Known for its fascinating history, flavorful cuisine, and rich culture, Morocco is deservedly one of the top destinations for a 2023 getaway. Despite being the capital city of Morocco, Rabat remains somewhat of a hidden gem, waiting to be explored. Rabat offers authentic Moroccan tradition mixed with modern elements and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012. When visiting Rabat, the new Fairmont La Marina Rabat Salé is a luxurious accommodation for a memorable trip.
Below you will find five reasons why Rabat should be featured at the top of your 2023 travel bucket list.
1–Stay at Rabat’s newest luxury hotel–For travellers looking for unparalleled luxury, the brand-new Fairmont La Marina Rabat-Salé is the quintessential choice of accommodation for any trip to Rabat. Set in an idyllic location, nestled on the banks of the Bouregreg river and the Atlantic Ocean, the property is perfect for watching the sun set beyond the ancient Kasbah with a glass of the hotel’s exclusive, locally sourced wine.
The hotel has been expertly designed to showcase the life and soul of modern Morocco whilst retaining its ancient traditions. Each of the 186 rooms, including 27 suites, features a combination of authentic Moroccan craftsmanship with modern design elements, paying homage to the different influences that have marked the Kingdom over the centuries. To truly relax and unwind, visit the refreshing haven of the Fairmont Spa for expert spa treatments and ancestral care rituals using ingredients drawn from the richness of Moroccan terroir.
2 – Uncover the illustrious shared heritage of a modern capital and historic city –Visitors to Rabat will notice the city’s unique blend of modernisation whilst retaining and preserving its traditional roots. UNESCO recognized this as part of Rabat’s outstanding universal value in 2012, when inscribing the city as a World Heritage Site. The new town was built under the French Protectorate from 1912 to the 1930s and represents one of the largest and most ambitious modern urban projects built in Africa in the 20th century, meanwhile, historic areas of the city can date as far back as the 12th century.
This contrast can be also seen amongst Rabat’s landmarks. The iconic Hassan Tower, built in the 12th century, and the Chellah, a monumental medieval necropolis, represent the city’s prestigious past. Meanwhile, the awe-inspiring Mohammed VI Tower, located in nearby Salé, and the Grand Theatre of Rabat, set to be the largest in the Arab world, highlight the prosperous future of Rabat.
3 – Wander the ancient streets of the Medina and the Kasbah of the Udayas – The Medina of Rabat is one of the oldest areas of the city and an unmissable part of any trip. Shopping in Rabat’s Medina is a calm and pleasant experience as you wander between the intriguing shops, exploring the fantastic selection of wares such as handcrafted carpets and embroidered fabrics.
Located in the heart of Rabat, the Kasbah of the Udayas is an important historical landmark built in the 12th century. Within the Kasbah, the walls are painted beautiful shades of azure and white and visitors can enjoy mesmerising, scenic views of where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bouregreg river. Travellers can escape to a world of peace and tranquillity amongst the verdant trees and plants of the Andalusian Gardens. For an authentic Moroccan tea and delicious pastries, look no further than the famous Café Maure.
4 – Embark on a culinary journey of the finest Moroccan and international cuisine –With three in-hotel restaurants and a bar made for socialising, guests at Fairmont La Marina Rabat-Salé can enjoy an array of exquisite culinary experiences that are guaranteed to delight the senses alongside excellent Moroccan hospitality.
The vibrant "Le Dahlia", helmed by Chef Mohammed Amine Idbounite, offers an exhilarating immersion into the refined world of Moriental dining. Le Dahlia’s menu features the authentic flavors of both Moroccan and Oriental dishes, all of which have been refined using “nouvelle cuisine” techniques to offer a unique, modern twist. Guests at Le Dahlia can enjoy the restaurant’s sophisticated yet lively and upbeat lounge atmosphere.
Meanwhile, "Le Deck" is a relaxing refuge from the bustle of the city on the hotel rooftop, offering spectacular panoramic views of the estuary and the region's most outstanding landmarks. Le Deck is a place to create unforgettable shared memories and the restaurant’s Nikkei influenced menu has been expertly designed with sharing in mind. Instead of the traditional 3 course menu, Le Deck offers a wide selection of incredible medium sized dishes, encouraging everyone to try the delicious flavors of each dish. Le Deck also features an avant-garde bar and a year-round heated swimming pool.
French brasserie "L'Ecume" owes its name to the white foam left behind by the trail of the fishermen’s boats. Here guests will find Executive Chef, Nicolas Warot, showcasing farm and ocean to table cooking using the finest of local ingredients including freshly caught sea food from the local Salé market.
"La Verrière" is an elegantly designed, contemporary version of the light-drenched patios of the Moroccan ancestral riads. It is a space made for socializing, whilst savoring exquisite cocktails and Moroccan tea and indulging in freshly baked pastries. La Verrière features a collection of artworks on display celebrating the cultural and artistic wealth of Rabat, inspired by the city’s unique blend of cultures.
Hidden amongst the narrow streets of Rabat’s Medina, are countless incredible Riads serving authentic Moroccan dishes that are perfect for sharing. Indulge in the delicious, rich flavours of traditional dishes such as tektouka, zaalouk, and a variety of tagines. Fairmont La Marina Rabat-Salé has partnered with the beautiful Riad Kalaa to offer an authentic experience with a specially designed Moroccan tasting menu, exclusive to hotel guests.
5 – Discover the past and present of Morocco – Travelers to Rabat can learn all about Morocco’s captivating history and culture, from over 100,000 thousand years ago up to the present day, amongst the city’s world-class museums.
Re-opened in early 2023 after a major refurbishment, the National Museum of Finery is a must-visit. The museum features a stunning collection of jewellery and clothing from across Morocco, highlighting the differences in each region’s characteristics, and throughout its history. One of the most notable items within the museum’s collection is the world’s oldest known piece of jewellery, the Bizmoun necklace which dates back over 150,000 years. The collection also features 350 items gifted to the museum from the personal collection of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.
The Mohamed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is a contemporary and modern art museum that was opened in 2014, the first large scale museum built in Morocco since independence from France in 1956. The museum features a vast collection of artworks and sculptures from both Moroccan artists and those from across the globe, with regular international exhibitions.
Other highlights in Rabat include the National Photography Museum, the Archaeological Museum, and the Currency Museum of the Bank Al-Maghrib.