From Cappadocia we flew directly to Marrakech, Morocco. These two trips combined is like every interior designer's dream! The amount of textiles I ended up bringing back was something my husband nor I were prepared for (lol).
We booked our stay at Riad Idra. We arranged a taxi with the hotel that would wait for us at the airport. We were greeted with a running van and AC with some nice cold refreshing water. Once close by one of the staff waited for us on the street and walked us to the hotel which was very nice because navigating the streets of the old town with luggage would have been a bit stressful. We very quickly figured out that walking to and from our hotel anywhere else was such a difficult task even with google maps. There are small little paths that branch out in all directions. Literally a maze! Be cautious of young boys that offer to take you to your destination because they will ask for money afterwards or they will instead guide you to their shop and try to make you buy their products. It takes some time to acclimate to the aggressive sales tactics, but it is normal there and is easily resolved by polite but firm "no thank you" or "la, choukran" (shok-rahn).
Our hotel, or riad (meaning house with interior garden) was exactly what we expected from a Moroccan location. The patterns, colours, tiles and palms.. beautiful. The owner, Karine, was so nice and helpful. They gave us Moroccan slippers to wear around the hotel + even gifted a small pair for our baby boy that was on the way!
The rooms were very spacious and my husband even fit in the tub which is always a pro! Breakfast was served every morning in a quiet room off the courtyard with lots of choices - all delicious.
Our first stop was Le Jardin Secret. It is hidden in the Marrakech Medina / Market – in the old town. It’s absolutely beautiful and full of the traditional Moroccan architecture, tiling, and plants. It feels like this amazing oasis isolated from the hustle and bustle of the market just outside. Le Jardin Secret is actually quite small. Small but perfectly formed! We spent about 2 hours inside and that included having a drink on the rooftop cafe, I suggest some Thé à la Menthe!
Each corner had its own beauty! There's plenty of places to sit in the shade (the sun gets really hot even though it is still cool outside) and just admire your surroundings.
This is in the main square called Jemaa el-Fna. During the day you can find baskets, rugs, hats etc. for sale. As the evening comes so does the entertainment - there are snake charmers, magicians, dancers, story tellers... If that's not your thing then I recommend just sticking to the Medina of Marrakech. There you can find a ton of souvenirs including textiles, spices, baskets, poufs... so on, with less of the traffic.
We then went to Royal Mansour because I love visiting different hotels and checking out their interiors. This pool is located near the centre of the hotel and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Like most 5 star hotels, this place has a ton of restaurants and bars as well one of the prettiest spas I've seen. Absolutely stunning grounds, worth the visit even if just to walk through.
I think palm trees make everything more beautiful.
The pool has a ton of sun beds around to sit and relax on.
No wonder so many brands get their photos done here! So photogenic!
Next stop was this 2.5 acre botanical garden called Jardin Majorelle. It is designed with cacti, palms, flowers, fountains and a beautiful cobalt blue artist’s studio. French Orientalist artist, Jacques Majorelle created the Majorelle Garden over the course of 40 years before fashion designers Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé purchased it in the 1980s. This paradise is now open to the public and remains one of the most popular places for tourists in Marrakech.
As usual I highly recommend getting tickets in advance and visiting earlier in the day to better avoid crowds and heat! After you are done roaming there is a cafe situated inside called the Majorelle Cafe that I definitely recommend for a refreshing drink and/or breakfast + lunch.
The background looks fake!
Just look at all that vegetation surrounding that fountain!
Art Deco Influence.
"For many years, I have found in the Majorelle garden an inexhaustible source of inspiration and I have often dreamed of its colors which are unique".
Yves Saint Laurent
The palms create tons of welcome shade allowing comfortable strolls down the paths!
Had to take advantage of a belly photo op!
I still need to get some of these photos printed! I am in love!
Looking back now I wish we booked a few different places to stay throughout our vacation, just to experience and see different styles of Moroccan interiors. Luckily we were still able to book dinner at Riad Jardin Secret which I highly recommend to include in your stay! They hosted our private dinner in their Pink Rooftop and it was not only delicious but absolutely beautiful. It was set up for us up in this little rooftop nook that had views of the town.
Of course in Moroccan style on the floor with lots of poufs and pillows.
First up cucumber soup, a first for both of us. We waited for it to "cool down" only to find out it was served cold (lol).
A welcome treat is that there were vegetarian options everywhere we went. Being Seventh Day Adventists we do not eat certain meats/seafoods and the diverse spices and options available made dining out a breeze.
It felt like a movie set!
Now you know why they call it The Pink Rooftop. It has all the boho vibes you'd want!
This is where the rooms are situated. I am obsessed with the doors and tiling in this little town!
We truly enjoyed our stay and are thankful for all the wonderful souvenirs + memories we have gotten! I highly recommend bringing home one (or several) of their traditional blankets with embroidered Berber signs and chunky pompoms - I get so many compliments on it and I love that it has a story to tell!
Our first time in Africa, what a success! Can't wait to go back some time.