“A luxurious but laid-back haven, set in orchards and lush gardens a 25-minute taxi drive from Marrakech and the airport”
Set in Souihla - Morocco’s ‘little California' - the adobe-style villa is a confection of terracotta pillars, carved cedar, tadelakt plaster and earthy talaouh, finished off with splashes of vibrant colour. The 7 guest suites and secluded villa, separated from the main house by a fountained terrace, are spacious and striking; some have distant views of the Atlas Mountains, others open onto the refreshingly cool pool, lined with parasols and rattan loungers.
Hicham used to have a gallery in Casablanca, and every pore of the décor reflects his love of art; he used to run restaurants, too, and the food here is a real treat. From intimate courtyard breakfasts to merry candlelit dinners in the contemporary dining pavilion, the variety, quality and freshness of the dishes is amazing. Bliss, too, to return from the medina to orange blossom and birdsong - and you can rely on your hosts to negotiate a fair price with the grands taxis into town.
- Really wonderful home-cooked food, prepared with fresh fruit, veg and aromatic herbs grown in the kitchen garden
- A tranquil oasis of lush gardens and palm trees
- Large, super-comfortable suites, zinging with colour. Most have terraces or mini gardens and winter fireplaces
- The personal touch - the owners and their staff are perfect hosts
- Great for kids of all ages as well as couples, solos and friends
- You are reliant on taxis to get you in and out of Marrakech; be aware not all taxis are roadworthy and many don't even have seatbelts
- Like many swimming pools in Marrakech, this one is unheated, but the pool area is very attractive
- The dogs at the villa are friendly but there were inevitably some renegade dog leavings in the garden
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
Everything is striking about the 7 guest suites: the design, the rich colours, the sense of space. Peacefully housed in a 2-storey annex, 4 of them are separated from the main house by an Andalucian courtyard; the rest are set on 2 floors of the villa itself. Each is inspired by an artist - Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, vibrant Frenchman Matisse - and all feature natural fabrics, glowing colours, sofas and chaises longues, original art, quirky artefacts, vintage and ethnic furniture, and bowls of oranges fresh from the garden.
The largest is the Deluxe Suite (Sophia) on the upper floor of the villa - 70 sq.m of luxury with a carved four-poster, its own vast terrace and views to the Atlas Mountains. All but the 2 Pool Suites - Moon and Hichamou - have private outdoor space and open fires; but these 2 do have direct access to the pool terrace, making them ideal for those with children. On the upper floor of the annex, the vibrant Terrace Suites (Frida Kahlo and Ousmane Sow) - as you may suspect - have private outdoor space. Below, the 2 delectable Garden Suites, Matisse and Botero, have their own little sun-dappled gardens, where you can peek at the mountains through orange trees.
The bathrooms are similarly eclectic, each almost a work of art. There are tadelakt surfaces and pisé walls, antique mirrors and sprigs of fresh flowers, white bathrobes and lovely lotions. Matisse and Botero have sunken tubs big enough for 2, and Sophia has a big old-fashioned tub. Moon and Hichamou's colourful bathrooms have roll-top baths, while Frida Kahlo and Ousmane Sow have showers only. Do note that the suites can be booked together; ideal for a family or group celebration.
There's also a stand-alone villa, Pavillion M, which is more pared-down in decor but a great family option as it has a double and a twin bedroom, both with ensuite shower bathrooms, a living area and a small kitchenette.
- Air conditioning
- CD player
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Satellite TV
Hicham's food is generous, original and created with passion. From the home-grown mandarin juice at breakfast to the sumptuous tagines and spicy seafood and coconut curries, the quality is amazing. Much of the produce is organic, including the villa’s own olive oil, and plucked straight from the kitchen garden. Wines include good Moroccans - red, white, rosé and gris.
Meals are normally served in a custom-built dining pavilion - a convivial glassy cube with a fireplace, Moroccan plaster motifs and big picture windows overlooking the pool. On warm evenings diners tend to spill out onto the terrace, or you can ask for an intimate table in a shady corner of the garden.
The menus are mostly Moroccan, though Lebanese specialities often find their way in. During our visit, we lunched by the pool: Moroccan tapas-style dishes including crostini, salads, and lots of gorgeous vegetable dishes made with produce grown in the gardens - we especially loved the baby asparagus salad and crispy pastilles stuffed with cheese. Dinners are a set menu but often begin with a spread of Moroccan dips and salads, perhaps hummus and olive tapenade with warm pitta bread.
Breakfast is a banquet of breads, lovely flaky pastries, Moroccan pancakes drizzled in honey, creamy yoghurts, jams (apricot, apple, plum from the garden) and bowlfuls of fresh figs and melon, along with just-squeezed fruit juices, mint teas and coffees.
- Children's meals
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- Organic produce
- Vegetarian menu
- Head for a sun lounger on the pool terrace and let your mind drift while you enjoy the birdsong and the garden’s fragrant air
- The pool is large enough for a serious swim. After your exertions, treat yourself to an on-site massage
- Take a cooking class to learn the secrets behind Casa Taos' gorgeous food
- Vibrant Marrakech is on your doorstep. A 15-minute taxi ride will get you to the heart of the medina, where you can shop in the souks and take a horse-drawn sunset caleche ride around the famous pink city walls. If you’re feeling adventurous, Casa Taos can arrange for scooter hire or lend you a bicycle. Just be prepared for a whole new approach to driving when you reach the city…
- Escape to the Atlas Mountains (a 90-minute drive) for a trek and some cool mountain air, or visit the southern deserts for a dune-trek on camels
- Play golf at one of several 18-hole courses a 10-15-minute drive from Marrakech by petit taxi
- Hot-air ballooning is available 30 minutes away
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Hot air ballooning
- Plantlife / flora
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
This is a great way to do Marrakech with the kids - particularly if you're nervous of the noise they might make in a riad, where sounds carry, or want a safe, quiet and relaxing space away from the bustle of the medina. It's easy to take a taxi ride into the medina from here, or to get out and explore the Atlas Mountains.
This also works well for an extended family break - you can book the whole place (excluding Pavillion M), with staff for a special getaway.
Family friendly accommodation:
You can add an extra bed for a child and a baby cot to all suites (except the Pool Suites which can fit one or the other). There's also a small independent villa, Pavillion M which has a double room and a twin room plus a small kitchenette and a private terrace, ideal for families.
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
- Baby cots
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's a children's menu (omelettes, burgers, grilled chicken etc) and you can discuss mealtimes with the staff; note that they will typically have later meals than you might like if you're bringing small children. Options for dining out are limited in the nearby vicinity, but the food here is terrific. You can pick your own in the vegetable gardens and orchards too
Kids Activities on site:
- Large unheated swimming pool and separate kids' pool
- Acres of gardens with hammocks and tree house to explore, filled with fruit trees, herbs, peacocks and more
- Table tennis
- Bicycles to borrow
Kids Activities nearby:
- Marrakech medina and souks, complete with the spectacle of Djemaa el Fna square
- Horse-drawn caleche rides around the medina's city walls
- Ziplining or walking in the Atlas Mountains
- Camel rides at the Palmeraie, a short taxi ride away
- SUPaddleboarding on the lake
- Oasiria waterpark
Families Should Know:
There are a few delicate objects around and the pool is unfenced, so keep a watchful eye on younger ones. Also be aware that many local taxis don't have seatbelts in the front or back, so ask the owners to arrange one for you that does.
- Airport: 10 minutes (Marrakech Menara)
- Hospital: 15 minutes