Nestled away in the middle Atlas Mountains, only a 45 minute drive from Marrakech lies the enchanting Ourika Valley.

When you think of skiing, perhaps Morocco isn’t one of the first countries that springs to mind. However as the snow builds in the winter months, Ski resorts higher up the peaks of the Atlas Mountains come alive as tourists flock to challenge themselves on the runs.

Yet it’s during summer months that the Ourika valley reveals its brightest colours. As the winter ice begins to thaw, the waterfalls of Ourika spring to life and become remarkable sites of natural wonder.

After arriving just a few days before in Marrakech, resident video blogger Jamie Horton and I quickly learnt that tourists and Marrakshi locals alike were flocking to the falls to bask in the beauty of the valley and of course to seek some respite from the intense Moroccan sun. So we left the red city to learn more.

The first stop on the excursion is the village of Setti Fatma. It lies in a picturesque location along the banks of the River Ourika and you will find restaurant’s and cafe’s scattered across the river banks. On your hike back down after visiting the waterfall this is the perfect spot to enjoy a light lunch. Many of the dinner tables are placed in shallow water, making for a wonderfully atmospheric meal that will leave you with cool toes!

As we begin our ascent, following the trails that lead up to the waterfalls we pass through a patchwork of souvenir shops and cafe restaurants. Nestled in the leafy greens of the mountains, we are interested to see that locals channel the icy waters of the waterfall using aqueducts to keep the cafe refreshments cool from the Moroccan sun.

Setti Fatma bottles

After a short upwards hike, Jamie and I have reached the Setti Fatma waterfalls. Over bottles of Fanta lemon we look back down upon the way we have came and the views of the flatland surrounding the Atlas are truly spectacular.

Setti Fatma view

The owner of the cafe next to the Setti Fatma waterfall introduces himself as Tarik and he informs me as the temperature in nearby Marrakech starts to build over the summer months, more and more Marrakshi locals seek respite in the cascades. Both Jamie and I are native to the country famed for it’s rain and bad weather and the slow realisation creeps over us that if local Moroccans can handle the 20 degree drop in temperature by holding themselves under the icy cascades of Setti Fatma, then so must we.

Setti Fatma Cascade

Both Jamie and I tried to maintain outwardly appearances of masculinity. I’d like to think we held that facade for at least a little while.

A journey to the Ourika valley is perfect for a one day excursion for those staying in Marrakech. The 45 minutes by car that it takes to reach the valley are spent on roads that wind around the stunning landscape of the Atlas mountains so the journey there is breathtaking in itself. Excursions can be booked hassle-free through our luxury Riad hotels, all of which are perfectly located in the heart of the Marrakech Medina. 


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The Koutoubia mosque was built in the 12th century under the Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur to be the crowning glory of his North African based empire, it is indeed today still the largest mosque to be found in Marrakech today. The structure stands 69 metres tall towering over the surrounding city, an impressive structure by any account. However it was during the period of imperialism under the French that it was decreed that no structure in the rest of marrakech was permitted to be taller than the Koutoubia, thereby sealing the Mosque’s place in Marrakech’s architectural history. The name of the Koutoubia derives from the Arabic for library as the mosque used to be surrounded by sellers of religious manuscripts thereby gaining the mosque literary connotations that led to it being quasi designated a library. Although the actual mosque itself does not permit non-muslims to enter a non-muslim can still observe the majesty of the mosque from the outside of the Building.

The prayer hall within the mosque is one of the largest of its kind and has the capacity to house up to 25,00 people at any one time. Adjacent to the mosque are archaeological remains of the original mosque which it is believed was rebuilt to correct its orientation to Mecca. These remains are accessible to visitors and can be seen through glazed protective cases. The fabulous Rose gardens adjacent to the Mosque are an oasis of calm in the city used by locals and tourists alike, a must for any Marrakech holiday.

Stay in one of our luxury Marrakech Riads, the perfect base to explore the ancient red city.

Marrakech Jemaa al Fnaa Map

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One thing that it is impossible to fail to notice whilst meandering round Marrakech’s old town (the medina) is that there are a fair number of people who are quite interested in getting you to spend your money in their shops/stalls. Luckily since the introduction of the Tourist police a few years ago this merely boils down to shopkeepers saying the immortal words ‘come my shop my friend’ or generally repeating the name of what they’re selling over and over again. At least you know what you’re buying when you go in to the shops that way. However as with any form of business innovations have taken place to give certain retailers the edge, this has led to the sales technique this author would like to dub the ‘Berber look’ in that they offer either post-sale or when attempting to make the sale to make you look like a Berber with one of their scarves.


