The Secret Garden in Marrakesh

The Secret Garden in MarrakechOpposite the popular Café Arabe, in Marrakesh,  you will find yourself in paradise – a welcome rest especially after a day traipsing the dusty, narrow streets of the souks and being hustled by overzealous stallholders.

Le Jardin Secret was just that: a mysterious place that existed behind a 30ft-high wall deep in the medina of Marrakech.

This historic riad garden has been recreated and is now open to the public.

We would add it to our list of top ten things to see in Marrakech.

10 great reasons to visit The Secret Garden in Marrakech

  1. It is an historic site that features lovely gardens and a Palace.
  2. There is only one tower at The Secret Garden: its height exceeds certain minarets of the city! It offers stunning views over the rooftops of the medina and the Atlas Mountains. A great place to view Marrakech and its surroundings.
  3. There are several gardens including the new historic site “The Secret Garden”: the first garden is called “exotic” and collects plants from around the world and the second “Islamic”, symbolizes a representation of the Muslim paradise on earth.
  4. The Secret Garden features plants from the 5 continents
  5. The “Islamic” garden is divided into four beds separated by beautiful fountains
  6. There is a lovely terrace café where you can eat and stay for hours and hours
  7. There is a fabulous shop to buy interesting souvenirs of your visit.
  8. You will want to visit and revisit this natural setting within the Marrakech medina.
  9. Lovely place to take photographs
  10. It is not expensive

A bit of background from over the centuries:

16th century: Sultan Moulay Abdallah began the urbanization of the Mouassine district and erected a splendid palace on the ground of the current Secret Garden

19th century: After the destruction of the palace during the decline of the Saadian dynasty, the Qaid al-Hajj ‘Abd-Allah-U Bihi begins the reconstruction of the Palace following the plans and designs of the Saadian era. Lush gardens are planted near the new palace. Qaid is poisoned for political reasons by the Sultan Muhammad IV who hated him: the property returns to the hands of the qadi (judge) Moulay Mustapha.

1912: The judge exchanges his palace for the house of al-Hajj Muhammad Loukrissi, a resident in Fes head of the corporation of watchmakers of Marrakech. He lived there until 1934, the year of his death.

From 1934 to 2000: The land was no longer maintained and was gradually falling apart.

2008: The idea of restoring the garden and palace gains ground with a passionate team of history buffs interested in Marrakech.

2016: The Secret Garden is opened for the pleasure of travelers to Marrakech.

2017: There is already talk of night visits being organized … stay tuned.

The shop and café are open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission to the garden is 50 dirhams per person – 25 dirhams for Moroccan residents (ID required) – children enter for free.

Admission prices for a guided tour of the palace is 30 dirhams per person – children below 12 years of age 20 dirhams

The Secret Garden Marrakech

Mouassine street

Medina – Marrakech

Tel: +212 (0) 5 24 39 00 40


New sports activity in Marrakesh – cable park

Cable park? What is it? In Marrakech? Where is there a lake?

Wake boarding in Marrakech


All questions that arose in my mind when I learned about the new Cable Park in Marrakech.

A cable park is a place that provides facilities for all kinds of water sports, including wake boarding, knee boarding, wake stating, bi-skiing, tricks and slalom. So not just your plain old water skiing.

Waky Marrakech is south of Marrakech on “Les Jardins de l’Atlas” resort site and they created an artificial lake to make it possible. Amazing in such an arid area of the world.

A project of Palmeraie Development, the lake was specially designed for water skiing and wake boarding by Francis Koot.

They plan to offer night wake boarding sessions – just the thing for the magical nights of Marrakech.

Wake boarding is a combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing.

Kneeboarding is great for those learning the sport as you are kneeling on the board – not so far to fall into the water!

Wake skating  is similar to wakeboarding without the bindings- a bit like skateboarding.

Bi Skiing refers to traditional skiing. Considered the best way to develop good balance, it is good for beginners to build up good technical foundations for water skiing and from there to master other disciplines such as wakeboarding.

Tricks Trick skiing is one of the 3 disciplines in classic skiing, along with Slalom and Jumping.

Slalom is one of the 3 disciplines in classic skiing, along with Tricks and Jumping.

