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Marrakech

8,554 bytes added, 18:49, 22 October 2012
updated listing Dar Habiba
==Understand==
 The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words '''mur (n) akush''', which means "Land of God." It is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow capped Atlas Mountains and a few hours away from the foot of the Sahara Desert. Its location and contrasting landscape has made it a an enviable destination in Morocco.
The city is divided into two distinct parts: the Medina, the historical city, and the new European modern district called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores.
==Get Cash, Credit cards, Pre-paid Cards and ATMs ==The Dirham is officially designated as a closed currency meaning it can only be traded within Morocco, however, Dirhams are being sold and bought in travel agencies and at major airports in several countries (notably the UK). The import and export of the currency is tolerated up to a limit of 1000DH. Currency purchased during a visit to Morocco should be converted back before departing the country, with the exception of the 1000Dh level. Travellers should be advised to keep the receipts of currency exchange, as these will be required for the conversion of Dirham back to foreign currency prior to departure. You can change as many Dirhams as you have left.  At Marrakech airport the exchange rate is very similar to that in the town centre, so there is not much loss in waiting to the last minute to change your remaining Dirhams. Once through to embarcation you can no longer spend Dirhams, only foreign currency, so make sure you have no unwanted Dirhams left. Most of the main foreign currencies may be exchanged at a Bureau de Change in the airport or port upon arrival, at a bank and in most hotels although smaller hotels in more remote areas may not be able to exchange large amounts at one time without prior notice. Most hotels will exchange at the same rate as banks and without charging commission. Exchanging money in the street is illegal, so travellers should look for an official Bureaux de Change which is identifiable by a golden sign.  When bringing paper currency into Morocco (U.S. Dollars, British Pounds, Euros etc.), these must be in good condition--no tears or ink marks. Do not bring Scottish or Irish Sterling notes as they are impossible to cash as are Australian and New Zealand notes. Beware of bringing in brand new designs of banknotes, for example when the Bank of England introduced the new 'Adam Smith' £20 note in March 2007, the Moroccan banks would not change them as their records only showed the older, and at that time still legal, 'Sir Edward Elgar' £20 notes.Don't bring coins in your currency to use as tips as they are hard for the locals to exchange and they get a very poor rate of exchange so have to pester other tourists to try and change them. Some shops, Riads/hotels and especially restaurants quote prices in Euros and Dirhams; in the days where there were 10 dirhams to the euro it made conversion easy, now 1€ (Euro) is approx. equivalent to 11Dh but some traders still prefer to use the rate of ten to one which means you are slightly overcharged. Some traders will not give change when paying in pounds or Euros!  If your Riad or hotel has only quoted in Euros (many do to make it easier for guests to understand) ask for the price in Dirhams so you can pay in the local currency.  Current exchange rates can be checked at http://www.xe.com/ucc. Please remember that the rates provided by xe.com are for wholesale transfers but are generally close to the exact rates of exchange found inMorocco.  ==== Credit Cards ====Most credit cards are accepted (especially Visa, MasterCard), although surcharges will likely apply as the cost of credit card processing in Morocco is fairly expensive for businesses. Do be aware that only a relatively small amount of businesses in Morocco have the ability to accept credit cards, although the number is growing slowly. Advise your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards. Notify the issuer and give them a 'phone number where you can be contacted abroad. Before travelling, ensure you make a note of all credit card numbers and associated contact numbers for card issuers in case of difficulty. The numbers are usually free to call as you can reverse the charges, make it clear to the operator at your hotel, riad etc that you wish the call charge to be reversed. Preferably get a pre-paid card, with good exchange rates and low withdrawal fees eg fairFX. When making payments with a credit card, for example at a hotel for services, it is vital to memorise the PIN as signatures in many instances are no longer accepted, however certain establishments such as restaurants may still use the old method of signing.
===By plane==='''Marrakech-Menara Airport''' ({{IATA|RAK}}), ☎+212 4444 7910, +212 4444 78 65, +212 4444 8506 [http://wwwMany people now use a prepaid FairFX or Caxton card.onda.ma/]. Marrakech has an international airport with direct scheduled flights coming in from LondonTheses offer good exchange rates, Stockholm, Paris are safe and Madrid and many charter flights arriving from all over Europemoney is protected if the card gets lost or stolen. If These are accepted in Moroccan ATMs anywhere you are flying from see the US, Canada, Asia or elsewhere, you'll have to change planes Mastercard logo and in Casablancasome shops too.
