Africa

Touring the Kasbah

written by | Posted on June 1st, 2009

Morocco has added appeal to today’s honeymooners.

It turns out that Morocco is much more with-it than any of us thought, at least in terms of honeymoon trends. According to The Knot—the Internet’s one-stop, all-about-weddings shop—couples planning their honeymoons are leaning toward certain types of travel, and Morocco hits The Knot’s research to a honeymooning “T” with a full catalog of lovers’ travel loves—from active getaways to a great share of intimate hotels and private villas.

And it’s easy to fall in love in and with Morocco, a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the wallet and the senses. Whether it’s gorgeous beaches or desert landscapes, or fantastic shopping deals, this is a country that is as mysterious and glamorous as it is comfortable and safe. Long overdue its recognition among great travel destinations, it is an idyllic location for an unforgettable honeymoon.

Just ask luxury operator Artisans of Leisure, which has tweaked the love factor in this nation with a Romantic Morocco tour that lays out the best in a country that “has proven popular among not only honeymooners but also other couples looking for a relaxing, romantic getaway,” according to Luxury Travel Specialist John McGee.

“The culture is fascinating and exotic. The hotels are very luxurious and romantic, with beautiful grounds, great spas and traditional designs incorporating arched doorways, colorful tiles and sparkling lanterns. The upscale restaurants offer delicious multi-course meals accompanied by live music and belly dancers. The markets and alleys of the Medina afford great shopping opportunities and the chance to watch craftsmen create traditional wares,” he explains. “Also, this particular tour was designed to be relaxing—there isn’t too much moving around—yet still offer plenty of variety and great cultural touring.”

Romantic Morocco begins with one night in Casablanca and then it’s off to Essaouira, on the Atlantic Coast—“with time to relax, something many honeymooners want after the exhaustion of their wedding,” says McGee. Clients spend three nights here at a Relais & Chateaux hotel—the L’Heure Bleue Palais & Spa—that used to be a courtyard palace. They then move on to a luxury kasbah-style hotel—the Kasbah Tamadot—in the Atlas Mountains, where they can spend time exploring the Berber markets, pampering each other with spa treatments or just luxuriating in the hotel’s infinity pool and its mountain views. Finally, honeymooners spend three days in Marrakech at the exclusive resort Amanjena and enjoy more private touring and quiet time. Romantic Morocco starts at $10,245 pp dbl. Artisans of Leisure also lets honeymooners register their tour so friends and family can contribute to the cost of the trip.

Here are some other Moroccan products that fit The Knot bill and are sure to have your ‘mooning clients swooning:

boutique-y opulence & private retreats Marrakech is home to a recently restored palace, approximately 300 years old, that has been converted into a fantasy-like retreat with a heated pool in its interior courtyard and just three rooms and two suites. AnaYela Riad is named after a woman, Yela, who once lived here and is said to have left behind a manuscript describing her first love; her story has been hammered into silver and placed on doors throughout the hotel, adding to its dreamlike, romantic setting.

Guests trade their shoes for Moroccan slippers upon arrival and are transported to a haven of tranquility in the heart of the Medina district, with original furniture designed by owner Bernd Kolb and finished by local artisans and a terrace offering expansive views of the city; lovebirds can arrange to have breakfast or dinner here, on AnaYela’s “Flying Carpet” housed in a small tower. Clients can arrange the services of a personal shopper to get the best deals in the city. Room prices, which include transfers to and from the airport, breakfast and laundry service, start at $386 pp dbl.

Authenticity and luxury go hand in hand at Angsana Riads Collection Morocco, with six traditional Moroccan houses available for rent. With anything from five to eight rooms, riads offer signature spa treatments as well as classic local touches such as tiled floors, hand-woven carpets and custom-made furniture. Through Dec. 22, clients can book an entire riad for less than $1,000 a night (715 euro) with the Angsana Moments package, which includes the exclusive use of the home, daily breakfast for up to two guests per room and all the Moroccan mint tea your clients can drink throughout their stay.