This article first appeared in Vancouver LIVING Magazine, December 2017. 

Marrakesh, Morocco is an incredible imperial city full of sights, sounds, and tastes, both ancient and modern. And that’s exactly what makes this city so amazing; it’s ancient and modern juxtaposition. During the day, you can get lost in a labyrinth of souks in the medina, visit historical sights or watch a snake charmer. In the evening, you can eat in a world-renowned restaurant, explore new art galleries or dance away in a chic nightclub. Marrakesh surprised me in so many wonderful ways – the dichotomy of old world charm and modern luxury made it the perfect escape to experience history, culture, adventure, great food, nightlife, shopping & relaxation, all in a 5 day trip. It is an extremely liberal city where I felt completely at ease, everyone was so friendly and it is now on my list as one of the top 3 cities I have ever visited.

Al Hamra Garden, Amanjena

There are so many amazing luxury accommodations in Marrakesh that honour architectural tradition yet showcase contemporary design. Here are a few breathtaking 5-star properties that I fell in love with:

Four Seasons Resort Marrakesh – This gated 40-acres Moorish sanctuary is modern, elegant and lavish. Situated just 4 kms from Place Jemaa El’ Fna, it is conveniently located between the ancient medina and the cosmopolitan Ville Nouvelle.
La Mamounia – Set on a previously royal estate from the 12th century, this classic but luxe hotel is only a 15 minute walk from Jemaa El’-Fna market square and a 5 minute walk from Koutoubia Mosque.
Royal Mansour – A masterpiece of Moorish-Andalusian architecture, the Royal Mansour features 53 lavish individual 2-story riads with courtyard patios, sitting rooms & roof terraces with plunge pools.
Amanjena –This premium resort offers modern but lavish 1 or 2 bedroom Moroccan-style villas surrounded by palm tree-shaded gardens.

Riad Privilege, Royal Mansour

If you are visiting Marrakech for the first time, here are a few of my must-see landmarks that will leave you appreciating the Red City’s rich history and culture:

Place Jemaa El’ Fna – This extraordinary square has been the heart of Marrakech for centuries. Every night the area fills with musicians, dancers, storytellers, fortunetellers and snake charmers – each drawing a crowd of astonished onlookers. It’s an experience just to walk through it!
Medina Souks – These souks are one of the world’s most famous shopping districts, medina provides a wide range of exotic goods, including fabric, leatherwork and jewelry. You’ll be sure to fall in love with something!
Koutubia Mosque – The largest and oldest mosque in Marrakech, Koutubia is famous for its magnificent minaret. The tower was built in about 1150, and it is still a functioning mosque today.
Bahia Palace – A masterpiece of Moroccan architecture, this palace was built by two powerful grand viziers at the end of the 19th century, with the intention to be the great palace of its time. It took 14 years to complete.
Majorelle Garden – This world-famous 12-acre botanical garden was created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle, in the 1920s, and then magnificently restored by designer Yves Saint Laurent in the 1980s. It is known as an artist’s landscape garden.

Spa, Royal Mansour

If you’re thinking of exploring Morocco but are hesitant because of the travel time, Lufthansa offers many same day connection flights. These will only take you around 15 hours instead of the many 40 hours journeys out there. Additionally, Air Canada offers flights from Montreal to Casablanca that connect easily from any starting point in Canada. I would highly recommend experiencing this amazing city, I felt like I was in Vegas- there was so much going on… I can’t wait to go back!

Moroccan Mint Tea, Four Seasons & Moroccan Bowls, Medina Souks

Read the full article in Vancouver LIVING Magazine.

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