Archive for the ‘Morocco Travel Tips’ Category

Exploring the Marrakech Souks

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

To first-time visitors, the labyrinthine Marrakech souks will seem like a bewildering warren of narrow passageways, impossible to navigate. There is, however, some simple advice for negotiating your way round this vast market and, in the process, getting the most from your visit.

Method to Madness

First of all, remember that the layout of the souks, as with every other major market in the world, has some method in its apparent madness. As you look closer, you will notice that there are clearly defined sections within which the respective trades are grouped together making shopping for the various products on offer, from food and spices, to textiles, household goods and souvenirs, that much easier to manage.

Focal Points

However laid out, in a circular manner or rectangular grid system, or just randomly labyrinthine, markets always have anchoring focal points and the Marrakech souks are no exception. Focal points here include, for instance, the vast central square, the Place Jemaa el Fna, and the slightly smaller Spice Square, from which one can access the Carpet Souk, for example. If all else fails, you can always ask for directions back to these anchor-points.

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Koutoubia Mosque – a major Marrakech landmark

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

The Koutoubia Mosque, one of Morocco’s largest, in the centre of Marrakech was built in 1158 by the Almohads, one of the country’s great imperial cities.

Koutoubia Minaret

The Koutoubia’s rose-coloured sandstone minaret stands 12.5 m wide and 67.5 m high. Adorned with delicately sculptured decorations giving the appearance of lacework on the stone walls, it is topped by a cupola crowned with three golden copper orbs and a square, decorated lantern. Most striking is the perfect harmony of the minaret’s height and width, a perfect example of Hispano-Moorish which served, as a model for the Giralda in Seville.

Legends of the Orbs

The beautiful orbs crowning the minaret’s cupola are surrounded by legend, one of which claims that they were created by melting down the jewellery belonging to the wife of Yacoub-el-Mansour, who completed construction of the tower started by Sultan Abd el-Moumen. Another legend is a warning to thieves that the orbs are guarded by jins (genies) who will plague with terrible misfortunes anyone trying to steal them.

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Themed Break Bargains in Marrakech

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

While enjoying a short sunny break in Marrakech there are many activities you can indulge in, from golf to trekking in the Atlas Mountains and shopping in the souks. But there are many other options for getting the most out of that precious weekend away.

At Les Borjs de la Kasbah, for example, in the Marrakech medina, one can join a cookery class on Moroccan cuisine, enjoy a series of spa treatments including the traditional hammam bath, or visit Marrakech and its surroundings with a series of excursions.

There is even a Romance package with champagne, flowers and more for that special occasion.

The big difference at Les Borjs, however, is that these themed activities are included – i.e. there is no charge at all beyond the cost of a room!

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Tips for a cheap Marrakech break out of season

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

If you’re looking for an off-season holiday bargain Marrakech should certainly appear high on the shortlist of likely destinations. With its wealth of exciting, yet surprisingly inexpensive things to do, combined with the prospect of soaking up some winter sun while enjoying the facilities of a comfortably affordable four or five star hotel, you could say there is no need to look further than Morocco’s tourism capital.

Les Borjs de la Kasbah

Widely regarded as one of the best 4 star hotels in Marrakech, Les Borjs de la Kasbah currently offers rooms and suites at prices ranging between 750 dh (£55) for a single room in low season (December and January, Christmas/New Year excluded) to 1650 dh (£122) for a suite. These nightly rates include local taxes, airport welcome and transfer to the hotel as well as breakfast for one or two.

Bargain Breaks

In addition, this luxury boutique hotel also features regular special offers that are well worth looking out for, not least its ‘Bargain Breaks on a Theme’ deal (where a range of activity options is included in the room price at no extra charge) or the ’4 nights for the price of 3′ promotion.

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Gommage at the best Spa Hotel in Marrakech

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Like most of the best spa hotels in Marrakech, Les Borjs de la Kasbah’s facility, the Arganier, offers exquisite hammam sessions (with or without full seaweed or volcanic clay body masks) followed by the traditional ‘gommage’ (a vigorous scrub down with black ‘beldi’ soap).

Gommage

Basically, a gommage involves the application of ‘beldi’ soap, made from black olives and eucalyptus leaves, to the damp skin. Some five minutes after the application the soap is then vigorously frothed and scraped off the body, together with layers of dead skin cells, with the help of a ‘kessa’, a glove made of crinkled, coarse fabric.