Prices range from 300 dirhams to 800 dirhams. There is a special offer until May 30th, 2016,

One hour 200dh (including equipment) (down from 300 dh)

Two hours 300 dh (from 400 dh)

Valid every day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Waky Marrakech

Les Jardins de l’Atlas – Route de l’Ourika, km 13

Marrakech, Maroc

+212 (0) 525 07 51 20


New must-place to see in Marrakech

Anima Garden in Marrakech

This garden will no doubt be on the list of things to see in Marrakech – it is beautiful and original with works of art dotted about the site.

Anima Garden in Marrakech

It is envisaged as a place of relaxation and retreat where you can heal your soul and escape from the everyday worries of modern living.

To ensure that visitors enjoy what it has to offer to the fullest, visitors are restricted to 500 people per hour. You are encouraged to reserve a ticket online at

Created by the global artist Andre Heller, a well-known and influential multi-media artist, the park has numerous unusual pieces of art spread over 3 hectares.

Andre Heller Anima Garden Marrakech

It is 27 km from Marrakech in the Ourika Valley with a fabulous view towards the often snow-bedecked Atlas Mountains.

A shuttle service is offered. Opening hours are May 1st to Sept 30 from

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and in winter October 1st to April 30th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you wish to reserve by phone the number is +43 1 523 0787 (in German, English and French) and within Morocco (in French) +212 (0) 5 24 00 00 00

One of the best things to do in Marrakech

Caleche ride in Marrakech

One of our recommended things to do in Marrakech

As from last month, we at Riad Sapphire and Spa are offering our guests a unique way to visit the Red city. The ‘calèche’ is an age-old form of transport and is a fabulous way to see Marrakesh from the comfort of your own horse and carriage. It’s a good idea to go late afternoon just before the sun goes down and you’re tired from walking but would still like to see more.

We offer a scenic tour (approx. 75 minutes) which includes the Winter Garden district (Hivernage), La Mamounia, the Royal Palace, the Mellah (Jewish quarter), King’s Palace, the old Pasha of Marrakech’s residence, Koutoubia mosque and finishing by the main square, Place Jemaa El Fna’. Prices are £15 per person (minimum 2 people). We can’t guarantee the drivers speak English, so a guide would need to be booked if you wish commentary in English.

In addition, we can also book a romantic calèche ride to your pre-booked restaurant for the evening. Prices are £10 per person (minimum 2 people) per trip. Please note, no carriages can be booked after midnight as the horses have to go to bed!!

A UK charity – Spana regularly checks the condition of the calèche horses in Marrakech, so one can rest assured they are well looked after…

Saffron harvest on organic farm near Marrakesh

Extracting saffron Marrakech

Learn all about growing and harvesting saffron – the most expensive spice in the world.

Harvesting takes place through the month of November – take advantage of our 20% discount offer on our lovely suites in Riad Sapphire and Spa and enjoy some warm, sunny weather.

Have an interesting day out on an organic farm at the Paradis du Safran

Owner Saffron farm Marrakech

Marrakech Kart racing

Karting circuit in Marrakech


In the same location as the Marrakech Grand Prix, a new karting school opened in Marrakech at the beginning of July 2015.

Apparently many racing car drivers spent their toddler years learning karting. So if you have aspirations of being a Formula 1 racing driver, then pay a visit to this new school.

Marrakech Kart Racing has several well-known instructors who hope to find future talent, no matter their social status in life, that they can develop future racing car drivers worthy to succeed Mehdi Bennani, the only Moroccan to reach the elite on the car racing circuit. Considering that just 10 minutes on the track costs 250 dh, that is an admirable thing to do.

05 24 45 84 08

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

kart racing

Beating the heat in Marrakesh

If you’re in Marrakech and are looking for ways of beating the heat, check out this Guide for 2015 on the place with the pool for you.


Palmeraie Resorts

swimming in Marrakech

From 200 dh

Suitable for: Families wanting a day out near water in a peaceful place where kids can use the mini-club activities.

How much is it and what does it include: Access to the pool only: 200 dh / Access to the pool + lunch (3-course lunch at the grill, the buffet or next to the pool: 320 dh

What’s different: Mini-club for kids aged 4 to 12


Palais Mehdi

Palais Mehdi swimming in Marrakech

From 240 dh

Suitable for: Those who appreciate the serenity of the Palmeraie and big pools.

How much is it and what does it include: Lunch and pool from 240 dh / sunbed 200 dh.