Plenty ==== ATM cash dispensers ====ATMs can now be found in abundance in most towns and accept Visa, Maestro, Cirrus etc but these will usually incur charges of low cost companies now fly around 5%. You should check with your bank as charges for using ATMs abroad may make exchanging cash a better option. Popular destinations such as Tangier, Marrakech, Agadir etc have ATM's in large tourist international hotels as well as on all main roads. The medina of Marrakech has in excess of 20 ATMs. Using a credit card (VISA etc) to Marrakechobtain money from ATM's is also possible but one must remember that interest is charged from the moment money is dispensed. Some companies fly The normal practice of an interest-free period which applies to [[Casablanca]]purchases, typically over 50 days, where a plane change for made on the 45 min flight card does NOT apply to cash withdrawals. Banks will allow cheques to Marrakech can be madecashed but must be supported by a guarantee card.
==Get in== ===By plane=== '''Marrakech-Menara Airport''' ({{IATA|RAK}}), ☎+212 4444 7910, +212 4444 78 65, +212 4444 8506 [http://www.onda.ma/]. Marrakech has an international airport with direct scheduled flights coming in from London, Stockholm, Paris and Madrid and many charter flights arriving from all over Europe. If you are flying from the US, Canada, Asia or elsewhere, you'll have to change planes in Casablanca. Plenty of low cost companies now fly to Marrakech. Some companies fly to [[Casablanca]], where a plane change for the 45 min flight to Marrakech can be made.  From the UK, Easyjet [http://www.easyjet.com] flies to Marrakech from Manchester and Gatwick Airport (and also from [[Madrid]] and from [[Lyon]]). '''Ryanair''' has direct flights from [[Oporto]] (Portugal), [[London]] Luton, and [[London]] Stansted to Marrakech. They also fly from from Frankfurt-Hahn (Germany), Alicante (Spain), Girona (Spain) , Madrid and Reus (Spain) to Marrakech. '''Thomson Airways''' travels from London Gatwick and [[Manchester]]. British Airways [http://www.ba.com] are to begin flying from London Gatwick in 2011. BMI British Midland International fly 3 times per week from London Heathrow starting April 1, 2011. TUIfly no longer fly to Marrakech, Atlas Blue[http://www.atlas-blue.com], was an offshoot of Royal Air Maroc very low cost fares but is no more a separate brand for Royal Air Maroc neither a low cost rates that flies in from several European cities. Transavia.com is a new Low cost airline from Air France-KLM group coming to Marrakech from several cities in Europe like Paris. Norwegian [http://www.norwegian.no/] offers direct flights from [[Copenhagen]], [[Oslo]] and [[Stockholm]]. Iberia offers two non stop flights from Madrid. '''TAP Portugal''' offers direct flights from [[Lisbon]].
From inside the country, you can take '''Royal Air Morocco''' [http://www.royalairmaroc.com], with flights from [[Agadir]], [[Casablanca]] (daily), [[Fez]] (daily), [[Ouarzazate]], [[Al Hoceima]], and [[Tangier]].
Terminal 1 has two money changing outlets in the Arrivals hall and one in Departures. Terminal 2 had ATMs, but (as of March 2012) is currently being re-built from the ground up. On ATMs, check for the Maestro, Cirrus or Plus logos to be sure that the machine accepts foreign credit cards. Beware as some of the ATMs work only in French. If your card is taken at the ATM, tell airport security and they can help you get it back.
==== Get ATMs generally dispense only 100 and 200 dirham notes so getting change for small everyday purchases like water, taxis etc can be a challenge. At weekends you may have difficulty acquiring cash as machines are not generally restocked until the following Monday. Sometimes your card may work in ====some machines and not others, or may support smaller withdrawals rather than larger ones, and may work at some times and not others. You should ensure you have a backup means of funding your visit. ATMs usually dispense a maximum of 2000Dh but other limits may apply dependent on your bank.
==== Getting to the airport====
The airport is located about 9km (6 miles) from the city. The best option, if you don't have too much luggage, is by '''bus''' (line 19). Otherwise it's easier to take a taxi which takes about 15 minutes to get to the center of the Medina.
=====On foot=====
 
If you don't have too much luggage then it's possible to walk from the airport to the Medina even though it would take you from an hour and half to two hours. There is a footpath alongside the road all the way and the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque provides an excellent landmark to head towards. If you have enough time you can break the trip with a visit to the Menara gardens, which are between the airport and the city.
