Kasbah Chic

Kasbah Tamadot
Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco.

In the October 2014 issue, we showcased Morocco as the cover feature. Writer Carla Hunt included an array of hotel  and tour options for you to recommend to your clients visiting this stunning country. Here, we give you a kasbah feast, so to speak, that is sure to entice them even more. 

South of Fez, only an hour from Marrakech, and in the heart of Berber country, you’ll find Morocco’s beautiful Great Oasis valleys, where tiny villages cling to the steep hillsides, and the waterfalls and rocky landscapes of the lower Atlas Mountains merge with the desert. Extending south to Ouarzazate, this is come-to-the-Kasbah country, and home to many marvelous lodgings—some are downright palatial.

  • Kasbah Tamadot (in Ansi, an hour from Marrakech): Yes, this is the “Arabian Nights” fantasy of Sir Richard Branson, part of his Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of unique retreats.  Scattered around various levels and buildings are Kasbah Tamadot’s 27 bedrooms and suites, including nine luxury Berber tents. The 18 spacious bedrooms come with terracotta-tiled floors and patterned rugs, carved wooden chests, king-size and four-poster beds, fireplaces, and fantastic mosaic ceilings, plus all the modern touches. Some superior and deluxe rooms add balconies with mountain views; superior and deluxe suites come with a separate sitting room, plus terrace, balcony or private rooftop area. Additionally, above the gardens are nine large tented suites, fitted out with king-size beds and bathtubs next to big windows: five have private jacuzzis. Guests can also enjoy both indoor and outdoor pools, gardens, a spa and a hammam, as well as spectacular views. The gourmet restaurants take pride in using ingredients from the hotel’s own gardens and the library is fitted with a telescope. For more information, call (877) 577-8777 or visit kasbahtamadot.com.

Of note: Travcoa’s Colors of Morocco Luxury Tour stays at this Kasbah for two nights, and features many other unique accommodations in its 10-day itinerary; priced from $6,545 pp dbl.

  • Kasbah Bab Ourika (45 minutes from Marrakech): Less posh than Tamadot, but perhaps more authentic in style is the 15-room Kasbah Bab Ourika. It is quite elegant and with an extraordinary location, perched on its own personal hill overlooking the mouth of the Ourika Valley. Built, set up and run by Stephen Skinner—owner of Riad Edward in Marrakech—the Kasbah’s rooms are huge and have an antique, rustic style that is homey and luxurious: thick Berber rugs, generous bathrooms, open fireplaces and wonderfully comfortable beds. The pool comes with mountain views, and the food is a gourmet blend of traditional Moroccan and continental foods. Among many activities are guided walks through the valley and Berber villages; market day is Monday. For more information, visit kasbahbabourika.com.
  • Dar Ahlam (on the road to Ouarzazate): Situated in the region of the thousand Kasbahs, but located in the Skoura palm grove outside Ouarzazate, is Dar Ahlam, often flagged as Morocco’s most sumptuous hideaway and a Relais & Chateaux property. Overlooking the Atlas Mountains near Ouarzazate, the 14-room hotel is classic Kasbah in style, reconstructed by 150 workers to approximate the 19th century original. Each bedroom is painted a different color—amethyst, brick-red or marigold—while the bathrooms come with oversized clay tubs. Overall, the decor blends contemporary and antique Moroccan, as well as French, Italian and Balinese influences. Every meal is served in a different setting—on the terrace overlooking the mountains, alfresco in the garden, or by the pool with the table positioned to catch the glimmer of a full moon. Excursions include exploring the scenic Dades (a.k.a. Valley of the Kasbahs) and Draa valleys in a chauffeured 4×4, on a donkey or camelback. The house can be rented in its entirety and can comfortably accommodate 16 guests. For more information, call (800) 735-2478 or visit relaischateaux.com/darahlam.