Every time I think of Marrakesh, I can’t help but think of Aladdin wondering through the narrow streets daydreaming about Jasmin, a sucker for romance what can I say. Of course, Aladdin took place elsewhere, but it honestly felt like the set of the movie especially at night all the magic was there.
This trip with my sister @alexianaomicelio was her graduation ode implying that we were adult enough to wander a bit further this time. Our trip consisted of a five day stay in a beautiful Riad close to the main square, of Jemaa el-Fnaa (a UNESCO heritage site). I highly suggest sleeping in a Riad as they are only found in Medina’s (old wall centres) with an architecture that dates to the Roman era. Definitely on the top list for the most unique stay. Oh, breakfast is mainly included so you can start the day on a high note.
Since we had enough time, we chose two excursions outside the city to get a better sense of what this place had to offer. It was just what we needed as each experience enhanced the next. Traveling solo as women is not always simple but I must say that we felt very safe and grateful to be there especially because it happened during Ramadan. The devotion and pride of the people we met was mystical as they waited for dawn to unite and feast together as one. I don’t blame them the food is a voyage in itself not to mention the insane quality of local ingredients such as the olive oil oh my! Note the Italian that fell in love with Moroccan olive oil. The essence of markets became the eau de toilette of my deepest dreams and our journey went something like this:
1. Terrace views and bombastic olive oil at Atay Cafè:
This is a perfect lunch spot with a variety of local dishes from Tagines to my simple choice of an avocado and tomato salad. All ingredients local and I had my first encounter with Moroccan olive oil that I obviously still can’t shut up about. The restaurant is laid out on different terraces all with charismatic designs, the classic beautiful pillows, and you totally feel like you are in the vibrant Marrakesh. Especially on the last terrace where you have the city view. This was the gem place I went back for more, so I guess it is now part of a new tradition as I dream my way back to @atay_cafe make sure you do too.
2. Emerald, green floors, Parrots, and loose turtles at Le Jardin:
I am sure this title sparked some curiosity. You should know that this is also a very “Inn” place and I am always hesitant as I always imagine these Instagram hubs to be touristy, but a great friend of mine told me I was crazy not to check this place, I trusted. Honestly in Marrakesh with the incredible sophisticated and detailed design every “Inn” spot is a breath of fresh air and something just out of the ordinary, so yeah go to all the Instagram hubs because they are legit here. I enjoyed the French influenced Niçoise salad, played with turtles, sat under a parrot, and amused myself with the surroundings. Thanks to @lejardinmarrakech I now want a least one room with emerald, green floors.
3. La Maison Arabe Hotel, a fancy dinner at the first restaurant open to foreigners in the Medina during the 1940’s
This majestic place was the first boutique riad-hotel in Marrakech. Imagine a beautiful Moroccan villa in all of its essence, doorways that open to gardens, a piano bar, and dining by the pool at dawn. I have never felt more like a princess in my whole life. The service from entrance to end was outstanding, impeccable, my dad would have agreed for sure. This is where you propose for any of you who are ready to pop the question! The dinner finalized the high expectations me and my sister were craving meat and fish, so we pleased ourselves because all is permitted on holiday. Stop by this magical place even to just enjoy the piano bar and get lost in this immense riad. @lamaisonarabe also offers cooking classes in this breathtaking kitchen. My only remorse!
4. Sunset dinner and fusion dishes at the very boogie Nomad
Let’s remain on dinner suggestions. Yes, there is a @nomadmarrakech and it is definitely the popular spot so you should reserve as in advance as possible to get a terrace table. A sunset view, the trendy music, and the whole Nomad experience in a setting like no other. The menu was refreshing as everything was new to me. As appetizers our palate went for zucchini and feta fried fritters and Moroccan style with vegetarian Briouat (stuffed vegetarian pastry). My absolute favorite dish was the roasted cauliflower in red chermoula (spice), ral-el-hanout (literally means “top shelf” in Arabic as it is said to be an infusion of over 12 spices! there are many legends…) harissa, and cardamon over a bed of herbs! We also had Calamari from Agadir infused in cumin, anchovy, ginger, and harissa. Every flavor was spiced and balanced so well that I have yet not been able to prepare anything even close, probably never will. This is the beauty in experiencing well thought and creative dishes. On that note I definitely should have taken cooking classes in Marrakech!
Suggested Day Trips:
A very Moroccan desert oasis vibe at La Pause Marrakech
Just outside the city center of Marrakech with an arranged pickup from @lapausemarrakech you can experience a piece of the Agafay heritage in a desert oasis setting. Here time stops. The concept of this day is to lie by the pool and have a beautiful Moroccan lunch full of local delicacies, literally the best Tagines of my trip. It is hard to lay by the pool because all you want to do is explore the grounds. From the unique luxury tents in hidden corners to every detail of accurate design your eyes just can’t stop wondering. If I think of a relaxing moment in my life, I am always taken back to this day there is something so magical. A real good vibration to say the least. They offer many services here from camel rides to personal belly dancers. You can also book a complete stay here as the magical part of the desert vibe is star gazing. Something Aladdin and Jasmin would do. I promised myself I would return for an overnight stay with a special someone as I dream of the perfect proposal. I know still at it with the romance. Maybe I watched too many Disney cartoons…This place is now in my heart and one of my top destinations to suggest.
Wonder the rose grounds of the Beldi Country Club
If you thought you could relax by the pool, once again, I bet you here you won’t even try. This is one of the most beautiful location I have ever seen. It is a big structure full of rooms and gardens you can spend a day walking in circles and the gazing will still not be enough. There is a huge greenhouse that plays classical music to plants. There is a Souk (typical artisanal market) on the property. You can join activities such as cooking classes and pottery or go in the evening for traditional parties. You can even just stare at doors and be happy honestly. I feel that for a place like this I don’t want to give too much information about @beldicountryclub as I want it to be a surprising experience. It is hard not to continue describing because it is such a must. This place is a bit more crowded I will admit but it’s so beautiful it is totally understandable. So, if you can go on a weekday over the weekend you might be able to day dream in privacy.
I highly recommend to visit the famous Jardin Majorelle once owned by designer Yves Saint Laurent and painted in Indaco Blue, an enhancer of good vibes to say the least. I also suggest to be careful in the main square of Jemaa el-FnaaI as vendors can be pushy. My sister got monkeys thrown on her she did not like that! Lastly make sure you look at every door as each entrance is its own piece of art. I could go on and on talking about this magical place that has a UNESCO Heritage that lets you experience a part of the past with contemporary comforts. This is one of those destinations to experience once in a lifetime and a love affair that will begin at first sight. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
For more information about Marrakech you can find more behind the scenes on the highlights of my Instagram handle with notes about all the restaurants and places that I have mentioned here and more.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this far! If you happen to experience any of these places or find something new, please share as I must return for that missed cooking class.
Ciao for now,