Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time

neighborhoods and the finest hotels and riads

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time: Marrakech is a great city to visit in Morocco! It’s important to choose the right area to stay in Marrakech, as you can have a very different experience depending on what you decide. When you choose to sleep in Marrakech’s Palmeraie, it’s not at all the same trip as if you chose the Medina. There’s something for everyone, whether you come to Marrakech as a family or as a couple. So here’s a map and explanations of Marrakech’s neighborhoods, including which ones to avoid, as well as the most beautiful hotels and riads in Marrakech.

What’s a riad? The Riad is the traditional type of building in Marrakech. It’s a house built around a patio, or garden. The patio is designed to keep cool, with trees and water features. It can have one or more storeys. This is an original type of Marrakech accommodation (find out more about Riads).

Medina Marrakech Where to sleep Neighborhood

To help you find your way around the city map and find out which neighborhood to sleep in, we’ve created this map of Marrakech’s neighborhoods.

Map of Marrakech neighborhoods where to sleep

Marrakech’s central square is Place Jamaâ El Fna. The main districts of Marrakech are:






Palm grove


Place Jamaâ El Fna. This is Marrakech’s main square, the heart of the city. It’s always been a place of entertainment, right next to the souks. There are always artists, dancers and snake charmers livening up the square. There are also plenty of restaurants. The square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Place Jemaa El Fna Where to sleep Marrakech

Medina district

This is the city’s historic center, or old town. The city of Marrakech began here over 1,000 years ago. The district is home to the Jamaâ El Fna square, the Jewish Mellah quarter and the Kasbah. It’s a veritable labyrinth of little streets surrounded by ramparts, so it’s not always easy to find your way around. A ery touristy area, with many hotels and riads. It’s also here that you’ll find the majority of the city’s souks, with all their wares: carpets, trays, clothes, pastries, jewelry and more. Of all Marrakech’s districts, this is undoubtedly the most typical and authentic.

The Riad Les Nuits de Marrakech, close to Place Jamaa El Fna and its evening activities, is an ideal example of authentic accommodation in Marrakech.

Gueliz district

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time: The Gueliz district dates back to the French colonial era. It features wide streets and several chic restaurants. The Jardin Majorelle is nearby. As it’s more of a lifestyle district, food and hotels here are generally a little less expensive than in the Medina. It’s also a quieter neighborhood.

Visitors who choose to stay in the Gueliz district of Marrakech are more likely to come for a short cultural or family stay. A hotel with studios and apartments, and therefore kitchens, such as the Dar Guéliz hotel may be a good choice.

Hivernage district

This is Marrakech’s “luxury” or “trendy” district. Nothing to do with the Medina, here you’ll find wide avenues, modern buildings and luxury hotels. It’s the ideal place to go out at night in Marrakech.

A hotel like Le Méridien N’fis, with its large swimming pool, palm trees and gym, is a fine example of this district.

Palmeraie district

La Palmeraie isn’t really a neighborhood. It’s a large, wooded area whose purpose was to provide shade. Today, most hotel clubs, golf courses and luxury villas can be found here. It’s the ideal area to relax and sunbathe in Marrakech. For sightseeing, however, you’ll need to take your own transport, as it’s about 5km from the Medina.

If you’re coming as a couple, for a relaxing sun vacation, Hotel Riu Tikida Garden, Adults Only and All Inclusive is an excellent place to stay in Marrakech.

Mellah district

The Mellah district is Marrakech’s old Jewish quarter, part of the Medina. A synagogue and Jewish cemetery still remain. It’s a neighborhood to be avoided if you want to spend the night in Marrakech.

Kasbah district

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time:: The Kasbah is also part of the Medina. It’s a little off-center, so it’s also quieter and less touristy.

The Kasbah is fortified by its own walls, with gates leading in and out: Bab Agnaou, for example. Historically, it was a citadel housing the king’s residence. When the King of Morocco is in Marrakech, he stays in his palace in the Kasbah.

Agdal district

This district is located to the south, a little way out of town. It’s less traditional or authentic. It’s not a neighborhood to avoid, but we don’t recommend it either.

Quite a distance from the city is the French-run Riad Coco Canel Marrakech, but it’s still quite far.

Where to sleep in Marrakech

The best neighborhood depends, of course, on what you want to see in Marrakech!

