17 Dec 2008

Morocco’s Pink City is a playground for romantic Bohemians...

Ever since fashion supremo Yves Saint Laurent bought his villa here some 30 years ago, the Moroccan city of Marrakech has been a destination for those looking for an artistic, romantic getaway. Its rosy-hued architecture, bustling streets and vibrant culture make it a hit destination for everyone.

Exploring the maze-like alleys that crisscross the city is the best way to get to know Marrakech. A visit to the city’s heart, the Medina, is a must, where stalls selling all manner of things await you. Colourfully clad salesmen offer water from leather bags and brass cups during the day, then at night the square comes alive with storytellers, Chleuh dancing boys, magicians and ancient medicine-sellers.

At night, head to Pacha Marrakech if you’re in the mood for clubbing – it’s a short taxi ride out of town, but worth it for the big-name DJs who play there. Or visit Teatro, at the Hotel Es Saadi. There’s lots of belly-dancing joints to go to, and you can spend the next morning with a reviving glass of Moroccan mint tea.

While you're there...

Down time
Moroccans are known for their love of ultra-luxe spa treatments, and the best place to get pampered is undoubtedly Les Bains de Marrakech. The classic Hammam treatment is a must, with prices starting from Dhs63.

Souq it up
There are plenty of souqs to choose from. Head to Semmarine for souvenirs, Larzal for wool and clothing, and Place Rahba Kedima for apothecaries, while jewellery fans shouldn’t miss Souq des Bijoutiers.

Enchanted gardens
A visit to the lush gardens, Jardin Majorelle, once the workshop of artist Jacques Majorelle, and donated to the city by Yves Saint Laurent, is ideal for taking some time out. Plants from five different continents are grown amongst burbling blue-tiled fountains, and artworks by designer Pierre Berge.