La Mamounia - the IT hotel and all it's restaurants was totally closed off due to a celebrity birthday. Shucks.
  • Restaurant Lotus Privilege - Next time.

Enjoy the photos (I will feature some as prints available through the link STORE above.)