I’m ashamed to say this but this is my first blog post for about a year. With the rise of video format for Instagram reels and TikTok, my focus shifted but I’m back and ready to blog again now, I’ve missed it.
As you know my home is hugely inspired by Moroccan interiors and I’m so happy to say that my long awaited dream finally came true at the beginning of this month and I got to go to Marrakech, timed nicely with my 38th birthday. I’ll talk you through what we did, what we recommend and what to avoid/be aware of. All in all, Marrakech is now one of my favourite destinations and I cannot wait to return.
I’ll start off by talking about initial cost. You can definitely travel to and stay in Marrakech on a budget, however, I had my heart set on staying at Riad BE Marrakech, in the heart of the Medina which was around £450 for 4 nights, I booked it on Air bnb. We flew with easy jet and our flights were around £310, plus extra for luggage as we took two large suitcases to house my souvenirs.
Our riad arranged an airport transfer for us for €20 which we were more than happy to pay. The journey to our riad was an eye opener as the roads are chaos. It’s almost like there are no rules when it comes to driving and very much a free for all. I definitely would not want to drive over there. I must add, we did feel safe in all the taxi’s we took though.
Once we arrived at our riad, we were welcomed by the extremely friendly and attentive staff. Shown in to what I can only describe as an oasis and offered Moroccan tea and snacks. We sat and chatted to a lovely young guy called Yousef, who spoke brilliant English. Yousef gave us loads of recommendations about where to go and what to see during our stay.
We were then given a tour of our stunning riad, where we walked around with our mouths open in complete and utter awe. Riad BE is sensational and I highly recommend staying there if you can (it gets booked up quickly.) After our tour, we were shown our room which was clean, comfortable and beautifully decorated.
That evening we headed out to the souks where we soon discovered you have to have your wits about you due to a large number of mopeds driving at speed through the medina. We later discovered that if you stick to the right hand side of the road/path, you can avoid them. Crossing roads is also quite challenging, so be careful doing that. That night we had dinner at a rooftop bar called Cafe Arabe, where we managed to get a table despite not having a reservation, I think it helped that it was quiet early on in the evening.
The next day, not only did I wake up a year older, I woke up to my actual dream. The view of the pool in the essence area of Riad BE is breathtaking. We had a delicious breakfast on the rooftop and then headed to the YSL museum and Jardin Marjorelle.
The YSL museum is devoted to the work of Yves Saint Lauren, so if you’re a lover of fashion and art, it’s well worth a visit.
Next door is the stunning Jardin Marjoelle. You can buy a combined ticket for the museum and the gardens which makes it better value. It was quite busy as you would expect and you kind of get swept around with the flow of people but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
In the afternoon, we headed to the medina and was approached by a lady doing henna tattoos. She asked if I would like one and I said, I’ll have a look at your book. Before I knew it, she had grabbed my hand and started the tattoo. I quickly asked what the price was but she said, don’t worry I’ll do nice henna for you. Once she had done it, she then announced that it was 600 DH, which is almost £50! My husband and I just looked at each other in shock. I told the lady that we only had 400DH (around £30) as if I had gone too low, I feared she would have marched me to a cash point. She accepted (of course) and did the other hand (without me asking again) as I think she knew she had struck gold! Lesson learned on our part.
After the henna saga, we had a private guided tour around the souks that I booked before we arrived in Marrakech, via get your guide. It was around £20 per person for 3 hours. Our guide Charif spoke excellent English and his knowledge of the city was impressive. He took us to see various artisans and local trades people giving us a real sense of the craftsmanship in Marrakech. We never felt pressured to buy anything but when we did want to make a purchase, Charif was on hand to make sure we got a good deal.
That evening we went to a dinner and show that our riad kindly booked on our behalf in the new city. We enjoyed a 3 course meal, along with a few alcoholic drinks (which were actually more expensive than the food) along with a belly dancing show. This was a bit of an indulgent treat as it was my birthday and the bill was around £160.
I definitely recommend having an idea of things you’d like to do before you go to get the most out of your trip, especially if you’re not staying for long. This also helps with your budget too.
The next day, we made our way to our Riad BE’s sister accommodation, BE AGAFAY in the desert. Whilst we were there we enjoyed a gorgeous lunch and whizzed around the desert in a buggy which was fun. Later, we watched the sun set which was beautiful.
On our last full day before flying home, we booked a hammam and massage in our riad which was €110 for both of us. The massage was blissful and extremely thorough. We both really enjoyed it. Later, we headed back to the souks and had lunch in Le Jardin Secret which was great value for money, and then for a bit more shopping before returning back home to England.
I naively thought that things would be cheap in Marrakech but after seeing the work that goes in to making all the beautiful products that they sell, I think the prices are completely justified. When it comes to bartering, have an idea of what you would pay for something if you were to buy it on Etsy or from a shop at home (remember it’s not mass produced in a factory) and then convert to DH. This really helps to keep in mind when bartering, meaning both you and the souk owner will walk away happy.
By our last evening we were well and truly exhausted so we actually ordered a takeaway on an app called Glovo which was delivered to our riad.
By the time we were due to go home we honestly felt like we had been there for a week or more. I think the fact that we had squeezed a lot in to the 4 days and then combined with the hustle and bustle, meant we were well and truly exhausted.
To have some sun (it was around 21 degrees during the day) in January felt so good for the soul. The mornings and evenings were a little chillier but we didn’t wear more than a jumper/cardigan to keep warm.
I cannot recommend Marrakech enough, it’s a real diamond in the rough, with beautiful architecture, friendly locals and an abundance of things to do. We didn’t feel unsafe at all and when it comes to keeping your belongings safe as long as you have your wits about you, you will be fine. Just watch out for those mopeds!!
Until next time,