Marrakech’s Menara airport is 15 minutes away by car. There are regular flights from the UK and mainland Europe. Flights and transfers can be arranged by the Smith24 team; call any time, day or night.
The Moroccan state railway, ONCF, runs inexpensive (but limited) services to the Marrakech Railway Station from Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. The station is 10 minutes away by car, and free transfers can be arranged with the hotel.
Driving in Marrakech can be horn-filled and hectic, so we don’t recommend hiring a car unless you’re heading elsewhere in Morocco, too. If you decide to hire a car from the airport, follow Al Mhamid Avenue to Avenue Guemassa, continue on Avenue Guemassa to Avenue Ahmed Ouaqala, then take Rue Dar el Glaoui to Route Sidi Abdelaziz. Look for signs to Dar el Bacha Palace, which is next to the hotel. Parking is available approximately five minutes’ walk from the hotel for about €5 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
Riad de Tarabel is in the Medina, so in a few steps you can barter for treasures in the kaleidoscopic souk, then snack on pigeon pie from a stall in the Djemaa el Fnaa, amid snake charmers and belly-dancers. For a bit of calming green space, pop on over to Jardin Majorelle, a wonderland of greens, blues, and yellows bequeathed to Marrakech by Yves Saint Laurent – head in as early as you can to avoid the daily crowds. Over the road, 33 Rue Majorelle (+212 5243-14195) sells a stylist-curated collection of local art, and designer accessories, and is connected to the Kaowa (+212 (0)524330072) juice bar.
If you fancy getting out of town, plan a day-trip to the Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert or coastal town of Essaouira, all but a drive away, or be whisked by 4x4 to Berber villages, the Plateau de Kik, the Ourika Valley or Lake Takerkoust. The staff at the riad will also be happy to help you arrange diversions further afield: camel- or horse-riding day treks to the desert or the mountains, or ballooning.
Try Le Tobsil (Derb Abdellah Ben Hessein, +212 5244-44052) for dinner; it’s a dark, candle-lit hideout tucked away down a maze of pink-walled alleys and is regularly hailed as one of the city’s best meals thanks to its table-filling Moroccan feasts. Handy guides can be dispatched to find lost guests and then escort them home afterwards. Le Foundouk (+212 5243-78190) also regularly tops where-to-eat-in-Marrakech wishlists. Al Fassia (+212 (0)524 434060) at 232 Ave Mohammed V serves traditional Moroccan cuisine in a highly untraditional manner – it's staffed and operated exclusively by women. Bô & Zin (+212 (0)524 388012) is an NY-style salon a little out of the way on the Ourika road, but worth the trek for contemporary cocktails and Southeast Asian dishes. Palais Soleiman (+212 (0)524 378962) on Dar Layardi and Palais Gharnata (+212 (0)544 389615) on Derb El Arsa both provide traditional Moroccan cuisine in beautiful surroundings. Le Grand Café de la Poste (+ 212 (0) 244 33038) has been around since the 1920s; it’s somewhat of an institution in Marrakech, with an art-deco setting of checkerboard floors, potted palms and pillow-piled sofas.
The roof terrace of Café des Epices (+212 (0)524 391770) in the spice souk is popular with the young, arty Marrakech crowd. The no-frills, souk-side eatery Chez Chegrouni (+212 (0) 246 54761) offers classic dishes of skewered meat, lamb and plum tagine, and fluffy aromatic couscous at fabulous prices in Unesco-listed square Jemaa el Fna. They don’t take reservations so join the queue to devour hearty portions of traditional Moroccan fare. There’s no better spot for a mid-souk stop-off than Café Arabe. Ask for a rooftop table and admire the mountain views.
For pre- or post-dinner drinks, you should find yourself in blingy but brilliant La Mamounia’s classic Churchill bar at least once.