Discovering Marrakesh

March 1, 2017
Marrakesh, Morocco, Club Med resort

I’m freshly home from the most magical week in Marrakesh, a wonderful city that overloaded my senses and ignited my imagination. I wanted to share my experiences there with you, because to be completely honest I’m not the bravest traveller. Sometimes my Instagram gives people the impression that I’m well travelled, boldly going forth with my camera to discover the far reaches of the world. This is the me of my dreams, but it’s not the truth! I am the girl who misses flights (here), leaves her passport in the loos in the airport (yep!), is terrible at attempting other languages, and is in fact only just coming to terms with ordering my own coffee in London! The words “boo and “goose” would quite possibly be used in the same sentence as me.

Although I’m no stranger to foreign holidays, I was not amongst my many friends who left school/university and travelled for a year at least. I always chose work. I chose paying rent, and saving for deposits… I always felt the need to get on rather than allow real life stand still. I had itchy feet in different way I suppose, and it paid off for me in that I achieved many of my life goals relatively young. I always wistfully reassured myself one day my time would come with travelling. I never expected it to be like this, or that photography and Instagram would offer me this amazing window of opportunity – but here it is and 2017 has got off to an amazing start.

This February we travelled to Morocco in collaboration with Club Med, and stayed in the beautiful La Palmeraie resort which is a 10 minute drive from the city of Marrakesh. It was my first time in Morocco, or indeed in North Africa, but I’d seen photos and had a big hunch I was going to really love it. I wasn’t disappointed.

If you’re not familiar with Club Med, they pioneered the all-inclusive concept. What is wonderful is that they don’t just include your flights, transfers, accommodation, food, and drinks, but you can also participate in many sports and activities all included in the cost of your holiday. This was our first time at an all-inclusive resort, and it was a dream to not have to carry your bag and wallet around all the time, be constantly doing currency conversions in your head and worrying about blowing the budget because your kids want a Magnum and not just a mini milk.

club med marrakesh

It was clear that many people were there for the sports. The resort is set in Morocco’s oldest palm grove, which provides a beautiful setting of lush gardens and created a real country club feel. People strolled around in their tennis gear, groups of mountain bikers or people on pony treks would pass by at regular intervals, there was yoga and keep fit classes early in the mornings by the main pool. This was a huge bonus. There really was something for everyone going on all the time. Equally you could do absolutely nothing and lounge next to one of the beautiful pools.

breakfast club med marrakesh

The weather the week we were there was perfect. I think to be honest we hit lucky for the time of year. I had checked the forecast before leaving and it said rain for the first couple of days, so I had packed jackets and jumpers and we were well equipped. We would have run into serious trouble without them! My advise would be if you go there at this time of year pack for every eventuality. Someone told me Morocco is known as “the cold country with the hot sun”. This is a perfect description as far as I can see. The snowcapped Atlas Mountains in the distance serve to remind you that cold air is never far away! First thing in the morning was very chilly while we were there, and although it was then beautifully warm (even baking hot towards the end of the week) I think the weather broke soon after we left and it was then cool and windy again.

club med marrakesh

club med marrakesh, little boy and pony

After arriving at the airport our car took us through the city of Marrakesh en route to the resort. I was craning my bleary eyes (we’d been up at 2am that morning!) through the car window and was fascinated by the hustle and bustle I could see. Mopeds and bikes everywhere, people stepping out into the road and dodging the cars, so busy. The most immediate thing that struck me however was the colour. It socks you between the eyes! Most of the walls are constructed with the local clay, giving everything it’s ochre colour. The colours range from a deep burnt orange, through soft ochre, to the palest pink. I knew I needed to see more.

