How To Spend A Weekend In Marrakech
How To Spend A Weekend In Marrakech

How To Spend A Weekend In Marrakech

In just under four hours, you can fly from London to Marrakech and be transported into a totally different culture. With its bustling souks, excellent dining scene and blend of ancient and modern traditions, Morocco’s most famous city has so much to offer. Here’s how to spend a long weekend there…
By Sherri Andrew
/
Image: IZZA
Izza
Izza

STAY

Marrakech accommodation can be expensive, but a few hotels and riads have opened in the last few years offering mid-level prices with a four or five-star experience. One of those is Izza, set across seven interconnecting riads inside the Medina. After an ambitious eight-year renovation, the property has 14 individually designed rooms. Guests can explore three spacious courtyards, relax in three pools (including one on the rooftop), and spend time at the spa and hammam. Another chic option that won’t break the bank is , an impeccably designed hotel in one of the oldest districts in the Medina, Riad Zitoun Jdid. Transformed by a husband-and-wife duo, this five-bedroom riad is full of handpainted murals, colourful tiles, the owner’s own artwork and pieces from other Moroccan designers. The hotel has a homely feel to it, with a dining and living room that hosts regular workshops and events, plus there’s a hammam for treatments. Rooms range from doubles to suites with beautiful marble bathrooms.

Izza
Izza

For total luxury, check into Nobu Hotel Marrakech in the vibrant Hivernage neighbourhood. One of the main draws is the rooftop terrace, where guests sip iced tea while relaxing on cabanas that overlook the pool, as well as the Nobu group’s biggest spa, home to a mosaic-tiled heated pool, a hammam and various relaxation areas. Rooms are spacious and modern, while the brand’s signature Japanese-Peruvian restaurant is a no brainer for dinner and drinks. If you want to experience true Moroccan luxury, La Mamounia is a historic hotel nestled within lush gardens just outside the Medina. A great option away from the busy city streets, the hotel blends traditional Moroccan architecture with art-deco accents. The highlight is the hammam, where guests can try traditional treatments, including steam baths, exfoliating scrubs and massages, all set within a beautiful, mosaic-tiled spa. The team have thought of everything to impress guests, from an ice-cream parlour serving unusual flavours to experiences like hot air balloon trips.

DON FONTIJN/UNSPLASH

Izza
Izza

Then there’s The Oberoi, surrounded by 28 acres of landscaped gardens, citrus orchards and olive groves, with views of the snow-capped Atlas mountains. It took ten years to build the hotel by hand – and you can see every detail in the unique architecture, from the arched corridors to the artisan-sculpted walls. This year, there are new Ayurveda-inspired wellness treatments at the spa, created by experts from India to treat the body and mind.

Nobu Hotel
Nobu Hotel
Izza
Izza

EAT & DRINK

The culinary scene in Marrakech is as vibrant and diverse as the city itself. One of the best ways to experience local dishes is to visit one of the night markets and souks where you can try authentic street food. Locals travel far and wide to set up stalls serving slow-cooked meats and couscous dishes, ready to be washed down with Moroccan coffee or herbal teas.

There are also numerous restaurants worth booking in advance. One is Le Tobsil, which serves traditional Moroccan dishes cooked with modern techniques. The restaurant revolves around its romantic candlelit courtyard, where guests tuck into multi-course feasts served with spiced teas. Another favourite spot is Le Jardin, shaded by lush greenery in the Medina. The menu features a mix of traditional Moroccan and international dishes, ideal for a leisurely lunch or dinner – think mezze platters with breads and dips, large sharing salads, and grilled meats and fish. The grilled lamb chops with aubergine and pistachio are particularly tasty. 

