Marrakech: What to Do - and How
Marrakech’s sensory overload — its warren of winding streets overflowing with bazaars, hidden boutiques, fragrant food stalls, and myriad restaurants — can easily overwhelm, but a choice group of top luxury-travel companies has gurus on the grounds to help. Their key contacts and long histories working in the area give these companies and their guides rare insider access.
Abercrombie & Kent: Overseen by the Paris-born, Marrakech-based Jean-Bernard Coudon, A&K’s work in Marrakech focuses on hands-on (and hand-holding), top-end service. The company does set-departure group trips, but most guests book privately so they can delve even deeper into the city. 800-554-7016; abercrombiekent.com
Try this: Tool around the city and its periphery, exploring from the driver’s seat of a mint-condition vintage vehicle; or, if you prefer to keep your hands off the wheel — and maybe on a glass of Moroccan wine, instead — a chauffeur can do the driving for you.
Brown + Hudson: Company founder Philippe Brown has been traveling to Marrakech for 15 years and has developed particular insider expertise in custom culinary- and contemporary art-related journeys. 011-44-203-358-0110; brownandhudson.com
Try this: Get an insider’s tour of the city’s top contemporary galleries with rising young artist Mohamed Arejdal. Or play a special round at the historic Royal Golf Marrakech club; the captain of the golf team founded by the King of Morocco’s brother will accompany you.
Heritage Tours Private Travel: Company founder Joel Zack has visited here some 50 times since 1985, returning at least once a year to develop new bespoke offerings that go well beneath the city’s surface, extending to experiences with local designers, scholars, community leaders, and even just regular families who open up their lives to visitors. 800-378-4555; htprivatetravel.com
Try this: Explore the city’s famed Majorelle Garden (see “What to See”) — Heritage can sometimes even arrange special after-hours access — then head to the home of the botanist who looked after this impressive oasis for its former owner, designer Yves Saint Laurent, to get an insider’s perspective on the unique plantings, layout, and architecture.
Indagare Travel: Melissa Biggs Bradley leveraged her career as a luxury-magazine editor to create this New York-based travel company. Her keen eye and discriminating tastes serve her clients especially well in Marrakech, a city with which she has had an ongoing love affair for nearly 30 years. 212-988-2611; indagare.com
Try this: Meet the fascinating local artists and writers who set the city’s cultural agenda, getting to know them over private gourmet dinners in their homes.