"marrakech taught me colour." - yves saint laurent
STAY: Riad Lola
This riad is the most beautiful little oasis tucked away in the city center just moments away from Jamaa al Fna, the main square. It is owned by a lovely Spanish lady, Lola, who has furnished it with local designs, mixing modern with traditional Moroccan to create this peaceful corner amidst the hustle and bustle of the chaotic souks. Spend your evenings gazing at the stars in the plunge pool on the roof, with not a sound from the souks to be heard, and head back up there in the morning for delicious breakfast.
explore: the gorgeous souks
The magic of Marrakech lies in the souks. You could spend days on end wandering around and still not see them all. If you head north from Jamaa al Fna, upwards and past Café des épices, there are hundreds of winding roads lined with stalls owned by local men and women. You'll find spices, homewares, clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, food, art and so much more. Just be prepared to crack out your haggling skills and you'll get some great bargains. The general rule is to aim to get the price down to half of what the seller first says. It's hard work but it can actually be pretty fun, and you end up saving yourself a lot of money. Be warned if you're a sucker for shiny things, you might want to pack light so that you have all that extra suitcase space...
top eat: nomad
If there is one restaurant you have to go to in Marrakech, it's Nomad. It's fairly new on the block, and offers traditional Moroccan cuisine with a modern twist in the most stylish setting. The terrace, with its black and white zig-zag tables and lanterns hanging around the sides, has stunning views of the city. It is the perfect place to eat delicious fresh and local food whilst watching the sunset. They usually have two sittings for dinner, one at 7pm and another at 9pm, but I would definitely recommend going earlier so that you can watch the sun go down and see the atmosphere transform. One thing you cannot miss is the saffron scented date cake with salted caramel sauce for dessert - it is unreal! We loved it so much we went twice.