5 out of 5 stars5 Stars

Route de Ouarzazate, km 12, Marrakech, 2405, Morocco
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Costs 23% more than similarly rated 5 star hotels

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More about Amanjena

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It was the end of Ramadan, so the city was quiet during the day, despite holiday visitors, and came alive at night, when the renowned square, Jemaa el Fna, was transformed into a theatrical scene of food stalls where busy cooks worked at charcoal grills, Berber storytellers regaled their Moroccan audiences and snake charmers sat on the ground surrounded by the curious.

The trip started in Marrakesh; and then made the spectacular four-and-a-half-hour drive south in a rented car over the Atlas Mountains to Ouarzazate and the picturesque Valley of the Draa, afterward flying from Ouarzazate to Fez.
Throughout the trip, we were struck by the perfect winter climate — 60 to 65 degrees in the daytime, cool at night — and the remarkably preserved Moroccan culture, seemingly untouched by modern mores or mall blight.

And everywhere, the beauty of Moroccan architecture was reveled, and the fact that in the old quarters of Marrakesh and Fez, grand houses and small palaces are being converted into wonderfully beautiful restaurants, small hotels or B & B's. Here, the Arabian Nights fantasy is based in reality. Time and again, whether at a museum, a historic monument, a restaurant or small hotel in the old quarter, you would step out of a dusty, hectic street into a cool hallway leading to a courtyard with a fountain or a small garden, surrounded by white walls brilliant with patterned tile or pierced with improbably delicate windows.

When Morocco was a French protectorate (from 1912 to 1956), the colonial government maintained an active program of historic preservation. It is very impressive to see that now so many individual owners or entrepreneurs, some of them Moroccan, were restoring and converting buildings in the old sections, rather than in the neighborhoods established by Europeans.

Of course, the country has long had its legendary grand hostelries, the Mamounia in Marrakesh, the Gazelle d'Or near Taroudant and the Palais Jamai in Fez. A luxury resort opened this spring 20 minutes outside Marrakesh, the vast and stunning Amanjena (part of the Amanresorts group). The most exciting things were the renovations or reinterpretations of old Moroccan buildings that have been carried out in or near the medinas.

One of the pleasures, and sometimes frustrations, of finding a restaurant in the medinas of Fez or Marrakesh was making our way on foot or being let off by a taxi in a dusty, dim street in front of an unpromising high blank wall. But then either a large door would quietly open, or a robed attendant would appear, leading us through the entrance. Invariably, we were in another magical interior.

This is the delightful game of inside- outside that plays out in the old quarters of Morocco, where you go from the sunny, noisy hustle of the souk or a dusty roadway into the shadowy coolness of hallways of tile or filigreed stucco. In the many palace museums, long sequences of rooms are punctuated by small interior gardens.


Al Baraka (2009)Al Baraka (2009)

Jemaa el Fna, MarrakeshJemaa el Fna, Marrakesh

Santo in Dar MimounSanto in Dar Mimoun

nice seat in the back looking out to Marrakechnice seat in the back looking out to Marrakech

Forum Posts

Sun set in Desert

by Paulo_Pinto

WE are 4 people going to Marrakesh for 6 days in March 2011
we would like to visit and even sleep 1 night in desert to see the sunset.

Where to go ? it could be 2 or 3 hours from Marrakesk by car


Re: Sun set in Desert

by vtveen

For the desert you will have to travel either to Mhamid (about 350 'km) or Merzouga (more than 400 km).

You will have to cross the Atlas Mountains and the drive will atke much more than 2 or 3 hours.

We saw the sunset in Merzouga (Erg Chebbi) with a camel ride from our hotel; no need to sleep in the desert to see the sunset.

Happy travels

Re: Sun set in Desert

by earthflyer

Merzouga is the best but I have not been to Zagora.

You won't get far with a 3 hour drive, it will take at least 4-5 hours just to get across the Atlas Mountains to Quarzazate but a worth while trip.

From there you can go to either Zagora or Merzouga with is far away, a days ride at least. I have many pictures of the sand Dunes on my VT pages of Merzouga and sunsets.

Sounds like you need to re-think your plans a little.

