WHY MARRAKECH?

Morocco's most laid-back city, Marrakech, has managed to turn itself from hippie enclave to stylish destination, without losing its exotic charm. It was fashionable in the 1920s and 1930s, when it was graced by the likes of Rita Hayworth and Winston Churchill. Yves Saint-Laurent has owned a home in the city for years, and, now, anyone with a sense of style is heading there. With daily direct flights from Gatwick with British Airways starting at under £260, this relaxed city with its mountain backdrop is now back in style.

EAT

Visitors have a choice between Moroccan food and French cuisine. In the Medina area, inside the old walled city, Dar Moha is the new place to be seen. Yacout, housed in an outlandish building, serves excellent food. For something French, visit the Gueliz district where Le Jacaranda is always popular.

DRINK

Most traditional bars don't serve alcohol, and the Italian-run Café Arabe, in the centre of the Medina, is a good place to sample tea. But, those with a taste for something stronger should head to Le Comptoir.

SLEEP

The newest and one of the most stylish hotels is the Riad El Fenn. Converted from an old town house, each of the six suites are decorated differently, and are furnished with pieces by local craftsmen. Equally eye-catching is Caravanserai which was converted from a collection of Berber houses. Away from the bustle of the city is the popular Ksar Char-Bagh.

SEE

Marrakech features a wonderful combination of Islamic architecture and tropical gardens. Stroll past the Koutoubia mosque with its elaborate 12th century tower, visit the Saadian tombs, a mausoleum containing the graves of 66 kings, and be in-spired by the pots, pergolas and lush vegetation of the Majorelle gardens.

BUY

Explore the souks and you will find anything and everything from leather jackets and bags, to good value carpets. If you don't want to bargain, Ben Rahal, on Rue de la Liberte in Gueliz, is calmer, while art and antiques can be found on the same street at the L'Orientaliste.

PLAY

As soon as the sun goes down, the Djmaa el Fnaa, the city's main square, bursts into life, with tattoo artists, snake-charmers, musicians and storytellers - popular with tourists and locals alike. For clubbers, Theatro, in the grounds of the Es Saadi hotel, is the place to be.

Marrakech travel facts

British Airways

0870 850 9850; www.ba.com

Dar Moha

81 Dar El Bacha (00 212 44 38 64 00)

Yacout

79 rue Sidi Ahmed Soussi, (00 212 44 38 29 29)

Le Jacaranda

32 Boulevard Zerktouni (00 212 44 44 72 15)

Café Arabe

184 rue Mouassine (00 212 44 42 97 28)

Le Comptoir

Avenue Echouada (00 212 44 43 77 02)

Riad El Fenn

Bab El Ksour, (00 212 44 44 12 10, www.riadelfenn.com)

Ksar Char-Bagh

Palmeraie, (00 212 44 32 92 44, www.ksarcharbagh.com)

Caravanserai

264 Ouled Ben Rahnoun (00 212 44 30 03 02; www.caravanserai.com)

Ben Rahal

Rue de la Liberte (00 212 44 43 32 73)

L'Orientaliste

15 Rue de la Liberte, Gueliz Theatro

Es Saadi Hotel

Avenue El Quadissia (00 212 44 44 88 11; www.essaadi.com)

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