- They will hustle you to charge for everything such as bags. But you don't need to pay for extras.<br>
- For petit taxi, the maximum number of passengers is three (plus the driver). Sometimes you need to share with other passengers. If you are a group of two or three people, you just pay the one price and share with others (example, 10Dh for three passengers).<br>
- The meter starts from 1.60Dh 70Dh before 8pm and 2.40Dh after 8pm. No need to negotiate the price. Basically they have to use the meter even if it is midnight. Each 50m100m, the meter will up 1.20-1.40Dh. - The minimum charge is Dh6 Dh7 before 8pm and after will be 9Dh10Dh. <br>
- Dh 20 is a good price for a 10 min ride.<br>
- For Grand Taxis (Regular Mercedes Taxis) there are no meters. Typically the set rate from Marrakech Airport to the Medina or Jemaa el fna (Main square) is 150Dh. There also appears to be no limit to the amount of people they'll attempt to squeeze in! Outside of the airport if you are a group of more than three, the maximum for a Petit Taxi, then do negotiate you fee before you enter the Grand Taxi. <br>
[[Image:Majorelle.jpg|thumb|200px|Majorelle Gardens]]
* '''Majorelle Gardens''' [http://www.jardinmajorelle.com/en/], in [[Gueliz]] has an entrance fee of Dh 40 50 and is more expensive than other attractions. However, it provides an excellent respite from the hustle and bustle of the city streets. The park boasts a collection of plants from across the globe, including what seems like every cactus species on the planet. Get here early to avoid the crowds. Inside the gardens is also the '''Museum of Islamic Art''', for which an additional entrance fee of Dh 25 is charged.
* '''Dar Si Saïd Museum''', on Rue Riad Zitoun Jdidhas an entrance fee of Dh 25, is a museum 5 mins away from Djemaa El-Fna. Set in an old palace, it houses many different artifacts from Morocco through the ages, such as wood carvings, musical instruments, and weapons. It is dedicated to the Moroccan craft industry of wood, gathering a very beautiful collection of popular art: carpets, clothing, pottery and ceramics. All these objects are regional, coming from Marrakech and all the south, especially from Tensift, High Atlas, Soussthe, Anti Atlas, Bani, and Tafilal.
* '''Ben Youssef Madrassa''' is one of the largest Madrassas in the North Africa. It is a school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque and is home to beautiful art and architecture.
The main square in the Medina is Djemaa El-Fna. It is surrounded by endless labyrinths of souks (bazaars) and alley ways covering all of the Medina. Djemma El-Fna is a must as there is always something to see there day and night whether it be snake charmers, acrobats, sooth-sayers,or the musicians and food stalls. At night the square really comes to life as people navigate toward the exotic aromas and the entertaining sights. As the evening darkens, the hustle & bustle of activity rages on. The exotic music appears louder and more hypnotic.
The Medina is also the place to stay in a Riad, a Moroccan house with an internal courtyard. Most windows are inward facing towards the central atrium. This design of property suits Islamic tradition as there is no obvious wealth statement being made externally, no windows to peer through. Entering a Riad is like discovering an Aladdin’s Cave in comparison to it’s its non-descript exterior. They are great places to stay and offer an intimate and relaxing retreat.
Directly south of the Djemaa El-Fna is Rue Bab Agnaou. A five-min walk takes you straight to the famous Bab Agnaou entrance to the Kasbah district of the Medina. The Bab Agnaou entrance, through the ramparts, is by far the most impressive entrance of all medina rampart entrances.
