4 DAYS IN MOROCCO
The second leg of our babymoon trip was a stop in Morocco. This was actually my favorite destination of the three (Canary Islands, Morocco, and Portugal)! Morocco was so different and full of culture. We loved getting to see the scenery, ways of living, food, and so much more!
The Sirayane Hotel was gorgeous. Just a 15 minute drive from the main medina area, it was truly an escape. You'll realize you might need that after spending a crowded day in the center of the city. Totally serene and peaceful, the tall walls and enclosed structure transport you to another level of relaxation. Though all the rooms were booked, we never felt overcrowded. The swimming pools were large with plenty of day beds. We actually had our own private pool, but poolside mint tea sounded too good sometimes. The rooms were always well kept and very clean. They have their own water supply which is a bonus so you don't have to worry about swallowing water. The downside is that you can't take super long showers. Overall we are finding ourselves at more and more boutique hotels. You get all the amenities, while still feeling like the staff truly cares about your stay. I would definitely recommend the Sirayane Hotel.
There is SO much to do in Marrakech. With only 3 full days in the city it was so hard to narrow down the options. Obviously on our first day, we wanted to see the Medina. Our hotel had a free shuttle that dropped us off right in front of the Koutoubia Mosque. From there we got to explore the souks as they were opening. I would definitely recommend dressing in layers. We went in January and with the dessert climate, the temperature was about 40 degrees F and warmed up to around 65 degrees by 11am. The medina was all the beauty you've seen in pictures and all the craziness you might expect. We had numerous people approaching us at the same time that left us a little overwhelmed. First a lady doing henna grabbed my hand and wouldn't take no for an answer and let me tell you - this granny had a death grip like no other! I could not get my hand out of her grasp. As I was asking Drew to get a wet cloth from inside my backpack to wipe it off, a snake charmer had his arms extended with a cobra wrapped around them. I wasn't playing games with that so I gave him a firm no. Then before I knew it another man was putting his hat on me asking to take a selfie for money. Who knows where his hat has been?! At that point, I had seen enough of the medina lol. Definitely an experience. If you need a break, seek shelter at any riads. We were told all riads will offer mint tea to welcome guests, which is exactly what we did at Riad Imilchil. We might the nicest guys there, who inevitably helped us make NYE plans after ours cancelled on us.
Since that night was New Year's Eve, so we went back to the medina and enjoyed a buffet and dance experience at a great restaurant. The manager from Riad Imilchil even came to check on us a few times and make sure we were having a good time.
We were unsure of the late night situation of the city and transportation back to the hotel, so we decided to make it back to our hotel before midnight. Somehow we got the wrong time of the hotel shuttle and missed it, so we thought we'd just hop in a cab. Wrong. There is a tons of taxi drivers that park 50 feet away and try to solicit rides, so even if you do catch a cab, they will most likely stop the car, open the door, and ask you to get out and follow them. We probably should have said no at this point, but we were so eager to get back that we followed and were set up with a taxi driver. Make sure you know the going rates for travel because they will try to start at a very high price. Ours ended up being 150 dirhams or about $15 USD, which was a little higher than it needed to be, but at that point we took it.
For those of you who are invested in this story, we made it back two minutes before midnight, ran into our hotels party and were there for the champagne popping and cake sparklers. Kind of an annoying but makes for a really fun/funny memory.
On our second day, we visited a Berber village in Imlil. It was a such a cool experience to be in such a small community and talk to our guide about their day-to-day lives. We then enjoyed tea and a meal looking over the Atlas Mountains. Once we got back from the day-trip, we were exhausted and kicked it pool side with some fries.
Our third day started out with a hot air balloon ride at sunrise and a camel ride in the afternoon. For the evening, we headed back into the medina for a cooking class with Maison Arabe. We learned a lot and got to eat some pretty amazing food. Moroccan food in general is spiced in a way that leaves a savory flavor with a hint of sweetness. It's nothing too overbearing that will leave you regretting eating it on the toilet later lol. After the class we explored over to La Mamounia (the hotel you probably see in all celebrity and instagram pics) with reservations at the Churchill bar. Its absolutely stunning - and very boujee - both outside and inside the hotel.
It was a great way to cap off our final night in Marrakech. Overall we really made the most of our few days and were fortunate to have seen and experienced so much of the Moroccan culture. Morocco definitely is on my top five list of favorite countries I've visited. I wouldn't definitely recommend it to anyone who is on the fence!