Saturday, February 27, 2016

Maroc N' Roll (Marrakesh Part 2)

We woke up on day 2 in Marrakesh with one mission & one mission only: explore the city.  






Having previously been ushered from the airport, straight to sleep, then directly into a car for a full day worth of adventures OUTSIDE of the city, we were keen to finally see what the old town of Marrakesh had to offer. We stayed at a traditional riad - which if you didn't know, is an old Moroccan palace that is now generally used for tourist accommodation. So far on our trip, all we had seen of Marrakesh was our riad, and remember thinking to myself "If this hotel matches the rest of the city, I'm not sure I'm ever going to leave."  

Case in point: our wonderfully tacky animal print hotel room, complete with a cozy fireplace nook: 


That had a view looking on to the riad's most beautiful courtyard: 




Although I will say, the other courtyard is quite the looker as well: 



During the day natural light flooded the space, but at night they used no electricity, instead relying on candles & lanterns which made for the most incredible atmosphere. There were phones located everywhere on the property, so whenever a guest wanted complimentary coffee, tea or water, you simply picked up the phone and it was delivered to your location.  Fresh, juicy fruit was also laid out in every corner for guests to enjoy for free at their leisure. But the nicest perk? A delicious Moroccan breakfast (included in the price of the hotel!)  delivered to your desired location in the riad, every. single. morning: 



Ugh, salivating just looking at this. I frickin' love Moroccan breakfast.

What was Joey and I's preferred breakfast location? Why, the rooftop terrace, of course: 




I wish I had gotten more photos of the terrace, but I found myself too busy actually enjoying it to really photograph it correctly - it was sooooo tranquil and luxurious. At the end of our trip Joey and I reflected on our favorite activities, and we both agreed that next to our day trip to Ouzoud, sitting on the terrace enjoying each other's company and drinking tea or having breakfast was our favorite. 

After we had fattened ourselves up with our Moroccan breakfast, it was time for a day of 'splorin: 


Though Joey and I did have a map and a GPS (and a phone with a Moroccan number that the hotel gave us to call them in case of emergencies...because you know, the hotel wasn't awesome enough already) we decided to just wander aimlessly. Though we did want our final destination to be the souks, we wanted to see what hidden gems we could stumble upon along the way. What we quickly realized is that the city has such a rich, artistic history that the gems were pretty much built in to every corner: 






From mosques to restaurants to family's homes, there is so much architectural beauty EVERYWHERE. It made for a very pleasant journey to the souks: 




The first photo above was taken from a restaurant window above just a minuscule area of the souks. They are absolutely MASSIVE! Before we left for our trip, I read online that wandering the souks can be hot & stressful, and that you can't take any photos without someone asking you to pay. Sadly, all of that information is true (I paid 40 cents for that picture of the lanterns!) 

Though Joey and I did enjoy our treasure hunting (and I came home with some incredible loot!) it certainly sucks the energy out of you. After a solid 4 hours of souk-ing (haha, get it?) we decided we needed to go somewhere relaxing. 

Enter, Bahia Palace:



I mean, the fact that the word "palace" is in the name was enough for me to want to visit, let's be real: 



This place...is...so....BEAUTIFUL. GAH:


We didn't take a guided tour, so sadly I don't know the history behind it. However, it is the epitome of dreamy Moroccan architecture: 



 You could seriously spend hours just looking at the tiny details in some of the ceilings & walls:


 And the doors....don't even get me started on the doors:


 



The palace is gorgeous, relaxing, and a quick walk from the souks into the Jewish quarter of the city (also worth a wander!) I think it cost the equivalent of two of three euro to enter. So needless to say, it's a must-visit.

Sticking to the palace vibe, we decided to visit El Badi palace, right next door:



As you can see from the photo above, El Badi and Bahia palaces are COMPLETELY different. The main difference being that Bahia Palace is actually still standing. I'm laughing at myself as I write this because you should have seen the look on my face when I realized this one was in ruins. But it's okay, because it's still very beautiful and absolutely worth a visit.

It also is the home to THIS:


THE BIGGEST BIRD'S NEST I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. I have nothing else to say about this really, I just felt the need to share it because LOOK AT THAT MONSTER!

After a full day of exploring, we head back to our hotel for some terrace time, an early Valentine's dinner and a long snooze.

 


If you've been screaming "WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS HOTEL" at the computer screen while you read this, no worries ya'll, I got you!

Our gorgeous accommodation is called the Riad Kheirredine. You can click here to visit their website, and here to see their TripAdvisor reviews. 

They are rated #1 for a reason, people - a seriously incredible experience for the FRACTION of the price of a normal luxury hotel. Our amazing room was $150/night (booked through Expedia.com), breakfast/personal phone/tea/coffee/bottled water included. They are the ones who planned our amazing day trip to Ouzoud, and made us reservations at the best restaurants in the city for our price range. The people who work there treat you like family, and will quite literally walk with you to/from any place you like if you're afraid of getting lost. Seriously an amazing experience, and I couldn't recommend them more if you're looking to visit Marrakesh. 




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