Now the question of whether this ‘Berber look’ is accurate is somewhat debatable however if you’re looking for an amusing souvenir in the form of a photo of you in ‘traditional Berber headgear’ then it can be somewhat amusing to get the salesman you’re doing business with to throw a ‘Berber makeover’ into the bargain (any excuse to get value for money), the look they actually give you is more reminiscent of the Tauregs than any of the Berber groups you are likely to encounter in Marrkech but that certainly doesn’t stop the shopkeepers describing it as the ‘Berber look’. Upon the completion of the ‘makeover’ the individual is given a ‘Berber name’, this author was dubbed ‘Abdul couscous’ much to the shopkeepers amusement. Regardless of possible cultural inaccuracies it’s definitely part of the experience of haggling in the Marrakchi souks (markets) and on occasion quite amusing, so all in all probably worth your time if you’re thinking of buying something anyway. Our Riads are located in the heart of the historic Medina, a 2 minute walk from entering the main souk area, so a stay with us means you can peruse the bustling market areas till your heart is content and perhaps indulge in a ‘Berber makeover’ if so inclined. Book a room now so you too can experience the marvels of Marrakech and the amusing situations that its traditions can sometimes lead to.

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Argan oil can be used in many forms, from massage oils, face creams and peanut butter to bread dipping. Such is the versatility of this oil that it can be used for all myriad of purposes. Any visit to Marrakech or any of the other southern regions one is highly likely to encounter a large number of individuals attempting to sell wares containing argan oil. This does however belie the fact that the argan tree only grows in Morocco and southern Morocco at that. Not only this, but it takes 30 kilograms of nuts to make 1 litre of oil, ensuring that if you buy a bottle of argan oil you can pretty much bank on the fact that none of your friends will have it or perhaps even heard of it (if you’re into that sort of thing). All the same local communities have gone to great lengths to produce as much as they can and to market it as successfully as they can. Indeed due to government initiatives all argan oil is now produced in women’s co-operatives dotted all over the southern reaches of the country. A visit to one of these co-operatives can be very eye opening and it is heartening to see rural women being financially empowered by the wonders of argan oil. Meaning that you not only leave with a lighter wallet but also a lighter conscience.

If you believe all the information/adverts propagated by those who sell argan oil then it may well cure the common cold (in addition to Psoriasis and  exzema), make you look younger and get you a better car than the neighbours. However, that is not to dismiss it’s health benefits as it has indeed been proven to be an excellent source of fatty acids good at combating cholesterol, to be full of vitamin E as well as being far more resistant to oxidisation than olive oil. The oil itself has a subtle nutty flavour and is in this author’s view the most pleasant edible oil product he has ever tasted. Argan oil is quite hard to come by and pricey but no trip to south west Morocco is complete without some exploration of this rare and highly versatile oil and it’s applications. Our Riads are situated in the historic old town of Marrakech which is surrounded by argan country, so anyone out there who’s itching to try this Mahgrebin delight why not book a room today in one of our luxurious Riads and find yourself some argan oil, we can even organise a day trip to Essaouira where you can stop off at one of the many co-operatives en route and while you’re there sample the Argan oil delights that Marrakech and Morocco has to offer.

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During Ramadan there is a particular Moroccan sweet or cookie that is particularly popular, this dish is called Shebakia and it closely represents a pretzel to the western eye-view however it is disimilar to a pretzel in that it is sweet and is fried as opposed to bake. The dish is relatively easy to bake and is made from a simple combination of flour, margerine, oil, baking powder and water. A paste like dough is made from these ingredients and the resulting pretzelesque shape is then places in oil and fried until light brown and crispy. The pastry is then removed from the oil left to cool and then either sugary lemon syrup or honey is drizzled over the pastries. This means that the pastries are lovely and sticky and sweet when they are consumed.

Shebakia is a common example of street food which is very popular in Marrakech, in that in can be bought essentially in bitesize  chunks and then consumed on the move. Shebakia is also however often bought and then taken home by its purchasers as a dessert dish after a main meal. Eaten in either way Shebakia is a delicious treat which has to be tried during any visit to Marrakech or Morocco in general. Our Riads are situated in the heart of the historic medina of Marrakech where one can find Shebakia at any of the numerous small pastry shops that are scattered all over the medina. So a stay with us means you can not only enjoy plentiful opportunities to try the wonderful Shebakia but plentiful opportunities to explore and marvel at all that Marrakech has to offer as Morocco’s premier tourist destination. Book a room today and you can share in these amazing experiences.

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There are few things that are more satisfying whilst out on a swelteringly hot day than a cool and tasty ice cream. If you find yourself in Marrakech on a particularly hot day then that is exactly where Patisserie des Princes steps in. Situated just off the square Jemaa el Fna Patisserie des Princes is the perfect venue for a brief rest on any sightseeing tour of the old medina due to its strategic place near the square and many of the other historic tourist attractions that Marrakech’s medina has to offer. The interior has air conditioning, which when it can reach up to 45 degrees on occasion in marrakech is a real god send. They offer a wide variety of ice cream, which is both delicious and very cheap by European standards, this makes it both a very pleasurable and surprisingly economic place to stop off en route to any tour of the Marrakech medina, or indeed Marrakech as a whole.