little boys and oranges, club med marrakesh

The Riad, club med marrakesh

Like I say, I’m not the boldest traveller. I had zero data on my phone whilst I was away so I was relying on the rather slow wifi at the resort. I had paid for £25 worth of data when we first arrived at the airport, and it was gone in 3 hours, so beware of that one if you go here. I was, I confess, concerned about going into the city. I was worried about getting lost and wondering aimlessly and not actually seeing anything or finding the most interesting bits. I rely heavily whilst in Paris or other cities on the maps on my phone to lead me to things, and without this costing me a potential fortune I knew I was lost. I didn’t know quite how I was going to manage it, but I knew I needed to.

club med marrakesh

club med marrakesh

I asked around and several people advised me to get a guide, which are apparently readily available at the main square. The buses ran from the resort very regularly all day, and dropped people at the main square of Marrakesh. I ended up asking the advise of the excursions representative at the resort and she told me that some guides will take you to their mates in the souk to try and get a cut of you buying a carpet from them, rather than actually taking you where you want to go. I don’t know if that’s true, but I can imagine it is. I opted to hire a guide and driver through her, for a three hour walking tour of the city with photography in mind rather than shopping. I can’t recommend this enough, and wherever you stay I imagine the Riad owner would be happy to help and recommend someone similar, which might be a good idea rather than you picking one up at the square.

My guide Mohammad was awesome. He was born in the city and was very knowledgable. We worked our way into the deepest parts of the old medina, down little winding alleyways some of which even he’d never seen before. We peered around corners looking for interesting doors, bumped into areas where the walls had collapsed and the road was impassible, ducked our heads and felt our way through tunnels as dark as night – literally groping our way through to the sunshine on the other side. We wound our way through a rabbit warren of residential streets, diving out of the way of passing mopeds, nodding to folk who were sweeping the spotless streets or standing on their door steps with a cup of tea. He also told some fascinating history about the city.

I feel I have so much to share about my experience in both the resort and the city, so I’m going to continue this post… very soon. I wrote an epic number of words, and took dozens of images, so I’ve decided to split this post into two. In the next part there’s all my images from the city of Marrakesh, and I’ll tell you all about the ancient medina, the souk, the sparks from the welders, the snake charmers, the camera I used and my top tips when visiting this incredible city.

Now there’s a teaser…. xxx

You can read the next part of this post here

sun rise over marrakesh, as seen from the club med resort

Our trip to Marrakesh was in collaboration with Club Med, however this post is not sponsored and all opinions are very much my own. You can see more details on our Marrakesh resort here.

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31 Comments

  • Reply Masha February 28, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Looks so dreamy and your boys are bursting with happiness. I am so happy for you all 🙏🏻💕

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Thank you so much Masha! We loved it 🙂 xx

  • Reply Diana February 28, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Looks very beautiful and tempting to go there for a holiday. Lovely lovely photos, and happy boys!

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you so much! It was the perfect holiday for us! Very happy boys xx

  • Reply Tim February 28, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Fabulous photos, as you say the colours are magical. Happy boys always helps! The sport at the Club Med sounds very good.

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      Thank you so much, the colours were really fantastic. A fascinating place! The sport was brilliant you’d love it xx

  • Reply Mairin February 28, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    These are beautiful photos! And that resort looks incredible. I have never done the all-inclusive thing either, but maybe now is the time to start!

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks so much Mairin! I think I might be hooked to all-inclusive now! It was so nice not to have to worry! We usually go on self catered holidays so this was a real treat xx

  • Reply Gemma February 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Love your photos. Beautiful. I was also in Marrakech earlier this month and found it fascinating.

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks so much Gemma! Fascinating is exactly the right word, it still feels like a bit of a dream! xx

  • Reply Rhoda March 1, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Lovely shots hon! Looks amazing, will look forward to seeing the rest 🙂

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Thank you so much Rhoda! Putting the finishing touches to it now 😉 hopefully it’ll be up tomorrow or Sunday! xx

  • Reply Elaine Taylor March 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    A fabulous write up.

    I spent. A child-fred week there with a group of friends a few years ago. It was amazing. I thought at the time it probably wasn’t somewhere I could take my boys until they were older. I think differently now.

    Beautiful photos, as always!

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you Elaine! Oh I bet you had a blast with your friends. I would have thought the same thing to be honest, that’s why the resort was perfect, you could have the best of both worlds! xx

  • Reply Maria March 2, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Beautiful photos. I recommended your instagram to my mom, and she has totally fallen in love with it, often calling me asking “Did you see the photo Hannah Argyle posted today??” Haha
    It is fun to see those delicate pink-ish photos from Marrakesh – very often all photographers portray those very deep oranges and yellows. I like yours better – never really had much of an incling to go to Marrakesh (I am a bit like you – worried about travelling on my own. Strange really as I grew up with a dad working in the airlineindusty taking me and my sisters to all corners of the world before the age of 10) My husband really wants to go to Marrakesh, so with new goals for my life including seeing more of the world, maybe now Marrakesh will be on my list too 🙂

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you Maria! Ah theatre’s so lovely, I’m ticked pink to think of that conversation!
      I’m glad you like the pictures, thank you. The colour palette really was mind blowing, I guess I was drawn to these colours all the time. Sounds like you had an amazing up bringing. I hope you get to go to Marrakesh, I’m sure you’ll love it. I think it’s one of those places you need to do in the “right” way for you and make sure where you stay fits what you really want from a break xx

  • Reply Natasha March 2, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Sounds and looks like the most magical place to visit. I can’t wait to read part 2! xx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you so much Nat! I’m just putting the finishing touches to it now! You’d love it there, it’s amazing xxx

  • Reply Jamie Earles March 2, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Great job, Hannah. Using Club Med had never occurred to me! Interesting, thank you for sharing! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you so much for reading Jamie! I’m glad you found it useful. I loved Club med, I think I’ll be looking up their other resorts around the world! xx

  • Reply Elle March 2, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Your write-up of Marrakech should be published in a travel magazine! You have brought the region to life with your dreamy photos, eloquent description of its culture, architecture, and people. I loved your photos, your stories, and cannot wait to read the next part. As for people taking you for a ride, so to speak, and that sort of thing, yes, you have to be quite careful when you travel to some parts of the world because some folks are certainly looking for naïve Westerners to sell to them… Also, I love your honest and raw truth about your younger days’ stories and your demeanor in general… I adore you, Hannah and so happy to have bumped into you on this Insta World…💕

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Ah thank you Elle, that’s so so kind of you!! I really appreciate it, I don’t have much confidence in my writing!
      Happy to have met you too lovely, have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Discovering Marrakesh Part 2 - Hannah Argyle Photography March 3, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    […] I literally chopped my post in two! Here is the second part, please take a peek at the first part here before the story […]

  • Reply Dee March 4, 2017 at 8:54 am

    You’ve captured the mood and look of the place so perfectly! This was a great read 😊

  • Reply Photographing Children - Hannah Argyle Photography March 10, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    […] a camera three and a half years ago and learnt how to use it. In Marrakesh (you can see our trip here) I was lucky to get lots of captures of the boys that love, and I’ve noticed since I’ve […]

  • Reply Julia March 12, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    It looks absolutely amazing! So glad the weather was good for you too x

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Thanks Julia, I’m so glad too, I think we were pretty lucky! xx

  • Reply Jules March 12, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    What a gorgeous, gorgeous post – this trip looks and sounds incredible – adore your writing in this, and in love with the colours of all the walls. These photos you have taken of your boys are just stunning. xx

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 14, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thank you so much Jules, it was such a treat to be away with the boys and get to take lots of photos of them both xx

  • Reply Claire - This Little House March 21, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Oh Hannah, this trip looks so dreamy!!!! It’s so lovely to be able to watch you adventure with your boys to these beautiful places. Thanks so much for sharing. This trip is fuelling my current love of blush pink!! 😉

    • Reply Hannah Argyle March 21, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Aw thank you lovely! It was such a special time with them, I really cherished it! And yes Marrakesh is perfectly blush all over! xx

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