Sunday, 13 October 2013

Travel Diary: Marrakech top tips and shopping guide

Hi all !

So the last week has been hectic, between work and some other things that I have to work on. Blogging has been put on the back burner, I was just too tired to post when I came home. So I am using this first free Sunday, in a long time, to catch up on the blogging, as I think I had got into a better routine lately.

These are the photos of my Marrakech purchases. I would recommend planning for extra purchases, when organising baggage, especially if you are flying with the fabulous Ryanair. We brought one big luggage between us and one hand luggage. We bought another hand luggage over there. This is considering we didn't buy anything huge, size wise, such as lamps, carpets or silverware. It is a great place to get some interesting pieces, especially if you have a new house or apartment to decorate .

So as I said, keeping it light, I bought a leather, hand embroidered bag, it had an ethnic Isabel Marant style that I liked. I also got some princess style babouches, the typical style slipper of Marrakech. I love them so much I want to put them on display more than wear them !
Next up was a silver cuff, with pieces of orange, green (keeping it Irish) and black. While we were in Marrakech, we had a Hamam done, which was a full body scrub, with this special black soap, made from Argan oil. I still have yet to give it a go at home, but it real worked a removing all the dead skin cells, for baby soft skin.

For our (future) house we got a little mirror in the shape of a door, that has two little doors that open to reveal a mirror inside. I want to hang it on the wall as a feature piece, another memory from all our travels. Lorenzo got a little tangine, the traditional method of cooking their meat stew. I love it's sea blue colour.

Where to eat in Marrakech:
In the Medina:
  • Le Marrakchi - great food, belly dancers, romantic atmosphere and one of the only places they serve alcohol in Djema el-Fna square. I would recommend this for your first night in Marrakech.
  • Riad El Fenn - a beautiful rooftop restaurant and bar of this chic, boutique style hotel. It's owner is Vanessa Branson. Great mix of Moroccan/European style food. We spent dinner and after dinner here.
  • Le Foundouk - this was probably the most expensive restaurant we ate in. It has a beautiful rooftop garden, but inside is also stunning. They have a mix of traditional Moroccan food, but also with some European add-ons.
  • Un Dejeuner - A good place for breakfast or lunch, with a rooftop terrace. They don't serve alcohol.

In Gueliz:
  • Azar -  mix of Moroccan and Lebanese food. A very chic and modern setting. Great music and belly dancers setting the scene. One of my favourite meals.
  • Grand Cafe de la Poste - a great place for lunch, dinner and before/after dinner drinks. The most European style place. A great place if you need a break from Moroccan spiced food.

Where to have drinks:
In the Medina:
  • Kosybar - one of the few places to serve alcohol in the Medina. We went here for lunch and after dinner drinks. They also have a rooftop terrace.

In Gueliz:
  • La Mamounia - The most luxurious hotel in Marrakech, with the most beautiful gardens and outdoor area. It costs and arm and a leg ( cocktail is about €20), but great for a before dinner cocktail. Dress to impress.
  • Le Renaissance hotel - a rooftop terrace bar, with a modern feel. Great for pre-dinner drinks.

In Hivernage:
  • Le Comptoir - It seemed to be the most happening place in Marrakech. Pricey drinks at about €10 a pop and also open for dinner, with fantastic belly dancing and music show. Seems to turn into a club after dinner, a seemingly westernised version of Morocco. A great place to dance the night away, or even just for some after dinner drinks. A definite must visit !

For shopping in the Souks I recommend:
  • Bargain, Bargain, Bargain ! It is expected. Start low and work your way up and meet in the middle.
  • Many places have the same thing, so look around, but if you really love something, don't leave it behind, as you probably won't be able to find the shop again.
Make a list of what you would like to get, as it is easy to get distracted by all the other things around, it can be overwhelming !

Must visit the:
  • Yves Saint Laurent Gardens -Le Jardins Majorelle
  • Bahia Palace
  • Saadiens Tombs
  • Souks

What to wear:
  • Leave your heels at home, or at least the stilettos. I brought a little pair of kitten heels from ZARA and some ornate flats. Even Carrie Bradshaw would have had difficulty.
  • If you are going in hot weather, embrace the hat ! I loved wearing my fedora and it was great for keeping cool
  • The temperature really drops at night, so depending on the time of year you are going, prepare for cooler nights.
  •  Marrakech (Morocco), as open minded, safe and cosmopolitan as it is, is still a Muslim country. In my   opinion it is important to respect their culture. So don't show too much skin.
I say no to:
  1. Short shorts,
  2. Short dresses,
  3. Anything low cut
 I say yes to:
  1. Maxi dresses,
  2. Kaftans,
  3. Loose pants,
  4. A shawl (keep this in your handbag to cover exposed shoulders if needed.

What I thought was a fashion obstacle, turned in to a fantastic challenge. I am now a fan of the Maxi dress and can say I embrace evening flats !

Please drop me an email if you have any other questions on your trip to Marrackech.

That's all for now,
Love Dani x

If you missed out on the other instalments of my Marrakech trip, you can find them here:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four 
Part Five

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