With it’s vibrant and mystical qualities, the city of Marrakech is often used as backdrop for many films. Occasionally the movies leave a mark on the Red City. One such example is to be found on the rue Mouassine, very near to the Mouassine fountain in the Central Medina five minutes from Riad Cinnamon and Riad Papillon.
The Souk scenes from the movie sex and the city 2 were filmed here and the street scene was ‘improved’ with an elegant overhead trellis, used to alter the lighting for filming. After the event, the trellis was left providing extra shade from the Marrakech sun. On closer inspection it is not made of wood but a fibrous plastic material, after two years parts are starting to disintegrate and we doubt it will as long as the ancient medina streets around it!
There is a long tradition of decorating Berber furniture
with painted patterns. In respect of islamic the patterns are geometric shapes that do not depict living things. This delightful litte table sits in the Essaouira Suite at Riad Cinnamon. The decor in our Marrakech Riads is carefully selected to be reflect local tradition.
We are delighted when our guests offer to write for this website, Below is an article by recent guest at Riad Cinnamon, Deniz Turk. We look forward to welcoming Deniz back soon!
Jackson Bentley: “What attracts you personally to the desert?”
T.E Lawrence: “It’s clean.”
After watching the sweeping epic, Lawrence Of Arabia in 2009 at the young age of 19 I had always wanted to travel toward Africa to experience the country the people and the culture for myself. Luckily I had the opportunity to be able to fly over to North Africa to Marrakesh courtesy of my hosts at the Riad Cinnamon, to get an insight into the country personally. From the instant I arrived in Marrakesh I truly felt as if I had landed in a scene from a “David Lean” film. From the expanding views of the Sahara Desert, Atlas Mountains and the famous Red city itself on route to touchdown, to getting off the plane and feeling the windy desert heat on your skin. After the relatively short business of paperwork at the airport, including filling out a form explaining how long you will be a guest of the country and the purpose of your visit. (“I have recently seen Lawrence of Arabia.” not being an acceptable answer.) Once outside Marrakesh airport i was promptly met by the friendly driver, who introduced himself to me as Rachid, he quickly proceeded to take it upon himself to be my personal guide and historian for my first venture into North Africa and my stay at the incredible Riad Cinnamon. Whilst on the eventful journey Rachid (in better English than my Arabic) informed me that the dates of the walls surrounding the road leading into the Old City were from the 9th Century. The drive through the incredibly noisy streets into the Old City was an experience in itself from seeing three young men loaded onto a small moped with the rear passenger carrying a chicken under each arm to seeing an elderly man on a bicycle with a large television strapped to his back I had arrived in the Medina of Marrakesh, If you have never had the experience of going to Marrakesh and the Old City in particular personally, the only way to put an image of the stunning place in your head is to think of a scene from the Bible. Then add a load of whizzing motorbikes. No sooner had I arrived at my final destination at The Riad Cinnamon, I was met at the door by the bright smile of Abduh. My first sight upon entering Riad Cinnamon was that of the amazing courtyard filled with the natural sunlight of the African summer afternoon, and the small pool used to cool down when the mornings and the evenings got a little too hot (The afternoons being left to explore!). I was soon shown to the room that I would be staying in (The Fez suite, a large room with a grand view of the central courtyard, a luxurious en-suite and all the amenities one could ask for, including the amazingly personal and friendly staff who were there to supply me with everything I needed and drown me in the traditional brew of Morroco the hot sweet mint tea (Ber-Ber Whisky to the locals.) Soon after dragging myself away from my room and attentive hosts I met a mother and daughter from Melbourne who were also staying at Riad Cinnamon. They were more than happy to take me into the Jamaa El Fna for my first night in the famous square!The Worlds’ Biggest Restaurant.
Although I had not experienced the Jamaa El Fna (Translated roughly to “Assembly Of the Dead” as during the 15th century it was used to hold public executions.) in daytime myself, I knew that it was dramatically different in the evening. The evening being left solely to the business of food, drink and entertainment. Huge billows of steam come off the food stands lit by the lights of the mobile restaurants partially hiding the view of the distant new city where the night clubs of Marrakesh are hidden for the revelers amongst us. Although there are other places to eat within cafes and restaurants with balconies, which offer stunning views of the rush of the square. I personally enjoyed eating al fresco in what was described to me as the “worlds largest restaurant” this is the place where the average Marrakshi ate to have a meal out, and if they don’t know where the good food is in there country who does? The choice of food on offer is staggering, from seafood caught fresh from Essaouira to chips to whole roasted lamb (Free range, naturally.) and all of it delicious!
