One of the most amazing cultural country to see, Morocco is a hidden pearl for the ones that come unprepared. So, I thought to give you a few tips for your Moroccan dream trip to become true if you are visiting Marrakesh or Fes
Well, depending on budget, you can try different places. I would definitely recommend staying in Medina both in Fes and Marrakesh, but be aware the places are quite old, so sometimes a hint of old building smell might appear. My personal recommendation in Marrakesh is Riad Shemsi. Very well located in the center of the Medina, offers great accommodation and amazing services. Highly recommend the Turquoise room – simple stunning.
In Fes, I would recommend Riad Maur’sk. Owned by a French designer, the place is completely renovated and offers great suits with terraces. Also, the restaurant downstairs is very good. Another option is Riad Ibn Battouta – made in the old Moroccan style, this place offers very nice rooms and services. Just have in mind, during winter period you will need to keep your windows open to avoid the closed air smell. If you have a bit more money, I would choose Riad Fes Palais and SPA. 5 star Riad this places offers great rooms and an amazing restaurant, in the heart of Medina.
I suppose you would want to try local things, as hammam. Most people end up being disappointed by the experience, as they end up in touristic places. I tried it in Fes – both in the Riad, in Medina, and in a proper SPA. My advice is to do it in the modern part of the city, not in the Medina, as the experience is not the same and much more expensive than what you can get outside of the touristic places. We went to Yuba Cyn Spa (http://yubacynspa.com/), in the new city. Though from the outside it might fool you as not being an amazing place, from the inside absolutely WOW. We took a package deal with Hammam, gommage and full body massage. Absolutely great!
Well, this is something else. If you are looking for a taxi in these two cities, there’s a couple of things you need to know. First, you get better off arranging a transfer from the hotel – though it seems more expensive at first, in reality you will end up paying less.
In Marrakesh, taxis are not very cheap, as they ‘make you’ a price. During the day you can negotiate and manage to pay less. Unfortunately, during the night the situation changes, and you will need to give whatever as probably you don’t want to walk back to the hotel.
In Fest the situation is different. There are two kinds of taxis – the small ones (the red ones) that go around only in the city and the big ones that can take you to the airport. The small ones go with a meter which is great. BUT they will take more customers at a time. So, don’t be stressed if you end up with a bunch of strangers in the car – is perfectly normal.
Also, have in mind there is no serviced taxi – you can’t call a taxi somewhere to pick you up. The only way is to pick one up from the street.
There’s not a clear rule about tipping as it is not mandatory. However, it is much appreciated. If you go to a fancy restaurant would be good to leave a 7-10% tip. In local places a few dinars would be ok – around 5% of our bill should cover it. Also, don’t forget it is a culture based on services so don’t forget to pay a bit of extra for your guide and taxi. For example, if a taxi is 13 dinars, you should leave 15. Even for cleaning would be nice to leave something – if you had changed towels every day and the room was clean, leave something for the cleaning lady. To makes sure she gets it and not someone else working there, it is better to put inside the pillow cases.
In touristic areas is safe to walk around. Of course, you still need to watch your belongings like in any other busy cities. The local parts are a bit trickier, but still it was ok to stroll around the streets. However, be aware that Google Maps is not working 100% inside the Medinas, which is understandable. For example, in Fez there are more than one thousand narrow streets. Still, you should be ok following it around. However, there are many people coming to talk to you and offering their help – but you should not take it. There will be people that would tell you that the street ahead is closed, or they will walk you randomly in circles around the Medina to prove to you how lost you actually are. And ask you money in return for their help.