What’s different: A pool measuring 400 square meters.

Tigmiza Suites & Pavillons

swimming in Marrakech Palm TigmizaFrom 150 dh

Suitable for: For those who want to pamper themselves amongst surroundings of palm trees and absolute calm.

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access 150dh / Lunch, open daily from 12:30.

What’s different: Three pools, one of which for children only

Manzil La Tortue

Manzil La Tortue MarrakechFrom 290 dh

Suitable for: For those who like swimming laps thanks to its 400 sq. m. pool, a bonus: abundant greenery with various kinds of fruit trees.

How much is it and what does it include: Pool + 2-course lunch at 290 dh or pool + 3-course lunch at 350 dh

What’s different: Children’s activities: handicrafts, sculpture as well as film-making and entertainment are offered for children: 85 dh per child

Nikki Beach

Nikki Beach MarrakechFrom 300 dh

Suitable for: For those who like a bit of glamour

How much is it and what does it include: Pool 300 dh

What’s different: A great lunch menu



Oasiria swimming MarrakechFrom 120 dh

Suitable for: Designed for big and small with different size pools. If you love attractions on offer is a wave pool, water slides, artificial river, etc.

How much is it and what does it include: Whole day 120 dh for kids and 190 dh for adults

What’s different: A special for Marrakchis 1,000 dh

Piscine Jnane Leila

Piscine Jnane Leila swimming in MarrakechFrom 130 dh

Suitable for: For those who love a relaxing atmosphere as a couple or a family

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access 130 dh / Pool access + 3-course lunch 250 dh

What’s different: Sunbeds and towel included in the price

Hotel Selman

Hotel Selman MarrakechFrom 490 dh

Suitable for: For those who would like to swim in an 80 meter long pool and be in a very chic place

How much is it and what does it include: Chill-in pass: pool access + 3-course lunch 490 dh / 50% off for children under 12.

What’s different: Gives access to the Kids Club for children aged 4 to 12

Crystal Restaurant Lounge

Crystal swimming in MarrakechFrom 290 dh

Suitable for: Lounge atmosphere during the week, festive weekends, all by the lovely pool.

How much is it and what does it include: Lunch menu Monday to Saturday / Brunch 290 dh per person (Sundays). Sunbed extra 200 dh

Whole day 120 dh for kids and 190 dh for adults

What’s different: Pool parties planned for the entire summer

Jnane Tihihit

Jnane Tihihit Marrakech swimmingFrom 250 dh

Suitable for: For those who seek a rural setting with greenery as far as the eye can see

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access + 3-course lunch 250 dh / Children between 3 and 12 years 150 dh

What’s different: Paddling pool for children

Riad Al Mendili Kasbah Private Resort & Spa

Kasbah al mendili swimming in MarrakechFrom 300 dh

Suitable for: For those who would like to be in nature away from the city bustle

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access + lunch 300 dh

What’s different: Sun beds and lunch are included in the price

Adama Resort

Adama Resort MarrakechFrom 150 dh

Suitable for: For families or with friends or as a couple, the hotel is suitable for all

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access 150 dh

What’s different: The pool is huge, ideal for swimming

Palm Plaza Hotel and Spa

swimming in MarrakechFrom 150 dh

Suitable for: For families considering the various activities

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access 150 dh

What’s different: 50% off for children

Eden Andalou Aquapark & Spa

Eden Andalou Aquapark and Spa MarrakechFrom 120 dh

Suitable for: For those who love water parks! For big and small there are 5 pools, a river, a beach, water slides, a park, sunbathing area, etc.

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access for half a day 120 dh: for a full day 180 dh

What’s different: Restaurant serving snack to recharge your batteries and activities for entertainment


K-Beach MarrakechFrom 200 dh

Suitable for: For those who want a good time by day all the while by a fabulous pool

How much is it and what does it include: Formula K-Beach (pool access + lunch + sunbed) 350 dh / for a single sunbed 200 dh, VIP sunbed 1,000 dh

pool access + 3-course lunch 250 dh / Children between 3 and 12 years 150 dh

What’s different: Beds immersed in the pool

Jet Atlas

Jet Atlas Marrakech swimmingFrom 250 dh

Suitable for: For those who love nature with a view to the Atlas Mountains and Lake Lalla Takerkoust, ideal to escape a busy city for a day

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access 250 dh (including towel, umbrella and sunbed)

What’s different: Jet-skiing, water skiing, flyboards, banana boards, wake boards


Pool Lounge

Pool Lounge MarrakechFrom 600 dh

Suitable for: For families, friends or couple, the Pool Lounge is designed for everyone.

