Morocco for Culture
Marrakech is the gateway to Morocco. It is the perfect introduction to the country’s infinite charm and its intoxicating chaos. From the moment you arrive at one of the city’s riads, greeted in true Marrakshi style with a steaming cup of mint tea and a platter of honey nut biscuits, you will be enveloped by the sounds, smells and sights of Morocco. From the roof terrace of your riad, gaze out across a horizon punctuated by towering minarets and soak up the tranquillity of your surroundings as you overlook the hubbub of daily life below.
Marrakech’s famed souks are at the heart of the city. Navigate the labyrinth like alleyways, wander through the tangle of cubbyholes fit to bursting with hand cut tiles, brass lanterns and woven textiles before mastering the art of haggling as you root around in the alcoves of a craftsman’s atelier. All roads lead to Djemma el-Fna; a bustling square alive with the murmurs of storytelling, the calls to prayer of the Koutoubia, and the hullabaloo of astrologers, snake charmers and Gnawa acrobats all jostling to play their part in the spectacle of the Medina.
A trip to Marrakech is incomplete without parting with a few dirhams in return for a Berber rug, ornately carved pottery or a handful of fresh mint. However, beyond the souks, discovering the hidden gems of the city makes for an equally enchanting experience. Visit the famed Jardin Majorelle gifted to the city by Yves Saint Laurent, Bahia Palace with its intricate marquetry or hydrate desert scorched skin in a Hamman to round off a stay in the city.
Only a short drive away from Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains showcase Morocco’s incredible diversity. Within a matter of hours, you will leave the pastel pinks of the bustling Medina in the dust and arrive in the country's heartland, a mosaic of snow capped massifs, famed for its kasbahs and world class trekking routes. Encounter the renowned hospitality of the Berber people, stay in a Kasbah, soar over the foothills in a hot air balloon or soak up local life with a cookery class - arguably the only place to master the perfect tagine.
In total contrast to Morocco’s larger imperial cities, Essaouira is a bohemian haunt on the Atlantic coast oozing laid back vibes. There, hip surfers dine at restaurants de rigeur, discerning travellers catch up at cosmopolitan cafes, and salty air meets smart boutiques, independent galleries and the scent of bergamot. Meaning ‘little picture’ in Arabic, Essaouira is Morocco’s chill out hot spot, and the perfect place to relax after an adrenaline fuelled adventure inland.
To the southwest of Marrakech, the Agafay Desert is a sun baked, moon like expanse, easily accessible from the city, ideal to add on to a whistle stop tour of the country. The luscious oasis of Skoura is a true sight to behold thanks to the spectacular desert scenery that encompasses it.
Further afield, the Sahara is made of the stuff of Moroccan legend, it is the home of camels, Arabian horses and Bedouin camps. Venture as far as the last outposts of Morocco before the Sahara’s endless rolling dunes tumble into Algeria for a truly authentic experience, unequivocally off the beaten track.
Riad Fes is a stunning luxury property that has been lovingly restored and is hidden in one of the oldest Medinas in the world. A stay here allows you to enjoy the splendor and majesty of the lifestyle of the Fassi nobility who once inhabited the region. Riad Fes has kept its traditional feel and its 30 rooms and suites have been thoughtfully and lavishly decorated. Fes has a maze-like medina that is easily accessible from Riad Fes. While staying here, days can be enjoyed wandering and enjoying the souks where there is a vast array of shopping and dining experiences on offer. Further afield, the cities of Meknes, Moulay Idriss and Volubilis are fascinating.
Visit one of the most picturesque towns in Morocco, Chefchaoen. With bright blue buildings, red-tiled roofs and beautiful architecture, you'll enjoy exploring the bustling old medina. Taste local delicacies and relax in this stunning mountain village.
The Royal Mansour is an elegant palace located on the edge of the Medina. Boasting a selection of luxurious private riads, each has their own private terrace and plunge pool and is the ultimate in lavish luxury owned by the King of Morocco. After visiting the bustling Medina, the Royal Mansour offers an oasis of calm for you to escape to and enjoy having your every need being taken care of. This exquisite retreat has an air of tranquillity and elegance, and the individually-designed riads are accessed by the staff via a series of underground tunnels for complete privacy and unrivalled service.
Dar Ahlam is one of the most luxurious properties in Morocco, located in a stunning 19th century Kasbah in Skoura. With superb food and accommodation, Dar Ahlam is the perfect exotic retreat. Inside the imposing red brick Kasbah there are 13 suites– all stunningly furnished, blending Moroccan chic with French influences – a perfect harmony of old world charm and modern luxury. Activities abound, from chauffeured 4X4 excursions to the Dades or Draa valleys or the stunning Valley of the Roses - or take a donkey, camel, horse, quad bike or motorbike - the methods of transport around this fascinating and expansive region are endless. For those wanting a peaceful day nearer to home, take a cooking class, a stroll with a picnic in the surrounding area or simply enjoy the pool, treatments and hammam.
The Private Desert Camp in Erg Chebbi offers one of the most memorable and unique experiences to be had anywhere in Morocco. A night under the stars after a glorious sunset camel ride through the golden dunes is simply unforgettable. Your Private Desert Camp is tucked away with high dunes enclosing you on all sides. There is a central courtyard which is draped in colorful Moroccan carpets, cosy sofas, tables and chairs. In the late afternoon your camels will arrive and take you higher into the dunes where you can climb up and watch the desert change color against the changing glimmering-red sunset. You will return to a hearty Moroccan feast, prepared by the camp staff, with a range of drinks on offer. As the night goes on, the stars come out, and a quick walk up the nearby dunes will expose a terrific display of shooting stars and crystal clear constellations.