The sights, sounds and smells are not for the feint hearted. Meat is displayed out on the street, offal on the tables and the motorbikes and donkeys all cruise by. As a pedestrian you just hope to get through it all without getting crushed in the oddly charming chaos.
The Riad we stayed in was situated down a dark alley flanked by piles of rubbish. Dan Hanan (that’s what the Riad was called), was in fact a surprisingly quiet retreat from all the Medina madness. It was a three-star B&B, that could do with a bit of refurbishment, but it was comfortable and relatively inexpensive. The staff were great, very friendly and the rooftop terrace was amazing … you could spend forever here, just enjoying the sounds of the Marrakech night.
The majority of the Pure delegates and exhibitors chose to stay in Western hotels like the Sofitel, but I’m not sure there is a real authentic Marrakech experience to be had at the Sofitel. Then again how out of their comfort zone does the top end traveller really want to be? I’ve realised that it is one thing to say you’re looking to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, but it is quite another thing to actually enjoy it.
While I found my stay in the Medina enlightening I think that next year I will retreat to the sanctuary of the delightful Villa des Orangers – a Relais and Chateaux property that I love – situated outside the Medina walls. The Villa des Orangers have added new rooms since my last stay and a fabulous Hammam. Yes, I think the Villa des Orangers it will have to be!
Tags: 2009 Morocco Pure Life Experiences, Authentic Marrakech Experience, Beautiful Villa des Orangers, Dan Hanan, Foreign Culture, Great Rooftop Terrace, Marrakech Medina, Riad, Sofitel, Villa des Orangers