Finally the day had come – Unique and I packed our bags, laced our shoes and closed the door to our home in Cologne behind us. A misty grey drizzle outside, paired with the cold wind that travelled all the way from Eastern Europe to Cologne we waited for the Taxi we ordered outside. We decided to choose this way of transportation instead of – as always – missing the u to the train station and panicking to miss the connecting Thalys train to Paris. Stacked with snacks and breakfast the TGV train seemed to fly over the border through Belgium in 3,5 hours that felt as short as a half-taken breath. After a stop at the Notre Dame and the typical tourist shot of Paris – you name it – two lovers under the Eiffel Tower, we made our way to the Beauvouis Airport north of the city and onto a Ryanair plane. 3 hours later we landed in Marrakech, Morocco.
Walking over the runway we were surprised by the cold desert air since Marrakech, a city built during the Berber Empire, is next to the Atlas Mountains whose tips are snowy all year round. A friendly driver of the Monriad greeted us with fluent English and a sign for Unique and I. Through the outskirts of Marrakech he drove us through the dark North African night right into the Medina, the dense medieval center of the city and location of the Monriad Hotel.
We walked through tree high walls and narrow stone alleyways to get to the entrance of the Monriad. One knock with a Hamsa dangling from the solid wooden door and we were inside the Riad. A friendly employee greeted us with a very warm welcome and guided us to our room. The rooms in the Riad are equipped with the typical Moroccan steel lanterns, colorful walls and decorations.
The two floors are connected with a circular inside balcony and a class ceiling that creates a beautiful light throughout the day.
The next morning Manuela, the Italian owner of the place, a real gem that is eager to tell stories about Marrakech, took us to one of the countless markets to buy fresh food for our upcoming cooking class. We followed her through the bustling alleys to make our way to the market. We were overwhelmed by a composition of sounds, smells and colors. This market had it all – fruit so fresh it looked like it just fell of the tree, huge bags of colorful spices tingling in your nose, mouthwatering pieces of meat changing its owner over the counters and we were right in the middle of it all.
Manuela kept the focus and gathered everything we needed to get going. Back in the Monriad we were awaited by Aisha – a Moroccan employee of the Monriad, gifted with fast and precise hands and a heart-melting smile. She thought us to prepare a traditional Moroccan dish – Couscous with vegetables as a main and a salad as a starter. Not only did this class give us insight into the Moroccan cuisine, we also had a great time laughing and joking with the employees despite the communication difficulties.
After cooking we took out seats on the rooftop of the Monriad – another highlight of this stunning hotel and an oasis of lush plants, inviting sun beds and breathtaking views. We ate lunch and were amazed by the taste of the lunch we helped to prepare.
After a short rest we decided to explore the Jemma el Fna – the heart of the Medina and starting point to the buzzing souks of the heart of Marrakech. Some soverniers and a broadened tastebud horizon later we came back to the MonRiad to try out the Hotels own restaurant. We had filled samosas as a starter and dry fruit beef as well as chicken as a main paired with a lovely red wine.
With happy tummies and a mind full of amazing experiences of a busy day we went to sleep in our comfy bed in the Monriad – only sad we had to leave the next morning. The MonRiad gets more than just a recommendation from us – lovely staff, food, great rooms and amazing location to explore the city – the perfect place to stay during your trip to Marrakech.
Check out our cooking class at Monriad in the video below.