I have never before been so affected by colour, as I have been in Morocco. I find it seeping into my dreams, leading me down narrow terracotta pathways to giant lanterns of red and gold, piles of scented spices and leather in every colour imaginable, (and some I never imagined!).
From the coast to the desert colour finds you in Morocco. With a landscape of sand and sky as a backdrop, Moroccans of all backgrounds have woven colour and beauty into their arts and crafts.
Together on this very special experience we will travel down some dusty laneways to explore seductive old souks with working artisans, tanneries, women’s cooperatives for carpets and argan oil, as well as seeing offerings from new Moroccan designers.
Also “Shop Till You Drop Morocco” is not just a shopping tour. This trip is a cultural immersion, a sight seeing tour, a giving back opportunity and a girly getaway, it ticks a lot of boxes as the ultimate holiday
7 Nights accommodation (4 nights Marrakech 3 nights Essaouira)
Airport transfers and private transport to and from Essaouira
Tour with professional shopper in Essaouria
Cooking Class Amal not for profit supporting women
Bespoke perfume making class – Le Musee du Parfum
Entry to Women’s and Photographic Museum Marrakech
High Tea at the Mamounia Hotel Marrakesh
Visit to the Secret Garden in the Marakech Medina
Visit local souks, cooperatives and factories
Airfares to and from Morocco
Lunches and Dinners, (prices for these can vary from very cheap to western prices depending on where you are eating. Alcohol is more expensive than at home, consider buying some duty free) Allow $100 a day for meals and incidentals.
Personal purchases and shipping costs if considering large purchases. The best and cheapest solution however is purchasing excess baggage. Leave lots of room in your bags!
Tipping, we suggest $15 per person per day and collect this at the beginning of the trip to be distributed amongst out drivers, hotel staff and guides.
Travel Insurance (which is compulsory and must be purchased within 14 days of paying your deposit for your trip. This protects you in the event you need to cancel your booking)
Today is set aside just to arrive, there are no activities planned. As we have a full week ahead for you today is put aside for rest and relaxation after your journey. However, if you are feeling adventurous we are staying in the hip and happening area of Hivernage and Guilez, modern Marrakech. The wide, French-era streets of Gueliz are home to upscale Moroccan and European restaurants, cabarets and chic bars, as well as art galleries and mainstream fashion stores. Hivernage is known more for its night life, with a casino, cocktail lounges, hotel dance clubs and global restaurants with live music. You can safely wander at your leisure taking in the modern magic of Marrakech or just have a cocktail by the pool, you choose, its your holiday xx
Today we head to the coast to Essaouria, the old port town of Mogador, mystical in every way, part beach getaway, part ancient medina, part fishing village. The perfect place to start our Morocaan shopping adventure. On the way we stop at one of the many Argon Oil Co-operatives with ubiquitous goats in trees. Sampling the products, and smelling their nutty essence.
Then onto lunch at Ocean Vagabond, offering a large menu of international cuisine, Ocean Vagabond is a small restaurant located in a pretty garden right next to the beach; an idyll surrounded by lush trees and plants. The interior is designed with a Caribbean theme, featuring rustic wicker furniture and authentic artwork adorning the walls. Guests can enjoy an array of sumptuous meals here, from duck breast with candied mango, to Toulouse sausage and lentils, whilst watching energetic kite surfers, enthusiastic camel riders and wild horses right on the beach.
After lunch you have time for an optional horse or camel ride along the beach and then we will settle into our accommodation at Villa Maroc. After a quick 30 minute nap we will head out for an orientation walk of the local area. This may include a glass of wine in a rooftop bar and conclude with some dinner and live music.
After a French breakfast or crepes, croissants, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee we will be fueled up for our shopping tour with Arianna! An experienced stylist and a personal shopper from Rome. She is passionate about her job and has fun doing it! She loves finding hidden gems and can spend hours looking for unique handcrafts. Colours, fabrics and ethnic jewellery are her addiction and, of course, food! She also knows where to find the best coffee!! We’ll visit artisans labs, tailors and accessories shops while you’ll discover more about ethnic jewellery and Moroccan handicrafts. You’ll see the hidden treasures of Essaouira while choosing the best products for you. To conclude, as a cherry on top, we’ll go to a traditional herbalist’ shop where to find natural products for your beauty care.