However to imply that Patisserie des Princes is merely a place where one can take advantage of air-conditioning and good value ice cream. Inside lies much more than that, there is a veritable menagerie of all things sugary and related to flour, if your sweet tooth feels it needs an introduction to Moroccan sugar based products then a visit to Patisserie des Princes is the perfect initiation.  They sell pretty much every Morocccan pastry you will ever find, along with a good number of European ones, so if you want a pastry then this author would most certainly advise setting off for Patisserie des Princes. Not only is there a wonderful selection of everything sugary in the shop front but there is also a rather pleasant café area, with a rather fine selection of their own produce as well as a hot and cold beverages (they even serve English teas). Overall Patisserie des Princes is well worth a visit and particularly an excellent place to bring kids as they can escape from the heat and indulge in every kids favourite activity (and adults surely?) in the form of eating ice cream. It’s convenient location mean it is convenient to visit as well as enjoyable and with almost every visit to Marrakech encompassing Jemaa el Fna there’s every reason to factor in a visit to Patisserie des Princes as well. Our wonderful Riads are situated in the heart of the Medina and a short 5 minutes walk from the square Jemaa el Fna and in turn Patisserie des Princes. So why not book a room today to ensure your stay is luxurious and that you are always well positioned to explore all the marvels and sights that Marrakech has to offer, in the Medina and beyond.

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As the call to prayer resonates throughout Jemaa el Fna a strange process starts to take place throughout the square, strange rectangular market stalls appear to pop up from nowhere in the centre of the square and within a few brief minutes the enticing smell of cooking Moroccan food wafting over the square can be smelt.

This may seem like a wonderful prospect, and indeed in many ways it is in that one is given the opportunity to eat like a true Moroccan in an authentic environment. Indeed this is made fairly clear as often with many stalls the majority off their clientèle are locals, however the problem arises from the fact that are so many stalls to choose from and to the uninitiated it can prove a daunting task to disseminate between them. There is also the issue that all the stalls have people who walk around by their stalls and try and persuade you to come and eat on their stall, this can mean that those without firm resolve or a clear idea of where they want to go can end up just eating at the first stall they find on their way. One of the best stalls in the square that this author has tried is stall #12, it like the majority of the stalls serves a fairly identikit fare of various shish kebabs, salads, Tajines and couscous.

The great value for money and amazing atmosphere that’s found in Jemaa el Fna along with the sense that one is having a truly authentic Moroccan experience means that no trip to Marrakech is complete without a dining experience in the square. Our Riads are situated a short 5-10 minute walk away from the square meaning that if you choose to stay with us you can eat in the square at your leisure or enjoy one of our own superbly cooked meals by our excellent staff, either way you’re in for a wonderful experience. Why not book a room today? And soon you too could be enjoying the wonders of Jemaa el Fna and the delights of Marrakech.

Marrakech Jemaa al Fnaa Map

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Nestled away on the Atlantic Coast a two and a half hour drive away from Marrakech lies the small picturesque Moroccan city of Essouira. It is one of the number one destinations for Marrakchi to take a break from the heat of the inland areas, and rightly so as the city is a wonder to visit. It is in many ways the opposite of Marrakech in that it is a sleepy, provincial and coastal city, but this is not in any way to its detriment. Indeed if one is visiting it from Marrakech the change can be very refreshing as particularly during the hot North African summers it can be very pleasant to go somewhere cooler for a brief period in order to wind down, indeed Essouira fulfils exactly such a role in respect to Marrakech as after a while spent in Marrakech, Essouira can provide an interesting variation and a refreshing short break. As well as the reprieve that Essouira can provide from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech it is also a major historic centre who’s ramparts have been in place for hundreds of years and traces of the town itself go back into prehistoric times. However the town was developed under the Romans and many archaeological artefacts can be found in the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdellah museum in Essaouira itself and this was not the only passage in Essaouira’s history later on it was colonized by the Portuguese, who gave it the name Mogador, which the city is still occasionally referred to as, it was then controlled by a local fraternity who took the city only four years after the fortress was completed. Subsequently there were several attempts by various colonial powers to wrest control of Essaouira until the French eventually took over the vast majority of the whole country in the 20th century. However it was during the 18th century that Essaouira made it’s major ascension to notability as it was deigned the major port of Morocco by the then Sultan Mohammed III who wished to construct a port with which he could conduct trade with Europeans and in order for most of the trade to travel through Marrakech as Agadir had been favouring his political rivals of late. Indeed Muhammed III closed the port of Agadir in order to further encourage trade to be directed through Essaouira, this included relocating a number of Europeans and encouraging the local Jewish population to move to the city to further facilitate trade. The port dealt with items brought from the deserts on the caravan routes and items from Timbuktu and the sub-sahara.

All these factors contributed throughout history to give Essaouira a rich and interestingly mixed heritage. Therefore a trip to this seaside city is not just an excuse to hit the beach but can also be a very cultural experience too, as previously mentioned the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdellah museum is a prime example of this and due to the good value that nearly all of Morocco’s public museums present it is certainly not to be missed out by anyone interested in Essaouira’s interesting heritage.

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If one had to think of a city where it would be easy to find slightly more exotic international cuisine then Marrakech is not perhaps one of the places that immediately springs to mind. However such preconception is misplaced as in recent years there is a new breed of Marrakchi or expat restaurant owners who are bringing new flavours and feels to Marrakech. This particular restaurant is one of a very small number of restaurant that serve sushi and Japanese food in general in Marrakech and it does so with great style, the restaurant itself is strikingly decorated and the style of decoration continues with the food presentation, menus and general ambience. These combine to give the restaurant a wonderful atmosphere and one that is certainly different to the average ambience of a restaurant in Marrakech.


The food itself is delicious and very reasonably prices, it is easily possible for two people to eat for under 300 dirhams, the one downside is that they do not serve alcohol, but in a way this just serves to add to the atmosphere as it contributes to the restaurants clean feel. The restaurant offers a selection of Japanese dishes, ranging from numerous types of shushi and sashimi to teryaki style skewers and tempura. For value for money and general depth of experience a sushi platter is thoroughly recommended as one is able to try a wide variety of sushi at a generally competitive price, the food not only tastes good but is also very aesthetically pleasing, in keeping with the restaurant’s general stylish aura. The restaurant also has an interesting supply of drinks with iced chai tea being particularly good along with the lemon and ginger juice. The position of Ocha sushi on the rue Yugoslavie means it is easily accessible from central Gueliz or by a 15 minute walk/ 3 minute taxi ride from Jemaa el Fna. Our Riads are wonderfully placed in the Medina for easy access to this restaurant and indeed the majority of the finest things that Marrakech has to offer. Book a room now and you can experience all the wonders of Marrakech from a luxurious and wonderfully situated Riad in the heart of the historic Medina.



Just off the centre of the Place du 16 novembre one can find the delightful 16 café, thus named after its location, there they serve up a menagerie of treats to cater to many tastes. If you are just thirsty you can try one of their many drinks which range from the particularly enjoyable café frappé to their interesting selection of cocktails. The Café is ideally situated to sit and people watch as the hustle and bustle of Gueliz new town unfolds in front of you. The food is reasonably prices and all dishes can de requested in half portions meaning that if you’re looking for a chic and friendly place for a light lunch 16 café will be right up your street.

Another particularly interesting and indeed enjoyable feature of the café is the small jets which spray misted water over the patrons who choose to sit outside, obviously this function is only activated during hot weather and as such can be a real god send if the North African heat is proving a bit too much to bear. The food is enjoyable with the sandwiches being particularly enjoyable, though no trip to the café is truly complete without partaking in some of the local pastries of which 16 cafés take are especially enjoyable, not only are they very delicious but they come in an array of interesting colours which certainly brightens up any meal. All in all the cafés competitive pricing, wonderful choice of food and drinks and enjoyable layout making it one of Gueliz’s and indeed Marrakech’s finest spots to have lunch. The Cafés location mean it is only a 15 minute walk from Place Jemaa el Fna making it highly accessible and easy to get to from the Medina and of course Gueliz itself. Our wonderful Riads are situated in the heart of the Medina just north of Jemaa el Fna and the Café can easily be walked to in 15-20 minutes or one of the cities ubiquitous and very cheap taxis can take you there. Either way our Riads provide you with a great base from which to explore the wonders of the Medina and the many interesting and chic locations in Gueliz. Book a room in one of our Riads now and you can experience all Marrakech has to offer whilst staying in relaxing luxury.

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The Majorelle Gardens situated in the heart of Marrakech’s fashionable Gueliz district is a botanical and artistic sight to behold, originally designed and constructed by Jacques Majorelle a French expat in 1924 during the colonial period of Marrakech when the area was a French protectorate. It is therefore one of the rare number of European landscaped gardens in Morocco and indeed in Marrakech and is renowned for it’s beautiful array of flora. The gardens in fact house one of the largest collections of rare and exotic plants in North Africa, making them an interesting proposition for anyone interested in plants or indeed anyone who wishes to see a majestic array of interesting and exotic trees and bushes.

The garden is split into a number of sections each featuring a different type of plant. Of particular interest are the water based plants which are interesting to find in such a dry country as Marrakech and look very impressive. Another thing which is particularly enjoyable is the canopy formed by the larger trees which allow individuals to walk around the garden and marvel at the plants whilst staying cool. The Gardens were bought by Yves Saint-Laurent in 1992 and were maintained by him until his death in 2008, there is now a small memorial in the gardens dedicated to his memory which provides a poignant reflection on his life. There is also a museum which at the time of writing was closed for repairs and refurbishments but which will be reopening in September 2011.

