City Guides


Le Nomad, restaurant à Marrakech

A horse-drawn carriage in Marrakech

At the confluence of the modern world and the tales of “Arabian Nights,” Marrakech remains one of the most magical places on earth. Not only is it a bustling city pulsating with life, it is also a maze of small streets that lead to tucked-away places imbued with poetry — assuming, of course, that you know where to go.


P'tit Habibi, riad à Marrakech

P’tit Habibi, a riad in Marrakech


Spending the night in Marrakech should not break the bank — far from it. The city is home to a range of charming accommodations with modern comforts at very reasonable rates. Among them, the P’tit Habibi riad operates like a bed-and-breakfast, receiving guests in a setting that is both idyllic and authentic. In the same price range is the very original Dar Kawa, located in the heart of the Medina. Equally pleasant is Riad Abracadabra, an oasis of calm located just two minutes from the celebrated Jemaa el-Fna Square, the number-one destination for local traditions.

Riad Dyor, riad à Marrakech

Ryad Dyor, a riad in Marrakech


Among high-end establishments, we suggest the Dar Seven, a boutique hotel with a fabulous pool; El Fenn, an adventurously decorated palace; and the elegant Ryad Dyor, which is equipped with a spa. There is a striking contrast between the luxurious settings of these three hotels and the surrounding areas, which are typical working-class neighborhoods. Expect to see donkey carts, merchants in stalls overflowing with dates and oranges, and multicolored silk carpets being worked on a loom. Yet passing through the doors to your hotel, you will instantly leave behind the dust for luxurious, chic and elegant accommodations. There is also the Jnane Tamsna, a temple to architecture and botanicals. This sumptuous hotel has the friendliness of a bed-and-breakfast, and just meeting the owners makes it worth the trip.


The spa at the Royal Mansour hotel


Finally, for the most exacting customers, Marrakech also boasts several palaces of extraordinary luxury. As a meeting place for royalty and international celebrities, La Mamounia, the Amanjena and the Royal Mansour carry on the legends of the city. Each of these five-star accommodations blend myth with the latest enhancements. Spread across multi-acre estates and enclosed by enormous ramparts, they are magnificent reproductions of the historic medina. On walls and ceilings, on plates and in each element of the decor, we find perfect expressions of Moroccan art and craftsmanship. Both indoors and outdoors, lovers of the Maghreb will see the palm groves, breathe the scent of bougainvillea and spy in the distance the eternal snows that top the Atlas Mountains jutting from the desert.


Thee Nomad, a restaurant in Marrakech

The Nomad, a restaurant in Marrakech


For the delight of the papillae as well as the pupils, we highly recommend the Al Fassia, not only for its delicious food but also because the cooking here is the domain of women who are the heirs to the famous “Dadas.” In this same spirit of authenticity and simplicity, head to La Terrasse des Épices.

grand café de la Poste, restaurant à Marrakech

Le Grand café de la Poste, a restaurant in Marrakech


Le Grand Café de la Poste recreates the special atmosphere of the communities of the Red City in complete elegance. La Pause and Le Jardin are also of note, both providing delightful oases of green in the heart of the medina with a kitchen to match, while Le Nomad, located in Rahba Lakdima (“Spice Square”), revisits and enhances local gastronomy by adding a dimension that is both modern and international.

Buffet de la Mamounia, Marrakech

Week-end brunch at the Mamounia hotel, in Marrakech


Les Trois Saveurs — with flavors from Morocco, France and Asia — will delight visitors to La Maison Arabe. We would not miss brunch at La Mamounia for the world — a treat that transcends borders and time. Le Dar Marjana and Le Tobsil also offer some of the best traditional Moroccan cuisine. Pepe Nero, known as “The Italy of the Medina” awakens all the senses! The same goes for the city’s French cuisine. La Grande Table Française is becoming a point of reference in “the place where the sun sets” — and probably across Africa.

33 Rue Majorelle, a concept store in Marrakech

33 Rue Majorelle, a concept store in Marrakech


The temptations are endless in Marrakech. Whatever your desires or your budget, one thing is certain: you will not leave empty- handed. We recommend the nook of Isabelle Topolina, who has a talent for unearthing the most beautiful antique and ethnic fabrics, and Al Nour, where you can explore fine fabrics made by women with disabilities who are afforded a decent living through this boutique. At 33 Rue Majorelle, you will open the door to the most stylish concept store in Marrakech. At L’Ourika Caftan, you will discover Moroccan haute couture in all its splendor. Between shops, take a break at Kafé Fnaque Berbère, a small restaurant above the Fnac department store that is loaded with charm. Don’t forget about the herbalist shops throughout the medina, whose salespeople are wellsprings of knowledge on herbal medicine. And of course there is the positively divine fresh fruit juice available just about everywhere. You’ve never tasted anything like it!

Majorelle gardens, Marrakech

The Majorelle gardens, Marrakech


For those seeking to get off the beaten track, there is no shortage of exciting, authentic and quirky places to visit in Marrakech. For a rough overview, begin at the sprawling gardens of La Menara, which are planted with hundred-year-old olive trees; the Bahia Palace, a masterpiece of Moroccan architecture; the Majorelle Garden, where Yves Saint Laurent’s spirit still hovers (a museum dedicated entirely to him will open on the grounds in the fall of 2017); Gallery 127, where culture and artistic expression converge; the highly esteemed Maison de la Photographie (House of Photography); and the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a jewel of Arab-Andalusian style. This is an opportunity to experience the Royal Mansour Spa, which is like something from a Sheikha’s dream, or to participate in a cooking class at La Maison Arabe. Are you in the mood for a wild evening? Let your feet guide you to Kechmara, a restaurant and nightclub inspired by the best of the 1970s. That is, unless you prefer the Bô & Zin, at the edge of the city, for dining in a delightful musical atmosphere.

A taxi near Jemaa el-Fna square

A taxi near Jemaa el-Fna square


There is no shortage of taxis in Marrakech. They are a boon to tourists, but be sure to brush up on the ins and outs of the system. Most taxis are “petits taxis,” which are usually small, beige-colored vehicles. But watch out: they are not permitted to leave the city and have a three-passenger limit. While they are supposed to use a meter, not all drivers do. Insist that they run the meter or negotiate a price before getting in. The “grands taxis,” which are generally white Mercedes, can carry up to six people and are allowed to go wherever you like, regard-less of the distance. However, they are not equipped with meters. Agree on a price before getting in.

This city guide appears in our first issue: Fall 2016.