Visiting Marrakesh and Staying in an Authentic Riad
We’re spreading some sunshine and wanderlust here on B.LOVED today with Photographer Paula from Hello, Sugar and her trip to magical Marrakesh ! Staying in a stylish Riad has been firmly on my travel wish list for years and Paula shares two as well as some snippets from sightseeing and her tips if you’re planning to visit too!
Where did you stay in Marrakesh? What type of accommodation did you choose, and why?
I stayed at the traditional Riad Azzouna 13, mostly because of it’s interior. I didn’t want to stay at the hotel, as riads are much more authentic, curated and very well designed. Also, with only 5 rooms in the whole place I was able to experience a fantastic, welcoming service and wonderful breakfast on the rooftop. Nothing was too much of a trouble for the manager & host Sadik. It’s important to have a good, quiet hideaway after the whole day of sightseeing in Marrakech. I was traveling to Morocco for a photography workshop and one of the locations we shoot at was La Maison Riad. It’s another beautifully styled home with a little indoor pool and plenty of plants.
What would you recommend to do? Are there any unique points of interest, restaurants, activities?
I’d recommend getting lost in the town! The wifi and data costs fortune, so I downloaded Google maps and allowed myself to get lost in the souks (traditional market stands). The main part of the city, the Medina is a unique mixture of shops, markets, street food, crazy motorbike drivers, noise, animals, sanctuaries and tourists. Some other places to see would be Jardin Majorelle – YSL Gardens, Ben Youssef Madrasa – an old Islamic college, La Mamounia Marrakech hotel – a luxury hotel with some amazing tiles, indoor pools and a styled garden.
What about the local cuisine? Are there any specialties, top restaurants or secret spots we should know about?
Café Des Épicesin Medina serves lovely lunch and dinner and you can enjoy the sunset while eating your dinner at the rooftop! It gets crowded, so it’s best to arrive early. One local dish to try is called tajine – slow cooked meat or vegetables paired with couscous. One particular thing I miss the most is Moroccan mint tea. It’s a beverage prepared with green tea, fresh mint and loads of sugar – it’s not really the same without sugar to be fair! It’s served everywhere in traditional silver pot and small glasses.
How easy is it to get around? Do you need a car?
If going anywhere outside Medina you will need taxi. There is nowhere to park, or even to get to our Riad without the transport organised by the Riad. The streets are so complex and crowded, there is no way anyone without the local knowledge & experience could drive there. Anywhere outside Medina is probably fine to drive & outside Marrakech the car would be essential.
What would be your top packing tips?
My grey, maxi cotton dress was a hit. I would definitely consider bringing something with long sleeve, or a scarf, as it’s more comfortable to walk around the streets when you are covered. Respect for the local culture and religion is a must anywhere I go.
Anything else you think we need to know?
Haggling is a thing there. Especially in the Medina, if you show some interest in the item, it’s almost sure you will buy it, whether you want it or not. Be prepared to spend money if you love design, pottery, textures leather goods or fabrics. You can haggle down to a really good price!
Would you visit again?
I would love to! Marrakech was an unforgettable experience!