A lot of people always ask us; “What are the best places to visit in Marrakech?” Now, we have to be careful here. Depending on the type of trip you’re looking for, Marrakech offers a variety of authenticity, and grandeur, that you just don’t tend to see these days. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of places that Hollywood has deemed just the right amount of both…
Djema El Fna, Hotel Mamounia & Dar Essalam Restaurant.
The 1956 film, The Man Who Knew Too Much, is an Alfred Hitchcock spy thriller. The opening scenes display the square of Djema El Fna, alive with snake charmers and story tellers as James Stewart and Doris Day take centre screen to play out what is supposedly an exotic holiday in Marrakech. With scenes at Dar Essalam restaurant (170 Riad Zitoun Kedim) and the famous Hotel Mamounia, viewers will have a glimpse into the opulence and rawness of the city – whilst holding onto the edge of their seat of course!
Oukaimeden & Ait Ben Haddou
South East of Marrakech, approximately a 3 hour drive away, is where Mike Newell set his adventure movie in 2010 – the Prince of Persia. Jake Gyllenhall, Ben Kingsley and Gemma Arterton can be found meandering in the market place (which was built right opposite the UNESCO heritage site of Ait Ben Haddou) and up in the mountain village of Oukaimeden. Around this time, temperatures were soaring with over 40 degree heat – it is said that the company drank a total of 1,114,894 bottles of water.
Quite a few films have been shot in and around Ait Ben Haddou, another extremely famous one is Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. This fortified Kasbah is where Russell Crowe trains as a gladiator. A list of other films and programmes that have used this unique site include Game Of Thrones, The Mummy and Thor – just to name a few.
Marrakech’s Medina and Medrasa Ben Youssef
Hideous Kinky is a 1998 film directed by Gillies MacKinnon’s which is based off Esther Freud’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Kate Winslet’s character seeks a bohemian life with her two daughters. It’s this thirst for the mystical and untouched that led them all to Marrakech. This film shows the authentic medina and the old fondouks, making it a great piece to watch for any tourists thinking of travelling to the Red City. Kate’s featured apartment is right round the corner from the Medrasa Ben Youssef Museum of Moroccan art and architecture which is No. 192 on Rue Moussine in the Medina – in case you fancied going.
Amanjena Hotel, The Mouassine and The Sahara Palace.
Even though they would have us believe that the Sex and the City girls left New York to visit Abu Dhabi, that’s not quite the case. Michael Patrick King’s 2010 film, Sex and The City 2, was actually shot all over Marrakech. With scenes at the airport, in the beautiful Amanjena hotel and the Mouassine by Dar El Bacha, this film really showcases everything Marrakech has to offer; from the busy souk streets to the quiet landscaped gardens. Oh, and that amazing hotel that the ladies stay in? That was filmed in Marrakech’s luxurious Sahara Palace – decadence, eat your heart out.
So if you’re a film fanatic and are interested in tracing the steps of some of your favourite characters, actors or directors – this mini guide should give you a huge range of places to see in Marrakech.
But shh, it’s confidential.