The most authentic. A riad in the Medina is the most authentic place to sleep in Marrakech.

For clubbing. Marrakech’s best nightlife district is Hivernage.

For relaxation and sunbathing. The Palmeraie is the place to be! Lodging in a large, lush garden is the ideal place to forget the daily grind and simply enjoy.

Good to know! The Moroccan currency is the dirham. Visa and Master Card are accepted in Morocco, but cash is also required. Find out more in our article: how to pay in Marrakech without fees?

One of Marrakech’s most beautiful Riads to sleep in

Neighborhoods to avoid in Marrakech

Mellah is the district on our list of areas to avoid in Marrakech. Agdal can also be avoided as a neighborhood, as it’s not practical for getting around Marrakech easily.

The other neighborhoods on our list are perfectly suited to sleeping in Marrakech and enjoying your stay.

Where to sleep in Marrakech with your family

As a family, it’s best to sleep either in the Medina or in Marrakech’s Palmeraie.

In the Medina, you’ll be directly in the maze of downtown streets, making it easy to get around.

In the Palmeraie, we’ll be in a large, spacious hotel club, with a swimming pool and maybe even a kids’ club, so it’s particularly convenient for families to sleep peacefully.

The best thing for families is to rent a villa for the whole family. Breakfast is often included, and the house staff can also prepare lunch or dinner. It really is a great experience. What’s more, the villas are very pretty (see photos and customer feedback).

There are private villas for 4 people and larger ones for up to 30.

The 5 best riads or hotels to stay in Marrakech

Here are our 5 best riads or hotels to stay in Marrakech, in authentic surroundings:

La Sultana Marrakech: Magnificent riad, very authentically decorated. Le Palais Blanc Riad: Everything is white: the walls, the furniture, the bed. It’s a beautiful place, with a lovely pool.

Riad Nashira & Spa: A riad decorated in Moroccan style, to keep you in the mood. The spa is particularly pleasant for a massage or hammam.

La Maison Arabe: A luxurious Riad perfect for lovers, with a complimentary bottle of wine on arrival.

72 Riad Living: A very pretty riad with a rooftop solarium. The restaurant has very good reviews.

Riad Palacio de las Especias: Charming little riad. The rooftop terrace is particularly pleasant for observing the sky when the night is mild.

One of Marrakech’s finest hotels to sleep in

A Riad to sleep in Marrakech

Getting from the airport to the center of Marrakech

Marrakech airport (RAK) is about 7km or 15mn from the city center, the Medina. If you’re staying in the Palmeraie, it may take longer, as it’s on the other side of town. Allow 25 minutes.

By cab. A cab from the airport to the center of Marrakech, to the hotel, is the best solution. There’s no need to worry about any timetable, as everything is organized in advance. And it doesn’t cost much in Marrakech! You can book a cab in advance here. Here’s another service, for about the same price.

By bus. The airport shuttle bus to the center of Marrakech runs every 20 minutes, from 6am to 11pm. The bus stops at Place Jemaa El Fna, then you have to find your way to the hotel. It’s really cheap, less than 3€. However, the bus doesn’t go to the Palmeraie, so you’ll have to take a cab if your hotel is located there. The buses are modern, and there’s even WiFi inside.

Where to sleep cheap in Marrakech: youth hostels

Youth hostels are the cheapest way to sleep in Marrakech, for less than €20 a night. And there are some really nice hostels where you can sleep well in top surroundings. Equity Point and the Rodamon Riad, for example, are really warm and welcoming places.

What to do in and around Marrakech

Here are a few things to do in and around Marrakech:

Stroll through the Medina and stroll around Jemaa El Fna square

Visit the Bahia Palace

Visit the Saadian Tombs

See the Koutoubia Mosque

Shop in one of the souks

Flan in the Jardin Majorelle

If you’d like to go further afield, around Marrakech, here are some other things to do, see and visit:

The Palmeraie: a little way out of town, this is a large wooded area. You can ride a horse-drawn carriage, a camel or a quad bike. The camel ride is sure to be memorable! Click here to see the camel ride.

Les Casades d’Ouzoud: A beautiful natural site with splendid waterfalls. Here, you can take a walk under the vegetation, or take a boat to get up close and personal. Excursions from Marrakech require transport, as it’s still a 2h30 drive (see rates and photos).

