Marrakech with your family: culture, nature, and authenticity

25/01/2021

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Cosmopolitan and traditional, with its beating heart surrounded by thousand-year-old ramparts and its narrow streets lined with colourful stalls, Marrakech is a city of contrasts, a concentrate of dreams, flavours and authenticity. The ideal combo for a bohemian holiday infused with slow life and mixed discoveries. We’ll give you our best addresses in the red city and its surroundings for a long-lasting and trendy family holiday where relaxation, culture and nature harmoniously complement each other. Are you still wondering what to do with your family in Marrakech? Follow the guide!

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Authentic Marrakech : What to do with your family?

5 authentic and sustainable ideas to inspire your stay, to reconnect with the essentials, give meaning to your holiday and take full advantage of the cultural and heritage assets of the pearl of the south.

Arty outings: a bewitching citadel, Marrakech has always attracted artists, writers and creators. In its streets floats a hippie and bohemian chic spirit that inspired Henri Matisse, Jacques Majorelle and Yves Saint Laurent. To immerse yourself in this arty DNA with your family, go to the MACAAL, a museum dedicated to contemporary African art. Open to the young public, it offers numerous activities for children. Just a stone’s throw from the museum, there is a place where everyone agrees. Art lovers, golf enthusiasts and fans of splendid landscapes can meet at the Al Maaden Golf Resort. As well as offering an 18-hole course, this lush garden is also an open-air museum. 13 monumental sculptures by local and international artists interact with the surrounding landscape. A cultural stroll, with the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. Just Splendid.

Digital detox: the Jardin Majorelle, whose vibrant colours bring sunshine to the trendiest feeds, is a must see. Let yourself be captivated by the 300 species of plants, as rare as they are exotic, and let go of your screens to meditate. Bearing the name of its creator, the French painter Jacques Majorelle, this wooded park highlights the Art Deco and Moorish architecture of the artist’s pavilions and studio. A unique colour scheme for a shot of freshness in the heart of the city! You can spend hours contemplating these colourful harmonies, observing the turtles with the children or…playing hide and seek between the alleys. PS: Mint tea and gazelle horns are divine! Lovers of resourcing gardens? In the heart of the medina, the secret garden is a green haven of peace to be discovered absolutely.

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Responsible and local shopping: Moroccan craftsmanship combines tradition and modernity to perfection: in the heart of the old town or in the modern district of Guéliz, Marrakech is full of trendy shops, concept stores filled with local, eco-friendly and design objects. From luxury furnishing textiles to glass blown in the age-old tradition of Morocco and ironwork worthy of the most beautiful palaces… get ready to go hunting with your family and support the local economy. Among the addresses not to be missed, the Marrakine boutique, Chabi Chic, Sissi Morocco.

Our favourites?  The Art Tissage Tam cooperative, a few kilometres south of Marrakech, which combines quality textiles, traditions and know-how while respecting the local population. Natural and vegetal materials, splendid hand woven Beni Ouarain carpets, hand embroidered cushions will give an ethnic and ethic vibe to your interior. (Visit of the cooperative on reservation). In addition to its sharp selection of beautiful objects, SOME – slow concept store, also offers many DIY and « re-creative » workshops. For children who like to work with their little hands and for all the creative people who would like to make their own basket!

A nature outing: barely 70 kilometres from the red city, the Ourika valley opens the doors to a more secret Morocco. A real nature break, in the heart of orchards and Berber villages. The calm and beauty of the landscapes have attracted many, including Mick Jaeger himself who rented a house there with his children. You can hike there from Setti-Fatma to reach the famous 7 waterfalls (bring suitable footwear), dip your feet in the Ourika river or, quite simply, discover the surrounding Berber villages. Restful for the youngest, who can be discouraged by the rocky paths, donkey rides remain an essential classic and offer an incomparable view of the mountains.

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A heritage stop: an enchanting mosaic in the heart of the city, the Djemaa el Fna square is famous throughout the world. Listed as a UNESCO intangible heritage site since 2001, this vibrant agora comes alive at nightfall with storytellers, snake charmers, animal showmen, fortune tellers and musicians. A show that is very much appreciated by children, who will be able to get up close and personal with exotic animals in complete safety. It is also a beautiful encounter with the Moroccan art of living and its age-old traditions. Lovers of history and architecture should make a diversion to the Medersa Ben Youssef, an old Koranic school of the 16th century, perfectly restored. Colourful zelliges, moucharabieh, cornices and carved wood are a delight for the eyes.

 

Some kids-friendly activities

A camel-back walk in the palm grove: imagine a forest of palm and orange trees far from the hustle and bustle of the medina. A real park of several hectares, with trees and shade. Now imagine your children, with a smile on their lips, perched on the back of a camel in this idyllic setting. Horse riding, bike hire and camel rides: the palm grove is the ideal place for families looking for an exotic walk. Touristic, yes, perhaps… but above all unforgettable!

