I’m a big believer in not pushing something, especially when it comes to travel. We may want things to happen a certain way (usually immediately) but we may not be ready for it. I had wanted to go to Thailand for 2 years before an opportunity presented itself. The same happened with Peru, a place I wanted to visit for years. It just so happened that 3 weeks before we were going to go on vacation, a flight deal to Lima popped up. My upcoming trip to Morocco in December was no different.
I’m beyond excited to visit the former imperial city of Marrakech in western Morocco and explore with some of my favourite ladies, partners in crime, and (reluctant) photographers! It’s been 2 years of talking about and planning to visiting this beautiful and exotic corner of the world so naturally the OCD in me has compiled a lot of plans. As much as I love actually being in the moment and travelling, I can’t deny the joy the inner, serial-killer organized part of me gets from planning.
Here are my top picks that I've planned for my trip to Morocco:
Morocco is full of the most gorgeous luxury hotels as well as cost-efficient hostels to lay your head at the end of a long day wandering souks but staying at a riad is the way to go if you want an authentic experience. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house that has an interior garden or courtyard. I saw photos of Le Riad Yasmine and fell in love with the emerald green tiles and gorgeous rooms, each decorated to represent a city in Morocco.
Probably the top of my bucket list at the moment is camping (more like "glamping") under the Saharan stars! The trip from Marrakech to the desert is a lengthy one so we will stop to sightsee at spots like the Dadès Gorges along the way. We will be picked up at the edge of the desert and taken to Kam Kam Dunes in stay in spacious jaimas (“tents” in arabic), feast on tangine, and take a camel ride at sunset! Can’t wait!
You know I always say I’m not a big shopper when I travel but I may make an exception for Marrakech. I hear the souks in Morocco are brimming with treasures including rugs (the non-flying sort), jewelry, spices, lamps (sans genie), and beautiful, patterned ceramics. I plan on spending an entire day getting lost among the chaos and riches and on filling an entire suitcase full of precious finds. I see a cute pair of barbouche slippers in my future!
This palatial hotel is probably what pops up the most when you search it on Instagram and that’s because the level of craftsmanship that went into the edifice rivals the palaces in the city. I heard one of the best way to sooth the aches from camel rides is indulging in some pampering at the luxurious hammam spa on site. At a hammam (Turkish bath) you can get to enjoy a massage with locally made Argan oil and a full body scrub with black soap.
Obviously I’m going to eat everything. The question is where since my food hit list is several miles long. Restaurant Comptoir Darna is on said list for a traditional Moroccan bellydancing spectacle while we devour lamb tangines with caramelized oranges and saffron out of traditional clay pots. I’ve already made a reservation at Nomad restaurant, famous for their great food and charming rooftop terrace. Le Jardin also made the cut (easily) as it’s situated a short walk away from where we’re staying and it satisfies the plant lady in me with it’s jungle décor!
It’s not going to be all shopping and eating (just mostly eating). I’m getting my culture fix and visiting historical Moroccan sites like Ben Youssef Madrasa , which used to be an Islamic college, infamous for it’s intricate architecture. Also El Badi Palace, the Saadian Tombs, and Maison de la Photographie that boasts an impressive collection of vintage Moroccan photography. As Jardin Majorelle is a slice of fashion history, the 12-acre botanical garden that was once owned by Yves Saint-Laurent also fits into my culture tour.