Marrakech: Travel Debrief

Usually, on the last day in a particular location, we sit down and ask a few questions to help ourselves to process our experience. We use the same 12 questions for every country so we know what to expect and can be thinking about it.  

Where did you stay in Marrakech? Did you like it?

We stayed at a little riad in the heart of the medina called Hotel Aday. We certainly liked some things about it, like the people who worked there and how close it was to all the action but since all five of us were smashed into one room it was less than comfortable. I think if I did it again I would still stay in the medina but just try to find something a bit more spacious perhaps that has a kitchen or includes breakfast.

What do you admire about the people of Marrakech?

The Moroccans know how to hustle. While sometimes it may be annoying, I have to give them credit for going out to sell whatever they have to trade for a few Durams - be that a scale on the sidewalk, fresh cookies or picture frames made from bike tires I like that they are actively working for something. Also, everyone seems to love kids so that made our experience really special.

Aria with the shopkeeper at one of our favorite spice shops

Aria with the shopkeeper at one of our favorite spice shops

Should I know anything before I visit Marrakech?

Where you stay and what you choose to do will greatly affect your perception of Morocco. If you are wanting a relaxing visit with spas and palaces you would need to stay somewhere entirely different from where you'd stay if you wanted a high energy, colorful shopping experience in the souks. I would keep that in mind while booking your trip.

What was your favorite thing about Marrakech?

I absolutely loved the Zelig tiling and how colorful everything was. There were bright colors and Pom Poms everywhere which made me so happy. I feel like In that regard I must be part Moroccan. 

Epic zelig tiling at the Ben Youssef Maderasa

Epic zelig tiling at the Ben Youssef Maderasa

What is something you didn't expect in Marrakech?

I was surprised by how many horse-drawn carriages there were and how many non-tourists used them. I generally think of them as more of a European thing but I guess maybe not.

What is something that you disliked in Marrakech?

Staying in the medina, in particular, it seems like there is always someone asking you for money and shoving things in your face to buy. That combined with motorcycles, donkey carts and bikes whipping by on the tiny streets can make for some serious sensory overload.

Pretty little donkey over by the tanneries

Pretty little donkey over by the tanneries

Did you have any experiences that shouldn't be missed?

You must get a hammam, it is an Ottoman-style bathing experience unlike anything you've experienced before and you'll leave cleaner than you ever thought possible (more on that here).

Did you have a favorite food in Marrakech?

I loved the chicken tagine with preserved lemon and olives, then using bread to soak up the extra sauce. Also, I loved how much many fresh juices were available!

Where there any restaurants that must be tried? 

La Famille and Nomad. La Famille is a little, hidden oasis that is only open for lunch but the food was some of the most flavorful I've ever tried. Their menu changes every day so we went back three times and had something new each time. Nomad is a great place to go at night and sit on the terrace. The food was a really nice version of modern Moroccan cuisine. Luckily we went with friends and ordered different things so we could try as much as possible. Everything we had from starters to dessert was excellent.

One of the incredible salads at La Famille

One of the incredible salads at La Famille

What were the top three things you saw in Marrakech?

The Bahia Palace, Jardin Marjorelle, Ben Youssef Madrasa. Each one was totally different but incredibly lovely. Morocco is a photographers dream.

Was there anything that you didn't get to do but wish you had?

I wish we had taken an excursion and spent a night or two glamping in the Sahara and I would've loved to take a hot air balloon ride up over the desert just outside the city.