One of the most frequent questions that I am asked by brides to be, is about how to have an amazing honeymoon or mini-moon on a tight budget. As an absolute holiday addict, I have always been one for scouring for the best travel deals and love nothing more than finding a complete bargain and knowing that a dream holiday is just round the corner.
When you and your Beau start thinking about your honeymoon, it can be a bit daunting, knowing about all of the other things that you have to stretch your budget to accommodate.
The best thing to do first off is set your budget and try your absolute best to stick to it. For this Moroccan Mini Moon Adventure blog post feature, I took Mr John to Marrakech to see how much gorgeousness we could fit in on a tight budget. This was truly an incredible mini moon break away and one that I would recommend whole heartedly to any couple looking for a little bit of an adventure to start off their married life together.
Here’s how we got on!
Actual amounts spent
Flights: £119 each
Parking at the airport: £14 each
Riad: £165 each
Total Spent: £298 per person (plus spending money for food and fun!)
After landing into Marrakech on our Ryanair flights from Stansted, we jumped into a taxi and made the twenty minute journey across to the Medina where our Riad was situated. Less than four hours flight from the UK and we were completely blown away by how utterly different everything was. We may as well have been on the other side of the world. Looking to our left we could see the rubbly desert stretching off into the distance and to our right, the sandy coloured old walls of the Medina.
Our taxi dropped us off as close as it could get us to Riad Camilia where our host, Nicolas, came to meet us and show us the way through the labyrinth of streets to where we would be calling home for the next few days.
Nicolas was such a pleasure to meet – the perfect host, asking us questions about our journey and showing us sights as we made our way to the Riad. The streets were dusty and zigzagging as well as being so narrow that you could barely fit three people across widthways. We shared our short walk with stray cats, moped riders peeping their horns and all manner of vendors trying to sell us treats from carpets and lanterns through to fruit and meat.
Arriving in front of a small alleyway, Nicolas asked us to mind our heads on the low overhanging ceiling and to follow him. At the end of the dark alleyway, Nicolas clunked a couple of locks and then opened his doors onto what I can only describe as an oasis of calm and beauty. A marble floor lined with carpets led to an open courtyard atrium, where all of the bedrooms could be accessed.
We were incredibly lucky as, due to a couple cancelling late notice, Nicolas was sweet enough to give us a free upgrade to our bedroom. Huge wooden doors opened into a high ceilinged room with our own private courtyard (complete with huge banana palm) and bathroom with steps down into a huge open his and hers shower. This was truly luxury and after our short haul flight and small walk through the medina, the tranquillity that settled over us as we settled in at the Riad was quite amazing.
But as well as feeling calm, we wanted to explore! Riads in Marrakech are often set out around a central courtyard area, with the opportunity to relax in the centre of the building whilst looking up the sky. Riad Camilia had a gorgeous dip pool on the ground floor and after exploring a little more and making our way up a winding stone staircase, we found ourselves up on the roof terrace. A haven of palms, herbs and flowers, the terrace has been carefully designed to make you feel as comfortable as possible with cushioned seating areas, little dipping pools to jump in when the sun gets too hot and huge parasols to relax beneath.
Looking out across the city, you can see the Atlas Mountains stretching off into the distance and then a panoramic view 360 degrees around you, so that you can see all of the rooftops of the medina around you. Nicolas informed us that breakfast would be served up on the roof terrace each morning - breakfast up there sounded just fab to us!
As it was already late, we decided to take dinner at the Riad. Nicolas and his team had prepared us a beautiful dinner table down in the dining room beside a roaring open hearth fire. As soon as we walked into the room, we could smell the delicious spices from the cooking and knew that it was going to be a really yummy dinner!
Sitting on the low cushioned chairs, we were brought an array of dishes – from flatbreads with chutneys and dips through to a delicious chicken tagine. Moroccan cuisine was everything that we had hoped it would be; fresh, fragrant and super tasty! As we were inside a private dwelling in the Medina, we were able to drink wine with our dinner – it’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of restaurants and the shops within the medina will not serve alcohol as the Medina is the most religious part of the city.
Our desert was freshly sliced orange sprinkled with rosewater and cinnamon. The entire dinner was such a treat and we headed off to bed very sleepy and happily full.
The next morning, we awoke early, ready to head out and explore the Medina. It is important to respect the local customs and so I covered up my arms, legs and chest with a comfy pair of linen trousers, long sleeved t-shirt and a light cotton scarf.
We headed straight into the middle of action and made our way into the Souks. This was such a fantastic experience of finding your way down the tiny streets and seeing shops selling spices through to tiny little turtles and lizards.
The souks are an incredible experience and it is very worthwhile spending a good half a day wandering through the maze of shops to see what it is on offer.
Come the afternoon, after browsing the souks to our hearts content, we went for an invigorating couples Hammam massage at Le Bain Bleu (which had been recommended to us by Nicolas). Mr John was understandably wary (having never been for a massage before) but I convinced him that it would be a great experience and in we went.
After walking into a marble lined steam room, scattered with rose petals, we were scrubbed and massaged with salts and rinsed with cool water. We then relaxed in a giant bath (which seemed like more of a mini swimming pool to me) before being taken off into a candle lit room for a his and hers massage.
We emerged after the Hammam massage feeling like new people! Mr John’s skin looked bright and revitalised and I felt completely relaxed and pampered – as well as having the softest skin I have had in years!
That night, we had dinner on a roof terrace on the other side of town, swapping my usual large glass of red wine for a bottle of Orangina.
It had been a great first full day in Morocco. And despite the fact that we had walked a long way through the souks, the Hammam massage meant that we felt relaxed and ready to have a good sleep so that we were ready for the next day’s adventures…
Keep an eye on the Blog for Part Two of this Mini Moon feature coming up soon!
Have you booked your minimoon yet? Have a look at easyJet Holidays for some fantastic deals to Marrakech as well as tonnes of other minimoon and honeymoon detinations here.