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Our pick of the best of Marakesh

Marakesh, Morocco 

In the historic heart of the city, Marrakech’s winding medina, only a short walk from the ever-buzzing spectacle of Djemaa el-Fna square. In the oldest part of the medina, the Riad Farnatchi is a luxury hotel formed from five smaller riads, some of which have stood on the site for centuries. Choose one of their nine luxurious suites, equipped with private terraces, patios and fountains. The communal areas include a marble hammam, an outdoor heated pool, roof garden and barbeque area.


Tagine, named for the dish in which it is lengthily stewed, comes in countless guises, but the lamb and prune or chicken and lemon varieties are generally most impressive. Pigeon pastilla is another local speciality that must be sampled. Tender squab pigeon infused with cinnamon, saffron and honey is delicately parcelled in werqa dough and topped with a sprinkling of almonds and icing sugar. Al Fassia is favoured by locals and offers exquisite versions of both these traditional Moroccan dishes.


At midday, when the scorching summer heat renders strenuous activity futile, the fresh orange juice stalls littering the Jemaa el-Fna come into their own. Ice cold and made before your eyes from a seemingly endless stream of oranges, this refreshing drink costs the equivalent of mere pennies and is a favourite of locals and tourists alike. Shelter in the small but welcome shade of your chosen stall and strike up a conversation with local traders and customers as you enjoy this iced citrus treat.


Take some time out to stroll around the tranquil Jardin Majorelle, a two-acre oasis created over forty years by French painter Jacques Majorelle. This enchanting maze of cacti, palms, bamboo, willows, water lilies, ferns and fountains was purchased by Yves Saint Laurent in 1980 to save it from hotel developers. The Galerie Love and Berber Museum ensure thereís enough entertainment for a whole day. Look out for the lively frog family and decades of graffiti carved into bamboo shoots.


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