MOROCCO

Few countries hold as much dreamy fascination for travelers as the beautiful country of Morocco. Made up of four different areas: the Sahara desert, full of Berber towns and oases; the Atlas Mountains, perfect for hikers; the imperial cities of Marrakesh and Fez; and finally the sandy coastlines of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, graced by small beach towns and the cities of Rabat and Casablanca. A blend of Africa, Arabia and Europe, there are few places more evocative than Morocco …

Morocco ~ the bespoke to do list

Below, are the can’t miss highlights every traveler needs on their list, when traveling to Morocco.

• Get lost in the labyrinthine streets, with its winding souks, fresh-juice stalls and tanneries.
• Delve into a Moroccan cuisine during a hands-on cooking class and visit a hammam in Marrakesh.
• Discover the well-preserved mosaics of Roman villas at Volubilis and the medieval-era Medina of Fez, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Stay in a traditional Riad and spend a day exploring this imperial city.
• Hike to an indigenous Berber village set amongst the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas mountains. Retreat to Sir Richard Branson’s picturesque hotel perched high in the Atlas Mountains.
• Stroll along the blue walls of Chefchaouen.
• Learn to kitesurf on the stiff Atlantic breeze.
• Take glamping to the next level, with one or two nights in an exclusive Desert Tented Camp.
• And if you don’t have time to make it to Sahara, spend a night camping beneath the stars of the Agafay Desert, a barren but stunning wilderness only 40km’s from Marrakech.
• Ride into the sunset on camelback in the Sahara’s Erg Chebbi dunes – a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience – perfect for slowing down to take in the remoteness of the desert.

 

hotels we love

riads

Riad Kniza

34 Derb l’Hotel Bab Doukala, Marrakech | +212.524.37.67.42  Riad Kniza, a small luxury hotel, dating back to the 18th century, has been completely restored by a renowned antique dealer in Marrakech to resemble a traditional Moroccan Riad. Visit the hotel website.

riad farnatchi

Derb el Farnatchi, Rue Souk el Fassis, Marrakesh | +212.5243.84910 Located in the heart of the Medina, the stylish Riad Farnatchi, once a private home is perfectly laid out for the ultimate house party with just 10 suites and a fabulous in-house spa. Visit the hotel website.

La maison arabe

Route De Ouarzazate, Km 12, Palmeraie | Marrakech 212.524.40.33.53 Ideally situated in the medina, La Maison Arabe includes 26 rooms and suites, most with private terraces and fireplaces, 3 restaurants, a piano bar, a world-famous cooking school (open to guests staying at the hotel or elsewhere in town) as well as a new spa including a traditional hammam, where natural products from the region of Marrakech are used. If you want to perfect your Middle Eastern cooking skills, La Maison Arabe offers guests seriously fun cooking classes, alongside a heated pool and one of Marrakech’s finest hammams. Visit the hotel website.

Villa des orangers

6 Rue Sidi Mimoun, Place Ben Tachfine, 40000 Marrakech | +212.524.438.46.38For an intimate hotel stay look no further than Villa des Orangers, a 27-bedroom Relais & Chateaux property in the heart of the Medina, with the feel of a riad but the facilities of a five-star hotel just 10 minutes stroll from Djemaa el-Fna Square. Visit the hotel website.

riad numero 9

9 Derb Lamsside, Skak el ma, 30200 Fez Medina   Fez remains a supremely soulful place, and a true medina – a medieval Arab town consisting of a maze of streets so narrow that goods are still delivered by donkey. Riad Numero 9 is one of several newly refurbished riads – traditional North African homes built around a serene central atrium – and features mosaic floors and a burbling fountain. Lovingly restored Riad Numero 9 is intimate and breaktaking, fulfilling the most fundamental intention of all riads: that your entrance should be a major transitional experience. Visit the hotel website.

 

Riad Fez

5 Derb Ben Slimane Zerbtana30 100 Fez – Morocco | Tel. 212.5359.47610   A subtle mix of Andalusian sumptuousness and Moroccan art de vivre, the Riad Fès (Relais & Chateaux) is an authentic example of Hispanic-Moorish architecture, boasting four harmoniously styled patios, sculpted doors and zelliges on the walls, stucco arcades and marble basins. It offers panoramic views of the magical spectacle of the sun rising over the Fès Medina, and the Atlas mountains. Hammams and massages, fountains, smoking-rooms, sophisticated cuisine and a trendy lounge bar: this is a world where traditions and contemporary conveniences combine delightfully. Visit the hotel website.

