Travel Guide: Marrakech, Morocco
It’s here! The Marrakech, Morocco travel guide! I have been dreaming of going to Marrakech for about a year. When we found out we were pregnant in May, I never thought Marrakech would end up becoming our babymoon destination, but I’m so happy it did.
The truth is, I did not have many pre-conceived ideas about Marrakech other than the fact that I really wanted photos in front of colorful tile walls, elegant pools and intricate spice markets. Deciding to travel 12 hours at 6 months pregnant was aggressive, but completely worth it. Speaking of travel, let’s break down that portion of the guide, because it was - an adventure.
It’s not a surprise that this travel guide starts with another friendly reminder to all my NYC followers to use Good Luck Car service to get you from your apartment to the airport. They are professional, fast, on time and (accept cash only) - it’s less expensive than an uber and a much more premium experience.
Next up: #DeltaLoyal - if you’re not loyal to an airline yet, you’re missing out. Now, Delta does not fly direct to Marrakech so you must fly their partner airline, AirFrance. Your status transfers over and you earn Delta miles. The AirFrance lounge at JFK is small but a premium experience food wise. The beer and wine is self-serve, and they have an entire mini freezer dedicated to ice cream cones.
You have 2 flight option to get to Marrakech from NYC.
Fly JFK to Paris (8 hours) then Paris to Marrakech (3 hours)
Fly JFK to Casablanca and drive from Casablanca to Marrakech (2.5 hour drive)
We chose option 1. More flying time, less driving time. The drive from the Marrakech airport to the hotel was 15 minutes.
After a pretty painless experience, we arrived in Marrakech and the staff from the Royal Mansour literally met us at the gate as we de-boarded the plane.
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: https://www.royalmansour.com/
I can’t stress enough how lovely it is to be greeted by your hotel staff after a long flight. They are there to welcome you to Marrakech, but also to stay with you and escort you through security, customs and baggage claim.
Speaking of baggage claim - in all of our travels we have never had an issue checking our bags and promptly receiving them on the other end. This time, we did. Apparently it happened to a lot of people on our flight. The bags never made it onto the plane in Paris. Damn you, Air France. We were told we needed to come back to the airport the next morning to get our bags. Shockingly - we did not let this ruin our trip, certainly we could survive 24 hours without all of our luggage.
Travel Tip: always carry an extra outfit, set of toiletries, bathing suit, etc in your carry-on for situations like this.
Any negative feelings about the bag situation were washed away when the Royal Mansour staff escorted us out of the airport and into their Bentley to drive us to the hotel. Sheer luxury.
Arriving at the gates of Royal Mansour was like getting a taste of what being a royal is like. The open air lobby was stunning. Each room at the resort is it’s own private villa, or riad, the traditional living space of Marrakech. There is a fountain/indoor garden in the center of the riad and all of the rooms circle around the fountain. Our riad had 3 floors. Floor 1 was the main lounge, living room, kitchen. Floor 2 was the bedroom and bathroom. Floor 3 was the private roof deck and private pool.
The grounds at Royal Mansour are simply stunning. There is 1 main pool and amazing restaurants on the property, but the spa is the stand-out amenity here. Immediately upon arrival we were treated to a traditional hammam spa treatment. You enter the gorgeous bath house section of the spa where you steam, and then are scrubbed, exfoliated and massaged. Every dead skin cell is removed, your spa therapist will use luxurious golden buckets of warm water to rinse off the scrub, the exfoliation is followed by a steam shower and a dip in a cold plunge pool. Highly recommend this for post flight recovery.
Overall, we highly recommend booking at least 1 night at Royal Mansour. It will be the most luxurious part of your trip. The service is outstanding, the grounds are stunning and it is truly the most premium experience in Marrakech. We had a personal staff member drive us to the mall to purchase bathing suits for the day while we waited for our luggage. Royal Mansour staff drove us back to the airport the next day in their Range Rover to collect our luggage from the airport. They also let us stay longer in our room when we were supposed to check out to change and take photos around the property. An experience like none other.
HOTEL RECOMMENDATION: La Mamounia https://www.mamounia.com/en/
La Mamounia was the second hotel we stayed in. This resort is much larger that Royal Mansour and feels more like a traditional large hotel resort compared to the intimacy of the private riads at Royal Mansour.
There is one main pool and many restaurant options, in addition to a gorgeous cocktail bar. The grounds are sprawling and have a French countryside vibe. I would say the French influence found in Marrakech made me love this trip even more. It felt as though New Yorkers go to Miami, and Parisians go to Marrakech.
LEAVING THE RESORT: Definitely find a day/night to leave the resort and explore Marrakech. The medina is the market in the main square. Beware - it is chaotic and walking through the medina at night was one of the only times I did not feel completely safe on the trip. Be sure to check out the stalls of spices, lamps, lights, rugs but prepare yourself to be walking through narrow alleys. It’s all very hectic.
OUTSIDE OF THE RESORT RECOMMENDATIONS:
Dinner at Nomad: We were unable to get a table here, but this place has a gorgeous rooftop. You take a stroll down a lot of hectic alleyways and suddenly you arrive at Nomad - a restaurant that looks like it could be in NYC. https://nomadmarrakech.com/
Drinks and Dinner at El Fenn: we had drinks and dinner on the rooftop of El Fenn and it was amazing. Very boho chic, almost Tulum vibe. Very chill with Moroccan inspired design elements. Highly recommend. https://el-fenn.com/eat-and-drink/
The YSL Museum: it’s actually pretty small and you can get through it in about 15 minutes https://www.museeyslmarrakech.com/fr/
Jardin Majorelle: the beautiful gardens right next to the YSL museum - definitely take a stroll through here for some great photo opps https://www.jardinmajorelle.com/
Camel Ride: this was on my must-do list. There are options where you can spend a half day riding camels through the desert and having a desert tented dinner, but we opted for a shorter 1 hour experience. https://www.getyourguide.com/marrakech-l208/sunset-camel-ride-tour-in-marrakech-palm-grove-area-t65883/
Dinner and Drinks at La Sultana: get drinks on the roof and eat dinner by the pool, live music included. https://www.lasultanahotels.com/
Overall, we highly recommend this trip. The perfect combo of desert chic, sophistication and luxury.
Feel free to leave questions or comments below and you can always reach out via instagram @basicallysoho