If you are visiting Marrakech and want to know the top 5 interior hotspots in Marrakech, places to eat and where to stay and more then read on! I visited Marrakech in May 2018 the weather was pleasantly warm and wasn’t crazy busy with tourists. Without further ado, let’s get started! By the way, I have listed a general guide on do’s and don’ts at the end of the post which I hope you will find useful.
The first of the top 5 interior hotspots in Marrakech is El Fenn. I had been dying to visit this hotel purely for their bold interior design. El Fenn is known for its creative and stunning interiors with bright bold use of colours. Just look at those dramatic red walls against the black and white tiling! And that’s just the inside!
Outside brightly coloured seating in mustard yellow and bright pink are offset with the lush greenery in the courtyards or the ‘riads’ as the Moroccan’s call them. We visited the hotel for dinner one night and where I read about the Interior Designer, Willem Smit who was able to use the dark red indoors due to the large proportions.
Obviously it’s quite a bold colour to paint at home back in England. However, I do believe there are notes to be taken, when it comes to pairing red and black and white, which could be used for a cosy snug area. Also worth noting the good use of lighting adds further drama.
The Jardin Majorelle gardens are stunning artistic gardens. Luckily we got to experience it on a warm day and were able to appreciate the cooling areas of the gardens, which is the purpose of the garden. I’d definitely put this as number 2 of my top 5 interior hotspots in Marrakech.
So I know you might be thinking, a garden isn’t interior related, however, there are some elements which are. Not forgetting that the garden is an extension of the house so bear with me on this one!
Firstly the colour combination used on the house and feature walls, blue, yellow and white, its absolutely striking especially against the blazing sun. I loved how well this colour combination works.
If you live is less warm climates you could incorporate the bold colour against a screen in the garden. Secondly, whilst painting your house blue might be a bit radical, you could try a feature wall instead.
If you’re looking for a place to eat with some great style then head to Cafe Arabe. We had dinner here as the food was quite good, admittedly we did have Italian food twice!
The interior design is used dramatic colours, gold is paired with deep red and blue along with chartreuse. I particularly like how they have split the wall into two colours and then tiling the rest in a geometric pattern. It’s a good way of not fully committing to colour if you love the colour but feel its too much. Just paint half of the wall and tile or panel the remaining wall.
Number 4 of the top 5 interior hotspots in Marrakech is…yes another garden but it really is about the interiors! The Secret Garden reminded me a lot of our hotel, neutral palette of creams, whites and greens. Contrary to the bright colours of El Fenn and Jardin Majorelle. Reminded of those romantic creamy Bedouins tents in the desert.
Last but not least of the top 5 interior hotspots in Marrakech is La Mamounia a luxurious hotel with drop-dead gorgeous interior design. We visited La Mamounia on a whim after dinner one night and oh boy, the interiors did not disappoint! Luxury meets meticulous craftsmanship.
We could only see what was open to the public, several large open rooms including the Winston Churchill Bar and an outdoor bar. And what we did see took our breath away! Each area was meticulously designed whether it was a mimicked arched Dar or the glamorous main reception decked with two stunning chandeliers. If you have the dosh to spend and want somewhere very fancy – this is your place! I hear the pool is meant to be stunning too!
Sounds weird I know, but on landing and departure you need to fill out an immigration card (if you’re not Moroccan) and the airport does not provide you with a pen! Also be prepared to wait in queues for 2 hours going through immigration and security so leave plenty of time.
If you’ve never been to Marrakech and find the souks too daunting to go to by yourself, hire a guide. Your hotel should be able to provide you with one if you ask.
One of the reasons we stayed at the Riyad Joya was because they provided a guide which we paid for separately. Once we figured out our way around the souks we felt confident to go around by ourselves.
There are lots of other tourists around in case you feel a bit overwhelmed. A word of warning though, if you ask the guide to take you to a particular type of shop, e.g. spice shop they may be in cahoots with the owner and rack up their prices. Feel free to walk away if you ever feel pressured to buy something. We walked out of a spice shop trying to rip us off with £180 of mint tea, sandalwood and menthol crystals! I like mint tea but I’m not paying a ridiculously high price!
Around the souks and medina, wear closed-toe footwear which is comfortable to walk in. There are no pavements in the souks it’s all one path which is shared with motorcyclists and donkeys. You’ll find potholes, gravel from construction sites and animal litter, so save your feet from the trauma and give them some good protection!
Unless you want unwanted attention ladies, it’s a good idea to cover up your shoulders and thighs/legs in the souks and medina. Moroccan men are not used to seeing women showing their legs and arms so when they do see it, expect some, if not a lot of attention! Inside hotels and restaurants, you can be a bit more relaxed. I wore long maxi dresses or jeans throughout the trip.
We made the mistake of not heading out early enough to the Majorelle Gardens and ended up waiting in the queue for over an hour in the hot heat – it was not fun! Although they had two queues it moved at snail pace and also noticed locals jumping the queue – not cool.
So head out first thing in the morning or go after the queues have dyed down in the afternoon. Also if your hotel is near the souks you will need to get a taxi from the main square to the Gardens so factor that in your route.
Be careful who you ask if you are lost, some shop keepers will direct you where to somewhere you didn’t ask for! Never follow someone if they tell you they are taking you to where you want to go. We instead got directions from another western tourist.
The likelihood is that you are going to do some shopping! Of course, you do you’re on holiday!! If like me you’re not familiar with Dirhams currency then download the eCurrency app which converts GBP on the fly.
I highly recommend using this app (or something similar) and you don’t need WiFi or Data Roaming on to use it. When the spice shop was trying to flog us of £180 in Dirhams we hadn’t a clue how much that was in pounds until we used the app. We used it everywhere else and it certainly stops you from getting ripped off!
We found a few nice places to eat. For lunch head to the Earth Cafe right next to Nomad. Probably a fraction of a price compared to Nomad, this vegan/vegetarian cafe is run by two humble ladies, portions are huge and seating is on their roof terrace. I had the filo pastry with vegetables (no.6) and it was divine!
Cafe Arabe for dinner. Make sure you book or if you do rock up you may have to sit further inside rather than on their roof terrace or courtyard. Great for decor ogling and Italian food!
El Fenn for lunch or dinner – we couldn’t get in for lunch as we hadn’t booked but decided to have dinner that night. So make sure to book beforehand as they get booked up quickly. Food was pretty good from their set menu especially as they had veggie options. They also have two sittings for dinner at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm.
It has quite an intimate setting compared to most restaurants. The shop incorporated in the restaurant is genius, though your husband/credit card might not think so! Also expect to see a few celebs we saw Chris Pine and Aaron Paul who were guests at the hotel.
Riyad Joya for dinner- we stayed in this hotel because the reviews and website said the veggie food was really good and they were right! Ahmed the hotel chef made us a 3-course meal all from scratch all vegetarian, everything was really delicious and had the most amazing flavours!
This is what they serve for breakfast – needless to say, we were in heaven!
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