Marrakech is divided into two areas, The Old City ( aka the Medina ) where all the souks and markets are, and Modern City which houses the commercial quarter and residential area of the city.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when coming to Morocco but I will say that never once did I feel in danger. I spent quite a few hours walking through the souks exploring little alley ways and stall after stall of shoes, leather goods, kaftans, herbs and more. Everyone was pretty friendly but don't expect to take any photos of the locals or ask for directions without a price tag!
I coincidentally came to Morocco at the beginning of Ramadan. I had no idea what Ramadan was before arriving, so if you don't know much about it either let me fill you in. Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in the Islamic calendar. It is the anniversary of the revelation of the Quran. From dusk to dawn (17 hours) they don't drink, eat, smoke, or engage in sexual intercourse. The fast is intended to bring them closer to God, have time to reflect on the past years action, ask for forgiveness, and purify the soul. It is an exercise in self-restraint, and a time to de-tach from world pleasures and focus on prayer.
WHERE I STAYED
This luxury hotel is approximately 1km from all the souks and markets. It is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever been to, which is why Winston Churchill was a big fan. The hotel embodies glamour and leisure. There is a 17 acre garden in the back that has a path along the perimeter which is a great place to go for a jog if you feel like you need to work off all the bread that you'll be eating in Morocco. It has 3 exquisite restaurants ( French, Italian and Moroccan ) and not one, but TWO beautiful pools (indoor and outdoor).
Staying at Riad Farnatchi was such a good change of pace from La Mamounia. Riad Farnatchi only has 6 rooms and really gives you an intimate experience instead of being lost in the shuffle of a massive hotel. This 5 star hotel is centrally located within the souks , so the moment you walk out the hotel door you are ready to explore the city streets. Not only is this hotel beautiful and small, it has an amazing spa for the moments where you need to just relax after a day of being on your feet.
Hands down my favorite hotel we stayed at in Marrakech. I only got to spend one night there which was such a bummer , but I am stoked that I even found out about this gem. There's a chic restaurant with a cocktail bar, as well as 2 courtyard pools and a roof terrace with a plunge pool. And every day around 3PM they do cookie and tea time in the main area. Other amenities include a spa , hot tub, and hammam.
WHERE TO EAT
Honestly, I stuck with the hotel restaurants. They were all so amazing!
They have three restaurants located within the hotel - Italian, French, and Moroccan. The Moroccan restaurant Le Marocain was absolutely fabulous and beyond stunning. With all outdoor seating overlooking the garden , its the perfect place to have a relaxing night.
What I ordered:
Chicken Couscous with onions, raisons, chickpeas and carrots
Sea Bass in coriander crust, red olives, "vierge" sauce with lemon confit
(Room Service night)
Pizza and Chicken Sandwich
Fresh Fish of the Day
(And the bread is pretty bomb)