Sunset in Marrakech

When I left you yesterday, we’d just been joined by a couple of friends.

Dan is an old friend from LA and Halcy is his gorgeous (model) girlfriend.

They’ve been bumming around Europe for the summer so we convinced them to dip down just a little further south, and hook up for some poolside cocktails in Morocco.

We slurped on round after round of frozen daiquiris, strawberry margaritas & mojitos.

The sun slowly crept away, leaving us wallowing in our sparkling pool.

As the evening breeze swept in, we abandoned our drinking post and headed into the city.

In Marrakech, the universe circles around the main square, and we weren’t the only ones making our way there.

The main square, or Jemaa el Fnaa, is totally mad.

The best way I can think of describing the sensation of walking through it is; sensory overload.

You’re completely immersed in another world. One where people shout, sing, grab you, hiss, spit, fight and cajole. Men run at you with hissing cobras, trying to wrap them around your neck, while another grabs you by the arm and tries to show you the sheep skull he’s cooking on a rack over an open fire.

There are carts filled with oranges, dates, nuts and soaps.

Huge steaming pots of snails cooking in their own juices.

Everywhere you turn there are monkeys on chains, horses clopping by and rugs totally covered in coiled desert snakes.

The smell of hot horse, orange juice, petrol and burning coals is one you wont soon forget!

Asos maxi dress (half price) // Gucci bag // Silver May bee necklace // Madewell sandals

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It can be overwhelming but the trick is to be firm, say no thank you and keep your sense of humour about the whole thing.

If it all gets too much, climb the stairs at one of the ringside cafes that surround the square.

Here you can sit and peer from your tower onto the madness below.

With a nice cup of tea, no less!

H had been desperate to get her hands decorated since arriving, so we went down to the street for some pro henna action.

With swift and steady hands the local women painted ours.

Using a syringe they squeeze out the dye as they draw, it’s a marvel to watch!

Remember, whatever you buy in Marrakech, you need to haggle.

When we asked the price they quoted 800rad (50 quid!) each, in the end I think we paid 100 between us (which is about £7).

As a tourist they try and take you for all your worth, because the chances are they wont see you again. Haggling is expected. If they wont come down on price don’t be afraid to say “no thank you” and walk away. Either they’ll call after you with a better price, or someone two meters down will be selling the same thing and you can try again!

You never need to worry about getting thirsty in the square.

There must be a hundred orange juice stalls!

I have no idea how they can all make money, but a huge cup of the stuff is around 20p.

As the darkness closes in around you, you start to see the steam rise.

Things really heat up as the kitchen stalls start to compete for diners.

The sound of people calling out their wares mingles with the chatter from the hungry crowds to make a bewildering sea of noise.

The whole place quite literally glows.

I’ve never been anywhere quite like it.

Now, I would love to tel you that we supped on a mix of street snails, lamb brains and spit roast chicken in the square… but that’s not quite true.

We chickened out and had dinner back at Mamounia instead.

Which, let me tell you, felt like an oasis of calm after our adventures in the square!

More home inspiration!

We took our candlelit seats under fluttering canvas, with the moon just shining through.

We started with nibbly bits.

Before moving on to tagines and hot pots of braised meats, fruit and veg.

All piled on top of couscous.

Serenaded by a Moroccan band, we drank crisp, cold wine under the moon and chatted late into the night.

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  • Sheila

    I love your description of the madness in the square! Sounds like quite a scene.
    I cannot wait to visit Morocco.
    PS. Do you know where your friend’s floral bikini is from.
    xx, Sheila
    http://www.summery.org

  • Frances B

    Beautiful, I can’t wait to visit Morocco (after I’ve visited about 100 other places on my list!)

    http://www.thenletsbegin.com

  • These photos are gorgeous! I think I would have been overwhelmed and a tad scared in that square..

    Shel x

    http://jaybirdblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Amazing hotel!

    My adventures: http://wanderlust-mac.blogspot.pt/

  • Hmmm, I’ve got to say, this is not quite the Morocco of my dreams. Everyone keeps telling me that Morocco really isn’t that great and the best part is the resorts….kind of looking that way from your post as well. Would you say so?

