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First Timers to Marrakech

Liverpool, United...
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First Timers to Marrakech

Hi everyone

We're lucky enough to have the chance of a holiday in October & seriously considering Marrakech. I love the idea of going somewhere steeped in history & rich in culture, and this is on the bucket list for both of us.

I'm in a bit of a quandry as to which type of accomodation though, I love the idea of a riad, but as it's our first time I'm not sure whether we'd be better off in a hotel! We will also need wifi access & I'm not sure a riad would have this. I know this is a big ask, but any experiences you've had or want to share would be useful at this point. I'd love somewhere that has a bit of character, is really comfortable & has good food. Any advice would be useful!

21. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

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Bruges, Belgium
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22. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

We stayed in a riad last week (Riad Berbère, review to follow - absolute bliss!) - and have stayed in a few 5 star hotels in Marrakech before. The hotels were nice, great pools, but the stay in the riad was different. Authentic, a warm atmosphere, personal service, amazing food, just 10 mins walking from Jema El Fna it offered us a pure oasis of tranquillity. When we go back, we will definitely choose the riad again. It is an entirely different vibe. Just be prepared for the city, it's a mad hectic place, you love it or hate it. If you are tired or in a bad mood, take a rest and a very deep breath before you go. It can be overwhelming, but a few words of Arabic, and an open friendly mind will get you far. Enjoy enjoy enjoy!

Washington DC...
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23. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Hi, everyone. I'm researching for a honeymoon/first time visit. My fiance is not quite as traveled as I am, and we're both new to travel in this region/N. Africa. Marrakesh/Morocco was on our 'short list' (along with Barcelona and Istanbul) and I'm thinking due to various circumstances, we're likely to go with Marrakesh for this big trip. We are probably not going to have this trip in our budget until Sept. or October of 2014, as our wedding is end of March, 2014.

So, I have a few questions, actually. Thanks very much, in advance, for any suggestion or assistance you may provide.

a. What would be a typical meal (lunch or dinner) in USDollars, per person? I'm looking for a baseline for a salad, meat, rice or potatoes, dessert, non-alcoholic beverage...nothing gormet, nor cheap/fast food....of course we'll do a bit of each of those, but I'm trying to budget and plan for the 'average' price per day for food. We'd eat at our riad for breakfast, so that's not a factor.

b. Is travel uncomfortably hot and sticky if you go anytime before October but after March? Another way to say it - what are the most comfortable times to visit, based on temperature. Obviously while in our hotel room or the inside of hotel/restaurant/musuems, we hope it will be A/C, but for any excursions, I'm wanting to be as comfortable as possible. What do you recommend? I'm native to northern US (where it's deep snow and icy all winter, and rarely warm enough to swim in the ocean), and my body is very sensitive to overheating.

c. My fiance speaks only a handful of words in French, but I am conversationally fluent. Will we be ok using French and English, or do you feel we may have frequent difficulty without any Arabic? I'm able to learn a few words, but at this point (with my prior travel and studies) my memory of and knowledge of foreign language is like a soup (Portuguese, Spanish, German, Italian, French, English.....blah) and I just find it very diffcult to add more to this jumble.

d. What guide book/s do you recommend for English-speakers who are very visual? - I like the D/K series (I have used them in various European countries such as Portugal with great success....to give you an idea of what design works for me.)

e. What is a fair rate from the airport to the Medina for a taxi?

Thanks! Thanks! Thanks ! Thanks!

Ella & Joel

Marrakech, Morocco
Destination Expert
for Morocco
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24. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

a) Maybe around $10-15 for a mid range place

b) Check the 'Weather Info' in the Top Questions section to the right hand side of this page. If you have a big problem with heat then avoid June unitl about mid September. Note that Marrakech has a dry heat, it is not like the humid heat you get in other places so it is rarely 'hot and sticky'.

c) You dont need to know Arabic, many get by with just English so having some French is a bonus.

d) if you like DK then stick with that

e) 100dh

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25. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Thinking of going in December, whats the weather like and do any Riads have swimming pools or is that a silly question. It'll be me and my sister 60 ish in age but young at heart any suggestions please ?

Marrakech, Morocco
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26. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Weather statistics for December:

In December the average high temperature is 20 C with a historical range of 10 C to 32 C. This falls to an average low of 8 C with a statistical range of 0 C to 19 C. Most days are sunny with an 8% chance of experiencing a cloudy one.

Not a swimming pool experience. Some riads do have pools, normally unheated plunge/dipping ones. Do not choose a riad for the availability of a cold pool in the winter months.

Welcome to the Marrakech forum vonnyyy from one of the residents in this city.

London, United...
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27. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

I don't know if its too late for this reply but if you want the culture etc then its best to book a riad in the medina. I have stayed at Riad l'heure d'ete and think its fantastic, you can check reviews here too. Its about 3 mins from the square and 5 mins from the souqs. My personal experience is that the service and experience at riads is much better and cheaper than that of the hotels. I have been to Morocco 4 times and booked accommodation directly with riad owners or managers over email. Some take full payment at arrival and some as bank transfers and have never had any bad experiences. It works out cheaper this way and sometimes riads offer discounts or complimentary dinner/airport transfers if you ask for a good deal.

Hope this helps.

Paris, France
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28. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

a riad is better because of the personal service.

yes every riad I went to had Wi-Fi.

this is chock full of personal experiences catered to first-timers:


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29. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Why not do both?

3 nights in a riad to experience the culture and be near the square/souks etc.. followed by the rest of the holiday in a luxury hotel to chill out and relax.

You could even squeeze an overnight trip to Zagora in the middle.

Have fun

Montreal, Canada
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30. Re: First Timers to Marrakech

Hi! Love reading your comments. So excited as going to marrakech for the first time I n June with 14 friends! So yes a riad is the way we want to go.

I was wondering however about dress code for women. Is it advisable to cover up or are we ok with a Tshirt and jeans?

Also wondering about that Fantasia show...want to do something exciting one night and don't now where to ask for advice.