SOS TRAVEL UK

MARRAKECH- EXPLORE, EAT, DRINK & CHILLAX!

Marrakech is much more than just a medina, each time we return to Red City there is always something different to see or somewhere new to eat. This is what makes each trip so unique, as it offers you a new perspective and we don’t get bored. Given that our most recent trip was our 20 th time in Marrakech, this proves the point perfectly. Adam and I thought it would be helpful to pen a post on what else to add to your list of places to see and also some great places to dine or chill out with a cocktail.

This time when we landed in Marrakech it is worth noting that you are no longer required to fill out a landing card and the process of clearing passport control is so much quicker than on previous visits. A speedy transition through the airport saw us meet our trusty transfer driver Yasine and within 30 minutes we were sipping mint tea at our home from home in Riad Tizwa. This was our first day time arrival in the city and it was pleasant to feel the Moroccan sun and soak up the 24 degree heat. Due to a early morning flight and zero sleep the previous night we took the chance to relax on the roof terrace and charge up our batteries for the next few days.

During our four days in Marrakech these were our finds, we hope it proves informative and helps when planning your own Moroccan travels

EXPLORE

Menara Gardens

The Menara gardens are botanical gardens that are situated outside of the city. We walked along Avenue Prince Moulay Rachid passing the Menara Mall on the right hand side and it took us around 45 minutes from Jemaa El Fna. With 12th century origins, they were established by Abd al Mu’min. We spent quite awhile here exploring and enjoying the gardens. The word ‘Menara’ comes from the pavilion with it’s small green pyramid shaped roof, which means lighthouse. You can visit inside for 50 dirhams per person, taking in the views over the whole of the complex. Each time we have visited Marrakech we have meant to visit, we were thrilled that we got the chance on this trip! Definitely recommend visiting whilst you are in the Red City as it is beautiful to see and you discover so much more about Moroccan history here.

SOS Tip On your way back from the Menara gardens pop into Carrefour at the Menara Mall for a lovely bottle of Moroccan Gris or Red wine. It’s nice and very cheap too. 

Cyber Park

Cyber Park is a very popular spot with many Moroccans, an ideal place to socialise and meet up with friends! Located in the centre of Marrakech and a short walk from the medina. The park is 8 hectares of green space mixing tradition with modernity. It was founded in the 18th century by Moulay Abdelsslam. We wandered around enjoying the Moroccan sunshine and our surroundings, it is free to enter and all are welcome! 

Gueliz, New Town 

Go to Gueliz! Marrakech’s new town, you can walk from the medina, take a taxi or public transport if you wish. We decided to walk to Gueliz after visiting Cyber Park. It is about a 20 to 25 minute walk and en route you will see some great street art installations, make sure to check them out. The new town is full of shops, restaurants and bars, it allows you to see the city from another viewpoint and we think it’s important to see the full picture when you visit. We try to strike a balance between both.

SOS Tip Make sure to visit Galerie Marzouk located on Rue Mohammed el Begal, a small antique shop (next to Gaia see below) displaying some beautiful Moroccan items, carpets and gifts. Speak with the owner Abdul, who will make you very welcome and discuss the family history behind his shop, telling you all about some of the famous people he has welcomed here. He is a very interesting gentleman with a heart of gold. Abdul can ship larger items internationally for you as a lot of us travel light these days, with some items not fitting into the standard cabin bag. 

The Ensemble Artisinal 

The Ensemble Artisinal is a great place to shop and have a wander. This is an authentic Moroccan craft complex near to the medina, it features artwork, clothing, fabrics and more. The space is government sponsored and it can offer a more relaxed environment to buy at a fixed price. I got my henna done here for 50 dirhams and it is a good place to stop on your return from Gueliz. 

EAT

La Pailotte 

La Pailotte, one of the most unique places we have eaten. Wander into the heart of Africa, this restaurant is designed like a safari lodge set in amongst an 150 year old olive grove. A real foodie treat with exceptional service! A magical Moroccan memory. La Pailotte is a 10 to 15 minute drive outside of the medina.

A three course meal with drinks for two people will cost you around £100.

SOS Tip When you make a reservation make sure to ask for the restaurant’s complimentary pick up and drop off service from your hotel or riad. 

Mes’Lalla @ the Mandarin Oriental 

Mes’Lalla @ the Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech hosted ‘popupmarx’ by ThierryMarx. The Michelin Star French chef showcased his creative cuisine @ the Red City resort. We were kindly invited to enjoy dinner whilst in the city. Dinner was a delight, many thanks! 

The Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech is located outside of the city on the route de golf and is a stunning resort. Adam and I were thrilled to return to dine at Mes’Lalla, having previously visited for the opening of Ling Ling, part of the Hakkasan group, our evening was filled with fine food, great service and a show stopping setting. 