I decided to head over to the number 24 (Names of the food stalls being in numbers because a lot of the stalls look very much alike and it would only confuse people if every place had a Arabic title or an English one for that matter.) on the recommendation of Ali, a friendly man I had met earlier through my ramblings through the square. I managed to pick up one of Ali’s favorite (soon to become one of my favorites also.) dishes, half a freshly baked roll stuffed inside with a boiled egg, fried potatoes and goats cheese on top seasoned with a little salt. Although quite simple it was truly delicious and at a price of around 80 pence unbeaten for value! After eating my fill I left on the search of another recommendation to find the spiced tea vender to finish off my evening meal in the square in true Arabic style. Once I arrived back at Riad Cinnamon with a full belly and the helpful directions of the locals I decided to sit on the amazing roof terrace of the Riad which offered me comfortable seating and amazing views of the Ben Youssef Mosque and Atlas Mountains in the distance. As I relaxed in the cool Morrocan evening breeze I thought about my day ahead and what people back home would be doing whilst I was on a roof terrace enjoying views of the atlas mountains and the stunning Arabic architecture. It is amazing how a little 3000 miles away from home can relax and take away your troubles! George Bush, Sex, Snakes and Monkeys.I had woken up from a deep slumber in what should be lauded as possibly the most comfortable bed in Africa, (and I have slept in many beds.) to have a quick shower and to go downstairs to bask in the heat of the courtyard. Once I had arrived downstairs I was greeted by the sight and smell of a breakfast that was prepared for me by one the female staff members who are always on hand, Jamille had made for me a steaming pot of sweet mint tea, with some fresh bread rolls with fig jam, butter,local honey and orange marmalade, she had also prepared a deliciously refreshing fruit salad for my awaiting adventures of the day. After tearing myself away from the homely comforts of the Riad I decided to venture once again into the Souks. After negotiating my way through the narrow dusty paths of the city (once again with the directions given to me by the locals whom strangely always seem to know where you want to go.) I came face to face with the daytime side of the famous square. Arriving for the first time the square for me was a mind boggling experience and a feast for all the senses, motorbikes rushing to attend to business, traditionally dressed water salesman selling water from leather pouches to thirsty travelers, dancers, market traders, tribesman arriving in from the Sahara desert to sell antiques, musicians and a whole host of other interesting things which would fill up another article; as with all things it is best to see for yourself! My first order of business for the day was to get a glass of orange juice from one of the many stalls around the square, made from freshly grown and squeezed oranges it is an insanely tasty treat for a hot day and glasses can purchased from any of these stalls for around 5 dirhams a glass, a real recommendation to anyone visiting the city.Anyone who looks like a tourist in the Jem Al Fna can expect one of the snake charmers, (what I thought to be a fiction of Loony Toons cartoons turned an amazing reality) to take you to one side and wrap a snake around your neck for a photo opportunity, and of course a photo cannot capture these peoples colourful personalities and the blessings they will be sure to give you, “Good luck, Good business, Good sex, Good life.” Thank you Marrakesh.
I soon wondered back into the souks to see what the fortunes of the day ahead would bring my way. I bought myself a lot attention from all the stall holders who I passed by wanting me to personally go in and inspect the goods on offer, I firmly declined most offers as I only wanted to explore my new surroundings further without making any purchases straight away, a handy tip in this situation would be to know that ALL Morrocan businessmen are also Oscar worthy actors able to act anger and feign shock in a moments notice depending on prices you offer in the definite haggling war that will ensue when you are to purchase anything. It is worth to note that haggling is a part of Morrocon and Arabic culture spanning back centuries and a expected and accepted part of buying anything in the Old City the act of shock or anger at small prices offered in the haggle are not meant to offend but a traditional part of the process! I found the market in the daytime to be an amazing and surreal experience and I have never then and up until now experienced anything like it in the world. Some of the surreal events unfolding around me being when a teenage boy in the efforts of selling me some “Dolce&Banana” jeans told me that it was better quality than Primark, and proceeded to tell me that his goods are much better than anything found in “Pri-marni”! incredible, or when I went into one shop after another in the search of a good pipe for a friend and got shown the same photo-shopped picture of George W. Bush shaking hands with the shop owners. All four of them having photo-shopped themselves in to a photo with George Bush, to show me how important the rugs and pipes they were selling are! Long Live Morroco! Onwards Home. With great sadness the time had come for me to finally head back to the U.K. had dawned upon me, my time in the amazingly welcoming and friendly country of Morroco, a paradise for peace, culture, entertainment and photography, will not be forgotten and the things that i have seen and experienced within the city were most definatly unique once in a lifetime opportunities. There is much to see and do in Morroco a lot of which can never be written down into one article. The only real way to see the beautiful “Red City” is to hop onto a plane and experience the place,the people and the culture for yourself. I am indebted to my hosts at the Riad Cinnamon for having me and for the customs of Morroco for allowing me to bumble around the city for a week. I urge anybody who is thinking of heading for a holiday to visit this truly wonderful and unique part of the world for themselves, and staying at the heart of the Medina in the luxurious and peaceful oasis of the Riad Cinnamon wont hurt either!
