Get the best of CF straight to your inbox.

Subscribe, sit back, and let your mind travel.

Where To Next?

Re-Imagining Rabat, Morocco's Royal City

Home to Moroccan Royals for centuries, Rabat has always been a city that shines. Now that glimmer is reaching the eyes of more and more tourists.

You may think you know Morocco, but if you haven’t visited its capital, Rabat, you’re missing out. This hotly-tipped city for 2023 is starting to hit the tourism limelight. There’s a quiet re-imagining taking place here thanks, in part, to its design scene, elegant dining, hotels fusing traditional with modern, and ever-increasing number of beautiful boutique stores.

Built in the 12th century, Rabat was once a source of refuge and inspiration for corsairs and exiled moors, before becoming a fortified city courtesy of the Almohade dynasty. Today, it’s the administrative centre of Morocco, and the king’s main residence. Away from the crowds of Marrakesh and Agadir, this is a perfect city break for a romantic getaway or a weekend with friends. Either way, it will earn you some bragging rights. Be one of the first of your social circle to discover it. Here’s how.


Story Rabat

Tucked away in the elegant Ambassadors’ district, Story is the place to book for quiet luxury. Their modern Moroccan interior with a colourful Andalusian touch is an homage to Ziryab, a 9th century troubadour from Baghdad defined as the father of Andalusian music. Spend some time lounging by the pool or at the traditional Moroccan spa and hammam, before indulging in delicious Mediterranean cuisine at Safran restaurant: the locally-caught Rock Octopus dish is a must. If you want to experience the ultimate luxury that Story has to offer, book their two-story private villa with pool, Emiri.


Fairmont La Marina Rabat-Salé

Newly opened and located in the marina that connects the twin cities of Rabat and Salé, the Fairmont La Marina Rabat-Salé is already one of the city’s hot spots. With amazing views across Bouregreg Lake and the Atlantic Ocean, there’s not a corner of this place that won’t fill you with wonder thanks to the strong interior design; the entire hotel is detailed with Amazighs and Andalusian artistry but pay special attention to the detailing of the in-room chiselled-wood panels and bathroom tiles. If you’re visiting with romance in mind, treat yourself and your loved one to a couple’s detox massage at the spa, before enjoying dinner with a sunset view at rooftop restaurant, Le Deck.



In the heart of the medina, Euphoriad is an idyllic retreat built in a riad-style to reflect typical Moroccan architecture. With an interior garden to retreat to, it offers a peaceful setting. From rooms bathed in sunlight to exquisite traditional cuisine such as lamb tajines, couscous and pastillas, this is a relaxing base to return to after a long day exploring the city. The rooftop terrace is a highlight and comes complete with a pool and hammam overlooking the entire medina. There’s no better place in the city to admire the sunset from, accompanied by the sounds of the muezzin’s call to prayer.


Azour Rooftop & Lounge

For the best views of the Rabat skyline, mocktail in hand, head to the top floor of the Onomo Hotel and take a seat at the Azour Rooftop & Lounge. This terrace in the heart of the city is the place to enjoy a snack, bathe in the Moroccan sun and take advantage of some downtime after exploring the city centre. Azour is a relaxing spot during the day and evolves into a fun atmosphere by night, thanks to the resident DJ. It’s also a top choice for a healthy and delicious weekend brunch.

La Maison Arabe

The gorgeous Tour Hassan Palace has plenty of fine dining options, but book a table at The Maison Arabe for an unforgettable Moroccan culinary experience. At this beautiful restaurant with unparalleled decor – think fine-chiselled woods, blue tiles and oriental carpets – servers in “jabador” (traditional tunics and assorted pants) will escort you to your table and guide you through the menu to discover the best of Moroccan gastronomy. Whether you prefer couscous or tajine, the elegant flavours and refined ambiance at The Maison Arabe is matched only by the Arab-Andalusian band serving up live music to accompany your meal. This is a night you’ll never forget.


Dahlia at Fairmont La Marina Rabat-Salé

Dahlia at the Fairmont is a Moroccan restaurant with Levantine influence and derives its name from the Darija word for “vine”. Modern decor meets significant nods to traditional Moroccan architecture: Dahlia is a feast, not only for the mouth but for the nose and eyes too. Take in the aromas of spices and breads cooked in a traditional oven before you sit down to discover Rbati dishes. We recommend the khoboz mzouwek, a tasty flatbread used to soak up the flavours of any one (or more) of the other dishes on the menu.


Historic Sights

From the great constructions of the Almohade Caliphate to the traditional markets that still resonate with the vitality of the people, Rabat is home to many historical wonders. The Hassan Tower, commissioned in the 12th century by Sultan Yacoub El Mansour, has become a symbol of the city thanks to its architectural beauty. While here, take time to admire the Mohammed V Mausoleum, the final resting place of three former Kings of Morocco.

For more architectural beauty, as well as the excellence of Rbati artistry, head to the Kasbah of the Oudayas and its neighbouring medina. The medina is a typical Moroccan marketplace, with traditional leather shops and silver jewellery stores where you can admire Berber craftsmanship, while the Kasbah greets you with the impressive Bab Oudaya Gate, built and richly decorated by the same Sultan Yacoub El Mansour. Once inside, you can admire the beautiful blue streets and views of the sea below. After a long exploration, head to the historic Café Maure for a cup of mint tea and a Gazelle Horn cake.


Rabat has plenty to offer when it comes to shopping, from home decor to traditional jewellery and souvenirs. The medina should be your first stop. Here, you can wander along Avenue des Consuls which is filled with stores selling everything from leather handbags to antiquities: visit Medina Crush for unique, hand-crafted pieces for the home or Dar D’Art for traditional jewellery and pottery. Outside of the medina, Maison de L’Artisan is a wonderful choice for art or head to small boutique stores to find souvenirs and elegant clothes from Moroccan designers. We love Zestes d’Orient in the Agdal district and Bee on 6th on Mohammed VI Avenue.

The Museums

Whether you have a penchant for ancient or modern art, Rabat has a place for you to admire its rich history and many artists. The Museum of History and Civilisations holds all the treasures of Rabat, from archeological pieces to antiquities of the French Protectorate period, while the Museum of Modern Art is an architectural masterpiece in itself and celebrates modern and contemporary artists from the entire African continent. The newly-opened Museum of the Oudayas is a chance to observe beautiful Moroccan decorative arts and jewels – including Royal jewellery – dating from prehistoric times to modern day.

The Beach

No trip to Rabat is complete without a stroll along its beach, a welcome respite after long days exploring the city. From the fortress above, you’ll have a chance to admire the fishing boats sailing back to shore with their day’s catch, the sun slowly setting, and the evening call to prayer signalling the time when day turns to night. This is an experience that captures Rabat at its true, authentic and beautiful best.

You May Also Like

Any Questions or Tips to add?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *