When somebody mentions Marrakech most people immediately have visions of 1001 nights and Lawrence of Arabia, including me. Therefore, when we were looking for a holiday for a week (e.g. no transatlantic flights) Morocco came up on our search as a possible contender, and we were sold on the amazing accommodation, cheap flights, and the fact that it has a different feel to it then lets say Greece. We found cheap tickets and without hesitation we booked. After booking we found the reason why our tickets were so cheap: we were in Morocco during ramadan. However, apart from a few grumpy, hungry people we did not have any problems traveling during this time at all.
The accommodation of choice in Morocco is Riads. Riads are old houses in the medina which have been turned into a bed and breakfast. They range from basic, backpacker friendly to effectively palaces. During our stay in Marrakech we stayed in two riads:
Riad Hugo is a cheap, budget option in a slightly less touristic part of the city. A double room set up back 20 pounds per night for a double room, with our bathroom and breakfast.
Le Riad Berbere is a design riad, and was our splurge at the end of our trip. The rooms and common areas are down in an amazing designer style, and dinner is served on the roof terrace. The cheapest room available is 82 pounds per night for a double room, including breakfast.
What to see
One of the most famous attractions in Marrakech is the Djemma el Fna square that comes to live during the night. Although it is interesting to see an evening, I personally found it too busy, and too touristic for a fun night out. The best place to view the square during the night is Le Grand Balcon du Cafe Glacier. You need to buy a drink (approximately 2 pounds) and you can sit back, and see the show unfold.
In terms of museums I found the photography museum very worthwhile: it allowed for a glimpse into the history of Morocco and Marrakech in a beautifully renovated riad.
The souks is something you can’t get around in Marrakech: no matter where you go in the old city you are bound to end up in at least some part of the souk. The best way is to simply go with the flow, and keep an eye out for the signs leading back to the main square. We found the souks interesting but tiresome as you are a walking target for each of the thousands of shop keepers. We were interested in buying souvenirs, but we kept it to looking initially, and only went back the last day to buy whatever we had in mind.
Finally, the palaces in Marrakech are amazing! We visited Bahia Palace and Saadian Tombs, which were each a great combination of architecture, and a quiet, and shady place to spend a few hours.
Where to eat
In Marrakech there is a wide variety of dinner options available, however, the majority of people will actually eat in their own Riad. During our stay we did both, and one of the restaurants we can definitely recommend in Marrakech is Nomad. A restaurant with a modern look and feel and traditional dishes with a twist. Reservations are highly recommended!