Travel Diaries

Marrakech Moments

by Ana Linares

In planning my inaugural trip to Morocco, I wanted to make sure the places I was visiting would offer a variety of visuals to document—I’d longed to see this country for so long and wanted to make the most of it. Following four days camping in the Sahara Desert, I spent a few special days exploring the vibrant maze that is Marrakech.

That palace and villa life

My first stop was Es Saadi Marrakech Resort – Palace. The beautiful 19-acre property has a gorgeous palace that houses all of the resort’s rooms, as well as 10 private villas around a 3,000-square-meter lagoon swimming pool. I start my day at the spa with a massage, followed by teatime by the indoor pool, which is a work of art! I could have easily stayed there for the entire day. I had the opportunity to split my stay between the rooms at the palace and two of their villas. I loved both the balcony suite overlooking the gorgeous grounds as well as having a villa and private butler to myself. The hospitality of this property made me feel right at home. From the food to their amenities, everything felt like it was out of a dream. This hotel is perfect for a romantic getaway or a family vacation.

Es Saadi Marrakech Resort Spa

 Souk shopping

After getting settled, I took a taxi to the Medina and spent my afternoon shopping for spices and rugs at the Souk. I grabbed a bite at Le Jardin—make sure to try their tagine, a signature Moroccan dish, and order their fruit tart as a dessert, it’s the best! I met some locals while at the restaurant, who were kind enough to walk me to their favorite boutiques around the area. Despite not speaking French, which is their most used language with tourists, I was able to communicate in English with most everyone, so getting around was pretty easy. Before heading back to Es Saadi, I stopped by El Fenn for a drink and got to see the lovely sunset from their rooftop overlooking the Medina.

A Majorelle must-see

Aside from spending most of the day wandering the shops around the Souk, I made sure to stop at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent and Jardin Majorelle designed by the French artist Jacques Majorelle. The garden and villa were rediscovered in the 1980s by fashion designers Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge who set about restoring it. The signature deep blue is now known as the patented color Majorelle Blue.

Picturesque pool, artful gardens

La Mamounia Spa

My next stop is La Mamounia. Another gem, the hotel is filled with the most exquisite Moroccan interiors with colorful tiles throughout. After lunch at their main terrace, I spent the afternoon at their spa and pool which has become iconic and  well-instagrammed. I loved spending time walking around their garden with its varying types of roses, contemporary art sculptures and centuries-old olive trees (some of which are more than 700 years old). The hotel also has its own fruit and vegetable garden within the property. Before heading to bed, make sure to check out their beautiful Churchill Bar, a classic spot at the property and perfect for a glass of vino.

Nomad’s feast

I loved Le Jardin so much, I had breakfast, lunch and dinner there. Then, I realized the owners are behind another favorite restaurant called Nomad Marrakech, which is a must if you’re looking for great Moroccan food. I ordered the cumin calamari, lamb tagine and fennel salad—all equally delicious! This restaurant also provides sweeping views of the Souk. Make sure to stop by the Cafe des Espices, owned by the same team, as it’s a perfect afternoon spot for some Moroccan “Whiskey Berbère” tea.

Atlas Mountains hideaway

Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech Fairmont Royal Palm

My last hotel stay provided welcome relief after running around the hectic Medina. The Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech is an urban oasis located by the Atlas Mountains with out-of-this-world views. The property has a gorgeous golf course and stunning amenities, including a beautiful outdoor pool. I loved waking up early to enjoy breakfast on my room’s terrace which overlooks the mountains and cacti-filled gardens. Despite being a really spacious property, their restaurant, bar and interiors were designed to make it feel as if you’re stepping into someone’s chic, well-decorated home.

Made in Morocco

I finished my trip with a private cooking class at Souk Cuisine in the center of the Medina. We started our morning shopping for ingredients with the owner. She took us to all her favorite spots for spices and organic produce, followed by an authentic Moroccan cooking class at an incredible property formerly owned by Moroccan royalty. It was a truly unique experience which I highly recommend.