If you arrive by car, ask the hosts to help you find your way from the parking lot, especially if you never experienced orientation in a real medina before. Here are a sample of some of the riads (in alphabetical order) where you can experience Marrakech's unique style of living:
 
*<sleep name="Dar Habiba" alt="" address="18 Derb Jdid, riad zitoun k'did district" directions="5 minutes straightforward walk from the main square" phone="+44 (0) 207 193 7357" url="www.marrakech-riad.co.uk" checkin="flexible" checkout="flexible" price="from £60" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]">Dar Habiba is a traditional secluded Riad with it’s own private Hamman- the ultimate Marrakech luxury. One suite and three rooms sharing a romantic courtyard minutes from the famous Jemma al Fnaa square..</sleep>
* <sleep name="Riad Abaka" alt="" address="21 Derb Roukni Laksour" directions="" phone="+212 6 6697 8703" url="http://www.riadabaka.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]">A spacious riad with seven beautifully furnished bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms. Located in the heart of the Medina, less than two minutes walk from Jemaa El Fna.</sleep>
 
*<sleep name="Riad Ariha" alt="" address="Derb Ahmed el Borj 90, Sidi ben Slimane" directions="just after Restaurant Dar Zellije" phone="+ 33 66 36 57 263" email="[email protected]" url="www.riadariha.com">Zen-chic with five beautifully decorated rooms each with heating, air conditioning and ensuite bathrooms. Free WiFi, free in-room safe, and lots of other freebies. Very comfortable beds with crisp white bed linen for a great night's sleep. Organic toiletries from Nectarôme. English-owned, English, French and German spoken.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Riad Basma" alt="" address="Marrakech-Medina, 22 Derb Jamaa, Riad Basma" directions="From square Jamaa el Fnaa walk up to derb Dabachi and count 3 small streets (derbs) on the right turn right and keep on until nr. 22." phone="+212 6 5051 7223" url="" checkin="12PM" checkout="12 midday" price="" lat="31.625691" long="-7.984995" email="[email protected]">5 double rooms with bathroom.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Riad Chennaoui" alt="" address="Riad Zitoune Jdid, Derb Sidi Fares N°01" directions="" phone="+212 5 2437 6140" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Dorm beds around 100 drm">Simple and basic riad in the Medina. The staff are friendly and happy to discuss Moroccan life and culture over a shisha in the evening. This place can be difficult to find - you may have to pay a local to take you there (10-20 drm should do it, although they will ask for more).</sleep>
* <sleep name="Riad Chi-Chi" alt="" address="Derb el Anboub 12, Quartier Al Baroudiine, Marrakech" directions="close to Musee de Marrakech" phone="Tel. + 33 66 36 57 263 +212 (0) 5 24 38 98 57" email="[email protected]" url="http://www.riadchichi.com" >All the bedrooms (the riad has 4 double bedrooms and 1 suite sleeping max. 12 people) are light and airy with extremely comfortable beds, air conditioning and heating. The interior decoration is in fresh soothing white with the odd splashes of colour creating a calming effect. All bedrooms have an en-suite bathroom and air-conditioning/heating. Great service, great food. English-owned, French and German-speaking.</sleep> * <sleep name="Riad Cinnamon" alt="Luxurious riad in Medina" address="9 Derb El Hadjra" directions="Will pick guests up at the airport, otherwise head for the Museum of Marrakech then, with the Kouba on your left and the medersa Ben Yousef on your right go straight ahead until you come to a sharp bend in the road to the right. Then take the first street on your left. Riad Cinnamon is nestled at the end of this street on the left." phone="00 44 (0)7584 327625" email="[email protected]207 193 7357" url="http://www.marrakech-riad.co.uk" checkout="Usually offers late checkout, otherwise 11AM" checkin="flexible" checkout="checkoutflexible" price="Room prices range from £100-160 depending on the season. But prices per person can be cheaper than a hostel as rooms can be shared by up to 5 people. Ask about special offers and last minute discounts.£112" lat="31.631483" long="-7.987222" email="[email protected]">Designed and rebuilt to a very high standard by Mike and Lucie Wood with amazing attention to detail and lots of unexpected extras such as the loan of a local mobile phone and ipad loan. Perfect for romantic escapes, hen parties, groups of women wanting to experience Marrakech's shopping, hammams and food. Amazing dinners served on roof terrace with incredible views. Dipping pools on patio and roof garden terrace. Most rooms can accomodate up to 4 people in single beds. All rooms can be either twin or doubles/ triples.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Riad Dar Eliane" alt="" address="39 Derb Maada,Azbezt,Medina" directions="" phone="+212 5 2437 5710" url="http://www.dareliane.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]">Four spacious double bedrooms and bathrooms with A/C. Accommodation is on two floors of a restored 300 year old riad in an older and authentic quarter of Marrakesh. Ten minute walk to Jamaa el Fna.</sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Riad LakLak" alt="" address="Marrakech Medina" directions="" phone="" url="http://www.riad-laklak-marrakech.