Trip budget: A Moroccan mini honeymoon

Moroccan spices

Normally I’d say my travel style is budget-luxe – I mainly keep to a budget but throw in a few touches of luxury. But when it came to planning my honeymoon, I decided that it would only be right to swap those two around for once. So this trip was a bit more luxury and a bit less budget than usual for me. So we had stunning riads, private transfers and spa treatments. But as the plan is to have a few mini-honeymoons spread through the year rather than one big one, there was always one eye on the budget too. So the luxuries were paired with cheap lunches and free days of exploring. Here’s how our spending broke down for a six-night, two-destination, budget-luxe Moroccan mini-honeymoon (prices as at March 2014).

Transport

Being on honeymoon gave me the excuse to splash out a bit more on flights, so we flew out in BA Business Class. The separate check in and security lines made us feel like VIPs and we got our money’s worth of free food and drink in BA’s Galleries Lounge at Gatwick, as well as Champagne and a meal in-flight. The price difference wasn’t too high on the flight out, but the way back was another matter, so we flew home in economy (back to reality!). The flights cost £256 per person, and we also spend 1000 MAD/£74 each way for a private taxi for the three-hour journey to Essaouira and 220 MAD/£16 for a taxi to the airport.

Total transport cost: 1220 MAD/£164 (about £14 a day each) plus flights, so £338 per person in total.

Looking out over Marrakech medina

Looking over Marrakech rooftops from the Maison de la Photographie

Accommodation

As we were planning to do a bit more lazing on this trip than usual, we wanted somewhere gorgeous to do it – roof terrace, pool and lounge included. Morocco has so many accommodation options and on my last trip I had no trouble finding riads for £50 a night, but this time we spent a bit more for something really special. First up was the fantastic Riad Dar Maya in Essaouira, where four nights cost us 5060 MAD/£378 (£94.50 a night or £47.25 per person per night). Then we spent two nights in Riad Capaldi in the heart of the medina in Marrakech for 1773 MAD/£165 (£82.50 per night or £41.25 pppn).

Total accommodation cost: 6833 MAD/£543 or £271.50 per person – an average of £45 a night each.

The Essaouira ramparts at sunset

Watching sunset from the ramparts in Essaouira

Activities

The trip wasn’t just about sitting on a sunlounger (though there was plenty of that – I should probably add all the books I bought for my Kindle into this budget), we did do a few activities too. We spend half a day learning to cook at L’Atelier Madada cookery school in Essaouira for 450 MAD/£33.50 per person and had an incredibly relaxing two-hour hamman and massage at Riad Dar Maya for 500 MAD/£37 per person. Everything else – wandering the medina, watching sunsets and entry to the Photography Museum in Marrakech – was free. We managed to resist the temptation to blow the budget on shopping in the souks too, but did bring home some tagine spices and argan oil products, costing 370 MAD/£28 in total.

Total activities cost: 1135 MAD/£83 per person – an average of £14 a day each.

Moroccan tea pot and glasses

Moroccan teapot and glasses

Food and drink

Breakfast was included at both riads, and usually pretty substantial so we didn’t need much for lunch. We ate lunch out on two days, ate at our cookery class on one day and ate lunch at the airport before flying home (a total of 655 MAD/£48). The rest of the time we grabbed snacks while we were out, and also bought soft drinks and water, at a total of 300 MAD/£22. For dinner we had a three-course dinner one night at each riad and ate out on the other three nights. Food was pretty reasonable, with meals at a nice restaurant around £40 for two including wine, coming in at a total of 2145 MAD/£157. We also went out for drinks a couple of times – including sunset cocktails on a rooftop in Marrakech – spending a total of 480 MAD/£35.

Total food cost: 3580 MAD/£262 or £131 per person – an average of £22 a day each.

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco

The Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech

The grand total

So the overall cost for our Moroccan mini-honeymoon was £825 per person including flights. This works out as just over £137.50 a night each. A bit more than I would usually spend, but even that relatively small extra cost gave the trip more of a luxury feel. And it’s still a bargain when you look at the average honeymoon price of £4500 – that would get us another couple of trips!

Lower budget? You could easily save by taking budget airline flights, which you can get for around £100 return from the UK, and taking the bus between Marrakech and Essaouira for about £5. You can also save on food and drink by eating at cheaper restaurants and food stalls and staying off the wine.

Higher budget? If that’s not enough luxury for you, then you could do Business Class both ways and add in more spa treatments and guided tours around the medina and out to the Atlas Mountains.

Comments

  1. says

    Flying in on first class and home on budget class. That is definitely something I would do and get a kick out of. Your honeymoon sounds great and I think you got plenty of luxury for you buck. All the best to you Lucy. Tim

    • says

      The business class flight definitely helped us get into the holiday mood (or maybe that was the free Champagne!) – though an overcrowded economy on the way back didn’t help with the post-holiday blues!

    • says

      I’d never done it before but BA let you see the prices for both at once and it was only something like £50 each so we though why not (and probably ate and drank that much in the lounge!). It’s something I’ll definitely keep my eye out for in future too.

  2. says

    I think you can get some pretty good hotel deals in Morocco. I think we stayed in one of the nicest hotels in Rabat. It had two bathrooms a huge master bedroom, a dinning area, several TVs. It was very nice. This was for a couple too.
    Leslie

    • says

      Morocco does have some great hotel deals – I like that there are so many interesting and individual places too rather than all the big chains that seem to have taken over some places.

    • says

      I did have to resist the temptation to go shopping mad in the souks as otherwise that budget would’ve had no chance! The spices made a good present to take home though and not too expensive, so I’ve been making a few tagines since.

    • says

      Thanks, it was a really great trip and definitely ticked all the honeymoon boxes for us – it was tough to choose a destination though as there were so many places we wanted to go!

  3. says

    What a great post Lucy. I really like the idea of flying Business Class one way and economy the other. It does sort of gets you in the mood. I haven’t yet been to Morrocco and even though I like to keep tight control of the purse strings, I’m not averse to spending a little more in the right place, and these riads sound pretty much like “that place” LOL. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. says

    Great post, Lucy. I loved my trip to Marrakech last December. As an extra tip for people on a lower budget, early/mid December is a great time to visit. The owners told us that most riads offer at least 25% off the prices. A lot of the riads are empty, but become fully booked as soon as it hits Christmas and New Year. I can’t wait to visit again!

  5. says

    Morocco is truly an amazing place for a honeymoon, but Gosh – it seems so expensive as well!! But who cakes when it comes to honeymoon :)…

  6. says

    Well first of all, Lucy – congratulations on the mini-honeymoon, and here’s to many more! The pics are great and you’ve convinced me that we need to put Marrakech on our itinerary sometime soon. We too are trying to figure out how to balance 1-star and 5-star travel, which is how I came across your great (and very timely for us) post. Thanks for the insights and perspective!

    -Chuck And Lori

  7. says

    Lucy, what an amazing honeymoon! We took ours in Quebec City, QC, it was a winter wonderland. Dog sledding, Icy Ferry Rides… so much French inspired food. :) I found your blog through the part-time travel group on FB and am excited to connect with you and follow your travels and inbetween wanderlust. :) I am a lifestyle blogger based in NE Kansas who has a frequent focus on blogging about travel. I also tend to post about concerts, thrifting finds etc. Please stop by and say hello. My blog is under a redesign but you can find the travel posts under the ‘passport’ tab.

    Alexandra
    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • says

      Thanks Alexandra – great to meet you and look forward to reading more about your travels! Quebec sounds fabulous, I love the idea of a wintery honeymoon in the snow. I’m planning my first trip to Quebec this autumn and it looks lovely!

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