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101 Short Breaks

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Annabelle Thorpe
The Times travel writer Annabelle Thorpe
 
 

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Exotic Marrakech

Annabelle's verdict:

The big decision in magical Marrakech is whether to stay in town in a traditional riad, or outside the city walls. I lean towards the tranquility and incandescent night skies of the latter, but it's tempting to be within a short walk of the souks, snake charmers, acrobats and fortune-tellers of Djemaa el Fna.

Recommended tour operator: Fleewinter

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Fleewinter says

Marrakech is a year-round destination, ideal for those who crave the exotic but could do without a long-haul flight. A little over three hours’ flying time from London, not only will you feel that you have crossed continents, but also travelled back to a different century.

You can visit any time of year and for most people we’d recommend staying in one the traditional “riads” in the city centre. These traditional merchant houses have been converted into boutique guest-houses and sumptuous hotels and are the ultimate way to immerse yourself in Moroccan culture – without sacrificing comfort.

Morocco is a fail-safe option for summer heat, but it is also lovely to curl up by the fire after a hard day sight-seeing, with the snow-capped atlas peaks as your backdrop.

If space and tranquillity are the order of the day then stay at the Palmeraie in rural Marrakech just outside the city limits or just 30 minutes further you can be in the Atlas Mountains where we’d recommend staying in a hilltop Kasbah with amazing architecture and breath-taking views.

It is not all about Marrakech. The riads of Fes also make for a fabulous short break and one of Fleewinter’s favourite spots is Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. Here you can explore the labyrinthine souks, but also enjoy activities galore from camel trekking in the dunes and cooking courses to surfing and kite-surfing off the miles of beach.

We offer a selection of truly unique hotels, villas and riads to suit all budgets – from owner-run Riad Hikaya to the sumptuous Villas des Orangers in Marrakech, Kasbah Bab Ourika and Richard Branson’s Tamadot in the High Atlas, and Rebali Riads or the chic Villa de l’O in Essaouira.

Find out more about our short breaks in Morocco and the best time to visit Marrakech.

* See the review of Fleewinter.

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