The Ourika Valley: located in the Atlas Mountains, the Ourika Valley is a splendid site, a different view of Morocco. Excursions from Marrakech often include lunch, as it’s also quite far, around 1 hour’s drive. Click here to see a guided tour from Marrakech.

The Agafay Desert: the real stone desert, a Reg then, very arid, nothing grows here, yet Bedouin tribes used to live here. Click here to see an excursion.

How to pay in Marrakech and Morocco | Euro-Dirham

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time: How to pay in Marrakech and Morocco? The Moroccan currency is the dirham. In general, if you look at the rates charged by traditional banks, the fees for paying by bank card in Morocco are not very advantageous. The same applies to withdrawing money in Morocco. However, there are other, more attractive ways of paying by card in Morocco. Discover the best exchange offices where you can change euros into dirhams.

Paying by credit card in Morocco?

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time: Dirham. In Morocco, the currency is the dirham. Payments in Morocco are therefore not made in euros. To pay in Marrakech, Casablanca, or Agadir, you need to pay in dirham.

Paying by card in Morocco. Visa and Master Card cards work well in Morocco. However, credit cards are not the most widely used means of payment in Morocco.

Paying in cash in Morocco. In general, Moroccans use bank cards more for withdrawals than for payments. Cash is therefore still widely used.

Good to know! Some banks block credit cards when payments are unusual in their eyes. This can happen, for example, when you’re trying to pay abroad. So, if you try to pay by card in Marrakech, your bank may block your card as a precaution. It’s not systematic, but it can happen. To minimize this risk, you can inform your bank of your trip.

What are the bank charges for paying in Marrakech, Casablanca, Agadir… or anywhere else in Morocco?

Fees for paying in dirham. If you have a card from a traditional bank, there are two types of fees that apply. To pay by card in Morocco, there are exchange fees, but also the exchange rate. These two parameters will impact the total cost of payment. In general, the fees applied by traditional banks are rather high, and the euro dirham exchange rates little or moderately advantageous.

Exchange fees. To find out about bank charges for payments in Marrakech or elsewhere in Morocco, you can contact your bank advisor. Alternatively, you can look up the rates on the Internet. In general, it’s around 2%. But this varies from one bank to another, each applying its own charges.

Exchange rates. In general, the exchange rate applied to payments in Morocco offered by traditional banks is not the best euro dirham exchange rate. The same applies to withdrawals. Before leaving, you can compare exchange rates yourself to see the differences.

How to pay in Marrakech and Morocco?

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time: Among the banks offering attractive deals are Revolut and N26.

N26. Like Revolut, N26 doesn’t charge exchange fees, and the euro dirham exchange rates are quite attractive. N26 is a German bank, based in Berlin, Germany. The card is also free. No account-keeping fees. On the N26 application, you can see your expenses directly, which is really handy for paying in Marrakech or Morocco in general.

Revolut. With the Revolut card, euro dirham exchange rates are quite advantageous. In the Revolut application, you’ll see the payment within moments. So it’s easy to keep track of your spending, especially when traveling. What’s more, the Revolut card is free. There are no account maintenance fees. So even if you stop using the card, there are no fees.

Withdrawing money in Morocco

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time: Traditional banks. Withdrawing money in dirham in Morocco is the same for traditional banks as for payments. When you go to withdraw money in Marrakech, Casablanca or Agadir, the bank will apply an exchange rate and exchange charges.

Where can I change euros into dirhams in Morocco?

To pay in Morocco, you can use cash. Here are a few addresses where you can change euros into dirhams in Marrakech and Casablanca, along with a few tips.

Where can I find the best exchange rate to pay in Marrakech?

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time: Leaving for Marrakech? Here are a few addresses where you can change euros into dirhams, or vice versa (click to open the location on Google Maps).

What to visit in Marrakech If you’re going to visit Marrakech, check out our TOP things to do and see to make the most of your trip:

Exchange offices at Marrakech airport

In general, euro dirham exchange rates are not always the most attractive at the airport. To avoid charges, it’s best to change money before leaving for Marrakech, or to withdraw money at the airport, or to change money once you’re there, but in the city.

Exchange offices in Marrakech

Where to Stay in Marrakech for first Time: Here are two exchange offices in Marrakech where you can change euros into dirhams, or vice versa (click to open the location on Google Maps).

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