If you’re looking for a holiday that involves good food, culture, adventure and a bit of luxury on an affordable budget, then Morocco should be high on your list of potential destinations!
I visited Morocco in November on a girl’s trip organized by Travel Girls Getaways and we had an absolutely fabulous time. The trip was planned as an affordable luxury all-female getaway, and we spent 10 wonderful days experiencing the most luxurious activities, dining and Riad hotels in Marrakech, Chefchaouen (the Blue Pearl) and the Sahara Desert.
So, here is my pick of the top eight best things to do in Morocco and affordable luxury experiences that will have you wanting to book a trip there ASAP.
If you’re a solo lady looking for a luxurious trip with other travel-loving women, or perhaps you’re looking to travel with a friend or sister and join a small group of women, then I highly recommend you check out Travel Girls Getaways. Founders Becky Van Dijk and Vanessa Rivers will take you on a highly curated itinerary that is well thought out and includes luxurious experiences at an affordable price. Get on the list to be notified of future trips to Morocco, Turkey and other exotic destinations!
Stay in a Luxury Moroccan Riad
You simply can’t experience a luxury vacation to Morocco without staying in one of the many beautifully designed Riad hotels. A Riad hotel is one of the best places to stay in Morocco because it offers visitors a taste of Moroccan-style luxury.
Moroccan Riads were traditionally the estates of Morocco’s wealthier citizens. A Riad is a multi-story home that centres around an open-air courtyard. Most Riads contain a simple fountain in the courtyard, but the statelier homes may also feature intricately tiled rooms, a hammam spa and opulent pool area. Most Riads are located in the traditional medinas and have now been converted into boutique hotels.
Go Glamping in the Sahara Desert
Is there any better way to camp than glamping? I’m not really sure what I was expecting before arriving at our desert glamping experience, but I certainly got a lot more than I bargained for.
The 9-hour drive to get to the Sahara Desert was made all the more worthwhile when we arrived to find a beautiful little oasis nestled in the middle of two large sand dunes. There was a small village of white canvas tents arranged around a common area that was ornately decorated with colourful Moroccan rugs and throw cushions, a large outdoor fireplace and shisha pipes. The Moroccans definitely know how to deliver a great desert glamping experience!
Each tent was also decorated beautifully, with full king size beds, lockable doors, fully functional shower facilities and a flushable toilet. My only regret with my glamping experience was not staying an extra night, as a Sahara Desert glamping experience is definitely one of the best things to do in Morocco and I would have loved to enjoy the experience for longer.
Take a Balloon Ride Over the Atlas Mountains
There’s something serene about floating in the air at sunrise without a sound, other than the occasional roar of the torch as gas is pumped into the sails to take you further into the sky. Honestly, this was possibly my favourite experience during my time in Morocco. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to experience a sunrise balloon ride, then you’ll know the exact feeling of serenity and exhilaration.
We booked our experience with Ciel d’Afrique, located near Marrakech. A sunrise balloon ride required us to be up before the crack of dawn. A 45-minute drive outside the city into the dark, and barren desert and we arrived at the launch site just before the sun appeared from the horizon.
As we lifted off, the Atlas Mountains came into view in the distance, blurred by the early morning haze lifting over the city. We floated peacefully for around 45-minutes, admiring the sunrise and spectacular views, before coming to land on the flat desert plains.
If you only choose one luxe experience to splash out on, then this one is absolutely worth it as it was one of the best experiences I had in Morocco.
Enjoy Dinner and a Show at Palais Dar Soukkar
One evening we were picked up in a minivan and whisked away to an Arabian Palace that looked like it was straight out of the Aladdin movie.
As we walked down the fire torch-lined garden walkway, past the massive minaret-crowned archways and through the intricately carved doors, we felt like we were royalty, visiting Jasmine’s opulent palace. The only better entrance would have been on a magic carpet.
Palais Dar Soukkar is Marrakech’s premier entertainment venue, attracting locals and international visitors looking to experience dinner and a spectacular show. Presented in a lavish Arabic setting, the show commences around 9:30 pm and features an eclectic performance of belly dancers, oriental musicians and contemporary dramatizations.
Experience a Relaxing Hammam Spa Treatment
Okay, I have to admit, I was a little nervous going into the Hammam for the first time, having heard an interesting story of my friend’s first experience. She described it as ‘being stripped naked by a big, strong Moroccan lady and laid down on a bare concrete slab and getting ‘slapped around and scrubbed raw’ for 30 minutes or so’.
But I can honestly say after the treatment, it was one of the most liberating and relaxing spa experiences I’ve ever had. My skin and hair were feeling and smelling absolutely divine for days afterwards.
Unfortunately, I can’t describe the experience any better than my friend did because, to be honest, her description was pretty accurate. But don’t let that put you off. It is absolutely worth it. Add a relaxation massage and a glass of champagne after your hammam for the ultimate blissful Moroccan spa day.
Book a Fancy Lunch at La Mamounia
La Mamounia is the absolute crème-de-la-crème of hotels in Morocco. It’s one of the best places to stay in Morocco, or even the world, having won several prestigious awards – including the Number 1 Hotel in the World!
If you’ve got the funds to spend a night or two at La Mamounia Palace Hotel (rooms start at US$360 per night), then definitely do it! If not, La Mamounia has four restaurants and is a great place to have lunch or dinner in a lush garden setting. Imagine sipping French Champagne and watching guests swan around flashing their Chloe handbags and Jimmy Choo heels. Or perhaps you could check out their famous Sunday Brunch.
La Mamounia is also one of the most famous hotels on Instagram. And it’s not hard to see why. After lunch, take a wander and explore the grounds. Check out the beautiful orange tree grove out back and see if you can locate that Insta-famous hallway with intricate black and white tiling surrounded by a lagoon (hint: it’s off to the left after walking in the main entrance).
Note that only in-house guests are allowed to access the equally stunning pool area…. So, as I said earlier if you’ve got the funds to spend the night…. Do!
Visit the Yves Saint Laurent Museum & Majorelle Gardens
The late, great, Yves Saint Laurent was arguably one of the most stylish fashion icons of the 20thCentury. It wasn’t until I visited Morocco that I learned that he spent a fair portion of his life living in Marrakech.
The Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech showcases many of his iconic and most well-known haute couture designs – from the ‘smoking’ pantsuit to his extravagant evening dresses.
The nearby Majorelle Gardens are equally spectacular. A 9,000 square metre Art Deco-inspired space, featuring desert climate succulents, cacti and other exotic species, that took 40 years to create. Be sure to allow a couple of hours to wander around the museum and gardens.
Go Shopping for Homewares in the Design District
After being in Morocco less than a day, I had decided that I was going to completely change the theme of my home décor and have everything shipped over from Morocco (it’s nice to dream). But seriously, Moroccan homewares are extremely unique and luxurious, and the price tag is pretty attractive also.
If you’re in the market for some new home furnishings, I seriously believe that the cost of buying everything from Morocco and having it shipped home in a shipping container, would possibly be cheaper than buying it all in your home country (depending on where you live, of course).
It’s even possible to hire a local personal shopper to show you all the best shopping spots and do the negotiating on your behalf. Now that’s my idea of a luxurious shopping expedition!
Can you think of any other luxury experiences that one should check out in Morocco? Let our readers know about them in the comments below.
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