Staying in hostels, you get to know people easily, go easy on your budget and can use kitchen facilities to cook for yourself. In Marrakech, some very nice backpacker places opened, which, calling themselves Waka Waka, Kif Kif or Young and Happy, partly cling to the legendary Hippie trail.
If you want to spend as little money as possible and are looking for social contacts, you will sooner or later end up in a lively hostel full of backpackers. There is hardly a better place to get to know people — no matter if you are travelling on your own or in a small group. In Marrakech’s medina there are by now eight of those hostels, providing different types of private rooms and dorms as well as lounges and roof terraces, each of them looking more comfy than the other.
(photo: Hostel Riad Dia)
Staying in a dorm of a hostel can, depending on its size, be a noisy experience. To be on the safe side, you should have ear plugs and headphones ready. A little padlock may be useful, too, especially if the hostel provides lockers. At night, a torch can be helpful. Most hostels provide a kitchen for guests to use. Free WiFi is a standard in all places and mostly, the hostels’ staff speaks or at least understands English. Read more
If you want the real authentic Marrakech experience, the accommodation of your choice should be a riad in the historic medina. There are by now more than 1200 guest houses, one more beautiful than the other. In this article, the most highly rated riads are presented.
Riads are generously-sized town houses, whose plain ochre outside walls hide a tastefully decorated interior. The heart of these often sumptuously renovated town houses is a splendid patio, which is usually decorated with complex ornamentation, water basins and a lot of plants. Around this roofless courtyard the guest rooms are arranged. On the roofs of most riads, you will also find a terrace with sitting areas. Some riads not only offer to cook for their guests, but have their own cooking courses on offer. Others even have their own on-site hammams.
Traveling to an Islamic country and experiencing the magic of the Thousand and One Nights together – as a homosexual couple? This sounds more dangerous than it really is. Even though Marrakech’s clubs and hotels do not openly use labels such as “gay” or “gay-friendly” for advertising, it is the new “Pink City”, having overtaken the formerly international zone of Tanger.
(Photo: Travelguide Marrakech)
To begin with: According to Moroccan law, homosexual acts are illegal and will be punished severely. Near Rabat, for example, two young Moroccans were sentenced to four months imprisonment each in 2013 because of homosexual contacts. Strongly influenced by religion and patriarchal structures, Moroccan society is characterized by traditional values, and is, thus, rather homophobic. Nevertheless, homosexuality is tolerated to the greatest possible extent, as far as it’s lived out discreetly. In apparent contrast to this are the many men who are holding hands while walking through parks or the medina. They are not gay, but communicating with their friends in the traditional manner.
In Morocco, there is little room for exchanging caresses in public. Hetero — as well as homo — or bisexual couples should be discreet and save living out their passions for the privacy of the riad. In spite of these repressive conditions, a gay scene has grown in Marrakech. Its most famous representative was fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent who chose to settle down in Marrakech. Together with his partner, he renovated the Jardin Majorelle, where he was buried later.
Clubs and night life for a gay audience
In the 1990s, the number of Europeans in Marrakech increased as the international jet set discovered the city. Soon, the word of a gay night life in the South-Moroccan imperial city spread. Read more