Be Inspired - Marrakesh at Dar Al Assad
Score: 9.1

Dar Al Assad, Marrakesh, Marrakesh-tensift-el Haouz, Morocco

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Be Inspired - Marrakesh

Nov 15, 2017 - Nov 19, 2017

4 Nights at Dar Al Assad

Prepare for your senses to be slapped. Marrakesh's heady sights and sounds will dazzle, frazzle and enchant. Put on your babouches and dive right…

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Prepare for your senses to be slapped. Marrakesh's heady sights and sounds will dazzle, frazzle and enchant. Put on your babouches and dive right in.


You’ll understand how religion permeates the rhythms of daily life when you hear the sonorous call to prayer echo out from the mosques. As an old imperial capital, Marrakesh is home to some beautiful examples of Islamic architecture, most impressively the Ali ben Youssef Medersa and the Koutoubia minaret. The city also holds on to a heritage of the other religious communities that once helped it become a vibrant caravan town. Head to the old Jewish district of the mellah to visit the Lazama Synagogue and the Miaâra Jewish cemetery to gain a greater understanding of Marrakesh's cosmopolitan past.

Think of the medina's souqs as a shopping mall, but laid out according to a labyrinthine medieval-era plan. Whether you want to spice up your pantry with North African flavours or buy a carpet to add Moroccan-wow to your house, this magpie's nest of treasures is manna for shop-til-you-drop fanatics.

Got your map ready? Well, it's probably of little use to you here. Wrapped within the 19 kilometres of powder-pink pisé ramparts, the medina is Marrakesh's show-stopping sight of crowded souqs, where sheep carcasses swing from hooks next door to twinkling lamps, and narrow, doodling ochre-dusted lanes lead to nowhere. The main artery into this mazy muddle is the vast square of Djemaa el-Fna, where it's carnival night every night. Stroll between snail-vendors, soothsayers, acrobats and conjurers, musicians and slapstick acting troupes to discover the old city's frenetic pulse. The party doesn't end until the lights go out.

Included

  • Accommodation in a generous-sized room decorated with artworks by internationally recognised artists
  • Breakfast - a feast of baghrir pancakes, butter fried eggs, homemade yoghurt and fresh, flaking pain au chocolat
  • Relaxing are with sunbeds
  • 24h front-desk
  • 24h check-in


Red baked-mud medina palaces beneath the snow-capped High Atlas and a powder-pink ring of ramparts around 19 kilometres of seething souqs, Marrakech is Morocco’s most memorable experience. Founded almost 1000 years ago on the edge of the Sahara, this southern market town grew to become one of the great cities of the Maghreb and a Unesco Heritage site to boot. But Marrakech isn’t some petrified piece of history that tourists come to gawk at, it’s bursting at the seems with an intense density of life and a modern entrepreneurialism that puts Manhattanites to shame. This isn’t a place where you can gracefully glide through. Instead you’ll find yourself telling jokes with snake charmers, dining outdoors in the Djemaa el-Fna, hankering after the latest henna tattoos and getting a hands-on scrub down in the local hammam. Pause for unexpected beauty and banter often with multi-lingual locals, because what are the chances you’ll come this way again? 

Marrakech is a city of moments: gazing on the iconic Koutoubia as the call to prayer rings out at sunset, wandering the Bab Doukkala market buying armfuls of fragrant mint, and ducking under dripping yarn drying to a shade of imperial purple in the Dyers Souk. The focal point of the city’s rambling morphology is the Djemaa el-Fna, its finest sights the sculpted Bahia Palace, the Medersa Ali Ben Youssef and the green cacti garden of the Jardin Majorelle. Come 2016, Marrakech will also have its first piece of museum architecture: a new David Chipperfield-designed Museum for Photography and Visual Arts. 

 

There is much to see and do in Marrakech. An entire day can be dedicated to wandering around the souks, seeking out the best bargains. The city offers several historical and architectural sites as well as some interesting museums.

  • Visit the Palmeraie Palmeraie, the green lung of Marrakech. It is a real oasis on the outskirts of the city. La Palmeraie covers 13,000ha and has about 150,000 palm trees. It is the perfect place to take a nomadic space of a few hours during a camel ride.
     
  • The square of Djemaa El-Fna is the highlight of any Marrakech night. Musicians, dancers, and story tellers pack this square at the heart of the medina, filling it with a cacophony of drum beats and excited shouts. Scores of stalls sell a wide array of Moroccan fare and you will almost certainly be accosted by women wanting to give you a henna tattoo. Enjoy the shows, but be prepared to give some dirhams to watch. By day it is largely filled with snake charmers and people with monkeys, as well as some of the more common stalls. Ignore anyone who offers you something that you do not want or move away: They will be asking you shortly for (too much) money. If you don't want to pay dearly for that henna or the photo of yourself with a monkey on your shoulder, politely decline when his owner approaches.
     
  • The Souks (suuqs), or markets of Marrakech, just adjacent to Place Djemaa El-Fna, are where you can buy almost anything. From spices to shoes, jellabas to kaftans, tea pots to tagines and much, much more. Undoubtedly, being a foreigner means you will end up paying higher prices than a native would, but bargain nonetheless. If you happen to run out of dirhams, you'll find plenty of people in the souks who will eagerly exchange your dollars or euros (though a fair rate here is less likely than at an official exchange). All that said, the sellers are much less aggressive than, say, Egypt or Turkey, so have fun!
     