La sultana

41 Derb Sidi Lahcen ou Ali, Bab Doukkala | +212.524.38.78.80La Sultana Marrakech is an intimate 5-star Deluxe Hotel, designed for lovers of hotels where every piece of architecture is unique. It is ideally located in the old city just a stone’s throw from the main attractions, and a short walk from Jemaa El Fna square. Outdoors heated swimming pool, panoramic terraces with amazing views. Visit the hotel website.

luxury

Amenjena (luxury)

Route De Ouarzazate, Km 12, Palmeraie | +212.524.40.33.53Amanjena is known for spectacular lodgings, service, gardens, and pavilions (that’s right, not rooms — pavilions, each with their own private courtyard). It’s a splurge, but worth the trip just to visit the lush grounds – (there are date palms and olive trees around every corner), maybe for dinner or for a tea in the late afternoon. The property itself is a little outside the center city, so it’s a great home base if you’re hoping to explore both the medina and the Atlas mountains— we can arrange for guided hikes of Jbel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, or for fresh mint tea with families in the nearby Berber villages.  Visit the hotel website.

La Mamounia (luxury)

Avenue Bab Jdid, 40040 Marrakech, Morocco | +212.5243.88600 Rooted in the ancient medina of Marrakech, the mythical La Mamounia is a perfect blend between its legendary palace grandeur and Arabo-Andalusian style with modern technologies befitting a 21st-century luxury retreat. An icon among the finest world hotels, La Mamounia incarnates the opulence of the Moroccan identity and the true majesty of its architecture with its 209 rooms, suites and riads. An outstanding experience surpassing the standards of luxury hotels will awaken your senses and leave you speechless admiring the ancestral artwork of local artisans. Visit the hotel website.

kasbah tamadot (luxury)

Asni, Morocco | +212.529.808.080If you’d rather escape the city altogether then Richard Brandson’s retreat, Kasbah Tamadot, is the place to go for luxury living in the Atlas Mountains. The hilltop setting is unrivalled and one of North Africa’s finest: views encompass a forested river valley and snow-capped peaks with Marrakech only an hour’s drive away. Each of the 28 rooms, suites and Berber tents have been individually decorated featuring antiques from across the world. Kasbah Tamadot is the perfect destination in both winter and summer – its cosy bar and library have roaring fires in the colder months while come summer, the fragrant gardens come into their own. Visit the hotel website.

royal mansour (luxury)

Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti, 40 000 Marrakech, Morocco | +212.529.808.080 The Royal Mansour Marrakech is probably one of the most luxurious hotels in Morocco. The resort has 53 two-storey riads with interior gardens, ranging from 1,600 to 22,000 square feet in size and featuring antique furnishings, handmade mosaic tiles and intricate woodwork. Twisting alleyways and subterranean tunnels, lead to tranquil Andalusian courtyards and a serene spa. Two gastronomic restaurants and all-day dining are guided by three-Michelin-star Chef Yannick Alleno. The newly extended gardens comprise Royal Mansour’s fourth restaurant, a 600-square-meter pool and 7 poolside pavilions. Visit the hotel website.

adventure

Terre des Etoiles, Agafay Desert

Kasbah Bab Ourika – Ourika Valley, Tnine Ourika, Morocco | +212.668.749.547 Create an oasis in the desert. That was the crazy dream, the seed from which utopia would spring into reality: Cradle of Stars, Terres des Etoiles ecolodge, emerged from the hilly landscapes of a stone desert and today offers a unique desert experience. As a result of Pierre-Yves Marais’ commitment, the camp provides guests with the opportunity to take in the magic of this striking setting in unusual, environmentally-friendly accommodation. Their tents combine the best of outdoors experience with all modern conveniences in tented accommodation for a fantastic night in the desert.  An unique environment to relax, explore, conquer or indulge and submit to. Choose from their wide range of activities to immerse yourself in the cradle of stars. Terre des Etoiles Desert Lodge Camp is also the starting point of many excursions set in these exceptional landscapes Visit the hotel website.

Scarabeo Camp

Tucked into a beautiful corner of the Atlas Mountain range, is ‘an unusual encampment in an exceptional setting“. The very definition of glamping, the Scarabeo Camp’s beautifully appointed Camp is a charming bivouac of a dozen oriental-inspired tents, decorated with unique sourced pieces and locally crafted artwork forming a harmonious whole with their surroundings. The stunning dining set-up with African women matting and Berber rugs, and atmospheric Moroccan lanterns, looks like something out of a storybook and gives the impression of being on an expedition from another time.  These spacious and comfortable tents are decorated with handpicked local decor (Berger rugs and cushions; Moroccan lamps throughout) and the meals, including fresh-baked breads, are prepped from scratch. Visit the camp website.

dar ahlam

Douar Oulad Cheik Ali, Skoura, Ouarzazate, MA 45502Dramatically set between the Atlas Mountains and Morocco’s stretch of the Sahara desert, the Dar Ahlam hotel is a renovated 19th century Kasbah whose name means ‘House of Dreams’. A stay here includes 4×4 excursions with your private guide & driver, camel riding, special gala dinners and a cooking class – you can even continue your adventure in a private Bedouin-sytle tent set up in the heart of the desert. Visit the hotel website. 