The Benefits

Rich in vitamin E and featuring both anti-microbial and moisturising properties, the black beldi soap serves to deep-cleanse the skin, removing toxins from the body and softening the skin in preparation for the exfoliating scrub with the kessa. Combining the cleansing, moisturising effect of the soap with the increase of lymph and blood circulation resulting from the exfoliation process, the gommage helps in treating problem/oily skin leaving it feeling soft and invigorated, the better to absorb subsequent skin care treatments.

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Themed Breaks in Marrakech

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

If you’re hoping to embark on a cheap holiday to Marrakech but are looking to experience more than sun and souks alone, you may wish to take advantage of the themed breaks in Marrakech currently on offer from one of the best 4 star hotels in Morocco, Les Borjs de la Kasbah.

What’s included in the Offer

Including a four-night stay for two in one of the hotel’s standard or premium rooms and suites, with airport to hotel transfer, local taxes and breakfast included, this special offer provides a choice of five different themed breaks in Marrakech:

  • Romance Package
  • Discovery Package
  • Spa Treatment Package
  • Moroccan Cuisine Cookery Package
  • Multi-Option Package

Costing between 2150 dh (£159) and 2550 dh (£189) each, these themed options can be enjoyed as part of the hotel’s ‘themed breaks in Marrakech’ offer with no additional charge above the price of the room.

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Palmeraie Golf Club, one of Marrakech’s many golf courses

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Situated within the city’s upmarket green belt, the Palmeraie Golf Club, one of no fewer than eight such venues boasted by Marrakech, all designed by some of the top names from the world of golf, is situated just 15 minutes (by taxi) from the centre of town.

The Course

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, one of the world’s most distinguished golf course architects, the course features a number of hazards in the shape of 7 lakes, white sand bunkers, clusters of palm trees, many dog leg fairways and fast greens. The low lying terrain, extending over 77 hectares, is set  against the majestic backdrop of the Atlas Mountains,

Choice of Play

Originally designed as an 18 hole, par 72 course, Palmeraie Golf Club, first opened to the public in 1992, was recently extended by the addition of another 9 holes, giving golfers the option of playing eighteen holes or three nines in any combination.

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Marrakech Nightlife – a vibrant mixture of tradition and modernity

Monday, September 8th, 2014

As night falls in Marrakech the city comes alive with a combination of traditional gathering places and thoroughly modern venues of entertainment. Here’s a rundown of the best Marrakech nightlife!

Dining out in Marrakech

Restaurants, cafes and open-air eateries serving an array of traditional and contemporary Moroccan food compete for customers with street-vendors selling freshly barbecued meat and fish, notably on the central square, the Place Jemaa el Fna, and in the Kasbah. Whatever your tastes or mood you’ll be able to enjoy a dining experience to remember.

Place Jemaa El Fna

The medieval, exotic atmosphere of Place Jemaa El Fna is the perfect place to step back in time in the company of fire eaters, acrobats and jugglers, snake charmers and troupes of musicians.

Casinos

Several hotels within the city have in-house casinos, two of the best known being the Casino de Marrakech and the Grand Casino La Mamounia. Apart from the chance to have a flutter on the tables one can enjoy end dining and cabaret shows.

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Visit Terres d’Amanar, an Adventure Park with a Difference

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Bordering the Toubkal National Park’s pristine forests, the Terres d’Amanar estate is situated some 23 miles (37 km) from Marrakech, on the road to Asni.

Nestling in the foothills of the spectacular Atlas Mountains, the estate is an example of Moroccan Eco-tourism based on adventurous activities for all the family.

Terres d’Amanar, a unique Concept for All

Combining fun and sporting challenges as well as traditional Berber crafts and cultural activities in one unique concept, Terres d’Amanar offers visitors a remarkably wide choice of attractions.

Activities and Attractions

In addition to zip wires and Accro Park forest fitness circuits, a children’s play park (Accro Park Junior) and a BMX course for older children, the estate offers horse riding, archery and trekking as well as craft workshops which allow visitors a glimpse into the lives and cultures of local Berber families.

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Marrakech Events in late August and September 2014

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

The late summer season is once again packed with a variety of events which visitors to Marrakech should consider scheduling into their travel plans. Read on to learn about the most popular Marrakech events taking place in late August and September.

August

The most popular event during the month of August is the Setti Fatma Moussem, a four-day event involving games and feasting, an agricultural fair and market (souk).

In the temperate climate of the Ourika Valley, an important route to the High Atlas, Setti Fatma is renowned for its seven waterfalls, a must see even at the end of summer. The festival is expected to take place between 12th and 15th August but travellers are advised to check these dates before travelling. (more…)