Plan a visit to Morocco and the fabled ‘Ochre City’ of Marrakech this year,
where behind every Medina wall the winding alleyways give way to bustling souks filled with cotton, hammered brass, carpets, pottery, and outstanding leather choices, enveloping the visitor with a wonderful sensory overload. Explore the usual and unusual in Marrakech with Virginie Vaillant, the Public Relations Manager at the Four Seasons Resorts Marrakech who shares her personal ‘Marrakech Musts’ in our ‘Like a Local’ City Guide: Marrakech.
Marrakech Must Stay: Virginie offers luxurious city, ‘glamping’ and mountain view options to lay your head:
“The Four Seasons Resort Marrakech (of course!) offering a peaceful resort oasis within the city and just minutes from the Medina and on the edge of Hivernage and overlooking the Royal Menara Gardens.”
Kasbah Tamadot: “Richard Branson’s sumptuous hotel in Morocco is ideal for those looking for secluded luxury near Marrakech. Many of our Four Seasons guests travel there to experience the Atlas Mountains for one or two nights and then return to the Resort and the city. Many desert camps are offering an evening under the stars in the middle of the Agafay Desert with Terre des Etoiles a must on your list.”
La Pause: “very stylish luxury retreat outside of Marrakech in the Agafay Desert.”
“Any of the Riads in the Medina: if you want to experience the real Marrakech and indeed true Morrocan life, book a room at any of the traditional riads. From luxury to budget options, the city offers many, many choices of these traditional family homes turned hotels.”
Marrakech Must Eat: Virginie serves up her favourite establishments for both traditional and trendy Moroccan food in Marrakech:
Al Fassia: “there are two locations, Gueliz and Aguedal, but I prefer the atmosphere of the Aguedal location. These two restaurants are very iconic and as per Morrocan tradition, run only by women. A Moroccan a la carte menu item: You must try the ‘leg of lamb with almonds’… Delicious!”
Dar Yacout: “very romantic setting in the Medina: a unique menu: portions are very generous so do not eat too much for lunch!”
Jad Mahal: “a great place to have a late dinner or just drinks. Locals and tourists alike meet here for a fun night and to listen to live music.”
Restaurant Naima: “a little place in the Medina, nothing fancy but one of the best couscous of Marrakech. You feel like you are in someone’s home and during your dinner the chef shares her
personal techniques and tips so that you also can make the best couscous at home!”
Studio: “a delicious French bistro for when I am missing the flavours of French cuisine.”
O’Mammy Burger: “the best burger in town, great terrace overlooking the Montgomerie Golf Course.”
Marrakech Must Enjoy Café Culture: Here are Virginie’s favourites to ‘prends un verre’ or ‘Nous Nous’, enjoy the views from a terrace or simply slow down and people watch:
Le Grand Café de la Poste: “perfect for coffee in the morning.”
Café de France: “iconic stop while wandering the souk, enjoy the panoramic view of the place Jemma El Fna.”
Point Bar: “perfect for an aperitif and a lovely post shopping and sight-seeing spot to gather with friends of friends.”
Royal Mansour: “Offering 2 bars, very private – lovely champagne cocktails.”
Zest at Four Seasons: “best cocktails and the best view of Marrakech!”
Marrakech Must Shop: What are Virginie’s favourites? The Grand Bazaar? Specific souks?
Atika shoe shop: “my favourite for soft leather moccasins.”
33 Rue Majorelle: “a new concept store opposite Majorelle Gardens specializing in housewares and clothes and pushing Morrocco’s old design traditions into the 21st century.”
The Souks: “I love to spend a morning in the souks and creating individual relationships with the storekeepers.”
Karim Tassi showroom: “a brilliant designer offering both traditional and modern collections.”
Marrakech Must Visit: Virginie shares her typical tourist spots and her favourite, hidden away secrets:
Majorelle Gardens: “a walk along the shady lanes and ancient streams and pools filled with water lilies and lotus flowers. A place of beauty and colour and perhaps one of the most visited gardens in all of Morrocco.”
The Tanneries: “the experience is as fascinating as the smell is pungent. They offer you a bouquet of mint when you arrive, you will quickly understand why but worth the visit! An ancient process that hasn’t changed since biblical times.”
Les Bains de Marrakech: “you can not leave Marrakech before enjoying a traditional Hammam.”
Marrakech Must Explore: neighbourhood? Mosque, Gallery?
“In the Medina: “get lost exploring the souks. You never know what you may find!”
Sidi Ghanem: “Marrakech’s industrial district where you can find handicrafts and decorative arts of all kinds.”
Palmeraie: ” you can explore this neighbourhood by camel or ATV”
Koutoubia: “the famous mosque of Marrakech with a fantastic, mystic atmosphere, especially during Ramadan.”
Marrakech Must See View: What are Virginie’s favourites? Anything secret or hidden away?
Atlas Mountains: “always an incredible view, whichever time of year.”
Cascade d’Ouzoud: “A travel day to the Cascades D’Ouzoud Waterfalls high in the Middle Atlas is just a few hours drive from the city and one of the most photographed in this lush, green oasis.
Our own followsummer ‘Marrakech Must’ is to grab a drink or lunch around one of the pools at Virginie’s very own Four Seasons. We indulged our luxuriant side over drinks in one of their opulent public spaces, enjoyed their renowned service, splendid surroundings, and white glove attention.
Our visit to the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech is also featured in followsummer’s A Thousand and One Nights of Luxury in Marrakech
World Traveler, Writer, and Blogger, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the followsummer.com travel blog. A former Actor, current shower-singer, and non-hipster foodie. Loves his week-end house in St Marys, Ontario. Happily married to John Mountain and Dad to Sophia and Ariel, two of the best cats in the world.