Berber Lodge

Douar Oumnas, Marrakech, Morocco Book from Book from £176 per night

Boutique Berber-style hotel with inspiring interiors, peaceful gardens and pool, on the edge of a tiny village 20km south of Marrakech
If you were to design a film set for a traditional Moroccan hamlet, it might look a lot like Berber Lodge. Hidden away along a bumpy track, in the foothills of the snow-covered Atlas Mountains, the dwellings are impossibly picturesque: a cluster of low-rise adobe cubes, set amid acres of old olive trees and cacti. It's hard to believe the bustle of Marrakech is just half an hour away. This perfect Moroccan scene is the vision of Swiss architect Romain Michel-Ménière - known for some of the capital's most stunning interiors. Now he's designed his own lodge where he and his kind staff welcome couples, families or friends looking to relax.

Built from traditional Berber materials - earth bricks, tadelakt plaster, palm-tree beams - the 9 standalone bedrooms and central main house are an exquisite mix of elegance and simplicity. From the vintage fabrics to the raffia lampshades, you'll want to take everything home. Day trip to the Marrakech medina, explore Oumnas's ancient kasbah, take a quad-bike around the nearby lake or meet donkeys at the local sanctuary... whatever you do it's always a joy to return to the shady pool and a delicious home-cooked dinner, surrounded by candles and a chorus of cicadas. We loved this magical place and can't wait to return.

Highs

  • Wonderful rural location within easy access of Marrakech
  • Just 9 beautifully styled, spacious bedrooms; rustic-chic with a sense of place and attention to detail
  • Relaxing in the huge gardens surrounded by hundred-year-old olive trees and birdsong with a gorgeous pool for cooling off
  • The home-cooked food is delicious; don't miss lunch: Ottolenghi-style salads made with veggies fresh from the garden
  • Authentic and soulful with heartfelt hospitality; owner Romain ensures guests are treated like friends

Lows

  • Meals are set menus; let staff know if you have dietary requirements
  • There's not much in the way of entertainment, and no TVs; guests come here to unwind and enjoy the countryside
  • Don't expect 5-star hotel facilities: showers can be lukewarm, the pool is unheated, and WiFi is only available in reception
  • The lodge is tucked away down a bumpy road and tricky to find; be sure to bring our detailed directions or book an airport transfer

Best time to go

Spring and autumn are ideal times to visit, when daytime temperatures are comfortably warm, though you might need a jumper in the evening. Summer (June-August) is baking hot; winter (November-March) can be cold and rainy but it is often warm enough to sit outside.

Our top tips

Don't try to cram in too many activities or day trips while you're staying at Berber Lodge - this is a perfect place to slow down for a few days and soak up the peace and authentic atmosphere.

Great for...

Family
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 9
  • Breakfast + other meals on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: July
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Designed to feel like a traditional Berber village, the 9 individual lodges are set around a central house, surrounded by courtyards and pretty, semi-arid gardens. The style throughout is effortlessly chic. Earthy tones from the natural materials - rattan rocking chairs, reed matting, grass lampshades - are tastefully combined with hand-knotted vintage rugs, mid-century French furniture and African objets d'art. Simple yet sophisticated, it's authentic Morocco seen through a contemporary European eye.

Each adobe lodge is exceptionally spacious with a generous living area with a fireplace (lit on chilly evenings), a beautifully designed bathroom (most have a bath with overhead shower and a striking marble font sink) and a shady private terrace or garden. Deluxe Lodges have an additional single bed, and there's a 2-bedroom Family Lodge, sleeping up to 4 guests.

In the main house, the softly lit lounge features cosy nooks for reading and a roaring fire for chilly evenings. There's a library, dining area and a little bar, and out by the pool hammocks and large kilim cushions are scattered beneath the trees.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries

Eating

The home-cooked cuisine is some of the best you'll find on your holiday, with ingredients from the organic garden or sourced locally from Marrakech. For much of the year, meals are served outside in the garden: shaded by olive trees in the heat of the day, surrounded by candles at night. It's a wonderfully romantic setting.

There's no menu, but you'll feast on incredibly fresh, seasonal dishes, served by local staff from the village. Breakfast is a simple affair of fresh fruit and yoghurt, coffee and orange juice, Moroccan pancakes or omelettes, with jam, honey and French butter. We loved the lunches of Middle Eastern-inspired salads served on rustic green crockery from the Saharan village of Tamegroute. Dinners are more traditionally Moroccan with aromatic spices and intriguing flavours - perhaps chicken tagine with quince and peaches or a spicy fish tagine with Berber couscous. You'll also have a starter - maybe pea or artichoke soup - and a dessert such as a berry pavlova, and can wash it all down with surprisingly decent local wine. There's a small restaurant in the village, but eating in is definitely best.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Laze by the jade-coloured pool in the shade of olive trees, surrounded by beautiful gardens
  • Wander into the village of Oumnas with its lovely donkey sanctuary and stunning old kasbah - knock on the door and the caretaker will show you around and tell you about the films made there
  • Spend a morning at Lake Takerkoust (17km); hire a pedalo or kayak, enjoy a walk along the many trails, or take an exhilarating quad-bike tour
  • Explore Marrakech with its fascinating medina, busy souks and Djemaa el Fna square; visit one of the gardens and palaces, and check out the Musée Yves Saint Laurent - a source of architectural inspiration for Romain
  • There are several picturesque golf courses within 20km of the lodge
  • Head to Toubkal National Park (78km/2 hours) for craggy mountains and wild scenery; Jebel Toubkal is Morocco's highest mountain and the surrounding foothills offer fine walks
  • A masseuse from Marrakech can be arranged on request

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Quad biking
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Well being

Kids

Berber Lodge is family-friendly and staff go out of their way to make kids feel welcome. There aren't any children's meals, but if you've got fussy eaters just have a chat with the kitchen and they'll happily rustle up some pasta or whatever they have in stock. Little ones will love the garden and pool, exploring the nearby kasbah and visiting the local donkey sanctuary. Older kids might enjoy horse riding or quad biking, arranged by the lodge. All will love day trips to Marrakech's exotic medina.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The Family Lodge is ideal with a canopy bed in the main space and an additional bedroom with 2 single beds; just be aware that the bathroom is shower only. If a bath is important and you don't mind sleeping in the same room, opt for one of the Deluxe Lodges which have a kingsize and a single bed, plus space for an extra single bed if needed. All rooms are exceptionally spacious with private terraces and garden access, and all rooms can fit a baby cot.

Kids Activities on site:

Swimming pool (unheated)

Kids Activities nearby:

Horse riding, quad biking

Families Should Know:

The pool is not fenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 30 mins' drive (Marrakech)
  • Shop: 20 mins' drive
  • Hospital: 30 mins' drive (Marrakech)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Berber Lodge is in the small village of Oumnas, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. It's a half-hour drive south of Marrakech.

By Air:
Fly to Marrakech Menara airport (25km). From here, we recommend organising a private transfer, as the lodge is a tucked away up a rough track and taxis may struggle to find it. The lodge can also arrange taxis for day trips so you don't need your own car.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Marrakech Menara 25.0 km MAR

Other:

  • Beach 160.0 km
  • Shops 2.0 km
  • Restaurant 2.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We loved Berber Lodge. It was exceptional and we were very lucky with the weather as we had full sun every day. There is no wifi in the rooms and we had to take regular trips to the main house which is not really a problem. The pool isn’t heated in the winter which we understand but it would have been lovely to swim. I tried putting a toe in and it was freezing. Otherwise we absolutely loved it all.

10/10,

We absolutely loved our stay - the room, food and service were excellent. Would love to return one day.

10/10,

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