The Gardens are also fairly good value for money as they cost 50 dirhams to enter which at the time of writing is around £3, there is also a fairly pleasant café where one can relax and drink a coffee and simply marvel at the horticultural wonders of the gardens. The location of the Gardens is also fairly convenient as it is placed just north of the Medina making it easily to possible to walk there without over-tiring oneself or becoming lost. Our Riads are perfectly situated in the north of the Medina to visit this wonderful botanical garden and to take in the wonderful sights and sounds of the Medina in general. Book a room without delay to enjoy these gardens and the other wonderful sights and sounds that Marrakech has to offer.

Opening Times: Its open every day as the following :
-1st oct to 30th apr from 8h00 to 17h30
-1st May to 30th Sept from 9h00 to 17h00
Entrance fee: Garden 50 dh / Museum : 25dh




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From the 9th to the 12th of august 2011 Morocco received some visitors in the form of a whole cruise ship full of American students. This was thanks to the semester at sea program whereby students embark on a cruise ship (in this case starting in Nassua the Bahamas) and then proceed to tour a portion of the world whilst both having lessons and exploring the regions in which the boat and the travellers find themselves. This summer the boat and its inhabitants were travelling round the Mediterranean stopping off in Spain, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and finally of course Morocco. This year a group of students booked the exclusive use of Riad Papillion and the majority of Riad Cinnamon. The students indulged in a number of activities of which their favourites were zip-lining in Terre d’Amaner and camel riding and quad biking in the Atlas Mountains. All arranged by member of our staff for the visitors and all at short notice.

The semester at sea students reported that they enjoyed the Riads friendly and relaxed atmosphere and that the staff really helped them take full advantage of the environment of Marrakech. They also praised the Riads convenient setting in the heart of the historic old town and the brief walk to the new town and to the Jemaa el Fna square. All in all the students seemed very pleased with their experience and we hope to see such groups here again at our Riads, as we also played host to a Semester at sea group in 2010 and they gave similarly warm appraisals. It would be an absolute pleasure to see such a group again. Why not book your own holiday with us to have a similarly wonderful experience?

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Here at Riads Cinnamon and Papillon we buy as much as possible of our food from local suppliers. We shop daily visiting our regular stall and shop owners. Their personal relationships directly back to the farmer mean that we know where our food has been right from the minute that it has been picked till the moment it lands on your table. We take great pride in the fact that we endeavour to support local businesses and individuals who not only help us to provide our guests  and staff fantastic fresh food but help contribute to the local economy.

This photo shows Hassan our supplier of the majority of our fruit and veg and Yassine the guardian of Riad Papillon placing an order with him. Hassan has been working in his shop for over 10 years now since he took it over from his father. He has been supplying Riad Papillon since we opened in 2009. Early each morning he goes to the outskirts of the city where he and other traders purchase fruit and vegetables from farmers based around Marrakech.  So why not book a room with one of our riads today, safe in the knowledge that you’ll not only be spending an amazing time in an amazing place but also helping local people.

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The Saadian tombs in Marrakech’s medina are the resting place of the former royal dynasty of Morocco, built in the 16th century by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur they were lost for many years only to be rediscovered by archaeologists in 1917. Since then they have become an integral part of any culture or history fans visit to Marrakech. The tombs themselves are a collection of archways and small buildings housing the caskets of former rulers from the Saadi dynasty, this dynasty was so opulent and rich that they were in fact known as the golden Saadis, it is perhaps then no surprise that their tombs show such wonderful artwork and craftsmanship. There are thought to be around 60 of the members of the dynasty buried in the tombs and after their rediscovery the tombs underwent a renovation by Beaux-arts service, therefore what the visitor views is more recent renovation than 500 year old tomb, however this allows for the tombs to be both very aesthetically pleasing as well as having a great historical significance. Marrakech was indeed the capital of the Saadian sultanate and it is therefore unsurprising that their tombs should be located here, although Marrakesh is no longer the capital of Morocco one certainly gets a view on the historic importance of this city by visiting the tombs and a comprehension of their place in Morocco’s heritage.

The most famous room of the tombs is the 12 columned chamber and it is in this room that the grave of the Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur is believed to be buried. The tombs are very cheap to enter with a regular adult costing less than £1, this and the tombs proximity to the square Jemaa el Fna mean that for any true culture or history fan the tombs are a must. Our Riads are situated in the heart of the Medina, a mere 5 minute walk from Jemaa el Fna and 10 minutes from the tombs, allowing a great starting point to explore the medina from, as well as providing top class service and quality. Book a room now and you too can become a satisfied customer and sample the delights of our Riads and Marrakech.

