The best of Middle Eastern and African weather in faintly European surroundings
Time Out Dubai staff
Stay... Boutique Dar Crystal: Bright and airy, this reasonable three-star serves continental breakfast in traditional Moroccan surroundings. Make the most of your location with sundowners on the rooftop, overlooking the city. www.darcrystal.com Expensive Riad Dar One: The antithesis of Marrakech’s hectic daily bustle, prepare for chic interiors and large comfortable beds. There are plenty of peaceful spots in which to curl up with a book and the Palais de Bahia is just a short walk away. www.riad-dar-one.com
Eat... Budget Food stalls behind Djemaa el-Fna: Scurry through the qissaria maze behind the main square of Djemaa el-Fna for the best cheap eats. Hit the busiest stalls with the freshest meats, before setting your sights on a spare plastic stool. Expensive Riad Kniza Restaurant: Set in an intricately decorated riad, this upmarket spot is pricier than most, but the romantic setting and superiority of the tagine more than make up for the pricey bill. 34 Derb l’Hotel, Bab Doukala, Marrakech Medina.
Must see... Marrakech by hot air balloon. Set off first thing in the morning and explore the city from above. A trip with Marrakech by Air (www.marrakechbyair.com) costs 1,990 Moroccan dirhams per person and includes a traditional breakfast, camel ride and 4x4 desert excursion.
Must do... Take a day trip to Essaouira. This old fortress town is a great place to buy woodcraft furniture and trinkets from local carpenters. If shopping isn’t your thing, a combination of strong winds and a calm bay make this a great spot for trying windsurfing.
Flight time Six hours, 50 minutes.
Getting there Fly to Casablanca with a connection to Marrakech from Dhs4,395 return on Emirates. www.emirates.com
Safety note Contrary to popular belief, Marrakech isn’t victim to significant levels of pickpocketing. The city has, however, been a target for acts of terrorism, most recently in April when a bomb exploded in a cafe in Djemaa el-Fna, a major tourist precinct, killing and injuring many. Check your embassy’s advice and remember to exercise reasonable caution. Time Out recommends
Take a cookery course. La Maison Arabe hosts a day workshop where you’ll learn to make traditional Moroccan dishes, before enjoying the meal you’ve prepared. Rates vary depending on group size. www.lamaisonarabe.com