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Nice Week In Marrakech
Sunday 6th April, 2008
By: Mike Werner
Location: Normandy, France
Category:  Holidays  Travel 
 

Trish and I spent a week on holidays in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. Marrakech is the city where the King used to live, so it's regal. It's located in the center of the country, and it's famous of its inner city, surrounded by an immense wall; The inner city is called the Medina.

Weather is usually nice, specially at this time of the year. The lowest we had during the day was 25°C, the highest 31°C.

We decided for a change not to do things ourselves, but to go with Club Med. Club Med have 3 "resorts" in Marrakech. The first one is located in the Medina itself, and called Club Med Medina (not very original, but  at least there's no confusion). The 2nd, and by far largest, is called Club Med La Palmeraie and is located in the suburbs, at about 15 minutes from the Medina.

The 3rd resort, then one we stayed at, is located inside the 2nd one. It's called the Club Med Le Riad, and is pretty exclusive. Its all about pampering... (Riad is the name given to the local gentry houses, a special sort of house with lots of space - click here for a description). Below is first a photo reportage of the Club Med, then a few photos of Marrakech itself.

NOTE
: More high quality photos can be found here --> smug mug

Club Med Le Riad


The entrance to the Club Med Le Riad

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There's a doorman 24/7 there. They listen all the time, and just when you think you need to open the door yourself, they open it... it becomes a game to see if you can catch them out...


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Inside the Riad are 30 Riad houses built around ponds. There's water everywhere...

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Each house is divided into 2 guest areas. The lower one, with a garden, and the upper one. We were staying in the upper part of the house.

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The rooms are suites. They have a bedroom and a living room with quite some space.

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There's plenty of storage for your clothes, and even a safe.

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The big bathroom has a very big bath tub, a shower and a toilet.

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In between the bathroom and living room, next to the closets, there are some stairs, leading to the roof.

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On the roof is a 45 m2 terrace. It's completely private and sheltered.

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It even has its own shower, so need to go downstairs to cool down...

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The view from the top is nice, overlooking the other guest houses.

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As I said earlier, there's water running around all the houses, with luscious plants and trees, giving the deserved impression of paradise.

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Inside the main Riad admin structure is a nice library (with internet access).

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The Club Med Le Riad has its own pool. In the morning, that's where you can have your breakfast. The water is at a constant 27°C.

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Lunch and Dinner is not served in the Riad (apart from finger food and breakfast); For that you need to go to one of two restaurants in the main resort, the Palmeraie. The main restaurant is enormous, and is divided into 4 different seating sections, plus an outside area.

We went for a smaller, more intimate one.

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The food was INCREDIBLE! every day, lunch and inner, they will have some 7 different choices, and cooked to very high standards. At times it was impossible to chose what you were going to eat, so you end up eating 2 or 3 main courses.

Needless to say, I put up 3 kilos in one week....

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The desserts were out of this world. All the food was fantastic, and all-you-could-eat!

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Each night has a different themes. One night was Moroccan night, and we were greeted by 10's of Moroccans dressed in their traditional Berber garbs.

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As is the case with the Riad part, the main resort has plenty of water. Pools, ponds and canals everywhere, and often very long.

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In the middle of all this is a bridge overlooking on one side a canal, on the other an enormous swimming pool.

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The swimming pool takes on many curves and side parts.

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One of the canals even comes right up to the main restaurant where people sit outside to eat during lunch.

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The 2nd restaurant is a Moroccan one, built to look like a tent. You need to make reservations for this one, since it's much smaller.

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The inside is somber, but very tasteful. In the middle is the kitchen.

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Built again in a Riad style, there are four dining rooms on each side of the building.

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Half way through diner, the Moroccan musicians come and play their instrument in the hallways next to the dining rooms.

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The food was EXCELLENT. It's Moroccan, so couscous with plenty of meat and veggies. The female head chef is Moroccan, and she knows her stuff. More on her later.....

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Every night, the Club Med staff (called G.O.) put up a show for our amusement...

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The Club Med is situated on 7 hectares of land, and includes a golf course. Here's the pitch & put at night.

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Flowers where to be seen everywhere around the resort.

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The same with fountains and water.

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Here's a view of the main pool from on top of their viewing tower.

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The main Club Med has two pools. The big one seen on the other photos, and a small pool, called the Peaceful pool, not that it's quite, because it's anything but quite; it's peaceful for the parents, since kids can use the pool since it's not deep.

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The Riad pool was also the center part for evening drinks. They put candles around the pool, making it look quite nice.

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One day we went back to the Moroccan restaurant for a cooking lesson. Their main chef taught us how to make a delicious Chicken Lemon Confit Tangine. It's not difficult (at least it wasn't for her), and it was fun since she's a good teacher.

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The Moroccan restaurant was also open after 2 pm for those that could not make it to the main restaurant. They served nice BBQ style food, but with a distinct Moroccan flavor.

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Sometimes in the main part of the resort, they would in the evening have drinks and finger food. Usually, there would be a singer animating the evening.

Club Med Medina


One day we took the shuttle bus (every half hour for 18 hours a day) to the Club Med Medina, in the middle of the old town.

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The Club Med Medina is quite small, with far less activities and restaurants, but anyone staying in any of the Club Meds can go and eat or play in the other Club Med resorts in Marrakech, EXCEPT for the Riad resort; That is only for its own guests (but we were allowed to go to the other ones).

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However, the Club Med Medina was tastefully decorated.

Marrakech Medina Visit


Twice we hired a private guide and a driver to bring us into the medina. It's money well spent, since they know exactly where to go, and you don't get pestered by touts, beggars etc.

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The medina souk is like all souks: small & narrow streets full of shops selling anything you want.

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Inside the medina there are 100's of riad houses. Most of them have been converted into hotels or guest houses. Some can be visited.

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Most of the walls of the houses are painted in a terracotta color. They make a beautiful contrast with the sun.

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Many of the older places can be visited since they have been turned into museums. This place used to be a monastery for Muslim monks training to be Imans.

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The place is built like most houses in Marrakech; an open central area to let the air circulate, cooling down the house.

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This was the main and central courtyard of a small palace.

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Here Trish is relaxing in the Palace like a princess (no, you do not need to wear head scarves, Trish just did it for the sun).

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This is what used to be the kitchen for the palace.

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Most houses were painted these colors.

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We of course ended up in one of the many spice shops, with 1000's of spices....

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The spices are very colorful. Outside you could find big bags full of them, and...

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... inside you could find the finer spices in glass jars.

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Very colorful...

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We also ended up in a carpet shop (previously visited by Robert Redford, Patrick Stewart and Will Smith). The owner looks unhappy, because after an hour of negotiating, he sold us a very big Berber carpet from €700 for €200...

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This is the central minaret (the tower from which they call for prayers) of the medina

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Just outside the medina walls is a large park with a pond. The house is called the Menaret, and belonged to a rich Moroccan who wanted water in front of his house, but the sea was a bit too far away.

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All along the streets you could find flowers everywhere.

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The houses are quite pretty.

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Even the flats are painted the same colors.

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And this is the last photo to show you that we did have sun..and lots of palm trees...

It was a great holiday, and one we'd recommend....

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