As a travel consultant, for me personally there’s not really a line between a business trip and a leisure trip. I always mix the two. And encourage my business clients to do the same. Whether in the form of luxurious accommodation, or flying in early / staying after the business bit to explore. A recent business trip took me to Marrakech, a city I’d long wanted to see. So I took the opportunity to fly in several days before my meetings kicked off. I hired a private guide to get the lay of the land my first day, visited the sights then indulged in a traditional hammam (ok, 2 traditional hammams..), took a cooking class, mastered the souks, bought a rug, sat in the corner of the old square for half a day just to take photographs, and ate my weight in tagine. I’m sure the week of work would have been productive without my mini-vacation on the front end, but I sure was more inspired, relaxed, with not a bit of jetlag to speak of. So if you have the ability, definitely mix some leisure into your next business trip.
Below are my best recommendations when visiting the sexy city of Marrakech, and I do recommend visiting the sexy city of Marrakech at least once! One thing worth noting is that there are 3 distinct areas to Marrakech – the traditional medina, the more cosmo new town, and then the outskirts. I recommend mixing your stay – spend a few nights in the medina, then head out to one of the opulent hotels on the fringes of town. This will give you a complete flavor for the place.
Riad Tamila + Selman
Tamila is a traditional riad tucked deep within the medina. I love it because it’s quiet, and as authentic as it gets. Plus the food served there is the best I’d eaten in all of Marrakech.
Selman’s horse stables and villas with private pools sold me.
My Top 5 Must-Do List
- Arrange for a private guide, You do not want to tackle the souks without insider knowledge to the best vendors/where & what to eat.
- It’s touristy as all get-out, but ride a camel.
- Take an organic cooking class with a local tribe in the Atlas Mountains.
- Throw modesty to the wind and indulge in a traditional hammam.
- If you buy only one thing, make it a rug.
When it comes to dressing for a day in the medina, comfortable shoes and sunglasses are musts. Opt for maxi dresses with a little covering the shoulder or linen pants with a comfortable tissue tee. Go low on the jewelry, and definitely bring a great cross-body bag. Marrakech is a casual city, you’ll stand-out if you’re decked-out. You’ll have more flexibility with your modern wardrobe at the newer resorts on the outskirts of town, but out of respect for the culture, go for more conservative choices when in the traditional medina.
*This is me & Aziz, the owner of the rug shop where I found the absolute perfect rug for my home.
Lila Fox is owner of New Orleans-based Constant Tourist Travel, a travel consultancy catering to the discerning traveler worldwide. For more information about planning your trip to Morocco contact Lila at firstname.lastname@example.org.