If you enjoyed Deniz’s article you might want to check out ‘Portrait of a Man and two Women’ a short story by Anita Flowers.
Hassan the young wood turner works on a street corner near to the Ben Yussef Mosque in Central Marrakech just a few hundred yards from Riad Cinnmaon. His traditional North African lathe is powered by his right hand while his left hand and feet control his tools, this is in contrast to a European pole lathe which is foot powered.
The busy life of the street does not disturb his concentration as he turns a babies rattle in minutes. Hassan is always delighted to demonstrate for visitors, and a modest tip is of course welcome! Make your reservation today to experience the ancient medina in an authentic boutique hotel.
The Marrakech street ‘traffic’ whizzes by as young plaster carver Yussef works on a piece in his boutique in the Souk Sidi Isshak near to the Ben Yussef Medersa in central Marrakech just around the corner from Riad Cinnamon.
Youssef is a 17 years old, since he left school he has been learning this craft from his father a master plaster worker or ‘mellem gubs’.
What better way to indulge yourself in scorching Marrakech than a delicious ice cream. Our favourite place for ice cream is located on the Avenue Mohamed V in the new town of Guiliez. Gelati Dino offers authentic Italian ice cream in luxurious air conditioned surroundings. It is one of THE places for affluent cool (no pun intended) young Moroccans to hang out but is relatively undiscovered by tourists.
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.
Renowned Jewellery expert Sarah Corbett is leading her latest five day shopping trip based at Riad Papillon starting on 31st January 2012. Sarah’s comprehensive Itinerary is as follows:
Arrival Day … A driver will be waiting for you on arrival at Menara Airport Marrakech.
Transfer to your beautiful Riad, Riad Papillon.
time to explore or to relax following your flight.
A delicious 3 course evening meal cooked at your riad dining beneath the stars!
Second day…A morning of guided jewellery shopping in Marrakech, with Moroccan jewellery expert Sarah Corbett on hand to help and advise.
Lunch in the Medina
Afternoon activites a caleche tour of Marrakech or A Traditional Hammam
Evening Meal at one of Marrakechs’ top eateries.
Third Day …A morning of guided jewellery shopping with Moroccan jewellery expert Sarah Corbett, within the Medina, visiting trusted dealers with exceptional stock.
Lunch in Gueliz (French Quarter of Marrakech)
A visit to Samarcande, a veritable treasure house in the vibrant new town of Gueliz.
Henna evening for those who would like!
Meal in a restarant in the Medina.
Fourth Day ….free time for souk shopping or even more jewellery shopping if you feel the need!
or a visit to the Maison Tiskiwin a museum with an exceptional collection of jewellery.
A shopping trip to the Mellah area, with access to new production beads and Jewellery and many traditional jewellery components.
Lunch in the Medina
Afternoon of Jewellery shopping with Moroccan jewellery expert Sarah Corbett
An evening of show and tell, share tales of your purchase ( and of the ones that got away!) over a feast at your riad.
Departure day …Free time and transfers to Airport.
Reservations can be made through vividtrading.
Moroccan summer days can be extremely hot. The dipping pools in our Marrakech Riads are perfect for cooling off. We also have air conditioning in all rooms. Riad Cinnamon even has a second dipping pool on the spacious roof terrace.
Riad Cinnamon is a Merchants house the restoration of which required the input of dozens of traditional craftsmen. Peek through the hand crafted window grilles to catch a glimpse of the private Riad courtyard.
Marrakech Riads are the ideal place to stay when you come to explore the old town.
The wood wholesaler is a very important figure in Marrakech. There are several specialist ‘wood men’ located near to the City walls supplying wood which will be burned in traditional Hammans and bakeries as well as Riads and pivate homes. Wood is sold by weight, measured on the scale by the entrance, and usually delivered by donkey and cart.
The old town of Marrakech is an exciting and vibrant place to visit. More and more visitors are choosing to stay in a Riad in the old town rather than a faceless hotel, in fact there are now more bed and breakfast options in the old town of Marrakech than the City of London. So how to choose where to stay?