    I’ve also heard that the men can be quite rude especially to women who are not covering their skin properly. Did you find that to be an issue or no?

    I’ve had my eye on Kasbah Tamadot. If I go, I reckon I probably wouldn’t want to leave the resort!

    V
    Life+1

    • Lorna

      I went to Morocco earlier this summer, actually staying at La Mamounia in Marrakech, Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains and a third hotel called Sultana Oualidia on the coast and wouldn’t agree with what other people have told you. My family agreed that our trip to Morocco this summer and our safari holiday in South Africa a few years ago are probably the 2 best holidays we have ever been on.

      For the 3 days we were in Marrakech, we would go out in the mornings and return to the hotel in the afternoon when it got too hot before going back out in the evening for dinner. There was plenty to see and so much culture to immerse yourself in! I personally wasn’t a big fan of the central market, which I found to be a bit touristy but the more traditional side streets are fascinating! We had a tour guide who took us to the part of the city that he lives in and walking through these tiny streets where you really get a feel for what life is like for the locals. Marrakech is also known as the Garden City so the gardens are well worth a visit, especially the Majorelle Garden, where you can find Yves Saint Laurent’s design studio.

      Kasbah Tamadot is definitely a must! In all honesty we didn’t leave the hotel all that much as it was far too hot to do an awful lot apart from relax by the pool (it certainly was relaxing!) However if you went when it was slightly cooler, they do a lot of day trips out in the mountains both on foot and by mule which I am desperate to go back and do! They also have other trips where they take you out to local Berber communities and also a very local market, which is led by one of the locals working in the hotel (95% of the staff are local Berbers) and was probably one of my favourite trips of the holiday.

      We had no issues with the men being rude to me or my sister (22 and 17). In Marrakech we covered up a bit more (covered our shoulders and long skirts/trousers) but everywhere else we walked around in shorts and vest-style tops/little dresses with no issues at all.

      I would wholeheartedly recommend a trip to Morocco! It’s an amazing country with such an interesting culture and a lot to see! Plus they have a very welcoming culture, where they provide the best customer service that they can. I’m already planning my return trip…

    • Lorna

      I went to Morocco earlier this summer, actually staying at La Mamounia in Marrakech, Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains and a third hotel called Sultana Oualidia on the coast and wouldn’t agree with what other people have told you. My family agreed that our trip to Morocco this summer and our safari holiday in South Africa a few years ago are probably the 2 best holidays we have ever been on.

      For the 3 days we were in Marrakech, we would go out in the mornings and return to the hotel in the afternoon when it got too hot before going back out in the evening for dinner. There was plenty to see and so much culture to immerse yourself in! I personally wasn’t a big fan of the central market, which I found to be a bit touristy but the more traditional side streets are fascinating! We had a tour guide who took us to the part of the city that he lives in and walking through these tiny streets where you really get a feel for what life is like for the locals. Marrakech is also known as the Garden City so the gardens are well worth a visit, especially the Majorelle Garden, where you can find Yves Saint Laurent’s design studio.

      Kasbah Tamadot is definitely a must! In all honesty we didn’t leave the hotel all that much as it was far too hot to do an awful lot apart from relax by the pool (it certainly was relaxing!) However if you went when it was slightly cooler, they do a lot of day trips out in the mountains both on foot and by mule which I am desperate to go back and do! They also have other trips where they take you out to local Berber communities and also a very local market, which is led by one of the locals working in the hotel (95% of the staff are local Berbers) and was probably one of my favourite trips of the holiday.

      We had no issues with the men being rude to me or my sister (22 and 17). In Marrakech we covered up a bit more (covered our shoulders and long skirts/trousers) but everywhere else we walked around in shorts and vest-style tops/little dresses with no issues at all.

      I would definitely recommend a trip to Morocco, it’s an amazing country with a really interesting culture and an incredible landscape! Plus the culture is so welcoming and they really try to provide the best customer service that they can! I’m already planning my next visit….

