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Manic Marrakech

Manic Marrakech

Our World | On 11, Mar 2010

Exotic and yet only a short hop away… Marrakech has somehow managed to package together incredible smells (some pleasant… others not so), sights that make your eyes water, with the type of chaos that only North Africa can pull off, into a destination that is somehow shabby chic, ultra high-end and truly authentic in one!

P&MM has been selling the destination for years, chiefly to those clients that have ‘been there, done that and bought the t-shirt’… but something really interesting has happened of late, something that will no doubt put the destination firmly on the map, for all.  Simply that some of the best hotel groups in the world have or are due to, open their doors to the public in Marrakech.  Because of this, the well-established hotels have been forced to pull out all the stops in order to reinvent themselves and compete with the new kids on the block.  As a result, we have something rather sensational to sell now.

Once in Marrakech, there is an incredible array of activities in which to participate… how about sunbathe in the morning, do a spot of bartering in the craziness that is Jemaa El’Fna (for handmade objects d’art or a spare set of teeth for that matter – whatever takes your fancy) and end your day four-wheeling half way up the Atlas mountains for unparalleled plain and mountain views.  All this in a single day, which is pretty much the beauty of the destination.

The weather is wonderful most of the year, with spring and autumn being almost perfect – no smog, no 45 degree heat, and clear, clear views towards to Atlas and its snowy peaks.  Winter weather can be hit and miss, but even then, it is far better than most of northern Europe (which of course is not saying much!)  The dining venues in the city are plentiful and varied, from cosmopolitan Pacha / Crystal to an authentic local dining experience complete with crazy, noisy entertainment to keep you amused.  There are bars and night spots too, real ones at that – none of your ‘themed to within an inch of their life’ hotel/bar/restaurant/whatever… type of places that are the norm in some of the world’s other, equally tolerant Islamic destinations that one could mention.

So, are there any negatives?  Yes, namely getting there… the destination is not well served from the UK; their national airline and its low-cost spin off can be a tad unreliable in terms of booking groups, Easyjet fly there, but again, they can prove a little more difficult for group travel.  Once there, it is quite an expensive destination, particularly the high-end hotels, but it is worth the effort.  Transfers from the airport in to town / resort are quick, your senses will be assaulted almost immediately, there will be sights that make your knees go week, but all in all, a wonderful destination for the more seasoned traveller to discover.

Chris Clarke