International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
The spectacular Ourika Valley in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains is just about an hour away, and acts as the jumping off point to Berber villages and mountain treks. “It’s probably one of the most beautiful spots in all Morocco with rich red mountains and lush plant life,” said Stevens. Or some head out into the Sahara Desert for a day trip or a couple of nights at a luxury camp. Marrakesh also has good rail connections to the cities on the coast, such as Casablanca, Rabat and hip Essaouira (a new road has reduced the drive to two hours), the top choice for short break by the seaside. Fez is around 300km away and from there, the holy hilltop town of Moulay Idriss is just an hour away.
Several budget airlines fly into the Marrakesh-Menara Airport, along with British Airways and Air Maroc, which provide direct connections to European cities around the world. The flight to London is three-and-a-half hours and it is three hours to Paris.
For now, the top end of the market has remained stable, but the euro crisis in Europe is affecting all other strata. “We are getting many inquiries for sale and rent for villas, riads and apartments,” said Arnott. “However, the medium range villas and apartments, especially in the medina, is very flat. We do not expect this to turn around until things ease in Europe and elsewhere.”
In the exclusive Palmeraie, buying a hectare of land and building a luxury villa costs around 1.3 million euro. “However, the return on this type of investment is quick and very lucrative,” said Arnott. Elsewhere in the city, an apartment costs from 100,000 to 900,000 euro, while a villa goes for 300,000 to six million euro.
Morocco Newsline: English newspaper covering politics, business, culture and lifestyle
Morocco Board: English-language news service with an American focus
Morocco Mama: Blog and photo essays about ex-pat life in Marrakesh