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]">Riad LakLak is a gorgeous Riad from the 17th century. It is located between the "Palais Bahia" and the "Palais Badii" in one of the most authentic area of the Medina of Marrakesh. The famous Jemaa El Fna Square is only few steps away and a guarded car park is close by, where you can easily get a taxi to discover Marrakesh and its surroundings. On the roof terrace, you can watch at least a dozen majestic storks nesting on the walls of the atmospheric and beautiful ruin of the Badii Palace and groups of storks will glide gently a few meters above your head to there nesting places. Storks are the harbingers of happiness and prosperity.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Riad Dar Mimouna" alt="" address="Sidi M'Barek n°151, Sidi Mimoun" directions="" phone="+212 4438 4078" email="" fax="+212 4438 4079" url="http://www.riadmimouna.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="">A few mins walk from the Koutoubia Mosque. Breakfast is included and is served at the terrace. There is also a hammam at the terrace, free for use by guests. You need to tell them in advance when you would like to use it. This riad also sells alcohol. It is kept in the fridge behind the counter.</sleep>
Traditional Moroccan meals are available as well as complementary wifi internet. Airport transfer service available on request.</sleep>
*<sleep name="Riad Papillon" alt="Intimate riad with outstanding service" address="15, Derb Tizougarine, Dar El Basha" directions="near taxi rank. Go to Dar El Basha then walk towards the centre, take the 2nd road on the left Derb Tizougarine, bear right and go to the end of the cul de sac, has a bright blue door and brass hand of fatima knocker" phone="+212 66784518930044 (0) 207 193 7357" url="http://www.marrakech-riad.comco.uk" checkin="3flexible" checkout="11flexible" price="Rooms range from £50-100 according to the season. Ask about any special offers and last minute deals." lat="31.63305" long="-7.99187" email="c[email protected]">A riad with five beautiful rooms: Rose, Jasmin, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus and Geranium. located in the heart of the Dar el Basha antique district which is very safe. Cuisine is exceptional, service is warm and attentive but discrete, loan of local phone/ ipad , Iphone charger, bathrobes, complimentary breakfast and wifi internet. Very romantic and wonderful atmosphere with welcoming dipping pool and tent on rooof terrace. Brilliant reviews on trip advisor. Airport pickups available.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Hotel Riad Primavera" alt="" address="" directions="Just off of Allal Fassi Avenue and near the Marjane department store" phone="+212 2433 2570, +212 2433 2572, +212 2433 2573" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.primavera-marrakech.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="">The only kosher hotel in all of Morocco. The kosher certification is in the lobby and is issued by the Beth Din of Marrakech. 22 rooms with personal A/C units, TVs, bathrooms with showers, decorated in typical Moroccan style. Prices tend to rise during major Jewish holidays and festivals.</sleep>
Moroccans are not permitted to be guides for foreigners without a license. Usually Police officers (under cover) are patrolling to catch Moroccans who are bothering tourists or try to make some money.
There are often people in Djemaa El-Fna offering '''henna tattoos''', which are popular with locals and tourists alike. But among the many genuine traders are one or two scam artists. They appear very charming and trustworthy while you choose a design, but will then cleverly divert your attention. Before you know it, you have the beginnings of a rather poor henna tattoo. Even if you do not want a design, be sure to keep your hands away from them as they will grab your hand and begin a design anyway. The scam artist later demands massive payments, in whatever currency you have (dirhams or not). After emptying your pockets, if they consider you can afford more, they will demand that you visit a nearby ATM. Always agree on a firm price before work starts. If you can't do this, insist that the operator stops immediately - then go to another (hopefully more reliable) operator to get your design completed. If they say it is free before they start or while they are doing it, they will always ask for a price later on. If this happens to you, you can walk away without paying; however, they will harass you for a little before giving up and moving on to another tourist. Also, there have been stories of these scam artists using henna mixed with dangerous chemicals, such as PPD(this is sometimes done to make the tattoos appear black), which can cause skin damage or severe allergic reactions.  Some tourists encounter an elderly lady offerning offering henna in the main square - she welcomes you to her stall, and then fetches her friends (who arrive, usually, on motor bikes) and will provide you with very appealing tatoos - however, beware - they will not agree a price upfront and will ask for huge amounts - e.g. a 50Dh tatoo will be 450Dh - or they will promise you free tatoo's tattoos and then charge equally large amounts. When you dispute the amount they will scream at you - so be calm, pay them what you think it is worth, and walk away. If they try to stop you then create attention - however, do not use physical violence as these artists work in gangs and before you know it you'll be surrounded by other con-artists.
There is a small nameless restaurant inside the markets catering to tourists. It looks like a budget restaurant but has extremely inflated prices. It has an awning with painted faces and offers grilled brochettes for Dh 40 each, which is much higher than the regular price.
*[[Jbilets Geological Site]]
*www.sud-aventures-tours.com
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