DESERT DWELLERS


EXPLORING MARRAKECH

Words by Nadine Mellor | I-escape

The airport is only 15 minutes from the extraordinary main square, Djemaa el-Fna, with its snake charmers, traditional musicians and fire-eaters, an enthralling smoke-filled spectacle come early evening. Horse-drawn caleche rides can take families around sights, including the ruined 16th-century Palais el-Badi, the Koutoubia Mosque, and iconic pink city walls.

WHAT TO SEE


Wander through the must-see Medina, dating to the 12th century, whose labyrinthine souks have superb shopping and spices – your hotel can arrange a family-friendly guide. Kids will be fascinated by artisanal craftsmanship including metalworkers, basket-weavers and jewellery-makers; a must-buy are the hand- crafted leather Babouche slippers. Adults will love the renowned local cuisine, while pretty much all family-friendly eateries and hotels offer a menu with delicious options for kids.

If the bustle becomes too much, Yves Saint Laurent’s stunning tropical gardens offer tranquil shade, there’s a Waterpark 20 minutes away, and older children can ride camels and horses in the Palmeraie.

Day trips to the Atlas Mountains are popular -usually about a 90 minutes’ drive- for awesome views, going ziplining, light trekking and visiting authentic Berber villages.

WHAT TO WEAR



WHERE TO STAY


Most families stay outside Marrakech, preferring dwellings with room to romp and kid-friendly amenities, although many riads are very welcoming of families, and most will have plunge pools. 10 km to the East, we find Villas Fawakay, three villas set in wonderful flowering gardens, which you can take in entirety, by the villa or room. Meals can be taken wherever and whenever suit, and we love how children are gifted Moroccan pyjamas on arrival, a sweet little detail that will make everyone feel welcome. The children will love chasing peacocks in the garden and dipping in the heated swimming pools. Extra activities include princess spa treatments and minichef classes for children over 6. For the smallest ones they offer cots, bedding, baby bath and monitors. Ideal for those who travel light.

Alternatively, 15 minutes NW, there is Casa Taos, a luxurious laid-back oasis of 7 artist-inspired suites in an adobe-style mansion plus a stand-alone villa.They are perfect for families and can easily take extra cots and beds. Some of the highlights are the 3 hectares of fruit groves and lawns, the fact that the charming hosts cannot do enough for you all (including babysitting if you feel like exploring the city at night), and the home-cooked food, straight from the kitchen garden, which is superb.

WHAT TO WEAR



If planning your next family trip, head over to i-escape Kids Collection for more tips and tailored expert’s advice.