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A long weekend in Marrakech

My 40th birthday celebrations had everything from nights in, nights out, boozy brunches, surprise holidays and a three night trip to one of my favourite countries – Morocco!

We visited Marrakech in May 2021 as a family where we stayed at the Rui Tikida Palmerie. I had a great time, the kids not so much and I always said I’d love to go back again for a short weekend amongst the hustle and bustle, without the kids, if I ever got the chance.

Fast forward two years, turning a new decade and two gal pals who were up for experiencing some July Middle East sunshine, and here we were.

We flew from London Gatwick to Morocco on an early Friday morning and with no time difference to take into consideration we were checked into the Kenzi Menara lounging in the 40 degree heat by lunch.

First thing to note is, like many countries, 5* isn’t necessarily the typical UK 5*, Kenzi Menara was a lovely, spacious hotel with plenty of facilities however it may have been a case of bad timing on our part as we arrived over a Moroccan bank holiday and it was full to capacity and pretty disorganised – the restaurant could not cope with demand. By the second night, the local holiday was over and the hotel was so much calmer and organised.

The hotel was situated a 7 minute taxi journey away from the Jamaâ El Fna Square. Taxi was around 80 MAD (about £7 GBP)

What did we do on our city break to Marrakech?

– If hustle and bustle is ‘yo thang then head down to the main square where you can haggle your way to bargain bags, incense, foods and spices, crockery and souvenirs. It’s crazy, it’s madness and it’s absolutely alive with vibrancy.

I love the explosion of colours, sounds and smells. You’ll experience dancing snakes, monkeys dressed in football kits and wedding dresses and people wanting to barter and beg with you to visit the stall.

We actually visited in the daytime and a couple of days later we went back to experience it in the evening as well – it was like a tale of two halves. Both brilliant in my opinion!

Top tip: its advisable not to drink the fresh juices from the stalls, or have henna. It all looks lovely but our hotel told us that the one thing you don’t want is bad bellies or a bad temporary tattoo!

– Garden Marjorelle (YSL Garden) now I’m not a huge garden fan but for around £15 a ticket we decided to spend a few hours there after a few recommendations.
It was beautiful (if you like IKEA blue) but really it was just an Instagrammers paradise – you couldn’t walk freely without having to queue for a picture at a ‘famous landmark’ or queue to wait for others to take their perfect photo. Some of the people we witnessed were hilarious, taking it all very very seriously.

We perused the gardens and all brought a memento poster and postcard from the gift shop; which was sensibly priced.

Kick back and relax poolside – with the temperature soaring in July, laying under the shade by the pool with the option to dip in was much needed. Total R&R at its finest!

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