By Laura Perez, Rates and Distribution Executive

Rates wizz Laura has just returned from a dream trip through Morocco, covering the frenetic city of Marrakech, the martian landscape of Agafay and the towering peaks of the High Atlas. Here she fills us in on her adventures, and (our favourite part) where she got to stay en route.


Morocco is a rare and all-encompassing country. Somewhere that, within the space of a week, you can be bartering in a bustling city market, climbing over sand dunes on the back of a camel, and scaling the side of a snow-crested mountain. I was itching to set off on my long-awaited journey through Morocco’s interior, and boy did it live up to expectations.

Stop 1: Riad AnaYela, Marrakech

the i-escape blog / Just back from Morocco / Riad AnaYela

After a short struggle with Google that almost led us in the wrong direction, we were welcomed through the big wooden door and into the warm embrace of Riad AnaYela. At first glance, my breath caught in my throat – we had stepped into a palace.

We were surprised by the sense of space in the bedrooms. Though not huge, and predictably quite dark, the high ceilings gave them a cavernous quality which added to the romance of the place. The whole riad is themed around a love letter that was found here, written many moons ago by a young woman, Yela, before her wedding. And you can certainly feel the love, demonstrated through flourishes of petals, ornate silver features and intricately carved doors. The food was traditional and incredibly tasty, and with only 5 rooms and plenty of areas to hide away in relaxation, we felt as though we had the place to ourselves.

the i-escape blog / Just back from Morocco / Riad AnaYela

The staff were so helpful, going as far as lending us a phone for the duration of our stay, allowing us to contact them from within the hotel and whilst we were out and about – such a thoughtful idea that was a huge comfort on a first-time trip to Marrakech. From start to finish, Riad AnaYela felt special and kicked off our Morocco trip with a bang.

 

Stop 2: Inara Camp, Agafay

the i-escape blog / Just back from Morocco / Inara Camp

A 45-minute drive took us from Marrakech city centre to the heart of a desert, where the dunes were otherworldly and the silence was infinite. Our home for the night: a wilderness camp with all of life’s little luxuries included.

Inara Camp takes glamping to a whole new level. There’s a pool to combat the desert heat, food that rivals dishes at swanky city restaurants, and tents that feel like penthouse suites wrapped in canvas. It was hard to believe we were surrounded by barren dunes when we were able to sink into a super-soft kingsize bed at the end of the day.

the i-escape blog / Just back from Morocco / Inara Camp

But we were quickly reminded of our surroundings when zipping across the stony landscape in dune buggies; a rare moment of rain coincided with our excursion, resulting in a huge rainbow overhead and mercifully grounding the dust clouds. Buggies are just one way to get around here; quads and mountain bikes are available, or you can swap wheels for hooves aboard a camel. With just one night at the camp, we sadly couldn’t test it all, but I can confidently say I’ve never been anywhere like Inara, and doubt I ever will be again. A fittingly unique way to experience such a unique place on Earth.

 

Stop 3: Kasbah du Toubkal, Imlil

the i-escape blog / Just back from Morocco / Kasbah du Toubkal

For our next stop we headed into the mountains, to Kasbah du Toubkal. Towering above the Imlil valley but still shadowed by the Atlas range behind it, this hotel is the perfect base for avid hikers, or for those who are simply here for the view.

We went for a 2-hour trek and were surprised to find artisans selling spices, juices and other goodies even way into the mountains! Our guide Oscar filled our trek with exciting stories of nomads living in the mountains, then after working up an appetite it was time for lunch at the hotel. I adored the food here because it was the real deal: proper traditional tagine, couscous, Moroccan lentil soup, salad and freshly baked bread. The best of the trip.

the i-escape blog / Just back from Morocco / Kasbah du Toubkal

Our room was light, airy and incredibly spacious, with a terrace that had views over the Imlil valley. What I loved about this hotel was that most of the rooms have been built individually, meaning no noisy neighbours and ultimate peace and privacy. It’s a little rough around the edges – the rooms are fairly basic in keeping with the traditional styles of Berber lodges –  but this is where the charm of the mountain retreat comes from. Whilst there I popped by their sister site Dar Imlil; a lovely riad-style hotel in the village, managed by the same team of brothers, with more of the mod-cons (a pool being the major draw) but less of the epic views.

 

Stop 4: Ksar Char Bagh, Marrakech

the i-escape blog / Just back from Morocco / Ksar Char Bagh

Sadly the final day of our trip around Morocco was approaching, and what better way to round it off than with a slice of sophistication? Back in Marrakech, Ksar Char Bagh is a palatial paradise with a palm-lined pool and terraces with sweeping vistas.

Despite the vast size of the hotel, there are only 15 suites. This allows each one to be truly massive. They feel like full-scale apartments. Most have private pools and/or roof terraces and gorgeous Balinese beds. Inspired by La Alhambra, the grounds are immaculately designed and manicured, the water features are grand and soothing, and the atmosphere is utterly serene.

the i-escape blog / Just back from Morocco / Ksar Char Bagh

The food was delicious but I had started to grow weary at the sight of yet another tagine! Thankfully there were a few international options at lunch. We spent our time lounging in peace, and I initially thought there wasn’t a whole lot else to do here. However, the reception team are happy to help organise activities in the area, like golf, horse-riding and day trips into the city. But really you come here to kick back and relax, to soothe your senses and recharge. That is what it does best, and after a week of non-stop exploration, we were ready to lean into it.


Inspired to start your own Moroccan adventure? Check out our full collection of boutique stays