Last week, I let you in on my favorite places from my recent trip to Casablanca, Morocco. This week, it is all about Marrakech. Far warmer than the coastal city of Casablanca, Marrakech borders on the Sahara Desert. In fact, the temperatures soared high above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But even with the heat, Marrakech was one of the coolest cities I have ever traveled to because of the amazing nightlife. This place knows how to party. Think European Disco feel and there is almost always a live drummer at the clubs.
My fave was So at the Sofitel because it had a great vibe, killer music, and a fun crowd. It was still going off at 4AM, but prime time is 12 AM-3 AM. And check out this drummer-he killed it!
Another rocking dance club is Jad Mahal which had a group of traditional gnawa dancers-men dressed in customary garb doing coordinated routines to modern dance music. And for the boys, scantily clad girls dancing on cubes! **Helpful tip- If you indulge in vodka sodas like me, be sure to order your vodka (Grey Goose is readily available) with Oulmes (the local Moroccan sparkling water which is really tasty) or else it will get mixed with a clear soda like 7-Up.
Now let’s talk food! Although I thought overall the food was better in Casa, there were still standouts in Marrakech. First was the Le Maison Arabe restaurant which was not only delish, but stunningly beautiful as well. The food was typical Moroccan-cous cous, pastilla, lamb, olives, but I would say the star of the dinner was the lemon chicken tagine which was fresh and so full of flavor. Another great resto there is Djellabar. The menu has typical dishes like chicken cous cous (so good!) but also eclectic fare like Thai noodles, saffron risotto, and gazpacho. And the decor is heavily influenced by pop art with portraits of icons like Nelson Mandela, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Bob Marley decked in fezzes.
Shopping is quite good in Marrakech with top designer boutiques like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, but like in Casablanca, I preferred to go the traditional route and hit Jemaa el-Fnaa in the medina (old city). Here, you can find kiosks which sell leather pieces, kaftans, home goods, wooden furniture, porcelain dishes, spices and other Moroccan favorites. Also, you will see the famous snake charmers, fortune tellers, henna tattoo artists, and water carriers for added entertainment. Just be sure to hold on to your purses and wallets because pickpockets (young and old) are rampant in this area. Nonetheless, a must see. Also, the Le Jardin Majorelle is not to be missed. It is the sublime estate and garden where couturier Yves Saint Laurent used to call home. Filled with lush gardens, bold colors, peaceful fountains, and a gorgeous house, it isn’t hard to see that this breathtaking home once belonged to a world-renowned fashion designer. Wander through the gardens, take lots of pictures, and stop by the gift shop for luxurious goodies like jewelry, soaps, prints, and pillows.
As far as hotels go, the Le Meridien was fantastic. The vast pool was perfect for cooling off from that hot African sun, and the afternoon Moroccan tea service was a nice touch. Lunch on the patio, although warm, was nice once we started popping bottles of homegrown Medallion Rose which was fruity, light, and refreshing.
I wish I had more time in Morocco because there is so much to see and experience. Safe to say, I will be traveling back to this amazing country! Jusqu’à la prochaine fois…………