Re: Sun set in Desert

by vtveen

Be aware this Tinfou Dunes are not the 'real' Sahara, but just one dune.

Even Erg Chebbi - nearby Merzouga - wasn't the Sahara as we expected. It is also an area with sand dunes - about 25 by 5 km's. Although a little bit disappointing we liked the scenery.

Re: Sun set in Desert

by angiebabe

If you have 6 days you have more than enough time to see Marrakech and then head off on a good circuit to see some mustsees that are along the way to the desert and back - I have some tips in my Morocco page about doing this. You would still have time to get to Essaouira if you wished but as March is a beautiful month with flowers I would miss Essaouira and include in a circuit picturesque places to see flowers that way and come back via Agdz to Taliouine to Taroudant and down to Tafraoute and back up via the fast road from Agadir. it would be a beautiful circuit.

With 4 of you you can have a nice night out in the desert with camels - or walk up the dunes yourself from a nearby hotel - but the whole stay out is nice and see both sunset and sunrise.
let me know if you have some more questions but I would recommend that you have a read around our travel pages - with a rating and ranking system for any appreciation thanks - and also get a good guidebook such as the Lonely Planet or the latest edition of Footprints is very good and perhaps add the DK eyewitness guide book to whichever you choose.

Re: Sun set in Desert

by cabeyp

As already stated you will not manage to get to the desert within 2-3 hrs.
The nearest desert experience is Tinfou but you might be disappointed as it looks like trucks have brought in a pile of sand to create a dune and the camels have been placed at the bottom to create the setting.
Merzouga is the only place that offers you the genuine Saharan desert experience. It is doable with 1 night stay but it is a very stressful trip and you would probably not enjoy the journey. Mainly because most people end up sleeping through the majority of the drive and missing all the beautiful scenery.
March will be a comfortable time to stay in the desert.

Re: Sun set in Desert

by Paulo_Pinto

Thanks everyone..all of your answers were very i have to « study » better what to do ..

Travel Tips for Marrakesh

Bargaining in the Souqs

by zrim about Local Products

I'm not normally a big shopper. While on vacation the usual extent of my shopping is window browsing. I don't go into many shops since I don't like to get loaded down with knick-nacks and usually I'd much rather sit at a cafe with a beer and watch the people go by.

However, Marrakesh is a distinct exception to rule in this regard. First of all, alcohol is not readily available in Morocco. You can get your cocktails in the nicer hotels, but not at the streetside cafes. Second, shopping is really more of a sport in Morocco. Even if you do not wish to engage in bartering on your own, it is fun to watch a travel companion try their hand at the game.

In Marrakesh Becky and I only bought a brightly colored bowl, probably on eof the ones pictured here. We had blown our shopping money up in Fes at the rug markets. But we did spend a few happy hours watching the crafty shopkeepers lighten the wallets of others in our group.

For other photos of the fabulous souqs, please look at my travelogue.

stork's nest

by iwys about Nid Cigogne

Nid Cigogne, or stork's nest, restaurant does in fact look directly across at a stork on her nest. It is a very nice place to relax after a long day's sightseeing. A meal with soup and chicken tajine cost DH50.

Marrakech Souk

by MichaelFalk1969

Though the Souk in Fes is even more interesting in my opinion, the Marrakech Souk - north and east of square Djemaa al Fnaa - is still fascinating. Each small Souk has all shops that offer a certain product like metal works, spices, clothing, carpets etc. The most interesting part to me was the dyer`s souk with lines of colourful wool hanging for the drying. A guide for the first visit would be helpful, as he distracts would-be-guides to offer you their services and helps you to navigate in this maze of small alleys.

Sunset from a roof top cafe

by angiebabe

All the touristy books and guide books will tell you to do this - Ive done this a number of times and include it as a thing to do when taking or sending friends to Marrakech - a roof top cafe such as Cafe France, Cafe Glacier, Cafe-Restaurant Argana - where you can enjoy coffee or mint tea as the unfolding spectacle of the busy Djmaa elFna unfolds below you and the beautiful Marrakechi sun sets.


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We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Amanjena Hotel Marrakech
Amanjena Resort Marrakech

Address: Route de Ouarzazate, km 12, Marrakech, 2405, Morocco