We returned from Marrakech on friday after a fantastic holiday made better due to all the help, advice and information i gained from trip advisor so i wanted to share a little of our experiences with you as a thank you and also to help others that may be about to embark on their adventure.
I have so much i want to share that i will need to add to this post in stages to allow me to remember it all and also so i don't loose anything half way through me typing..
I booked the holiday 10 months in advance and what started off as a 3 day city break turned into a 5 day holiday. I was really unsure how long we needed so added the extra days on as a just incase which I'm glad we did. Knowing what i know now 3 days is certainly enough if you want to see the must see sights from any decent guide book, 5 days is perfect to see the sights, take an excursion and have a bit of relaxing time in between but if you fall in love with Marrakech just as we have then any holiday whatever the length is simply not enough... We did not want to come home.
Before the trip i wasn't expecting to like the country, the food or the people but still was looking forward to visit as i wanted to experience a different culture. After the trip i loved the country, enjoyed the food and found the people to be friendly and warm hearted, i was wrong to pre judge and am so glad i opened my heart to the country and let it draw me in.
We stayed in Riad Kniza which although not cheap was an amazing place to stay (hotel review i still need to do on this place) after much research i decided on a riad due to the location within the city walls and i hoped by going for a riad we would see some more authentic streets and a bit more of the real Marrakech which i feel we did by our choice of location. The transfers from the airport were included in with our riad costs so we were picked up at the airport by a man holding a card with the riad name and our names on it, this alone excited me as I've always just booked a package deal and been collected with a coach load of other tourists for the drop offs at numerous other hotels.
The airport was only a 20 minute drive away and we were taken straight to the edge of a street where someone from the riad reception met us and took our bags, then we began to follow them the 5 minute walk to the riad ...
The 5 minute walk was a fantastic eye opener to the city, Zig zagging in and out the tight streets trying to avoid the mopeds, donkeys, bicycles and men pulling carts all heading our way. Smells of spices filled the air, with fantastic bustling street sellers and locals buying their vegetables and meats from tiny little shops. I kept my eye on the man that had come to greet us and tried to keep up while letting my senses take in everything i was witnessing. I kept thinking of the advice i had read to let all the mopeds and donkeys avoid me rather than trying to avoid them and so as i started to walk like the locals and just get on with it and let people go around me instead the short trek seemed to go much smoother and i relaxed more.
We arrived at a big wooden door and it creaked open to a huge welcome from the staff. Stepping inside was magical, a smell of jasmine filled the air, soft music flowed through the tiled courtyard and the fountain in the centre could be heard flowing gently while the rose petals strewn within it gave out a fantastic splash of vivid colour. Mint tea and morroccan pastries were given to us before being shown to our room which was everything i could have wished for and more, cushions and fabrics in rich colours more suited to royalty filled the room with stunning lanterns providing a wonderful romantic feel. Rose petals were strewn everywhere and we felt like we had stepped into another world.
I had pre booked a hamman and massage for the night of our arrival at the riad as i knew we were arriving late and didnt want to venture out into the unknown on our first night. Before arriving i had researched the hamman and decided i wanted one but was not brave enough to use a local hamman not knowing what to expect and also i wanted my husband with me so the choice at the riad seemed sensible. The hamman was lovely as was the massage and we both thoroughly enjoyed it and it made us relax after a day of travel but knowing what i know now i would not recommend the hamman at the riad, although nice it was over priced and later during our stay i had a more traditional hamman which was much better although i didnt quite manage to visit a public one but this is most definitely on the to do list for next time.
So our first night over having already experienced in just a few hours more than i had seen in a lifetime we drifted off to sleep full of excitement for our next morning