Nestled among the life within the walls of the Medina is a hidden gem; an Italian restaurant called I Limoni. A courtyard with lemon trees, a scattering of tables and nook seating ideal for an after meal nap is the stage for a tranquil meal of some of the best Italian cuisine in North Africa. The Spaghetti au Poivron et Tomate is divine in its freshest form with al dente pasta and an aria playing in the background. After your meal, walk up to the rooftop terrace and admire a sea of white and pastel houses on the horizon.
The principal attraction in Marrakesh is the main souk that borders the Jemaa el Fna Square. Tucked inside the labyrinth of stone alleyways and camouflaged passageways are hundreds of merchant stalls that sell everything from colorful babouche slippers to iron chandeliers. The atmosphere is chaotic, yet invigorating, as each corner of the souk presents a new adventure in shopping. Haggling is very much a part of every transaction. For those accustomed to the practice, go ahead and offer 75% off the merchant’s offer and settle for no more than 50% the original asking price. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you are not satisfied with price…but don’t be surprised if the merchant follows you to the next corner to make his final offer.
There are several first class hotels surrounding the walls of the Medina, but for a genuine Moroccan experience, try renting a riad. Riad Zaouia 44 is a seven-bedroom oasis from the bustling heat and organized mayhem. Each room is spacious and thoughtfully appointed. Schedule a traditional bath in the riad’s own hammam, followed by a massage in your room. Stay in one evening and have the friendly staff prepare your party a typical Moroccan meal of lamb tagine and chicken bastilla.
Finding a place to relax with a glass of wine is hard to find inside the Medina. However, within a stone’s throw from the walls of The Red City are the Hotel Delano Marrakech’s Sky Lounge and Namazake Rooftop Sushi Lounge. Settle in one of the elevated bed lounges or take a dip in the circular pool that is absolutely refreshing after a day in the souk. Enjoy the best sushi and a bottle of champagne with the Medina and Atlas Mountains as your backdrop.
The Jemaa el Fna Square is a showcase of people, culture and food unlike anything in the Western world. During the day, snake charmers, teeth pullers, fortunetellers, water men in colorful red costumes and monkey “trainers” occupy the square to the delight of tourists eager for a photo opportunity. As dusk settles, the Jemaa el Fna comes alive as the food stalls are erected and their grills fill the square with a cloud of smoke flavored in turmeric, paprika, cinnamon and cumin. Crowds gather around musicians to hear their rhythmic melodies. The pounding of drums and the blowing of horns from other parts of the Square blend to create a sensory Beber sypmphony.