  • Tanneries Visiting the Tanneries can be an interesting experience. Even if some people tell you the area is only for locals, it is possible to visit the Tanneries without paying a youngster. After finding a Tannery, ask one of the workers if you can visit it and take pictures. The tanneries are at the east end of Avenue Bab El Dabbagh. That 'main' tannery, Dar Dbagh, where they seem to channel all the tourists is near the Bab Debbagh gate. You'll be quickly approached by a guide who'll give you a sprig of mint and tell you that the tour is no charge. At the end of the tour you may be asked for as much as MAD100 for a "tip". This is far too much (€9). Give no more than MAD10-20 and ignore the evil looks they may give you. If you hate or are bad at haggling, show them before the tour how much you will pay them.
     
  • Koutoubia Mosque, right besides Djemaa El-Fna, is named after the booksellers market that used to be here. It is said that the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque is to Marrakech as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The minaret is visible from Gueliz which is connected to the Medina by Avenue Mohammed V. At night, the mosque is beautifully lit. As with most mosques in Morocco, non-Muslims are not allowed inside.
     
  • Saadian Tombs were not discovered until the beginning of the 20th century. They have been preserved just like they were during the glory days of the Saadian rulers. Unlike the El Badi Palace, they were not destroyed, probably for superstitious reasons. The entrance was blocked so they remained untouched for hundreds of years. Inside you will find an overload of Zelij (Morrocan tiles) and some beautiful decoration. Once inside, you can expect to wait in line for about 45 minutes to see the most impressive tomb. While here, look for the tombs of Jews and Christians; they are noted by their different markings and direction of the tomb. MAD10.
     
  • Majorelle Gardens, in Gueliz has an entrance fee of MAD70 and is more expensive than other attractions. It is somewhat overpriced for a modestly sized attraction that you can see in half an hour. However, it provides an excellent respite from the hustle and bustle of the city streets. The park boasts a collection of plants from across the globe, including what seems like every cactus species on the planet. Get here early to avoid the crowds. Inside the gardens is also the very small Berber Museum, for which an additional entrance fee of MAD30 is charged. The garden museum used to host a much larger collection, but the more interesting artifacts are now waiting to be displayed in a new museum next door when it is finished building in the next few years. The Majorelle Café inside the gardens is a pretty and quiet place to rest and get a drink and some food, albeit at very high prices. As you are a captive audience, don't expect to be served haute cuisine. There is a gift shop filled with fascinating period photographs for sale (80-100 years old), though items are far from cheap. Outside the Majorelle Gardens, expect to be harassed very aggressively by taxi drivers and trinket sellers. Be aware that the queues can be long and move slowly, so you might expect to wait in line for 30 minutes or more before entering.
     
  • Dar Si Saïd Museum, on Rue Riad Zitoun Jdid has an entrance fee of Dh 25, is a museum 5 mins away from Djemaa El-Fna. Set in an old palace, it houses many different artifacts from Morocco through the ages, such as wood carvings, musical instruments, and weapons. It is dedicated to the Moroccan craft industry of wood, gathering a very beautiful collection of popular art: carpets, clothing, pottery and ceramics. All these objects are regional, coming from Marrakech and all the south, especially from Tensift, High Atlas, Soussthe, Anti Atlas, Bani, and Tafilal. The interior decoration is quite similar to the El Bahia Palace (though slightly less impressive), so if you visit the one, you might consider skipping the other. MAD10.
     
  • Ben Youssef Madrassa is one of the largest Madrassas in the North Africa. It is a school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque and is home to beautiful art and architecture. Admission is MAD20.
     
  • El Bahia Palace is an ornate and beautiful palace, popular with guided tours and stray cats. The palace is well worth a visit and gives a great impression of what it must have been like to be a 19th century nobleman in Morocco. There is a nice garden with banana flowers, tranquil courtyards, and other lovely plants. The interior decoration is quite similar to the Dar Si Saïd Museum, which is considerably less crowded, so you might want to choose the one or the other. Admission is MAD10.
     
  • El Badi Palace is now in ruins and inhabited by storks and stray cats. There are some underground passageways to explore. Admission is MAD10. The view from the terrace is majestic.
     
  • The Menara gardens, which are west of the city, and consist of a mixture of orchards and olive groves surrounding a central pavilion which is a popular sight on tourist postcards. The pavilion was built during the 16th century Saadi dynasty and renovated in 1869. It has a small cafe.

For over 10 years gorgeous Dar al Assad was the home of fabric designer and interior decorator Daniel Bainvel. Now you can sink into statement beds in brass and carved cedar in one of five royally appointed suites. Decor incorporates baroque chairs, rare Rabati embroidery and artworks commissioned from internationally recognised artists.

Dar Al Assad is located in central Marrakesh, 200 metres from Jamaâ El Fna Square and near the Medina. It offers 5 luxuriously styled Moroccan guest rooms with air-conditioning.

Each of the Al Assad’s guest rooms has a private bathroom with free soaps. Free Wi-Fi is available in the hotel’s public rooms.

Guests of the Dar Al Assad can relax in one of the 3 sitting rooms and enjoy mint tea and Moroccan cakes on the terrace and floral patio.


Hotel Reception

Check in : 01:00 PM
Check out : 12:30 PM


Hotel Amenities

Laundry Service
Restaurant
Wi-Fi Internet
Bar Lounge
Parking
Air Conditioner

This vacation stands under our "do good travelling" guarantee. Our projects impact some of the most disadvantaged people, who not only gain access to jobs, but also redefine their identity and role in society. 100% of the revenue will go directly where needed the most!

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