Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech is a city unlike any other: nowhere is exoticism better showcased than in this ochre-and-rose-hued North African hive of activity. Indulge in a hammam at your tile-and-tadelakt riad before bartering for treasures in the kaleidoscopic souks, then snack on pigeon pie from a stall in the grand place, amid snake charmers and belly-dancers. To escape the hurly burly of the medina, sup on tajine and couscous in a chic cushion-filled restaurant in the Kasbah, or sip Cristal by candlelight in a hip muslin-draped, after-hours hang-out in the new town of Guéliz. And more adventures await, with the Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert and coastal town of Essaouira all but a drive away.

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When to go

It’s great to get your Christmas shopping done here, and New Year is fun, but this is prime time, so it's busy, with prices pushed up accordingly. July and August are unbearably sweltering, while spring and autumn are delightfully balmy – October/November and February are wonderful times to visit. Things can be slow during Ramadan, when Muslims fast during daylight hours.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Marrakech Menara airport is a 15-minute drive away, with direct flights to London, Paris and and other major European cities, many of which are on budget airlines.
  • Automobiles

    There is not much point renting a car: all hotels can organise a pick-up from the airport and the centre of town is only a 15-minute drive away. If this is your first time in Morocco navigating can be confusing. Plus the traffic can be somewhat chaotic what with having to avoid donkeys and horse-drawn carts.
  • Taxis

    Small cabs (‘petits taxis') take up to three passengers and stay within the city limits. They are metered; sit in the front seat so you can keep your eyes on the ticker, or better yet try to agree a price before setting off. Taxis tend to be pricier after 8pm. Big cabs ('grands taxis') take up to six people. Always have small change on you: it may be hard to get the correct change without hassle.

Colonie Française Suite at Dar Nanka, Marrakech

Colonie Française Suite at Dar Nanka, Marrakech

Escape from the bustle of the medina to your marvellous Marrakchi escape, Dar Nanka: it’s a peaceful hideaway with a swimming pool surrounded by palm trees, terracotta plant pots and cast-iron sculptures. Survey the scene from your suite’s private terrace, admire the decadent decor (the villa is awash with the owners’ myriad antiques) or just retire to your four-poster bed.

Find out more about Dar Nanka
Suite Namaskar at Palais Namaskar, Marrakech

Suite Namaskar at Palais Namaskar, Marrakech

When the mercury soars in the Moroccan summer, this is the coolest place to be. Plunge into the pool in your private garden or splash in your outdoor shower… then lie back on your king-size bed surrounded by spectacular marble pillars. This feng shui-influenced edge-of-Palmeraie palace has sumptuous spa and five-star service, and the sprawling Balinese-style grounds are are almost as gorgeous as the fashionable clientele.

Find out more about Palais Namaskar