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Discover Marrakech, Morocco, with Ilham From Equity Point Marrakech

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Equity Point MarrakechMarrakech in 3 words?

Red, Friendly, Crazy

Best thing to do before check-in time?

Walk to the main square to get an orange juice and a local meal like a tajine or couscous. Or, jump in our pool and get a tan on the rooftop!

Best days to visit Marrakech?

All days are fine, but Friday is prayer day, so lots of shops are not open.

Best viewpoint to see the whole city?

Our rooftop! Make sure you take the stairs to the highest level! Also, at the main square, you could get a mint tea at Cafe Nejma or Cafe Terrace, from where you can see the whole place from above. Try going around 5pmt, you’ll witness the setting up of all the food stands, quite a difficult work!

Equity Point Marrakech Rooftop
The beautiful view from the rooftop of Equity Point Marrakech
The first place you take people when you have visitors?

I go to the main place, Jemaa El-Fna, to eat snails from one of the food stands and to drink fresh orange juice. Then I take a walk around the Koutoubia Gardens or the cyber park (Moulay Abdessalam Park). Both are beautiful and calm.

Best park to find a little quietness to chill and read a book?

El Harti is a really nice park in Gueliz, perfect for relaxing.

Best local drink?

Mint tea, with lots of sugar of course!

Mint Tea Marrakech
The Moroccan mint tea is made of green tea beans, fresh mint leaves, and lots of sugar!
24 hours in Marrakech?

The most important: Palais Bahia, Madrassa Ben Youssef (the Koranic school), the main quare Jemaa El-Fna and the souks surrounding the hostel.

Best advice concerning the weather?

In Marrakech, there is no normal weather. We say that we have 4 seasons every day! Mornings are cold, afternoons are warm, and nights are cold. Summers can be hell! But here at the hostel, we have the pool, so it’s fine! And there is no humidity, so tourists can handle the heat. Winter months get really cold at night, so make sure you bring a jacket. Also, if you plan to go to the desert, expect very cold nights.

Cheapest meal around Equity Point Marrakech?

Really near the hostel, when you get to the main street, there is a local man, Driss, with his food cart, selling harira soup (chickpeas, lentils, vermicelles, rice, persil and spices) for only 5DH. He also offers lentils with spices (that you eat with bread) and grilled fish with salad and peppers (about 25DH for a full plate). His wife Dounia cooks everything so it’s definitely delicious!

Cheap food Marrakech
Driss and his wife Dounia have this food stand just around the alleyway from the hostel. The food is cheap and super delicious!

A little further, just after the Fnac Berbere, there is a food shop that features mssemen, a type of crepe that you can either get plain (cooked with oil), or with tiny pieces of onions and peppers. You can also chose a sugary option, topping your crepe with honey, jam or nutella. This snack costs only 5-6DH. The stand is usually open from about 6am to 9pm, everyday except Friday, so it’s the perfect place to stop by on the way back from the square!

Cheap food Marrakesh
Make sure you stop by Mehdi and Hassma’s food shop, just around the Fnac Berbere. Try a tasty ”mssmen”, a Moroccan layered crepe, for only 5 or 6 DH, depending on the topping you chose! They also sell yummy local pastries.

At Jemaa El-Fna, try Toubkal for local dishes at a cheaper price.

Local must-try dessert?

For a delicious treat, get sliced oranges with cinnamon, it’s so tasty! Or get mint tea with “cornes de gazelles” (a gazelle’s horns), a local pastry shaped like a small crescent. It is made of marzipan, orange flower water and cinnamon.

Any local blogs to browse before visiting Marrakesh?

Lost in Marrakech.jimboo is great for local info
Made in Marrakech is good for local events and restaurants and club descriptions
Kech 24 is a news website, good for current weather and events, but it is in Arabic language!

Best district to get lost?

The Medina!

Marrakesh Medina
The sun beaming trough the Medina’s tiny alleys
Any cool bus route that’s almost like a city tour?

The bus #1 leaves from the square and goes on the main road Mohamed V, through the new city, to the Science Faculty, and comes back to the square. Other than the double decker buses, it’s an option to see a bit more than the Medina.

Other advice concerning public transportation?

Not all buses are good. You should stick to #1 for a quick tour, #8 or #16 for the train and bus stations, and #19 for the airport (30DH). A bus ride costs 4DH and the driver has change if you don’t have the exact amount. Taxis are cheap, so they can be better than the buses. A ride anywhere in the city should be between 10-20DH. To go to the airport in a taxi, it will be around 100DH.

Best yearly events?

The Race of Morocco in April
Marrakech du Rire in June (comedy festival)
Festival International de Films in early December

Just a note… During Ramadan, Muslims’ month-long fasting during daylight, travelers will find most of shops and restaurants open.

The one thing a traveler should buy?

Argan oil is really high quality, as well as carpets and local jewelry. A tajine pot is also great, but might break in luggage… look for one made of metal!

Herboriste Marrakech
For argan oil and other perfumes or spices, try the Herboristerie Arrahma, on the road from the main square to Equity Point Marrakesh. Mohamed is very knowledgeable of its products. You can get skin and hair product as well as a panoply of fresheners, color pigment and all sorts of remedies. If you plan to go to a hammam, stop by the Herboristerie to get black soap and a glove!
Best district to buy cool souvenirs?

Riad Zitoun is a good street for leather bags and babouches (typical Moroccan footwear). For silver jewelry (and many other things) go to the souk on the right side of Argana Café.

Best day-trip from Marrakesh?

Ouzoud is a nice area where you can find beautiful waterfalls. You can go there with a tour or big taxi. Also, Essaouira is a cosy place to go for the day. You can take the first bus in the morning to get there and the last one to come back. Both places are about 3 hours away.

Any touristy trap to avoid?

If you look lost, people will offer to bring you places. If you really need help, it can be useful, but don’t pay anything more than
20DH. Also, to find your way around, it’s best to ask a group of women or someone working who’s not going to leave his job to show you around.

Useful Arabic words travelers should know?

Warha (yes, sure)
Shukran (thanks)
La (no)
Ahe (yes)
Marhaba beek (welcome)

Local food Marrakech
Delicious food is everywhere in Marrakech! Grilled fish, tea with bread and honey, sugary pastry and local beers.
Weirdest questions you’ve been asked about Marrakesh?

Someone was surprised we had a market and Mac Donald’s… It’s a big city, we have everything!

Why do you work in a hostel?

To practice many languages and to meet many people from different countries. Also, I feel this is my home.

Weirdest things left behind in your lost and found?

Dirty underwear and a surfboard.

The most inspirational traveler you’ve met?

There was an older french lady once that treated us like her daughters, hugging us and buying us little things everyday. She was so sweet!

Would you do another job?

Not for now!

Equity Point Marrakech
Ilham, with the other Ilham, at the front desk; yes, they have the same name! The amazing pool of Equity Point Marrakesh, one of their beautifully decorated private rooms and the view from the rooftop.
Directions to Equity Point Marrakech

The chances of getting lost on the way to the hostel are nearly absolute. So here are 2 videos; one showing the way from the Jemaa El-Fna square to the hostel and the other one showing how to get to the square from the hostel. It’s just me walking.

Please watch these videos before landing in Marrakesh, it will definitely help you!

For more info about Equity Point Marrakech, check out their website!

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The Hostel Worker

I once asked a fellow hostel worker if he was still sane after working in hostels for so many years. His response: "Well, sane is another word for boring." Here's to many more hostel years!

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