Then tonight we are in for a cinematic treat at “La Maison du Cinema” a lovely little cafe come cinema within walking distance to our hotel. We will dine whilst watching an evening show. Each night a film is selected from famous cult movies, from classics of the history of cinema, from last season’s releases — from animation to musicals, from thrillers to comedy, from romantic to dramatic.
Today is a free day to wander. Start perhaps with an early morning walk along the promenade. Or head to the bustling port filled with salty seaman and squawking seagulls, wonderful photography opportunities of blue timber boats and ramparts abound.
Wander local galleries and cobblestones paths full of all of history and colour, spices, jewellery, carpets you name it you can find it. Indulge perhaps in purchasing a lovely little silver teapot bejeweled with a tassel, what about a super soft suede jacket or some babouches (Moroccan slippers) in any and every colour.
Take some time for yourself this afternoon and visit the Hammam (Moroccan bathhouse and steam-room) add a massage or facial, indulge, you are on holidays! Then return back to our romantic villa for a mint tea on the rooftop.
Join the group for an intimate dinner at the villa restaurant where everything is homemade! The cuisine is creative and delicious, and offers refined dishes, with souiris accents, with the products of this region where fish and argan oil compose a symphony with perfect chords. In order to offer our customers originality, comfort and well-being, restaurant lounges have replaced the large impersonal room. Dinners are served in small independent salons. Each day, a different menu, proposed with a choice of fish, meat, or vegetarian, will allow you to taste the Moroccan cuisine and the specialties of the region. It is the markets of Essaouira, with their fine products of the land and the sea, which inspired the Mistress of home Cornelia Hendry, to create new recipes combining Moroccan tradition and international know-how, for a healthy and refined cuisine.
This morning we make our way back to Marrakech and arrive just in time for lunch at my favourite Rooftop Terrace Cafe – Terrace Des Epices. Where can have delicious olive tapenade, Bruchetta of sardines and chermola and chocolate pastilla. This modern building in the heart of the Medina also houses several boutiques, and a place to buy amazing olive oil. You can also get a henna tattoo whilst snacking on a sweet treat from the patisserie.
Our dreamy Riad is only a 3 minute walk away so after lunch we check in and then after time for a quick dip in the shallow pool on the terrace we regroup for our Bespoke perfume making class! You will get to make your very own scent and name it yourself at this cute and quirky perfume museum.
After so many splendid smells we may need to change the focus to sights with a trip to the La Maison De Photographie. My favourite little museum as it captures the true history of African Morocco in black and white, for some reason a small tear always escapes my eyes at this museum. We have time for an afternoon “Nos Nos” (short black with milk served in a small glass) on the rooftop terrace overlooking the Atlas Mountains.
Then back to our Riad to freshen up before heading out to one of the very fine restaurants just close by for dinner.
Today is for exploring the souqs (shops)! The medina is the old historic part of town with high stone walls and is divided into Quartiers. Each quartier has a mosque, a hammam (bathhouse), a communal bread oven, a madrasa (educational institution) and a water fountain, which all serve the local community.
Souks are the traditional marketplaces and are often divided into sections for the various trades. You’ll see herbalists, spice sellers, metal workers, tanners, and food markets congregated on trade-specific streets.
There are so many wonderful women’s cooperatives and museums within walking distance to our accommodation as well as leather workers, metal workers, spice traders, jewelers, wood carvers, cobblers and so much more …..
We have the Cooperative Artisanale des Femmes de Marrakesh – A showcase for Marrakesh’s women mâalems (master artisans), the cooperative is eye-opening and a total bargain. Original, handcrafted designs include handbags made from water bottle caps wrapped in wool, hand-knitted kessa (hammam gloves) and black-and-white kaftans edged with red silk embroidery. Ask cooperative director Souad Boudeiry about getting tunics and dresses tailor-made.
Al Kawtar is a cooperative for physically disabled women. It’s mission is to promote the independence of disabled women so they can rely on themselves and earn a living. They make handcrafted homewares and clothing. Their motto is DIS-ability is not a LACK of ability. Be strong. Be courageous.
The Women’s Museum, the first of its kind in Morocco and in North Africa, it is a permanent centre for the arts. The space is entirely dedicated to the history and culture of the Moroccan woman, her daily life, and her creativity.
