ADVERTORIAL • October 2018
Fired up with legends, blessed with year-round heat and peppered with private oases, Marrakech is a scintillating change of scene. Heading to the Red City on British Airways’ new service from Heathrow? It’s time to pick which of Marrakech’s many faces you’d most like to meet
Featuring perfectly still plunge pools, canopied courtyards and hedonistic hammams, Marrakech is a certified wellness wonderland with enough heat to keep you happy and a sacred culture of cleansing and bathing to keep your chakras in check. For steamy skin-scrubs and scented body wraps, hammams (beautifully mosaicked, Middle Eastern spas) are famously easy to find in Marrakech. Try Les Bains de Marrakech for rose-petal baths and a ‘hammam à la carte’ from £47.
Where to stay: For an indulgent unwinding book in at Riad Magellan, which runs individual yoga retreats with vegetarian-friendly food, in-house yoga classes and a massage per stay.
Love a good shopping spree? Then be ready to leave Marrakech with a far heavier suitcase than the one you brought. First up, the world-famous Medina, where you’ll find sensory souks bubbling over with Arabic souvenirs – the perfect place to test your haggling skills and whisk away a bargain. If you prefer things on the boutique side, head to contemporary outlets El Fenn and Hanout Boutique to browse designer goods with a North African twist.
Don’t miss: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage site and beating heart of the Medina, the Jamaa el Fnaa Square (pictured). Choose a restaurant here with a rooftop terrace, order a tagine and fresh mint tea, and watch the sun set over the square below.
It may be called the Red City, but Marrakech has a lot of green – if you know where to look. First, begin at the iconic Jardin Majorelle (pictured) where giant cacti and feathery ferns lead the way to French designer Yves Saint Laurent’s prized holiday home. For a fairytale foray into all things green, catch a horse-drawn carriage from the Jemaa el-Fnaa to the city’s palmeraie, where you can feast your eyes on over 150,000 date palms.
Where to stay: Nature-infused nights can be found at Jnane Tamsna, a boutique hotel lushly surrounded by well-tended gardens and leafy verandas.
Navigating the Medina’s ancient ramparts and mysterious passageways are a sport in itself, but the real activity lies just outside the city walls. Within a short drive from the buzzy epicentre, you can be paddleboarding on the tranquil waters of Lalla Takerkoust Lake, hiking to the stunning Ouzoud Waterfalls and – if it’s winter – skiing the slopes of Oukaïmeden in the jaw dropping Atlas Mountains.
Don’t miss: Camel-back riding and quad biking with adventure tour provider, Marrakech Desert Trips, who’ll take you deep into the the palmeraie for a day of mountain-backed thrills.
A culture high awaits at Marrakech’s largest and tallest building, the Koutoubia Mosque (pictured). This architectural gem is a symbol of the city, whose rose-tinted walls and towering 12th-century minaret make for a fantastic sunset shot. For more photogenic delights, head to the Saadian Tombs – a beautifully preserved relic of the long-passed Saadian Dynasty, who spared no expense on the intricately designed, and endlessly Instagrammable, Chamber of the 12 Pillars.
Where to stay: Complete with a palatial-looking pool, cerulean accents and glamorous day beds, Riad Dar Alfarah is just a three-minute walk from the El Badi Palace – a 16th-century royal residence that left behind a set of magnificent ruins.
Words by Hannah Ralph
BA will begin flying from Heathrow to Marrakech on 28 October 2018. To book your trip, click here