For a fun party atmosphere, visit Bô Zin. On Friday and Saturday nights, live musicians set the vibe before DJs play into the early hours, while champagne and cocktails flow. Guests can sit in the shaded garden, pergola, or out on the glamorous terrace to enjoy dim sum selections, veggie dishes, black cod and other Asian-inspired dishes. Then there’s Sahbi Sahbi, a female-led restaurant where Moroccan dishes perfected over generations have been given a modern twist. The restaurant’s décor nods to the Arabian desert, with terracotta walls, woven chairs and artisan decorative accents. The menu is as Moroccan as it gets – think lamb and aubergine tagines, slow-cooked meats, stone-baked breads and chicken couscous.

OUSSAMA SABRI/UNSPLASH

If you’re after city views, Nomad is a modern Moroccan restaurant with a cool rooftop terrace overlooking the Medina. The menu includes chicken thigh tajine, roasted cauliflower marinated in dukkha, and spiced monkfish with couscous, alongside a selection of teas, juices and Moroccan coffees. Another cool rooftop spot is Dardar, just a five-minute walk from Jemaa el Fna square with great city views. Expect a mix of Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes alongside inventive cocktails.

Veggies should head to La Famille, an indoor/outdoor restaurant shaded by lemon trees. The daily changing brunch and lunch menu features dishes inspired by Mediterranean and Moroccan flavours, like thyme and pesto flat breads, sage and mozzarella pizzas, and courgette and lemon pasta. There’s a small homeware shop on site selling ceramics and souvenirs. You’ll also find good veggie options at Naranj Lebanese, where food is cooked over wood-fired grills. Signature dishes include the harak issbaou (pasta with lentils, coriander and garlic), and the falafel wraps, stuffed with fattoush. Finally, there’s Bacha Coffee, one of the city’s most glamorous cafés, decorated in thousands of colourful tiles. Perfect for an afternoon break, its coffee is made with 100% Arabica beans, and there’s a selection of sweet pastries.

La Mamounia
La Mamounia

VISIT

No trip to Marrakech is complete without exploring the Souk Market, a bustling maze of stalls selling everything from spices and textiles to jewellery and ceramics. It's the perfect place to pick up unique souvenirs and immerse yourself in the local culture. The Souk is divided into sections specialising in specific items, and haggling is encouraged to get the best price. It’s also a great spot to stop for a mint tea and watch the merchants at work. 

Bahia Palace is another must-visit to understand the city’s rich history. A beautiful example of Moroccan architecture and design, the palace is home to intricately decorated rooms, beautiful courtyards and lush gardens. You’ll also want to spend time at Jardin Majorelle, the botanical gardens designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle and later restored by Yves Saint Laurent himself. One of the city’s modern landmarks, it stands out thanks to its striking cobalt blue exterior. The house was built over the course of 40 years and comprises a labyrinth of crisscrossing stairways that blend both art deco and Moorish design. You’ll need to book tickets in advance to visit the house, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum (which showcases the life and work of the legendary designer), see exhibitions at the museum, and stop for tea at the café in the former servant quarters. 

Meanwhile, the House of Photography offers a fascinating glimpse into Morocco’s past through its extensive collection of pictures. Housed in a restored riad, the museum has a rooftop café with views of the Medina. From here, it’s a short walk to Le Jardin Secret, a beautiful garden in the middle of the Medina. With its traditional Islamic architecture and lush greenery, it’s a peaceful spot where you can escape the city’s hubbub and take shade under the verandas.

If you’re staying for a few days, consider planning a day in the desert. Various tour operators offer numerous activities and the chance to experience the landscapes of the Sahara – think camel rides, desert safaris, sailing down the golden dunes, and visiting traditional Berber villages to learn about Moroccan culture. Visit at sunrise or sunset to avoid the heat, or camp overnight for a once-in-a-lifetime stargazing experience. Get Your Guide offers a luxury overnight glamping experience in the Agafay Desert. 

GETTING THERE

Flights from London take just under four hours to reach Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK). Most major airlines, including Royal Air Maroc, British Airways, and Air France, operate regular flights to Marrakech from various international destinations. On arrival, you can reach the city centre via taxi (readily available outside the terminal), bus or private transfer in around 15 minutes. 

Y K/UNSPLASH

PEXELS/TUBA BAYNAL EROL

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily