My familly and I visited in August during the hottest period. On arrival you will have to walk with your luggage for a 100m. Don't be alarmed! When you walk through the door of the Riad, you will step into an oasis of oppulence...what a contrast. Hold your nerve. August was low season and thewre was nobody else in the Riad. My wife and two young children had the run of the entire Riad including the swimming pool. It was expensive for Marrakech, but was excellent value. I felt the French Manager was always trying to push services on us, but hey his job is to sell. If you can try to arrange visits through him he will be cheaper than your agent if you negotiate. You must visit the Atlas Mountains and Ourika valley on your trip to Marrakech, it makes a good change from the heat & hustle bustle of the city and is stunning. Cost me 2000 dirhams to hire a driver and 4 x4 for the day..best day of the trip, had an excellent driver / guide. Essaouira was a bit of a waste of time because it is like any other beach in the world, and I felt Essaouira had no character unlike the Marrakech...good way to see the country en route, however.
7 days in Marrakech is probably too much, but if you use Marrakech as a base to see other parts of Morroco thats fine.You should be able to speak school room standard french.... phrase book a must! 20 dirhams for a small taxi and 30 odd for a larger one. Don't just go to Jemall Fena you can also go to the modern plaza if you want a change and go up market. I feel a place is generally defined by the people and the Morrocan characteristics and nature is laid back and friendly, and for this reason Morroco has an affectionate place in my heart...watch out for the souks though, I loved to negotiate personally and the Morroccons actually had enough of me...it can feel aggressive although it isn't really. Enjoy yourself and don't get to stessed out by the negotiating it usually takes care of itself!
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