Getting a little higher: the alleys of Marrakech and their high ochre walls have a crazy charm. But seen from the sky, the imperial city and its surroundings take on yet another dimension. During a hot-air balloon flight, the whole family can enjoy a magical, suspended experience, in addition to a breathtaking view. You have to get up early, but when the pink light of dusk caresses the line of the Atlas Mountains, young and old alike have stars in their eyes. In town, many agencies (sometimes even your hotel) offer to live this experience.

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An evening worthy of the thousand and one nights: ready for a dream evening? Comfortably installed on the traditional cushions of a Berber tent in the heart of the palm grove, live a moment worthy of the thousand and one nights. Attend a real « Fantasia » revisited under the stars. Inspired by the military parade of the same name, the show is enriched with oriental legends and invites acrobats, dancers, musicians in addition to the traditional horsemen.

 

OUR LUXURY ADDRESSES FOR FAMILIES

Selman Marrakech

At the gates of the Red City, Selman Marrakech combines the traditional Moroccan art of living with the luxury of intimacy. It stands in a vast garden, like a palace of a thousand and one nights. Imagine a superb terracotta-coloured building where the zelliges give pride of place to the moucharabiehs, where the silhouette of the palm trees is reflected in the 80 metres of an iconic swimming pool… The decoration of the Selman Marrakech is the work of Jacques Garcia, the most artistic of interior decorators, who also designed the Mamounia, another mythical address in the imperial city. The kids-club is at the level of the little sultans, who love the different play areas as well as the numerous workshops which are proposed to them. Dedicated to children, the horse-drawn carriage rides with the ponies from the hotel’s stud farm are a real dream come true. Their parents can relax as a duo under the incredible stone laces of the « Espace Vitalité Chenot » spa. A la carte, more than a dozen rituals and all the treatments that accompany a successful holiday.

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Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech

Sophisticated elegance, these are the first words that come to mind as you stroll through the interiors and gardens of the Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech. In the rooms, suites and villas, the soothing décor showcases local craftsmanship while maintaining a modern class. Fine iron lanterns, traditional carpets with incomparable softness and beautiful vintage pieces draw the contours of this intimate cocoon. From the vast balconies, from which all the accommodation is provided, you can see the Atlas mountains in the distance, sprinkled with snow, whose beauty is further enhanced by the lush surrounding gardens. At the foot of the hotel, an 18-hole golf course stretches over 75 hectares, while the Fairmont Royal Palm spa lends its oriental decor to ancestral wellness rituals. On the family side, the Fairmont is not to be outdone and can boast the largest kids-club in Morocco, covering 500 square metres, with play areas and wellness areas for your kids.

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GASTRONOMY: WHERE TO EAT?

The grand Café de la Poste is a simply mythical address. Located in the modern district of Guéliz, it gathers around its menu many expatriates in search of European flavours.  The interior, cleverly retro, of this former post house from the 1920s has been designed by KO Studios, a duo of architects who also designed the very chic Yves Saint Laurent museum. As for the kitchen, the table at the Grand Café de la Poste is inspired by French bistronomy and deliciously mixes a few Moroccan touches. The menu evolves with the seasons and the chef’s desires. Nevertheless, the honey and thyme roasted camembert puff pastry, snails in butter or the beef Kefta tagine remain a must. For the little ones, potato salad or luxury club sandwiches are excellent options. Bssaha (good appetite) as they say here!

Grand Café de la Poste, Avenue Imam Malik, Marrakech.

Lovers of beautiful views and good food? Go to the rooftop of L’Mida, a stone’s throw from the Place des Epices. Under the rattan chandeliers and mint green decorative touches, the panorama, grandiose, opens onto the Atlas Mountains. Founded by two friends, this gourmet place mixes « Marrakchi traditions and a taste for simple things« . Beetroot salad with orange blossom and oranges, farandole of Briouates with cheese and candied lemon or an inimitable vegetarian pastilla with chickpeas and onion confit, the L’Mida menu is full of original flavours. For a refreshing stopover between visits, take a look at the drinks menu where you can enjoy tasty mocktails, juices and local teas.

L’Mida, 78 bis Derb Nkhel Rahba Kdima, Marrakech.

La Famille, a portentous name for the Little Guest community! This charming restaurant and shop sets its tables in a garden where bougainvilleas and jasmines bloom between the arches of its whitewashed walls. In designer crockery, taste the wood-fired pizzas in Moroccan style, such as the spinach and mozzarella version with a thyme pesto. Even more original, the beetroot, clementine and coriander cream pizza will remain engraved in your memory (and in your taste buds!). The menu offers other tasty, healthy, vegetarian options suitable for healthy families. After your feast, make a diversion to the adjoining decoration shop: an invitation to travel in a shabby chic spirit.

La Famille, 42, Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Marrakech.

 

Have a good trip!

Mylene Mylène

Mylène, 28 years old, passionate about art and travel, from Strasbourg, France

 

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