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Authentic Experience


By jessbrondo
Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 1

Posted on: October 25, 2008 at 10:00AM

Marrakesh is truly one of the most culture-rich cities imaginable and to fully experience all it has to offer, you want to try to attain the most authentic experience possible. For starters, avoid the big hotels and stay in a riad. The Riad Madani is exquisite and is just steps from the Plaza Jafna, but provides a quiet oasis with lush gardens, gorgeous rooms, and a fantastic pool. The owners are a lovely couple, one is a former ambassador, who know everything there is to know about the city. Go to le souks, and HAGGLE! The shop owners will respect you more if you do and enjoy the experience; they expect haggling to be a 30-minute exercise. When given a price, immediately offer 1/3 of what they quoted you. Use hand gestures and voice inflections to really show that you are enjoying yourself. Definitely make a visit (or two) to a hammam. Hammams are local bath houses that offer traditional washing and scrubbing for locals and tourists. It is one of the most exotic experiences ever. You go into the room (sometimes with both men and women) and disrobe (sometimes you can keep your bottoms on if you are uncomfortable) and are then washing and scrubs with black soap from head to toe. It releases everything from your skin leaving your skin softer than ever imaginable. Follow it up with a relaxing massage and a masque for true paradise. Have your riad (if you stay at Riad Madani, you won't be disappointed) prepare a traditional meal Moroccan meal for you. You can get tagine at EVERY restaurant you go to, so we opted for the lunch meal, which included 12 "salads" and grilled meats and fish. It was the best meal in Morocco and not too expensive. You'll probably end up at a restaurant at least one night with belly dancers. For a very "Moroccan experience", go to Le Comptoir and plan to stay after dinner as the nightlife scene is great, but if you want a truly luxurious meal at a sophisticated place (aka minus the belly dancers), go to Boi Zin. The food is impeccable and the ambiance is superb. Make sure to take some time after dinner to go to the garden and ask for a table with a "pillow booth" as they are so comfortable you will never want to get up. Bring alcohol/wine/champagne from the airport. If you truly want to relax during the day at your riad, make sure you stock up on alcohol at the duty free at the airport because you will find it extremely hard to find alcohol (or at least good alcohol) in Marrakesh, but definitely try the Moroccan wine when you are at a Moroccan restaurant as it is surprisingly delicious. For a night out dancing, all the guidebooks say to go to Teatro, but it is definitely not the best place to go for the sophisticated traveler. It is a big club with a big club feel. Anyone living in a big city (NY, London, etc.) will not be impressed. Instead, opt for a smaller venue like Le Suite or Villa Rossa as they are much more chic and the music is better. Avoid Nikki Beach if you are not prepared to listen to EXTREMELY loud music all day long. Nikki Beach Marrakesh, and all of its global outposts, is gorgeous and its patrons are not too bad to look at either. However, the music there is louder than that of any club I've ever been to, so if you are were planning to go to have a relaxing day by the pool couple with some good conversation, think again. Only go if you want to have an intense day of drinking and dancing to loud "beats." Lastly, extend your trip a couple of days and drive down to Tagazhout. It is a quiet little fishing village on the coast about 4 hours away. It has amazing surfing (several different spots for people of all levels) and lovely people. It is a true culture shock, but much-welcomed as it certainly teaches you how to live simply. The drive is gorgeous as you will be going through the Atlas Mountains. Be sure to stop at the supermarket on the way out of Marrakesh to stock up on food for the flat (and the drive!). Most of all, Enjoy the Journey. report a problem

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