If you are celebrating a special occasion, a birthday, anniversary or you want a memorable evening, the Mandarin Oriental offers you two top class restaurants to choose from. 

Plus 61

Gueliz is a foodlovers dream with many new restaurants popping up, one we had looked forward to visiting was Plus 61. An authentic Australian restaurant in the middle of Marrakech! I had heard great things from friends & boy were they right, absolutely delicious food on offer here. 

The restaurant Plus 61 is named after Australia’s country code, it is designed to perfection with a relaxed chilled vibe. Highly recommend lunch or dinner here if you are visiting Marrakech. 

We enjoyed every mouthwatering morsel on offer…  

Le Trou Au Mur 

On our last evening in Marrakech we ate @ a real favourite restaurant of ours, Le Trou Au Mur (meaning hole in the wall). We are always promised such a warm welcome from James the owner, the staff feel like friends after regular visits & the food is yummy. Make sure to have a cocktail or two, we recommend the martinis which are the restaurant’s speciality!  

A highlight of our last supper in the Red City was dining with our new friends Ashley and Antonio from Miami, I love how travel brings people together. We chatted about alsorts and we felt like we had known each other for ages. We look forward to catching up again soon.

DRINK

Bacha Coffee

Are you a Coffee lover? Head to Bacha Coffee, located inside the Museum of Confluences on Dar El Bacha. The new kid in town! We couldn’t stay away, this beautifully designed coffee rooms will wow you into returning. Enjoying one of the many coffees and cakes on offer. 

SOS Tip You can buy your favourite coffee beans in the shop to take home with you and they will grind it to suit your preference. 

Kabana 

You know just how much we love a rooftop bar! Well there is a brand NEW bar in Marrakech called Kabana, it is very hip with views of the Koutoubia Mosque and the perfect place to watch the sunset. Make sure to pop in for a cocktail or some food and enjoy their live entertainment.

SOS Tip If you are a yoga or brunch lover, look out for Kabana’s Sunday Yoga Funday Brunch!

Gaia 

We found a fantastic spot for lunch and Moroccan iced tea at GAIA, a vegetarian cafe in the new town of Gueliz. Throughly recommend and it is perfect for people watching too! (Opt for the outdoor seating). 

Barometre 

This spectacular speakeasy is a must for all you mixology fans! This is THE place for a real cocktail creation. We always visit Barometre whilst in Marrakech. Look out for the big metal B on Rue Moulay Ali, in Gueliz. They also offer a fabulous menu of food, make sure to book to avoid disappointment as it is a real hot spot and very popular indeed. 

Read my previous post on Barometre.

Shtatto 

Shtatto is the highest rooftop cafe in the medina of Marrakech with perfect panoramic views of the red city. We had our first taste of cinnamon tea here and found it to be a really relaxing on the roof! Open from 9am till 11 pm daily for food & drinks. 

Make sure to try Shtatto for yourself whilst in Marrakech! 

(There is no alcohol sold here).

CHILLAX 

Le Farnatchi Spa 

Le Farnatchi Spa is located next door to Le Farnatchi, which is situated in the heart of the medina and a short walk from Dar El Bacha. They offer a range of treatments in an authentic Moroccan setting. The staff are all highly qualified and provide a first class service. Believe it or not this was our first hammam in Marrakech and it was absolutely marvellous! Fatia made us feel at ease and we enjoyed the experience so very much, we came out with baby soft skin and smiles on our faces. We recommend this spa to you all! 

Beldi Country Club 

Adam and I visited the Beldi Country Club, where we took advantage of the day pass for 390 dirhams (£31pp) to relax poolside in this beautiful setting. The pass included a three course lunch at the pool restaurant. We were wowed by the 14 hectares of this resort, which brings together Moroccan tradition and French chic so very well! You are met with an abundance of greenery, olive trees galore and two swimming pools (one heated) that are real scene setters in themselves. 

The Beldi Country Club is a 15 to 20 minute drive outside of Marrakech, you certainly feel like you have arrived into the countryside! If you want to chillax in the winter sun and experience a new resort away from the hustle and bustle, then this is perfect for you!

Marrakech is an ever changing city, we were thrilled to see many places opening and had a chance to sample a few. When we return early next year we will endeavour to discover more in the Red City and make sure that you dear reader are fully updated! 

If you are looking for an airport transfer, a day trip outside of Marrakech, an extended tour such as the Sahara Desert or a taxi to dinner, we fully recommend Morocco Scorpion Tours who will provide you with a modern air conditioned vehicle and a knowledge driver. Follow them on social media. They are SOS Travel approved as we have used their services for years now and consider them trusted friends. 

Check out our other Marrakech posts.