Morocco’s markets and minarets
Amy Watkins can’t get enough of Marrakech
Now the temperature's dropped and the cold weather has arrived, there’s nothing like a little trip to warmer climes to banish those winter chills. You can’t beat exotic Morocco, with the scent of warm spices and the call to prayer floating on the breeze – and luckily, it's not as far away as you think. Just a three-hour flight away, Marrakech ticks all the boxes for a winter break destination with added zest.
Sunny daytime temperatures are ideal for wandering around the souks, and cosying up on a calèche (horse and buggy) ride through the narrow streets of the old walled medina before relaxing by a roaring fire in a Marrakech boutique hotel when the evenings cool down. Ski-bunnies can even stay in Marrakech before heading for the Atlas Mountains for some slope action at the Oukaimden ski resort.
The city itself, with its sea of mosques and minarets, is ideal for a long winter weekend. Check out the snake charmers and street entertainers of Djemma el Fna square without the high-season crowds and (even higher) summer temperatures.
Choose one of our romantic hotels in Morocco for your stay. As far as boutique hotels in Morocco go, twenty minutes' stroll from the square is the adorable and affordable P'tit Habibi ('Little Darling') riad, perfect for budget weekends away. Try the Love Nest room covered in floor pillows and dip your toes in the petal-strewn rooftop plunge pool.
Also in the heart of the old walled medina is Ryad Dyor is a chic and contemporary Moorish style riad within two converted 18th Century merchant's houses. Stylishly decorated by its Dutch designer owners, Ryad Dyor has beautifully comfortable king-sized beds and is within strolling distance of the souks.
Venture deep into the heart of local life at Zamzam Riad, a short walk from Djemma el Fna, in an authentic Moroccan neighbourhood. It's quickly winning praise for its Moroccan fusion menus, served by a roaring fire. Elsewhere the rooftop pool is heated for winter and there's also a marble-lined hammam to warm up in.
If the hubbub of the walled city is not your style, head out to Millionaire's Row in the Palmeraie, a 15-minute taxi ride from the medina, where you'll find the atmospheric and appealing Dar Zemora, a sumptuously designed riad with classic Moorish touches and decadent double-bathtubs in the bedrooms. The perfect honeymoon hideaway!