hotel ksar el kabbaba

Douar el Kabbaba El Khamssa skoura-Ouarzazate Located in the heart of Skoura palm grove, the Ksar El Kebbaba comes to life in the middle of lush greenness and precisely under the branches of an olive tree that witnessed the life of generations for more than three centuries. During the night, the garden becomes an intimate place, warm, romantic and quiet thanks to the many candles and lights hanging from the palms and other trees. Visit the hotel website.

retreat

Dar zemora

Rue Al Aandalib, Marrakech, Morocco +212.661.080.761The Dar Zemora is a peaceful paradise just three miles from Marrakech’s city centre. With a inviting pool set in three acres of rose-filled gardens, bursting with palm trees, bourgainvillea, bamboo, fruit and olive trees. All the rooms are lovely, but we recommend the Perla Suite with is light, bright and has a huge roof terrace where you can catch the sun in private. Visit the hotel website.

la sultana oualidia

Parc à huîtres n° 3, Oualidia 24252, Morocco +212.523.366.595 La Sultana Oualidia is the ideal place to unwind. A tranquil retreat located on a quiet and sheltered lagoon near the pretty fishing village of Oualidia on the Atlantic coast, facing a salt water lagoon and beach where ocean and coast merge. Guests can try their hand at surfing, go on a Bird Watching Safari, have a picnic on a secluded beach, or simply sit back, enjoy the  in-house spa and dine on fresh oysters. Visit the hotel website.

 

capilda hotel

2 Rue Ibn Batouta, 44000 Essaouira, Morocco +212.524.783.434This hotel is a true retreat (no children under 12 years allowed) set in the grounds of a four-hectare former olive farm in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, a 45 minute drive from Marrakech. There’s a large heated pool,  a good sized spa and the rooms are spacious and done in neutral tones – not typically Moroccan. We recommend the rooms at the front of the main house for the best views of the Atlas Mountains. Visit the hotel website.

L'heure bleue

2 Rue Ibn Batouta, 44000 Essaouira, Morocco +212.524.783.434If you’re looking for a sea breeze and the sand between your toes, then head to Morocco’s Atlantic coast where L’Heure Bleue (Member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux association) with its famous roof top pool is one of our top pick in Essaouira. Visit the hotel website.

 

What Our Bespoke travelers Are Saying

Don’t just take it from us, let our bespoke clients do the talking!

Notes from the road: A few trip highlights included: staying in a traditional Riad and pottery making in Fes, hiking in the Atlas Mountains (and staying at the incredible Kasbah Tamadot), exploring the souks of Marrakech, and so happy we got to spend 2 nights glamping in the Sahara desert and riding into the sunset on camelback – a truly once in a lifetime experience.

The Bell Family, March 2019

Family Adventure. Destination, Morocco, Africa

Our trip to Morocco was great and definitely exceeded my expectations. All the hotels were fabulous and the staff extremely helpful. The Branson retreat (Kabash Tamadot, Atlas Mountains) was amazing! I’d go back there in a flash. It was my favourite part of the trip. I always recommend you to friends and will be in touch again soon, to plan our next adventure.”

Patricia, Jack & Joshua Kay, August 2018

Family Adventure. Destination, Morocco, Africa

“After a few more amazing trips you’ve planned for us to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Australia (again) and this time Morocco, it’s time to update this review. Actually, not much has changed. You’re still a 5 star trip planner and, if anything, it’s even more apparent now how much you care about researching amazing places for us to go, things for us to do and hotels for us to stay at. These trips are definitely not “run of the mill” and you put so much work into making sure they’re perfect for us and not cookie cutter trips. You care about making sure we’re absolutely happy with everything, available to help while we’re traveling and do a wonderful job. Please keep it up! We can’t wait for our next trip.”

Michael, Katherine, Alannah & Cole, August 2018

Family Adventure. Destination, Morocco, Africa

“We are back from our Moroccan getaway and the trip was incredible! I wanted to pass on a thank you to you for organizing such a diverse itinerary. Tanya and I feel we were able to enjoy the beauty and diversity of Morocco while also having a chance to understand the people, their background and customs. A special shout out to our tour guide (Said) and driver (Moustafa) who were courteous, insightful and always on time. They were a pleasure to tour with and provided enjoyable company esp. over some of the longer drives. The accommodations were incredible (every location was unique). Kasbah Tamadot in particular was a real treat and Eve Branson was there as well so you can see her passion for the property and the local Berber’s her foundation supports. Again, much appreciation from Tanya and myself. Now we can begin planning for Hawaii in March!”

Richard & Tanya, October 2016

Romantic Getaway. Destination, Morocco, Africa

Looking to extend your trip?

Morocco tends to work as a stand-alone destination thanks to the variety of terrain and experiences it offers… but it’s only a short 30 minute flight from Marrakech to Seville (in Andalucia), so combining Morocco & Spain would make for a fantastic combination.