  • Lovely pics. However, who smokes in a hotel pool, in the water? Not cool IMO

  • See you would’ve lost me at snakes. I love chaos but I can’t do chaos and snakes. Photos are gorgeous!
    xoxo,
    Erin
    bmoreindependent.blogspot.com

  • wonderful pictures!

    http://fashioneiric.blogspot.com.
    Coline β™₯

  • Kelsey Wilburn

    oh my goodness how gorgeous! what a great post!

    ladies in navy

  • Laura white

    When will we see your chap?!

  • God this looks absolutely fabulous! I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco but have always been put off by the thought of the hassle tourists get in the street- it’s always sounded a bit frightening! Would you think it’d be okay/safe for a lone girl to visit or more of a group place?

    KatieJane
    katies-rose-garden.blogspot.co.uk

  • Shade of Red Blog

    What a great company and a lovely location.
    http://shadeofredblog.com

  • Can not believe you haggled that down from 50 to 7! Amazing! That pool also looks to die for. Rosie, your descriptions are truly fabulous and I feel as if I’m right there with ya!

    xx
    Alice
    http://www.trendyintexasblog.com

  • Samantha Bei

    You’re adventures always look like such fun! And Morocco sounds beautiful and reminds me a bit of places in China.

    thefoxandtheclown.blogspot.com

  • The Provoker

    Such great shots, love the tan line of the guy haha, means the sun is doing its job. I wanna travel to Marrakech toooooo! <3 Poppy had her wedding party here! Check out my newest post which I shot in the fields of Essex
    featuring a VERY ALEXA CHUNG look, breton stripes and dungarees, and a
    very cool SUNITA MUKHI evil eye clutch, very illuminati ahaha!!! Plus
    glitter givenchy sandals!! Please do tell me what you think, and the
    popular highly requested evil eye clutch got over 1100 likes and 55
    comments on instagram, you can buy it on my blog!

    INSTAGRAM: @THE_PROVOKER
    http://www.the-provoker.com/2014/09/eye-am-provoker.html

    3.1 PHILLIP LIM GIVEAWAY
    3.1 PHILLIP LIM GIVEAWAY

  • Oh wow. Wow wow wow! Sounds like an absolute crazy beautiful melting pot of madness. I definitely need to bump up Morocco on my travelling wishlist!! xx

    Little Miss Katy | Fun, Food & Fashion

  • Ooh, that all sounds a bit overwhelming–I don’t blame you for retiring back to the hotel for dinner! Dan looks like a ton of fun by the way and Halcy’s sunnies are to die for!

  • Madeline

    Your trip looks awesome!

    http://www.madelinefedmont.com

  • I’m dying to get over to Morocco. Top mix of food, textiles, and the colors are RAD! Thanks for the post!

  • Laura

    Wow looks like a craaazy place!

    Those lanterns are just beautiful.

    http://www.whatlauradoesnext.co.uk

  • Beautiful photos – it looks like an amazing place to visit. I bet all the food and cocktails were delicious.

    http://eliphi.blogspot.co.uk

  • Ana

    Oh Rosie! I’m soooo jealous! I LOVE Morocco! I’m doing my thesis about that country and its magical. If you could, I recommend you to sleep in the dessert… Try it!

    Enjoy your wonderful trip!!!!

    xx
    (nocourtesies)

  • Ana

    (*desert)

  • My friend has just got back from Morocco and we’re yet to catch up! I can’t wait to hear about her travels…the place looks magical and I love the scattered lanterns.

    http://www.haveyouheardthelatest.wordpress.com

  • The slow pace

    Tell us the truth: are all your friends gorgeous? Do you meet them in model castings?
    πŸ˜‰
    Wonderful pictures!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  • Little Miss Hungry

    Your photos are exactly how I remember it!

    littlemisshungry.com

  • Ah I would love to go to Marrakesh. It looks beautiful, all be it a little crazy too. The place you’re staying in looks stunning.
    http://www.kirsty-y.blogspot.co.uk
    x

  • Kinza Shahid

    What a gorgeous place! Definitely on my list to travel to, and you look stunning <3 I hope you get these photos developed because they look like great memories to be able to hold in your hands… Cheers! xx

    Kinza

    kinzasplace.blogspot.ca

  • This looks incredible! I’ve wanted to go to Marrakech for what feels like a short lifetime now.., I never hear anything but wondrous things about the place.

