Africa

Touring the Kasbah

written by | Posted on June 1st, 2009

La Mamounia is for the most romantic and history-inclined of clients. After a 3-year renovation, this most celebrated of Moroccan hotels is opening later this summer with 142 guestrooms, 68 suites and three villas with private terraces, as well as both traditional (public) and private hammams, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. If you haven’t heard of La Mamounia, here’s the scoop: it is named after its 200-plus-year-old gardens, which bear, in turn, the name of its 18th century owner—Prince Moulay Mamoun, who received the property as a wedding present from his father. It opened as a hotel in 1923 and soon became a legendary spot, famous for its hospitality and popularity among celebrity clientele. Winston Churchill was a frequent visitor (there’s a Churchill Suitenamed after him) and would paint the High Atlas Mountains from his vantage point in his room’s balcony; from La Mamounia, he declared Marrakech “the most lovely spot in the whole world.” Still holding on to its Moroccan roots while preserving its 1920s art deco touches, La Mamounia should have rates available in just a couple of weeks.

couples on the move There’s more than one type of honeymooning client, of course—some prefer a more action-packed escape. Active Journeys’ Magical Morocco departs Nov. 27 (when it is not too hot for outdoor activities) on a 9-night journey along sand dunes and ancient villages. This hiking tour, priced at $2,995 pp, offers fit travelers the chance to trek through the undulating waves of the Sahara Desert, ride camels along sun-swept landscapes and oases, and stay a few nights in fully catered campsites. The adventure starts off in Marrakech and ends in Fes with tours of both cities, as well as visits to Berber villages and souks throughout.