Marrakech, la Ville Rouge - the Red City
"Enter a realm of beauty & serenity"
We landed in Marrakech on a Saturday afternoon and were welcome by one of Riad Al Jazira's staff. After a short ride by taxi, with a driver who would show us all the main landmarks by a sweet "Ah oui, c'est la" (riding along the Menara Gardens, and La Mamounia before entering the walled Medina).
Arrived in the Medina at the Bab Tarzhout Mosque, a porteur loaded our luggages on a small hand cart and lead us to our Riad through the maze of tiny streets.
"Bienvenue au Riad Al Jazira"
Once there, our host Aziz, opened the heavy wood door onto a quiet Moroccan palace where the lights lead us to a secret world of peace and serenity. Away from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant souks and Jemaa El Fna square.
We walked by a beautiful courtyard garden with a fountain in the centre where you could hear the relaxing sound of trickling water falling onto a bed of roses. The next patio opened on a swimming pool for you to cool down in and take a dip.
After dropping our luggages, we went for a quick walk in the Medina, which is a bit intimidating at first. We then had to let some kids show us back to the Riad...after trying to find our way ourselves in this labyrinth of small streets.
Later on, we enjoyed a delicious diner of harira, tagine and fruits. We were also treated to a bubling hot mint tea.
We then spent some time on the beautiful roof terrace, where we could hear the music and cacophony of noises from furtehr away Jemaa El Fna.
The night was incredibly relaxing in this small 1001 nights palace. A roster woke us up the next morning.
the food stands at djamaa el fna.
Walls (Marrakesh, Morocco)
Marrakech & Essaouira
Thanks for your replies from my last question...which made me think of more.....
Weather in these 2 places round the christmas period?
How much is a dirham worth ? Are there many ATM machines?
Can I use my hairdryer? Which adaptor do I need?
We organised the trip through a company called 'Taste of Morocco.' They make certain recommendations as to trips etc...Would we be better arranging things independently when we get there?
Thanks in advance for the help
RE: Marrakech & Essaouira
I'm just back from 3 weeks in Morocco. If you can fly to Marrakesh the airport is just 10km from the centre so a taxi into the city is not expensive and the charges are posted on a large board outside the arrivals door as you walk to the taxis. If you take a larger Grand Taxi it will cost a lot more unless you can share it with 5 others.
You can easily find and book a hotel via the web. There is a modern part of town with international hotels but at much lesser cost than the equivalent in Europe or USA this is somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes walk to the old city, or a petit taxi ride for 5-10 dm. The old town in and around the medina, a more characterful area to stay but you may have to accept a compromise on the quality of the rooms and fittings.
Going to Essauioura is easy get the Supratours Coach from the railway station. Book a day ahead for a good seat and re-book your return at the office in Essaouira when you arrive there. It leaves every couple of hours or so takes about 3 hours, the coach is good, modern and you are allocated a number seat, it costs 60 dh + 10 for baggage. It takes you right to the medina in Essaouira. Prices for hotels in Essaouira range from about 250 dms in the medina to anything you’d like to pay at places like Soffitel, Oasis Vagabond or Heure Blue. Wherever you stay expect to pay a premium price compared to anywhere else in Morocco. Places to eat though are plentiful, or the whole good and not expensive. One world of warning though, Essaouira is WINDY and in the winter that wind can make it feel very cold. A beautiful place to visit but be prepared. If you stay in the medina check for HOT water. Most places will say they have 24 hour hot water but it may be at best a degree or two warmer than the cold. In the summer that may be fine but not too good in a cold room in the winter. We always ask to see the room and run the hot water tap. A good inexpensive (250 dm) place to stay is Beau Rivage in the main square off the port. A good expensive (850 dm) place to stay is Villa Maroc.