    The dress looks great also – I bought mine a good month or so ago but for everytime I am set on wearing it the Heavens open and it buckets it down up here. Fingers crossed I’ll be slipping it on in October half-term when I’m over in sunny Oz. Presuming I haven’t just jinxed myself that is…

    Hope that you continue to have a brilliant time and it would be cool to see how your henna turned out.

    ACB*

  • The square looks insane, but a brilliant experience. Sadly I’m allergic to henna which always upsets me because it looks so beautiful! I laughed at your friend declining the offer of the snake!

    hellomissjordan.blogspot.co.uk xx

  • Wow, that looks like such an experience! I just love all of the lanterns– such pretty lighting for a deck, maybe?

    Always, Anita

  • Katarina May

    I’m finally going to Morrocco next Spring for a hen-do – still a long way off, but this post has made me even more excited!

    http://www.brunchetc.co.uk/

  • Queenie Lee

    Morocco looks amazing; my friends who have visited also mentioned the sensory overload! Your writing is spot on and the photos are so beautiful, it makes me feel like I’m there πŸ˜‰

    http://peanutbutterandmussels.com/

  • Madison Frank

    That sounds amazing! I’ve always wanted to visit Morocco.

    xx
    Madison
    http://www.ffranklyspeakingg.com

  • Your pictures are gorgeous (per usual) and totally capture the craziness of the market! Also those henna tattoos are fabulous!

    http://thecourtneydiaries.wordpress.com/

  • That square would be quite overwhelming! I’d be afraid to get robbed right before my eyes! Good you had your Mr. to support as backup πŸ˜‰

    xo
    Cynthia
    http://www.sensiblysharp.com

  • My fiancΓ© and I are thinking about heading to Morocco for our honeymoon next spring… would you recommend? Our other thoughts are northern thailand or croatia

  • Oh my goodness, you’ve inspired me to want to travel to Morocco! I’ll admit, it wasn’t on my list before, but this inside travel perspective has really helped. Thanks for sharing!

    ourlovelykitchen.com/blog

  • How beautiful! The market stalls in Jemma El fna are delicious and so cheap!

  • I am DYING to go to Morocco. It’s definitely next on my list. Everyone needs a little sensory overload from time to time. xox Elizabeth

    http://www.stix-and-stonez.com

  • arielle q.

    this is that quintessential summertime post! I love all of these pictures and you guys look like you’re having so much fun. marrakech definitely looks worth visiting!

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  • Imogen May

    Looks absolutely enchanting! Despite being a leeiiittle mad! Need to visit Morocco STAT.

  • Karen F

    What a magical place to visit! Defiantly on my bucket list . Hope you and your man have a great vacation.

  • LilylovesLola

    Monkeys on chains?! Gosh I would be trying to rescue them all! ha! x

  • It’s great you’ve pointed out tips for dealing with the madness of the square and making sure to haggled – great things to know for future trips.

    Can’t wait to read more πŸ™‚

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography – http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  • Haidee De Fraine

    Wowow looks incredible. I really want to go to morocco for a holiday now :). http://haideeandco.blogspot.co.uk

  • This brings back so many happy memories of my visits to Marrakech, there really is no place like it! Your text really brought the square alive.
    Hugs xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • Robyn

    This looks so amazing and exciting, not sure I would be able to cope with the square though! Hopefully one day I will get to experience it! πŸ™‚ xx

    RobynCaitlin.com

  • Whoa that picture of Dan flicking water at the camera is so funny! And lucky you guys to see that square glowing! I can only imagine how good it looks in real life!

    http://everydayingrace.blogspot.ca/

  • It’s great to have a tour of the Moroccan square through your eyes. It’s on my bucket list for sure! The hotel looks gorgeous, perfect home decor ideas πŸ˜‰ I love those oasis of calm kind of places – similar to the Chedi hotels.

  • This looks amazing πŸ™‚ such a lovely maxi as well πŸ™‚

    http://champagnelifestyleteabudget.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Even reading that title had me green as a jealous jalapeno! Although… the men with cobras would’ve given me severe anxiety – eeek!!!
    http://www.perpetuallycaroline.com

  • Oh man – did you see the guys selling the second hand teeth….? Bizarre!!

