Ian Cambata

Highland Park, Illinois Travel Agent
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Ian Cambata

Highland Park, Illinois Travel Agent
A Full-Service Travel Leaders Associate Agency
If you see the text box to the right do not fill it in
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96 Hours in Marrakesh

Morocco is often seen as a far off destination that is too exotic for most travelers. However, the reality is that its quick to get to, easy to navigate, and an incredible blend of exotic, yet, comfortable given its long standing French routes.

How do you get to Morocco? Actually, it’s easy! Personally, I took Royal Air Maroc's direct flight from JFK. In 6 hours (about the same as to London in the UK!), I was in Casablanca. Think about it, a 6 hour flight puts this in the “Long Weekend Getaway Category” for some people. What are you doing next weekend?

Unfortunately, I was just passing through Casablanca. I took a connecting flight from Casablanca to Marrakesh, but you could also do a quick driving tour of the city and then drive to Marrakesh. This is how I recommend you do it!

I arrived in Marrakesh and was whisked over to my little oasis, The Four Seasons Marrakesh. The resort is large, but warm and inviting. The rooms are quite spacious (the largest entry category rooms we saw), the staff are highly attentive, and there are great pools which are all too important when its over 80 degrees! The Four Seasons sets its self apart from the competition with its excellent Kids program. There is a dedicated kids club, and even a family friendly pool with different depths so children and their parents can enjoy the pool together. The on property dining options are impeccable, and while its a little far from town, we made it into the city center in about 15 minutes.

There is plenty to see and do with your time in Marrakesh, but a must is going to be a visit to the Souk. Don't be fooled by the Souk, it’s worth it to have a guided tour of the intricate alleyways, but you can see some incredible sights, learn how things are still being made by hand, and most importantly, not get lost!

The French influence in Marrakesh (and Morocco) is evident through out the city, but perhaps most in the culinary gems you’ll find in the city. The best French pastries I’ve had outside of France are most definitely in Morocco. Whether it's a croissant at breakfast, an apple tart or a macaron the size of my hand (I’m not kidding!), we found French pastries littered through out our various dining menus, either as side dishes or deserts. For a true Moroccan dish, I highly recommend you try a local Tagine entrée – go with lamb for more of a local flare!

For a little more adventure, head up into the Atlas Mountains and explore the local Berber culture. Stop at some local villages, meet the locals and explore their handmade goods. Take in some incredible views and have a quick lunch in a local village before returning back to Marrakesh for a poolside afternoon.

Other than the Four Seasons, there are a few other properties in Marrakesh I enjoyed. Amanjena, by Aman, is a true couples oasis. Set about 30 minutes away from the city center, this spacious property is very focused on privacy and creating an intimate environment for its guests. As every Aman property, this is a high-end property, with lots of styling cues pulling from both local design and the brand’s Asian origins.

No visit to Marrakesh is complete with out mentioning the cities most iconic property, La Mamounia. With its fresh renovation, La Mamounia is right in the center of town and the grounds are quite expansive. The detail work and the rich history of La Mamounia is really incredible. One of the most impressive suites is the Churchill Suite, where Winston Churchill stayed frequently. The suite has throwbacks to Churchill, including an impressive set of books about the War that he donated to the property and a painting he created.

For an authentic stay, the luxury boutique Villas des Orangers is the absolute premier property. Villas des Orangers is a converted Riad in the heart of Marrakesh. Its one of the largest properties, and unlike the competition, it is vehicle accessible, it features an on property swimming pool and maintains the authentic feel of a traditional Moroccan home. The only caution about Villa des Orangers is that you have to be comfortable with walk up and down stairs – most of the rooms are on the upper floors (some with private roof top decks) and the Spa is in the basement. I am personally looking forward to my return here.

Another property deserving of a mention is the Sofitel. Geared towards younger audiences, the Sofitel is located in the heart of the bar and restaurant district. The Sofitel has 3 pools, countless cabanas, and an on-property nightclub. The property itself has two differently styled towers – one classic, one contemporary – so no matter what your personal style maybe, you can find a room style that fits your needs. The Sofitel is also priced exceptionally well, making that quick weekend getaway even more likely!

Overall, the people, culture, and food were just incredible. We found our 96-hour escape to be relaxing, fun, and certainly equipped with bragging rights over what we did for the weekend!

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