Marrakech has long been a favorite destination, since a first visit fourteen years ago when I traveled through the whole country. Along with the spicy lamb tajines, atmospheric medina streets, excellent souk shopping, and the endearing chaos of the city’s main square - the Djemaa al Fna - we will be going on a road trip, visiting the markets and learning about some of the major sites of Marrakech.
Marrakech is full of hidden treasures, if you know where to look! It is a city full of many souks and markets, which are hidden away in the narrow alleys and squares of the medina. The rewards are high if you know where to go. Shopping in Marrakech isn't for the fainthearted. We will take you to some of the best and most unique shops and markets.
As one would imagine, and can likely see, craftsmanship and design integrity can be hugely variable - much of what’s sold along the narrow alleyways of the street markets is best left there. The real design finds are hidden — literally, as Moroccan architecture is hugely interior-focused — behind unassuming doors.
We are heading to Morocco for a 7 night, 6 day journey of food and shopping where we will eat at some of the best restaurants, explore the shops with the help of a guide, travel to the sea side town of Essaouira, have a henna treatment + more. We will visit the prime shopping locations like the souks in Djemaa el Fna and head to Gueliz and other areas we think you'll find most interesting
WHERE WE'RE STAYING
We will be staying in the medina so shopping is easy in the souks and is right out the entrance of your riad. I have found in the past that after a morning of shopping (and bag carrying) it's great to be able to walk back to our riad and relax before heading out again. Ace Camps Explore visits to Marrakech will always be close to the action.
WHAT IS A RIAD?
A riad is traditional house in Morocco and is characterized by having an inner courtyard or a garden as the central element of the building. Following the Islamic idea of privacy and inward reflection, a riad doesn’t usually have large windows facing the outside. Instead, rooms in a riad will have windows facing the opened-ceiling inner courtyard/garden.
Ace Camp Explore is limited to 10 people.
Fee: $2195.00 USD - airfare is not included
Deposit: $1000.00 USD - due when place in workshop is confirmed
Final Payment of $1095.00 USD due June 15, 2016 (depending on which Ace Camp you choose)
There will be no refunds for this trip - please know you can make it before your registration.
OTHER COOL THINGS TO DO:
The Dar Si Said Museum Admission The former home of the brother of Ba Ahmed, builder of the Bahia Palace, now houses a ragtag collection of crafts and woodwork.
More engaging is the new Maison de la Photographie displays exhibits from a collection of 8,000 photographs spanning the period from 1870-1950. The museum’s top terrace is perfect for a post-picture visit drink or light lunch.
The new Douiria Mouassine (5 Derb El Hammam, Mouassine, Medina, +212 524 38 57 21. Open 10am-6pm Sat-Thur, Admission 30dhs) showcases a restored, petite 17th-century reception apartment detailed with exquisite decorative plaster and wood work.
ESSAOUIRA is a very charming Atlantic coastal town and we will escape to the laid-back beach town on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, which (apparently) attracted the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa in its hippie heyday. This is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Marrakech drive past olive groves, dusty villages and with luck we'll see goats in trees or stop to buy some authentic Moroccan oil.
ACE CAMPS will email you when it is time to get your air. This email will always be sent 90 days or more before your trip departs unless you book within 90 prior to the camp.
You will be met at the airport and brought to the riad the night before Ace Camp Explore begins.
More information will be sent after your registration.
The average daily temperature during the month of September hovers around 27 degrees Celsius. This includes a potential low of 20 degrees Celsius at night, and a high of up to 33 degrees Celsius. These high temperatures will likely be during the early afternoon but check the latest forecast to double check. An average of ten millimetres of rain falls on the area throughout the month, usually concentrated over two days.
ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER
The ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER is a part of your group and are there to look out for your safety, to help resolve issues, and to make sure you get what you want from your vacation. The Tour Leader will make sure that everyone who wants company has it, including dinners when no group meal is scheduled.
They also work with the local guides to insure the right combination of pace, information, and duration - and, well...keep the ball rolling.
On arrival at Marrakech Menara International Airport you will be welcomed by our tour representative and brought to the riad. Please try to arrange your flights to meet us for dinner.
Meet + Greet with light dinner and cocktails at the riad.
HISTORICAL SITES + GUIDED SHOPPING TOUR
The morning will be devoted to the visit of Marrakesh, the second oldest Imperial city, known as the pearl of the South. The city was founded by the Almoravides at the end of the 11th century; the historical sightseeing includes the Menara Garden, the Saadian tombs, the Bahia palace, and the Koutoubia. Afternoon, visit of the souks and handicraft quarters displaying a variety of items and the famous place Djemâa El Fna with its non stop entertainment.
Lunch at Café des Espices
After lunch We've laid out a master plan for shopping and today we walk through the souks in the medina with a guide. Bring your books with maps to help you find the shops later. We will head to Original Marrakech where you can order a customized embroidered rattan woven basket.
Dinner on your own
Guéliz provides an antidote for low-key shoppers who like to look and not be pressured into buying . Many of the best shops lie along a two-block stretch of Rue de la Liberté.
In Guéliz, head to Grand Café de la Poste, where you could almost be in Indochina, circa 1950, sitting under slow-turning ceiling fans on a vast bamboo-shaded veranda. It is popular with French expats, who treat it as their own private club.
Lunch at a cafe.
Following lunch we head to Majorelle Gardens. There are many reasons why this little oasis of calm amid the bustling streets is worth visiting, but one of the main draws is that it was designed and created by French painter Jacques Majorelle.
Time for shopping around Majorelle Gardens. We'll visit 33 Rue Majorelle, Michelle Baconnier Boutique, and other area shops we think you should see.
Henna + Cocktails
Women have been dying their hands with intricate Henna designs for centuries, mostly in preparation for attending important social events. You will have the opportunity to have a henna treatment with mint tea and Moroccan sweets.
Dinner - TBA
A day to explore the souks on your own. You may want to make your way in small groups to some of the shopping destinations suggested in your private guide.
There will be a suggested meeting place for lunch should you wish to join the others and have a break.
SHOPPING + FREE AFTERNOON TO EXPLORE
We head to the Rahba Kedima - the old spice market, Haddadine - the metalworkers souk, Cherratine - the leatherworkers souk.
Lunch at Le Jardin
Afternoon on your own to shop or head to Beldi Country Club or La Pause to escape the chaos of the medina.
Meet back at the hotel for 6:30pm and we will get ready to head out to the Jemna El Fna for dinner at one of the outdoor eating areas.
From Marrakech it is a leisurely 2 hour drive to the Atlantic Coast and the former Portuguese stronghold of Essaouira. With a whitewashed medina enclosed by huge pink sandstone ramparts which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with a rich Portuguese and Andalusian heritage, Essaouira holds great appeal. On the way we will stop at an Argan Oil Factory.
Lunch at TBD
Dinner back at the riad to be served after our arrival.
This day is left free for your personal interests.
Perhaps you’d like to visit a hammam for a steam bath and massage, or spend more time shopping in the medina. Our guide will be delighted to assist with group or individual requests. Maybe a camel ride! We can help you organize.
We celebrate our final evening together with a farewell dinner in the riad.
You will be brought to Marrakech Menara International Airport. Group departures depending on flights to be arranged once travel plans are sent to Ace Camps administration.