  • Your photos are so stunning! The hotel looks like something out of a dream, it’s so beautiful.

    Bramble & Thorn

  • OH MY!! You have lived one of my dreams! Beautiful pictures,

    http://prettyshort.blogspot.com/

  • Wow. That main square looks crazy! I do not even know how I would be able to handle the snakes. I would probably have to mentally prepare myself first. Lovely pictures, as always!

    xo

    Kels
    http://www.excusemyblog.com

  • Mia@Razzle Dazzle Rose

    What a tea service!

    xo

    http://razzdazzle.blogspot.mx/

  • It sounds amazing, I am definitely adding that to my must travel to places!
    xxx
    http://www.labeau.co.uk

  • Carina

    Morocco looks so interesting! I met a Moroccan intern during my internship, and he was telling me about his country, now its on my bucket list! Hopefully i’ll have the opportunity to visit morocco someday! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    X,
    Carina
    http://runningwhitehorses.blogspot.com

  • Oh how I love Marrakech!!

    Oh Rosie you need to try this smoothie I had there, it’s the best thing! It’s down one of the alleyways near the main square, on the right towards the souks. It doesn’t have a name or sign or anything, just loads of locals holding up their money and saying how many glasses they want. The owner then created these amazing concoctions of layered smoothie that is ah-mazing!

    Also, if you do any to eat at the main square stay away from the touristy trap stalls. Head for the ones that don’t try and lure you in, as they are full of locals, speak not a word of English, serve the most amazing calamari and fish for Β£2! Think it might have been stall 14? Not sure. So incredible!

    Teffy || http://www.teffyperk.com X

  • Such gorgeous photos. The souk was the highlight of our trip. Salesmen there were tough, but not as tough as our three year-old at home!
    Here’s the comparison: http://www.smartlymomming.com/negotiation-challenge-moroccan-rug-salesman-vs-3-year-old/

  • Your photos are all so gorgeous and vibrant! Looks like a wonderful trip πŸ™‚

  • Alexandra

    Love the photos, Morocco looks amazing would love to go some day

    http://doinglifemyway.com

  • Eguono Ogueh

    This trip looks amazing! x

    Gegsy Blog

  • You have the prettiest friends!

    Liz

    http://www.LizTheAustinite.com

  • Caroline Schurman-Grenier
  • geronimonkey

    I find your choice of outfit astonishing, although admittedly not as bad as Halcyon’s. I appreciate that Marrakesh feels relatively European in places and you’re surrounded by tourists far more so than elsewhere in Morocco but it remains a Muslim country, and you should be respectful enough to the local culture to cover up. No need to wear a burqua, but shoulders, chests and thighs covered at the very least. It’s not fair to parade around with exposed skin, not least because it gives a confusing message to the local men. When I was in Marrakech, I witnessed what was very nearly a traffic accident because a western woman walked past with a strappy dress and a man on a motorbike was so transfixed that he actually drove up onto the pavement and narrowly avoided hitting a stall filled with people.

    I know the response to that might be “well he shouldn’t have been looking” but frankly you can’t use that argument in a country with a culture and history so different to our own. It’s not our right to question it, at least not in that way; and I highly doubt you were wearing that maxidress as a statement against female objectification. I’m a strong-minded feminist and generally don’t agree with the treatment of women in strongly Muslim countries, but I’m also a culturally sensitive traveller. I’m aware that just because I don’t agree with the fact that women need to cover up (and men don’t), doesn’t mean that me wearing a strappy top will change an attitude that goes back millennia. Nor do I consider myself special enough to think that I’m above conforming to local behaviour and customs.

    If you feel so strongly that you can’t or won’t cover your arms, legs, chest and back (either due to feminist reasons, the fact that you genuinely think you can’t survive the heat whilst wearing a long-sleeved top, or something more superficial), then there’s a very simple solution: don’t visit that country.