The Kaftan museum ‘Histoire de Caftan by Diamantine’, is really a must see for those who are intrigued by the beauty of modest Moroccan fashion. Diamantine are an established atelier company, first stepping onto the scene 15 years ago. They now take the lead in terms of traditional and elegant Moroccan garments, with outlets cropping up in Morocco, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In 2015 they were awarded ” Best Brand of Moroccan Franchise” by the Ambassador of Moroccan Culture.
During our wandering of Museums, Souqs and Cooperatives we may take respite in the secret garden for a cup of tea and some quiet reflection time.
Then around 4pm for a late lunch/early dinner will will make our way to the Royal Mansour for a truly special afternoon tea. On a balcony overlooking the iconic Marrakesh Koutoubia Mosque or in the cosy La Table restaurant, afternoon tea at the Royal Mansour is always sensational. You will discover the awe-inspiring creations dreamt up by the talented pastry chef of the Royal Mansour Marrakech. Frozen delights, fruit delicacies, chocolate compositions, caramelised sensations and crisp-fondant mouthfuls play their part in this beautiful and delicious performance. The Royal Mansour also offers the delights of foie gras terrine and Norwegian smoked salmon with chive cream. The journey may be sweet but it lacks no salt… Club sandwiches, burgers and other savoury creations are served alongside homemade sorbets and ice creams.
9 – 1.30pm today we head out of the medina to a neighbourhood area of Marrakech for a cooking class with Amal, a non-profit association, empowering women through culinary skills. Amal’s goal is personal transformation through job and life skills development for our trainees, a stepping stone to economic and social stability.
Their program offers women from disadvantaged backgrounds a platform where they can enhance their capacities and learn new skills. When trainees are selected they start a six-month training program to learn all aspects of work in a professional kitchen in order to secure a job. At completion, Amal graduates gain financial independence through their skilled work in restaurants, hotels, riads and private homes.
Amal’s customers and clients are a key source of financial support the training programs Amal runs. When you learn to make Moroccan tajine alongside our expert chefs you are making a difference in the lives of the women we train.
On our way back to the Medina we will stop at the Ensemble Artisinal for any last minute shopping. This cooperative has a little bit of everything in an easy to navigate building with courtyard.
For our last meal together we will head to Dar Yacout – The Yacout, an institution in Marrakech, was created among the first in the medina, more than twenty years ago, by Mohamed Zkhiri who presides over the destinies of this luxurious address. Enchanting decor, private lounges, breathtaking panoramic views from the terrace on the medina and Koutoubia Marrakech. Table of high gastronomic tradition, menu with the fantastic succession of flavours and service at the height of this beautiful house. *Self Pay – Moroccan tasting menu with drink 700 Dirham per person
The tour concludes after a leisurely breakfast, you have time for one last wander around the Medina before check out at 12pm. If you are departing from Marrakech airport later in the day please don’t worry you can leave your bags at the Riad, have lunch and your airport transfer is included when you leave.
If you are joining the Magic in Morocco Tour, then get ready to catch the train to Casablanca, this is a comfortable 2.5 hour train journey which will have us drinking wine on the Casablanca foreshore by sunset.
PRICE IN $AUD
SINGLE ROOM – $3350
TWINSHARE – $2750
You have two payment options for this trip. To pay a $750 deposit and the remainder 75 days prior to the start of the tour or to organise a payment plan.
Deposits can be paid via Direct Bank Transfer or via PayPal.
If you pay via PayPal you can use your credit card.
Up until 75 days before the start of the tour a $750 non-refundable deposit will be retained. For between 75 days and 45 days, 50% will be forfeited. For less than 45 days or for no shows the entire amount will be retained as we would have already had to pay for accommodation, transport, flights and activities, and this money will not be returned to us. Once the tour has commenced no monies will be returned to you. This is why travel insurance is compulsory.
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. The import and export of the currency is tolerated up to a limit of 1000DH. You can also use Euros in most hotels and shops, it is widely accepted. It is recommended to bring some Euros with you, perhaps €300 to get you started, currency we can change in the city. If you require cash straight away arriving in Morocco please use the ATM at the airport not the money changer as they can be dishonest. If they do have Moroccan Dirhams at your airport before you leave it is not recommended to get more than 1000 Dirhams as being a closed currency they do not like you to bring moeny in and out of the country. Usually up to 1000 is accepted but we cannot guarantee this.
Do not change money at the Marrakesh airport (they are terrible!)
Do bring Euros
Do not bring Australian Dollars
Do bring credit cards and use ATM’s