I am a huge fan of a city break. I'm always amazed that a couple of hours on a flight from London can land you in a different city, country and culture. And then manage to be back in the office for Monday with all those memories and experiences under your belt. It’s something I always love to make the most of, meaning I have now lost count of how many two-night stints I have spent in various European cities. But one place I had never ventured to was Marrakech. After waking up in London and having a coffee in the rain, I grabbed my chic Horizn Studios suitcase and in just a few hours I was lunching on a rooftop in a place unlike anywhere I have experienced before. It’s a culture shock in the best possible way.
Either side of a good night’s sleep in a beautiful riad, there is so much to do in such a short space of time, starting with the souks on the morning of my first day there. For many, the souks are what first spring to mind when thinking of Marrakech – I know they were for me – but they still took me by surprise. They are warren-like, with row after row of stalls and shops selling the dreamiest homeware (I left with a rug), Phoebe Philo-worthy shoes, mouthwatering food, and so much more I simply cannot list it all. You could spend hours getting lost (quite literally) in there, leaving with an entirely new interiors vision for your home and an unprecedented craving for olives.
Armed with quite the appetite and a wish list as long as my arm, the next logical step was lunch at the impeccably designed Nomad. This was the aforementioned rooftop spot that made me pinch myself as I gazed out across the city. It’s an amazing way to take in Marrakech while enjoying some delicious Moroccan food.
From there I took a short walk to Le Jardin Secret, which was one of my favourite stops of the entire trip. Similarly to the riads, it amazed me that something so calm was just tucked away from the souks outside. The huge gardens are full of lush greenery, with little spots to sit down, eat a light lunch or drink some fresh mint tea. It’s the perfect setting to stop for half an hour to catch your breath and feel the contrasting calm aspects of the city.
I managed a little dip into something cultural, too, and got two museums under my belt while I was there: Musée de la Femme and Maison de la Photographie. The former consisted of a few rooms showcasing the craft and work of the women of Marrakech – a mix of painting, sculptures and tapestry, I saw a lot of varied work in a short space of time. Less varied, but just as interesting, was the Maison de la Photographie. As the title would suggest, this focused on photography, which is very much up my street. The gallery itself was gorgeous too, with a light-flooded atrium draped in white sheets; there was a lot more to enjoy than just the photos on display.
Day two began with breakfast, as any busy day should, this time on the communal rooftop at Riad Jaaneman, and it’s safe to say that watching a pastel sunrise while drinking coffee is the perfect way to start any day. Suitably caffeinated, I headed to Les Jardins de La Koutoubia for a little walk; it’s well worth a visit alongside Le Jardin Secret, as they have a very different feel from one another. Both incredibly lush and green, Les Jardins de La Koutoubia are grander and far more open. The food in Marrakech was delicious so I made a habit of eating at any given opportunity, this time at La Famille, a vegetarian spot in a gorgeous garden. It was a good break from traditional Moroccan cuisine, and there is something very nice indeed about enjoying a salad and mint tea in a sun-dappled garden! Now, while I am a huge city break fan, they don't tend to make for a relaxing trip, but I managed to fit in some downtime nonetheless. At the Farnatchi Spa, a monochrome-tiled entrance leads through to various treatment rooms. It's hard to prise yourself away after a massage, but it makes for the perfect parting moment before packing my Horizn suitcase to leave Marrakech and head to the airport. Which, sadly, it was time for me to do, via the souks one last time to soak up the intoxicating atmosphere of this incredible city.
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