Riad Dar Yacouta, Derb dalia 4, quartier ben saleh
Riad Musk, Route d_Ouarzazate – km12, Lotissement Tichka
Darsafia, KM 6 Route d’Amizmiz
Dar Bachus, 303 Arset Ben Brahim, Bab Doukala – Médina
Riad du Petit Prince, 33 Derb Nakhla, Bab Doukala
Riad Al Amine, 83, Derb Abib AllahMouassine, Médina
Dar Jeeling, 7 Derb Boukili, El Kssour
La Ferme des Oliviers, Km14 Commune Oulad Hassoun, Route de Fes
O’Atlas, Km 20, Route de l’Ourika, BP N° 45 Rhmate
Riad Del Arte, 28 Derb Assabane, Riad Larousse
Riad Amour, 109 Derb Jamaa Derb Dabachi
Riad Medea, No18 Derb Sidi Ahmed Soussi
Riad Agdez, 1 Kaa El Houma Riad Zitoun Jdid, Medina
Riad Esprit du Monde, Derb Kbala no138
Riad l’Etoile d’Orient, Derb Dabachi, Derb Moulay Abdelkader no52
Dar Milouda, 78 Derb El Hammam, Mouassine, Medina
Riad Valdi, 9 Derb Sidi Ahmed Ou Moussa, Bab Doukkala – Médina
Riad Maison Charlotte, 5 Derb Kabbej, Ben Sallah
Riad massaoud, quartier riad laarouss 89 derb el farrane medina
Hotel Foucauld, Avenue El Mouahidine
Crystal Hotel, Le Pacha Marrakech, Boulevard Mohammed VI , Zone Hotelliere de l’Aguedal
Le Dromadaire Bleu, Quartier Mouassine, 19 Derb Chorfa Lkebir
Riad Tarik, Db Jamaa 118 Derb Dabachi
Riad Adraoui, Riad Zitoun el Kedim derb Zouak 9
Riad Harmonie Kennaria, 13 Darb Kennaria Jdida
Riad Roukaya, Ave Allal El Fassi
Sahara Inn, Route de Casablanca
Riad Jddi, 71 Arset Ihiri rue El Gza bab doukkala
Riad Body and Spirit, 8 Derb Ouaihah
Splendeur d’orient, Douar Amrine
Dar Tarik, No1 Derb Hamar Srir, Kaat Ben Nahid, Medina
Riad Roukaya, Ave Allal El Fassi
Dar la Cle de la Medina, Derb N’Khal no18, Quartier Rehba Lakdima
Riad Yamsara, 35 Derb Tajer Hay Essalam, Marrakesh Médina
Riad L’Orange Bleue, 71 Derb Sidi Lhacen ou Ali, Bab Doukala
Riad La Cigale, Derb Jamaa Dabachi 119
Riad Jddi, 71 Arset Ihiri rue El Gza bab doukkala
Riad Oriente, 150 Derb Djdid
Dar Gloria, 22 Derb Zouina
Adam Park Marrakech Hotel & Spa, Zone Touristique Agdal
Al Kandil, Derb Dabachi Ben Saleh Azbetz Derb El Faran 115
Au Bord de l’Eau, Douar Assgaour km59 route de l’Ourika
Bliss Cameleon, 180 Rue Mouassine
Dar Achaiah Guesthouse, Route de Fes Km 12, M’hammdia
Dar Al Nadwa, Zaouia el Abbassia
Dar Atif Guesthouse, Km 35, towards Oukeimden
Dar Ferdaous, Frouga
Dar Guerris, Palmeral
Dar Imane, Palmeraie
Dar Nejma Jdida, Derb El Qadi 55, Quartier Azbest
Dar Ouali, 20 Derb Ouali Kaat Benahid, Medina
Dar ouirgane, Marigha, Douar marigha ouirgane
Dar Rania, 105, Derb El Cadi, Azbezt
Dar Sidi Yahia, Douar Jennate Arst Bouhassoune, Palmeraie
Dar Tamsna, Route de Fes, Douar Tamsna
Kasbah Shama, Circuit de la Palmeraie
Kosy Garden, Circuit de la Palmeraie
L’Etoile d’Orient, 22 Derb Jamaa
La Maison de Carmen, 26 Derb Merstane, Bab Taghzout
Le Nid de la Colombe, Sidi Ben Slimane, Derb Boualilou 22
Le Nid des Cigognes, 40 Derb Saka, Mellah
Les Seuils del Atlas, Km 10, Route de l’Ourika (Rte S 513) Tassoultante, Al Haouz
Mektoub, 48 Akiod, Semlalia
Rhad El Maarouf, 2 Derb El Menzeh, Zaouia, Medina
Riad Agdese, Medina
Riad Alama, 6 Derb el arssa, El kennaria, Medina
Riad Alkandil, Ben Saleh Azbezt, Derb El Faran 115
