Romantic 8 Days in Morocco
Arts & Culture
Morocco is the place to visit for food, artisanal shopping, luxury and excursions. For the couple that needs 8 blissful days away, this itinerary uses Marrakesh as the home base and explores the Atlas Mountains, Agafay Desert and Essaouira. Days are spent getting lost in souks, eating incredible food and sipping mint tea.
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Where to stay
El Fenn Hotel, Restaurant and Rooftop Bar
Unique boutique accommodation in Marrakech featuring 3 swimming pools, a roof terrace, spa, two cocktail bars — and a family of resident tortoises.
A bottle of wine for one/two nights.
A pair of Babouche slippers each, fruit, flowers, a bottle of wine and macarons for three nights or more.
Unforgettable 14-room Kasbah and home to Louis Benech gardens, around five hours from Marrakech on the edge of the desert.
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Full breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom (locations change daily)
A complimentary 50-minute massage for two people, once during stay
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Day 1: Arrival at El Fenn
Arrive to the edge of the medina and check in at the ultra cool boutique hotel El Fenn. Enjoy a healthy lunch on their rooftop and unwind in the pool after your long flight.
Head to Majorelle Gardens and the YSL museum in the late afternoon for a stroll through the beautiful gardens and museum.
A quick jaunt (or taxi) brings you to Gueliz, an upscale neighborhood that houses art galleries, high end shopping and restaurants. Have dinner at the popular neighborhood spot Plus61 (also open for lunch,) a hip Australian restaurant serving fresh, healthy bites in a beautifully minimalist space.
Finish your night back at El Fenn over a cocktail and one last call to prayer from the nearby mosques.
Day 2: Exploring the Medina
Start your day with a guided tour of the medina, organized by El Fenn. The Medina can be very overstimulating and crowded, so having the guide on the first day helps you to get your bearings and know what shops have the best selections. The guide will take you to the best rug, lantern, straw bag, Tamegroute Pottery and copper shops. Make sure to spend plenty of time at Les Nomades de Marrakech, a department store-sized rug souk ranging from antique to custom made. Terrasse des Epices is a great place to have a rooftop lunch in the center of the Medina and be sure to shop the hand blown juice glasses below the cafe after you have recharged. The Jardin Secret is a beautiful garden tucked in with the chaos of the medina. A nominal fee gets you a ticket in. It is a great afternoon break from bartering.
Head back to El Fenn for a dip in the pool and a refreshing cocktail before freshening up for the night and heading out to Le Palace for a romantic dinner in a space that feels like a night club meets old world Hollywood spot. The dimly-lit downstairs is covered in red velvet and displays racks of YSL masterpieces.
Day 3: Dar Ahlam
After an enormous breakfast on the rooftop of El Fenn, a driver will pick you up and begin the 4.5 hour trek to Dar Ahlam (House of Dreams) in Southern Morocco. The drive is quite meditative as you head through the mountains and on through Ouarzazate, where Gladiator was filmed.
At last you will arrive down a dirt road to the 14 suite Kasbah. Dar Ahlam is known for their excursions. We were welcomed to an incredible lunch on a low lying table over a river in the hotel's garden. There was a vintage rug, cushions, multi-courses served and Moroccan rose to send us into a state of bliss.
After lunch we settled into our spacious suite and were invited on a walk through the palm groves of Skoura. We took an excursion to a nearby mountain top to enjoy a tea ceremony and cocktails at sunset complete with vintage rugs, cushions and brass tabletop. Other than the guide and the bartender, we were the only humans in sight. The stillness is hard to come by these days and has become a part of our core memory. We arrived back at the Kasbah to a candlelit dinner on the lawn.
Day 4: Visit the Berber Village
As no two days are the same at Dar Ahlam, we were surprise with a full day excursion through a Berber village and then onto the Valley of Roses. After a leisurely stroll along a river we arrived at a clearing and a full-blown picnic set up for us, complete with rugs, cushions, table, wait staff and a chef. The afternoon was spent around the pool back at Dar Ahlam followed by a stargazing dinner.
Day 5: Shopping at the Souk
Spend the day driving back to Marrakech where you will reconnect with El Fenn. This is a great time to head to any favorite stalls in the Souks and make some final purchases in Marrakech, and if you need a quick bite head to La Famille, a lovely lunch spot with fresh healthy options. I recommend one final dinner at Nomad or Al Fassia.
Day 6: Agafay Desert
Looking for adventure? Head to Scarabeo Camp for one night in the Agafay Desert, just a short 30-minute ride out of Marrakech in a vintage side car! Scarabeo is a luxury tent camp with a swimming pool and opportunities for camel rides, ATV trips, etc. Enjoy a quiet dinner and cocktails watching the sunset. This is a great time to relax and recharge.
Day 7-8: Essaouira
Head to Essaouira, a sea port town on the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by an 18th century fortress (with cannons still intact.) The sea port town is rich in history and culture. The Portuguese occupied and established a previous fortress in the early 1500's before abandoning it to be taken over by pirates! Eventually in the 18th Century, Moroccan Jews made up the majority of the population and handled Morocco's sea and caravan trade out of Essaouria. This history helps to show why this is such a cool city to visit while in Morocco. The sea crashes up against the fortress walls so the air is salty and thick (in a good way.) The medina here has incredible modern shops (check out Minimal) and fish markets. Ex-pats have established a lovely food scene too. Check Out Caravane Cafe, Nomade and Umia. And make sure to buy Argon Oil products and wood carvings and pieces.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspo? Check out my guide Family-Friendly Guide to Mallorca, Spain and Family-Friendly Things to Do in Berlin, Germany.
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