Marrakesh—A Dichotomous and Delicious Feast for the Senses

This article was excerpted from The Wall Street Journal’s Insider’s Guide to Marrakesh.


Marrakesh is a city of split personalities—part “Arabian Nights” fantasy, part French elegance— it is a spiritual haven as well as a hippie retreat, a partiers’ paradise and a glamorous getaway. One moment you’re dodging donkeys in the clogged arteries of the walled old city, the next, you could be lounging by the enormous marble pool of the Taj Palace Marrakesh. For every riad with hand-painted wood ceilings, latticed lanterns and carved marble archways, there’s a cafe with stark white walls, contemporary art and chrome accents. The town is colorful yet chaotic, and just as comfortable with its bipolar nature.

Royal Mansour. One of the most beautiful hotels in Marrakesh—the craftsmanship of the local artisans is just unreal. Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti, Medina.

Riad Madani. This hotel has one of the largest riad gardens in the medina. One room is Chinese, and another is a Picasso room. 64 Derb Moulay Abdelkader, Medina.

Kasbah Bab Ourika. A hotel on top of a mountain outside the city—perfect if you want fresh food, fresh air and a place to relax. Ourika Valley Atlas Mountains.




Dar Yacout. Mohamed Zkhiri and his brother Abdellatif have hosted everyone from heads of states and kings to famous celebrities at this famous restaurant. Try the tagine makkfoul79 Rue Sidi Ahmed Soussi, Bab Doukkala, Medina.

Terrasse des Épices. This restaurant is located on top of a building, so you have a beautiful view.  During winter you can see the Atlas Mountains and the snow. 15 Souk Cherifia, Sidi Abdelaziz, Medina.

Le Comptoir Darna. This restaurant and club is a late-night hotspot that attracts artists, businessmen, international celebrities and world travelers. There are shows with musicians and belly dancers in the later hours. Avenue Echouhada, Hivernage.




Bahia Palace. Now a historic site, this beautiful 19th-century palace is a real riad, where viziers lived. 5 Derb el Arsa, Riad Zitoun El Jdid, Medina

The Mellah. The historic Jewish neighborhood in the medina is an authentic sensory experience with everything from antiques to fruits and vegetables.


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