Riad Al Magana, Derb Jamaa 87, Dabachi Marrakech Medina
Riad AOA 1 Lantern, 1 Rue Mahjoub Rmiza
Riad Atlas Guest House, 19 Derb Sidi Boulfdail
Riad Dubai, 41 Derb amezmiz – kasbah, kasbah – marrakech
Riad el Amber, 7 Derb El Farrane, Riad Zitoune Jdid
Riad El Dar Attika, 15 Derb Tlitli
Riad el Jadide, 11 Derb Bounouala, Zaouia el Abassia
Riad Espagne, 21 Derb lakder riad zitoune lakdime Marrakech
Riad Estelle, Tensift-Al-Haouz
Riad Hamdane, Rue Bab Agnaou Derb Sidi Bouloukate No88
Riad Ida Ou Balou, 127, rue Bab Taghzout, Medina
Riad J’adore, Derb Jdid 105 bis, Deb Dabachi
Riad Jnane Agdal, Jnane Ben Chegra
Riad Joya, 26/27 Derb El Hammam
Riad Km 3000, Riad Laarouss Der Bou Chentouf 47
Riad Kssar El Mellah, Hay Salam, Derb el kheir No 20
Riad l’Harmattan, nr Place Jamaa-el-Fna
Riad La Kahana, Riad Zitoun Kdim, Derb Jdid no 39
Riad Lala Hiba, 120, Derb Dekkak Bab Doukala, Al Adala
Riad Le Patio, 95 Derb el houss berima
Riad Lhouloum, 102 Rue Dar el Bacha, Medina
Riad Majali, 191 Derb Jdid, Derb Dabachi
Riad Moulay Said, 60 Riad Zitoun Kedim
Riad Nouzha, 9 Derb Saleh
Riad Oasis, 86, Arset el Baraka Derb El Makina Bab Aylen
Riad Olea, Place Jemaa el Fna
Riad Ose’fina, 16 derb el Hammam, Bab Ailen
Riad Petit Darkoum, No 12 Derb Kennaria Jdida, derriere “cafe France”
Riad Plein Sud, 56 Der Douba Arest Ihiri-Bab Doukala
Riad Saboune, 28 Derb Chrife Dyoure Saboune
Riad Sofia, Hay Hassani – Bloc 43 N 988
Riad Solandra, Bab Brima Touala, N 109
Riad Souari, 4 derb hbib llah, moissine
Riad Stitou, Targa
Riad Zanzibar, Derb Si Said no 15 & 16 Riad Zetoune Djid, Riad Zitoune Jdid
Riad Zayane Atlas, 31 Derb Nakous, Riad Zitoun Jdid
Ryad Laarouss, 46 Angle Derb El Gueza Et Derb Jamaa
Topkapi, Rue Al Atlas, Route de Fes – km 4, Palmeraie
Un Riad en Palmeraie, Domaine El Majal, Palmeraie de Marrakech
The Villa by Hivernage, Route de Tamesloht, km 15
Villa Dar Chiba, Douar Abiad – La Palmeraie, BP 975
Villa Helene, 89 boulevard Moulay Rachid, Gueliz
Villa Zuzu, Rte du Consul, Al Ouidane
Slilou is one of a number of seasonal specialities prepared during Ramadan. It consists of a blend of nuts and spices ground to a fine powder and eaten with teaspoons, usually from a shared dish during the ‘breakfast’ after sundown. Slilou is a high energy food, and it’s absolutely delicious!
Ryanair now fly from Alicante to Marrakech, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The flight time is less than one hour and like most Ryanair routes there are some fantastic bargains to be had booking ahead.
The Medina of Marrakech is only a fifteen minute taxi ride from the airport. We can organise airport collection and magic you away to one of our wonderful Riad hotels. Reserve Accommodation today! The perfect base from which to explore the Marrakech Medina.
There are two types of crepes traditionally eaten as breakfast foods in Marrakech, Morocco, these are Baghrir and Mesman. Both are based on wheat flour with olive oil or butter and seasoning, Baghrir is cooked in a pan on one side only where Mesman is repeatedly folded over heat.
Contact Marrakech Riad today to reserve accommodaton!