Opening times: Wednesday to Monday from 8h00 to 11h45 and from 14h30 to 17h45

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The Islamic calender also has 12 months like the Gregorian, however whereas the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar (i.e. based on the earth’s orbit of the sun) the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This means that the calendar does not correspond directly to the seasons in the same way that the western calendar does, although it is of either the same length per year or one day less so it is fairly similar. The month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is a considered the holiest of months in Islam as it was during this month that Qu’ran was revealed to Muhammed, therefore the month is a time of special observance for Muslims as they fast as it is seen as a way to burn away sins. The fast includes refraining from eating or drinking whilst the sun is in the sky, not smoking and forgoing sexual activity during daylight hours. This means that during the day it can seem bizarre when observing cafés in Marrakech and only seeing tourists inside them, however Ramadan also means that during the evenings once the sun goes down the city takes on an almost party like atmosphere as people rejoice in finally being able to get some food and drink. It also means that for an hour between 7-8pm virtually everything is shut as families return to their homes in anticipation of breaking the fast, this making it quite hard on occasion to find anyone to ask for directions or a shop where one can buy water during that time period. However it does mean that when people return from breaking their fast they are generally in an exceptionally cheery mood, lending the city a very pleasant atmosphere.

This picture is of a meal made by our very own staff members at our Riad Cinnamon in anticipation of breaking their fast. This is in many ways a typical meal for someone living in Marrakech and about to enjoy finally breaking their fast at the end of a long day, as the fast starts at 4am and normally finishes around 7:30. The observers of the fast know that they can begin to eat when the muhaddin starts the evening call to prayer. All these things lend a magical air to Marrakech during Ramadan and there is no better time of year to visit this city in order to enjoy this wonderful time of year. Our Riads are wonderfully placed within Marrakech’s historic medina allowing you to take full advantage of all the city has to offer. Book a room today so you too can share in this wonderful experience.

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The Jewish community has a long history in Marrakech and Morocco at large, indeed the history of the community stretches back to antiquity under the Roman empire following the dissolution of the Jewish state in 70 AD with Jewish people arriving after the destruction of the Jewish state. The Jewish people received relatively kind treatment under the sultans due to their usage of the jiyza system whereby they were left alone as long as they paid their taxes. The community played a prominent role in Moroccan life until the formation of the state of Israel when large numbers left to emigrate to Israel. A very noticeable legacy has however been left by the community both physically and culturally, indeed although the Jewish quarter no longer contains any Jewish people it is still named as such, as an indicator of the areas legacy.

There is also a historic Jewish cemetery to be found in Marrakech, locally known as the Miara, which is an indicator of Jewish cultural heritage in the area. All of these things contribute to historical and cultural aspects of Marrakech that make it one of the most vibrant and interesting cities to visit in the world. A stay in one of our Riads puts you right in the heart of this in Marrakech’s historical Medina allowing you access to all the great culture and heritage Marrakech has to offer.

Marrakech Jemaa al Fnaa Map

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A beautiful palace situated in the south of Marrakech’s historic medina, originally built between 1553-1578 by the Sadiaan king Ahmad al-Mansur to host guests and to act as a residence for him and his family as Marrakech was at the time the capital of Morocco the palace was extensively used. Today however the palace is a historical and cultural sight as opposed to a functioning royal palace with that function ending in the late 17th century when parts of the palace were pulled down so they could be used in the construction of a new palace for the sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif, who decided in order to overshadow the rulers who had come before him it was necessary to dismantle some of their palaces in order to make his all the more impressive. This means that today the palace is essentially a set of ruins, however to describe it merely as such is to insult the majesty of the site that greets one’s eyes upon entering into the complex, the majestic architecture may indeed not be what it once was, but that does not mean it is not still something to behold.

The interior of the Palace is huge with the ground split into four quadrants all containing olive trees around which one can walk. This gives the area a very organic feel and adds a nice splash of colour to the pink and sandy walls, this in contrast to the two large pools which go down the centre of the square give the palace a majestic look and one can certainly put their mind back to the times of the sultans as they walk along the pathways that cross the area of the former palace.

Entrance to the palace is a very reasonable 10 Dirhams meaning that one can take in the cultural and historic sights of this amazing place for less than a pound.

open daily from 9h to 16h 45 / except during Ramadan



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When under the boiling sun that is often to be found in Morocco and indeed much of north Africa, there is little more refreshing or thirst quenching than a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. Luckily if you happen to find yourself in the great square of Jemaa el Fna there is certainly no short supply of places where you can find such a cup of orange juice. Indeed the square is dotted with dozens of stalls bedecked with oranges which when approached will slice then squeeze the oranges for your consumption before your eyes. Not only are the oranges squeezed in front of you, but you can guaranteed that the oranges have been picked from the surrounding countryside and brought to the square that day. Guaranteeing a truly ‘fresh’ experience. This coupled with the fact that a cup will only set you back 4 dirhams (around 35p) means that a cup of juice in the square on a hot day is certainly not something to be missed out on.

