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Moroccan Riads, Kasbahs and Hotels: Our Favourite Options

Posted by Heather Fisher 23rd July 2015
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Heather in our tailor-made team has recently returned from a two week recce around Morocco. Below Heather talks about the wealth of accommodation options on offer in Morocco and some of her particular favourites.

Morocco is a country that has such an incredible variety of almost everything; from its landscapes, to the sights and smells and, of course, accommodation!

With so many beautiful riads, kasbahs and hotels, it’s easy to feel daunted by the prospect of choosing somewhere to stay that will make your trip that little bit more memorable and unique. I’ve decided to hand-pick a few of my favourites, and who knows, maybe they’ll become a few of your favourites too!

Fez – Riad el Ghalia

Behind an unassuming front door in the old Medina lies the traditional Riad el Ghalia. Stepping into the spacious and colourful central courtyard is a pleasant escape from the heat and the chaos of the surrounding city. The traditional sofas and mint tea make for a welcoming break whilst you check in, and the antique furniture hidden away behind potted plants reminds you that this was once a home. The en suite rooms are comfortable and authentic, with colourful stained glass and Moroccan carpets, however the large beds, air conditioning, TV and Wi-Fi mean you can have a touch of western comfort. Delicious traditional Moroccan meals are served in the central courtyard itself, or even better, on the upstairs terrace where you can enjoy the spectacular view of the minarets and rooftops of the neighbourhood.

Erg Chebbi Desert – Desert Camp

At the small desert village of Merzouga you’ll leave your vehicle and luggage and take an overnight bag with you as you set out across the Erg Chebbi sand dunes on camels to your desert camp. Carpets cover the sand creating make-shift paths between tents and fairy lights and lamps light the way. The tents themselves are spacious and substantial, decorated with traditional fabric and are all very comfortably fitted with a private en suite toilet, shower and a bed. After dinner there is some traditional music and entertainment and it’s worthwhile taking a few minutes to stop off on your way back to your tent to admire the stars. The camp does sometimes have wine available, however it can also be worth bringing your own if you fancy a glass or two with dinner. The following morning it’s an early rise at 5am as you climb to the top of a sand dune to watch the sunrise and the colour of the sands change before returning to your camel for the hour and a half journey back across the sands to civilisation.

Skoura – Les Jardines de Skoura

Surrounded by palm trees and tucked away down a bumpy dusty road in the small town of Skoura, just 30 minutes outside Ouarzazate, lies a somewhat unexpected little gem of a property – Les Jardines de Skoura. Walking through the entrance of this beautifully restored Kasbah is like reaching your own little oasis in the desert and the French owner couldn’t be more accommodating. There are plenty of places to hide away with a book surrounded by flowers and trees in the gardens, and there’s a nice little outdoor pool to cool you down after a day in the dry summer heat. In the evenings, meals are served in the gardens at lovely candle-lit tables and the food has a delicious mix of Moroccan and French influences (an absolutely brilliant combination if I do say so myself!)

Marrakech – Villa des Orangers

Unlike the more traditional and colourful riads in Fez, the Villa des Orangers in Marrakech has more of a luxurious feel without compromising on character or charm. Built in the 1930s, this luxury riad was restored in the late 1990s using local materials and kept its traditional architecture. The dark woods and heavy furnishings give this riad a kind of warmth and sultry elegance that blends nicely with the intricate carvings in the ceiling and its original art deco design. The 27 rooms and suites each have their own unique design and equal the opulence of the rest of the property. With orange trees by the pools and winter lounges with roaring fireplaces, you’ll be sure to find a way to relax all year round. Located just a five minute walk from the Djemma el Fna square, it’s a great base for exploring the sights and souks of Marrakech.

Imlil – Douar Samra Guesthouse

Located in the High Atlas Mountains in the Imlil area, the Douar Samra Guesthouse is an authentic and unique experience that is sure to become a highlight for anyone who stays here on a trip to Morocco. Your vehicle will drop you off in the centre of the village, however from there it’s a 20 minute walk through the winding narrow streets of the village whilst mules carry your luggage. With no electricity in the main building, the living room and a few of the bedrooms are solely lit by candles in the evenings and fireplaces in the winter, which adds amazing character and warmth to the property. The rooftop terrace has stunning views across the valley and of the surrounding Berber houses, and you’ll be gently woken by the sound of birds chirping. The guest rooms built out in the garden now have some electricity, however you will still be able to enjoy the unique rustic décor and the peace and quiet of this rural village. The food is hearty and fresh, with many of the ingredients coming from the guesthouse’s own vegetable garden – with very generous portion sizes you will definitely not go hungry after a day of trekking around the villages!

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