Things to Do
Hammams — You can’t go to Marrakesh without visiting a traditional hammam, an Arabic steam and scrub. La Mamounia’s is very popular with the IG set, but I prefer ☞ Splurge: Spa Royal Mansour; Value: Les Bains de Marrakech
Jardin Majorelle & YSL Museum — Fashion designer Yves St-Laurent had his second home in RAK; visiting his gardens are a highlight of most trips. The grounds also include a small but exquisite Berber Arts museum. ☞ Go early in the day for fewer crowds and get a combo ticket to visit the YSL museum down the street.
Rooftop Bar at El Fenn — This gorgeous rooftop has daybeds with views of the Atlas Mountains, the Koutoubia Mosque, and Marrakech rooftops. It’s a truly sublime place to lounge the day away—and you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy it, either. Lovely at sunset too.
Maison de la Photographie — Yes, there are photographs to see in this wonderfully spare riad, but it’s the serene rooftop terrace café that truly shines. Go for an afternoon tea and take in some of the best city views up top, with fewer crowds than you’d expect. ☞ This riad can be tricky to find.
Jemaa el-Fnaa — The main square in Marrakesh truly comes alive at night. And it’s really an experience like no other. ☞ I have def eaten from food stands here. Go where the crowds are to trust the quality of the food being made. (I still go for cooked versus raw things here.)
Le 18 — A woman-run cultural center in a modernized Medina house with interesting exhibits and occasional evening programming.
Cooking Classes — Serious cooks should book into La Maison Arabe, where the options now include a 4hr Jewish Moroccan class. More-casual cooks will appreciate Cafe Clock’s Moroccan cooking class that starts with a visit to the souks to source ingredients.
The Medina — You will find everything you could possibly imagine spilling out onto the narrow streets of the souks here. Some more-elevated stores are tucked in the mix too, like: Soufiane Zarib (rugs) and the boutique at El Fenn. To get a sense of some of the handicrafts available in the souks without the hassle (or haggling required), browse Ensemble Artisanal first; most vendors have set prices here.
Gueliz — Designers have showrooms in this newer neighborhood, like: Lalla (handbags); Maison Art/C (Israeli-Moroccan designer).
Lunch in the Atlas Mountains — Hiking up the Atlas Mountains to have lunch on the sweeping, panoramic terrace of the Kasbah du Toubkal (kasbahdutoubkal.com) still ranks among the most-memorable day tips I’ve ever experienced. ☞ This isn’t something you can do on your own. Check with your concierge about arranging a guide to take you up and down the trail. (You can also stay the night and wake up to those astounding views.)
Head to the Ourika Valley — You’ll get gorgeous mountain views in this lush valley oasis 35 minutes outside of Marrakesh. My favorite place to stay here is: Kasbah Bab Ourika (kasbahbabourika.com).