A visit to the square is an ideal component of any stay in the old town of Marrakech, which if one is looking for a truly authentic Moroccan experience is the only place to be. Our Riads are a mere 10 minute walk from the square in the heart of the Medina and the ideal location to stay for true Marrakech experience. Book a room in one of our Riads now to ensure you too can share in this adventure.

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Of all the ingredients that spring to mind when one thinks of a smoothie, pistachios are probably not the first thing that springs to most peoples mind. However they are in fact used as a key ingredient in traditional yoghurt based Moroccan drinks. Indeed one would also imagine that the flavour of pistachios would not lend itself particularly to a drink, however once more the Moroccans buck the trend, the drink is only to be found in small market stalls and shops and is mostly sold in plastic bags which one must cut the edge of in order to open to drink. It is created from a mixture of whole pistachios, blended pistachios, honey and yoghurt. Although of course the recipe varies from seller to seller which is one of the reasons which makes trying the drink a diferent experience every time. Such idiosyncrasies are one of the many things that make Morocco and Marrakech such a magical place to visit. Indeed no visit to Morocco or Marrakech is truly complete without a visit to such a place in order to buy food or in this case pistachio yoghurt drink.


This drink is one of the many peculiar and interesting things which can be tried around the souks and markets of Marrakech and our Riads are perfectly positioned in order to take full advantage of them. Indeed one of the great things about being situated within the Medina is the ability to see and take advantage of all the things that traditional Marrakech has to offer. So book one of our wonderful Riads today so you too can experience the world of cultural delights that await.

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If you’re looking for a more historical perspective on Marrakech and Morocco or indeed just looking for a tranquil and interesting place to visit between the hustle and bustle of the markets and the souks then Marrakech Museum is what you’re looking for.  The museum itself is a classic example of the local architecture meaning that is a pleasure simply to look at, never mind being inside,  however once you do enter you can see why the museum is such a well known cultural spot within the city. The museum contains a number of historical items from Moroccan history, such as ancient swords or embroidery. These are all well presented and accompanied by informative descriptions which are all in clear and concise language. The collection of Moroccan cultural items  is indeed impressive, with items ranging from the 14th to the 20th century all collated together for the culture hungry visitor to observe. The museum itself presents an excellent setting within which to situate these items, the central room with is three fountains and Islamic tiles particularly being a sight to behold, the tranquil tinkling of the fountains certainly adding to the already excellent atmosphere which is to be found within the museum.


The museum is not however only home to items from Morocco’s past it also has a modern art exhibition, which at time of writing plays host to work from distinguished French artist Yvan Gervais. His collection of impressionist-esque sceneries are truly a joy to behold and certainly add a modern twist to what otherwise would be a fairly traditional museum. The museum is also fairly cheap as one can buy a combined ticket for the museum, the local religious school and majorelle gardens for only 60 dirhams. This coupled with the museums location in the heart of the old town medina make it a must for any discerning visitor to Marrakech.

Opening Times: Every day from 9h to 18h
Entrance fee: 40dh
You can purchase a joint ticket to visit both the Musee De Marrakech and the Ben Youssef Medersa

Our Riads are situated less than 3 minutes walk from this essential site in the Marrakech Medina. There has never been a better time to book a stay, so reserve your room at one of our Riads now to avoid disappointment.

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Due to scruples contained within Islamic texts it is forbidden to depict living creatures such as humans or animals. This has not however stopped the Islamic world from developing its own very distinctive and beautiful forms of art, indeed many of the forms and shapes expressed within the realms of Islamic art certainly have benefited from these cultural directives. One has simply to look at any mosque found anywhere in the world to appreciate the beauty that can be found in Islamic calligraphy and tessellation. Marrakech is one such place where these sights can be found in abundance and great variation, within the Medina. Any number of the great landmarks that are to be found within the Medina can be seen to display such magnificent pieces.


A real Moroccon experience can be greatly enriched by taking in such wonders, which are to be found all over the old town. Luckily this is all within short walking distance of our wonderful Riad Cinnamon

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The hottest restaurant recommendation in Marrakech. Packed with expats but rarely visited by tourists. Reservation is essential Tuesday to Saturday, on Sunday and Monday le Studio is closed.

Established in 2011 in the heart of the up and coming new town of Marrakech, Le Studio is a smart and very stylish restaurant boasting an outstanding menu of French culinary classics with an international twist. The Thai Beef particularly is to be recommended, and indeed it would seem that beef is this restaurants speciality, naturally it being Morocco it was never going to be pork, but without a doubt nearly all the beef dishes in the restaurant are exceptional. That is not to say that the beef averse should not visit this restaurant, there is also a fine selection of other dishes, including very pleasant fish and vegetarian offerings. One can even partake in a very fine foie gras if they are inclined to do so. These fine dishes are naturally complimented by an excellent wine selection bringing together some truly outstanding Moroccan wines which are specially tailored to the menu.