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access + bed + towel + lunch 600 dh weekdays and 700 dh weekends.

What’s different: Pool access from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the restaurant 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Hotel Naoura Barrière

Naoura Barrier Hotel swimming in MarrakechFrom 350 dh

Suitable for: For lovers of chic, refined surroundings, ideal for families, days by the pool with friends

How much is it and what does it include: Swimming Days deal: Relaxation with sunbed 350 dh / Pleasure with sunbed and lunch by pool 450 dh / 30 minute massage in the spa with sunbed 550 dh

What’s different: Hotel location

Ultimate Pool Lounge

Ultimate Pool Lounge MarrakechFrom 400 dh

Suitable for: For those who want a peaceful pool with one of the best views of Marrakech.

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access weekdays 400 dh / Pool access + lunch weekdays 700 dh / Pool access weekends 500 dh / Pool access + lunch weekends 800 dh

What’s different: Relaxing atmosphere and individual service

Es Saadi Gardens and Resort Palace

Hotel Essaadi swimming pool in MarrakechFrom 800 dh

Suitable for: For those who love places filled with history and the ambience of palaces.

How much is it and what does it include: Pool access + 3-course lunch 800 dh / Pool access + lunch + 60-minute massage 1500dh

What’s different: Luxuriant vegetation around the lagoon-like pool



Atelier d’ailleurs – Marrakech crafts

ateliers d'ailleurs, workshops in Marrakech

Private workshops for Moroccan crafts –

Atelier d’ailleurs in Marrakech

Atelier d’ailleurs in Marrakech is an organization that offers many courses on Moroccan handcrafts. You can learn or practice your skills in embroidery, pottery, metal working, tadelakt, woodturning, Moroccan cooking…. You name it, they probably have a course on it. Small, private groups ensure you have lots of hands-on guidance and practice.

For a truly authentic experience of Marrakech combine these private workshops with a stay in our riad in the heart of Marrakech medina.

You can book direct from our website and we can help organize your workshops.

In the Ensemble Artisanat near the main square.

tel 212 (0)6 72 81 20 46

Marrakech with kids

Marrakech / Morocco with kids

Bright, sunny, colourful and endlessly fascinating, it’s no wonder that children love Marrakech for many of the same reasons we do.


We stumbled upon this great online article in the week: which succinctly explains how best to experience Marrakech with little-ones in-tow.

As well as mentioning the more typical things to do – like the Jemaa el-Fna’ – the site, Ciao Bambino, also suggests taking a horse and cart ride around the city, visiting the Koutoubia Mosque (and also letting ‘the kids have more of a run around in the Cyber Park’ nearby). We also liked that at the entrance to the synagogue in the Jewish quarter – the family spotted a family of tortoises, confirming that there is always a surprise around the corner in Marrakech!

We also agree with their tips on where to eat in Marrakech – ‘Le Fondouk for a real Moroccan feast in traditional family-friendly surroundings’ and Chez Ouazzani on Rue Ibn Aïcha ‘for BBQ meats.’ This website is a decent starting point for families planning a visit to the city.



Terres D’Amanar – outside Marrakesh

terres d'amanar, marrakech

Just a 30 minute drive out of Marrakech takes you to the lively estate of Terres D’Amanar, located at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

A fine example of ecotourism and sustainable development in Morocco, Terres d’Amanar makes for a great, fun day out. Active types will enjoy the zip-wires, trekking, horse riding, climbing and mountain biking activities on offer, while more sedate activities include cookery and craft lessons. For all to enjoy there is a swimming pool and a library. Children love it here and Terres D’Amanar is popular with families.

The overall project has been overseen and designed by the local community who remain heavily involved. Seasonal food is prepared by Berber women from neighbouring areas and the staff come from nearby settlements too. Partnerships with local cooperatives mean that vegetables, craft products and raw building materials are all sourced locally as well – a creative and useful model that can serve as a blueprint for other businesses.

If you fancy overnighting, there are simple but clean and functional guestrooms available as well as large, comfortable tents for camping in the ‘nature village.’

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