  • I love the glowy feeling. Looks really cozy and beautiful. x
    Louise
    http://louiseplace.com

  • Your posts give me such wanderlust! I loved the pics from the square. I can definitely feel the madness.

    http://www.livingwithlocks.com

  • Nour Sinokrot

    Beautiful! I love your posts and I can’t wait to read them! I’m a big fan from Jordan, have you ever thought of visting?? would love it if you came here and wrote about it. It is an extremley beatiful country with lots and lots of history and places to visit, I guarantee you will have a great experience and a trip you’ll never forget πŸ™‚

  • SUCH a cute dress! Buying it:) And loving the pictures. xo, Hayley http://www.dailydoseofdarling.com

  • Wow that was some tan line! gorgeous post, such a great ‘day in the life’ write up!
    Sarah D @ dasherlife.com

  • gina
  • teawithgayle

    Gosh it sounds crazy, but such fun at the same time!
    & Beautiful photographs too as always! πŸ™‚ ❀

    http://www.teawithgayle.blogspot.com
    xox

  • I’m obsessed with the white sunglasses (and dress)! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • that hotel looks stunning, I love those huge glass candle holders, I want some in my garden! x

    http://www.shegoeswear.com – Lifestyle Blog
    http://www.youtube.com/shegoeswear – Vlogs and videos

  • Wow looks amazing in the square, although maybe a little intimidating at times!
    http://www.liquidgrain.co.uk

  • CHG

    Interesting! I just watched an old Lonely Planet episode in Morrocco. I couldn’t decide if I was up for all of the hubbub in Marrakech, but good to know there are some other options. The travel writer on Lonely Planet also went out into the desert to celebrate Eid…which really looked like a once in a lifetime experience! (Sacrificing a sheep or goat, etc. then traveling around to neighbor’s homes for food and drink) Great post, thanks for sharing.

    http://www.farmbrews.blogspot.com

  • Patrick Poppington

    Really loved the descriptions and the real evidence of the actual price of J’us orange πŸ˜€

  • You write in such a lovely style – not too wordy, and your photographs are always so well-taken! Much love x

    http://www.thecuriosityfox.blogspot.com

  • Michelle

    great photos rosie but not gonna lie – absolutely petrified of snakes so couldn’t think of anything worse!! haha

    http://pomegranateandcoffee.blogspot.co.uk

  • Cherylline Price

    Love Morocco, specifically the Dessert, and Fez, which is so so different from Marrakesh

  • This looks like such a great evening and I love your vivid pictures and lively descriptions to match, it makes me feel like I was there!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Ria

    Okay, how come we get to see your friends guy but not yours!!! The curiosity is killing me!

  • Becki Explorer

    The oranges for the juice stalls come from the neighbouring more modern cities and towns. I went to Marrakech with my chap a few years ago and thought the same……we then went to one of the neighbouring cities (I can’t remember the name of the place for the life of me!) and noticed thousands of orange trees scattered all over the place….all completely orange-less up to 8ft off the ground. Apparently this is where the oranges come from totally FOC!

  • Becki Explorer

    Incidentally, I had a snake thrust at me too….I however did not deal with it with the same grace and decorum as Dan and Halcy……I squealed like a little girl and ran away!!!

    I don’t even mind snakes….just not a fan of ones that float!

    B x

  • Lucy

    Oh my goodness, does anyone know where the other girls dress is from? Beautiful post!

  • I love how your photos of the square really capture the atmosphere of the place.

    Silly Medley: Lifestyle and Travel

  • Maya

    Hi Rosie, I’m going back through and reading these posts for some summer holiday inspiration and I just wanted to let you know that the pictures on this one seem to be all mixed up with a different morocco post? Not sure what’s happened but thought I should bring it to your attention! x

  • I absolutely loved La Mamounia, the gardens are breathtaking and i love how they have glorious shiny cabinets with the latest Prada SS collection i can lust over! I visited Marrakech last month and it was such an eye opener! I mean one minute you have snakes thrusted in your face and the next your lounging by a pool sipping tea… i’ve done a few posts on my trip and would love to have feedback (I’m a fresh teen foodie-fashion blogger) https://brunchattiffanysdotcom.wordpress.com

  • Jessica Holloway

    Hi Rosie, I’m off to Marrakech this weekend and wondered [Help MUCHLY appreciated] – did you book the quad bikes with a guide or just drive out on your own and discover?