The staff are very friendly and attentive, speaking both French and English and they certainly give a very fine representation of the restaurant as a whole. The manager one Steeve Verbeek is a most accommodating individual and a very pleasant man to encounter whilst having in a meal in his fine restaurant, indeed the feeling of a truly personal service is one which of the things which helps to make a visit to Le Studio such an enjoyable and memorable experience. The décor of the restaurant is also very impressive, sticking naturally to the theme that its name implies the layout is a chic homage to an Hollywood studio, with the furniture and the layout oozing style. Not only this but the restaurant sports a rather interesting retractable roof, allowing for cool eating in during the often rather warm Moroccan nights. All in all if you are looking for an excellent meal in Marrakech in elegant and stylish surroundings then one should look no further than Le Studio. It is situated on avenue Mouley Rachid behind the popular café de poste. A mere 5 minute taxi drive or a 15 minute walk, our Riads are in a prime position to take advantage of this exciting new culinary development. Book our Riads now to avoid disappointment.

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For a fresh taste of Marrakech it is hard to find a better example of a simple yet delicious dish as Orange Canelle or Moroccan Orange Salad. This salad is the simple combination of slices of orange placed on a plate with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top. This seemingly simple dish is a great addition to any Moroccan meal, it not only being a light and refreshing way to end a meal without feeling too bloated but it also being greatly thirst quenching, which in the ever present Moroccan heat can be a great way to finish a meal. The simple combination of flavours means that almost

anyone can do it, but it is the variations between different practitioners of the preparation of Orange Canelle that truly brings it to life. Cinnamon and Oranges No two people will prepare it in quite the same way, in many ways representing the vibrancy and variation that it to be found within Marrakech itself. Whichever way it is prepared Orange Canelle is truly an authentic Moroccan experience, that must be tried in the country for the full experience. There is no better place to try this wonderful dish than in Marrakech itself in the Medina for a truly authentic Moroccan experience and there is no better place to stay in the medina than in one of our wonderful Riads. Book today.

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For a window into Islamic culture in the Mahgreb and the religious institutions that greatly influenced its development. One can do a lot worse than to visit the Ben Youssef Madrassa. Originally founded during the 14th Century during the Marinid Period by Sultan Abu al-Hassan, the building was first brought to great prominence by its reconstruction and overhaul from 1564-65 by the Sultan Abdul al- Hassan.
Since that point it was the largest Madrassa in the whole of Morocco, bringing the city great prestige and cultural influence. The Ben Youssef was no ordinary school however, it was more akin to a self contained educational community. With 132 rooms and hundreds of students living and learning within its magnificent walls. This combined with its location in the Medina in the historic old town, just a few minutes walk from the Central square Djemaa el Fna makes it one of Marrakech’s primary cultural destinations. Once you enter the building you immediately see why it is such a famous place in the Islamic world. The architecture and decoration proudly displays many of the facets and aspects of Islamic building and design that has made them so renowned for their beauty and aesthetic appeal. Inside the Madrassa is a myriad of tesselated colours, blues and greens beautifully contrasting with browns and white. The courtyard which is adjacent to the prayer room is truly a beautiful place one in which it is very difficult to not have a feeling of great tranquillity even in the famed Moroccan heat. One can also not fail to notice the intricate inscriptions which abound all over the complex. It is not merely the incredible shaped which these inscriptions take but the incredible detail which the inscriptions take, one can scarcely fail to be amazed by the delicacy and fantastical patterns in the form of the writing . It is however not merely your average tourists who have come to appreciate the wonders of this place but indeed it has become a favoured place to visit for passing royals as in recent years the Madrassa has been visited both by the King and Queen of the Netherlands and the Queen of Spain, surely a ringing endorsement from European royalty.  All these things coupled with the Madrassa’s prime location and relative ease of access make it a must for any culture or history buffs visiting Marrakech.

Opening Times: Every day from 9h30 to 18pm
Entrance fee: 50 dh for the Adult and 30 dh for children
You can purchase a joint ticket to visit both the Medersa and the Musee De Marrakech

Our Riad Cinnamon  is located an easy 5 minutes stroll away meaning that a stay with us leaves you fully capable of taking full advantages of such a fantastic base in the heart of Marrakech’s historical and cultural heart and one the undoubted advantages of staying in such a fantastic location. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the markets, soak in the vibrant culture of the surrounding museums and historic sites, then retreat to the luxury of  Riad Cinnamon before once more plunging back into the immersive experience that is Marrakech old town. Make a booking today.

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