Dar Tamazerte

Ourika Valley, High Atlas, Morocco Book from

Fully-staffed private villa for 2-8 with peaceful gardens and astonishing poolside views of the Atlas Mountains, just 28km from Marrakech
Set in 1.5 acres of walled subtropical garden and surrounded by palms and olive groves, Dar Tamazerte is an exclusive 2-storey villa in the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. The modern, sand-coloured building mixes contemporary and traditional Moroccan flourishes and is one of several residences on a tranquil estate. Families and groups of friends will enjoy the stylish indoor and outdoor communal areas - including a refreshingly large pool - but there are also plenty of private moments to be had on the terraces attached to each of the 3 spacious bedrooms (2 doubles and a twin).

Guests have shared use of a clay tennis court, a hammam and spa, and an exercise room - none of which ever get very busy. A live-in cook and housekeeper provide an extra dash of luxury, leaving you with more time to laze around and enjoy the view, explore the Berber villages of the beautiful Ourika Valley, or go shopping in the souks of Marrakech - just a half hour drive away. Come evening, watch the stars from the roof terrace, or gather around the roaring fire in the cosy lounge. Heavenly.

Highs

  • Spacious and serene, with stunning mountain views
  • The friendly, live-in staff provide excellent service without being obtrusive
  • We loved the delicious breakfasts, and other meals (including traditional Moroccan dinners and tempting French baking) are available on request
  • Handy for day trips to Marrakech and hiking in the Atlas Mountains - you can even soar above them in a hot air balloon
  • An English-speaking concierge is on hand to arrange transfers and activities, and smooth out any language problems

Lows

  • It can be hard to find (do book a transfer from the airport) and is a little isolated - but this seclusion makes it wonderfully relaxing
  • Brush up on your French to communicate with the talented cook - you’ll be reliant on her for meals (the villa is not suitable for self-catering)
  • You'll need to drive to local restaurants if you want a change of scene
  • There's a 3-night minimum stay, and all bookings are totally non-refundable in the event of a cancellation

Best time to go

Dar Tamazerte is open all year and is available when the owners aren’t in residence. The bucolic Ourika Valley is at its best from February to April, when the almond and cherry trees are in full bloom and wildflowers abound. The unheated pool is most enjoyable in the sizzling June-August period, but might feel too chilly to jump into between November and March. From mid-January to mid-February, you can take advantage of the ski season at Oukeimenden, 40 minutes away.

Our top tips

Take warm clothes for evening star-gazing - temperatures cool as you approach the Atlas Mountains and nights here can be nippy, even in summer.

Don’t forget to tip the wonderful staff at the end of your stay - you’ll be sad to leave them!

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 3
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
Room: Ground-Floor Double

Rooms

The villa provides the perfect balance of privacy and communal space, with stylish and airy rooms set over 2 floors. All the bedrooms (2 doubles and a twin) come with ensuite bathrooms, fresh flowers, organic toiletries, iPod docks and bathrobes, and open onto private terraces. Beds are firm but comfortable, with crisp cotton linen and fluffy pillows.

At the top of a small tiled staircase, the master bedroom features soothing green and cream tones which chime with the expanse of green olive groves stretching out to the horizon through the large window. French doors open onto a roof terrace - the perfect location for a sunny breakfast or a star-spangled dinner. The bathroom has a rainhead shower, a double bathtub and plenty of natural light.

The ground-floor double room is decorated in restful browns and muted reds, with metal-work mirrors and plenty of storage. Photographs of old Morocco adorn the walls and complement the dark-wood furniture. The bathroom has twin marble basins, a shower and a bathtub, and the outdoor terrace’s table for 2 is shaded and private.

The twin room, with its earthy-red colours, filigree lamps and wall murals, is spacious and cool. There’s plenty of wardrobe space, and a separate toilet. The twin basins and walls in the ensuite shower room are finished in striking polished tadelakt, but anyone of above-average height may struggle with the showerhead, which is mounted low on the wall.

After dark we enjoyed curling up in the villa's living room. Its cream sofas and red woven rugs are cosily arranged in front of the large wood-burning fire, its alcoves are decorated with painted motifs, and the shelves are filled with novels, games and films. A TV and DVD player and a further iPod dock are on standby if the weather’s not up to scratch.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Safe box
  • Swimming pool
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv

Eating

A wide range of European and Moroccan flavours are available at Dar Tamazerte. The French-speaking cook and housekeeper come from a local Berber village and provide food and service to a high standard, from simple poolside refreshments to breakfast, lunch and dinner; they can even whip up dinner parties on request. Fresh flowers, linen tablecloths and fine china complement 2- or 3-course meals served alfresco on the shaded terraces, or indoors around the 8-seater dining table.

Breakfast is served when and where you want and is a refreshing array of fruit salad, freshly squeezed juice, yoghurt, local honey and jams, homemade bread and beghir pancakes.

Lunch and dinner (available for an additional cost) are cooked in consultation with guests, and special dietary requirements or fussy children are easily catered for. Many of the ingredients used come from the villa's garden, which has 60 mature olive trees.

Cook Latifa’s specialities include traditional Moroccan cuisine such as bestella - a spectacular pie filled with saffron chicken, fried almonds and orange water. Her lemon chicken tagine with couscous was delicious, as was the fiery chickpea harira soup. She’s also adept at creating tasty French food and her baking skills are superb - her tarte aux pommes and orange cake are not to be missed.

If you tire of the fabulous home-cooking, there's a range of restaurants a short drive away. Towards Marrakech on the Ourika Valley road is the stylish Bo & Zin (25km away), which serves Asian, Moroccan and European cuisine amongst exotic gardens. For lunch try Le Maquis or, if you’re on a day trip to the villages and waterfalls of the Atlas Mountains, the local’s favourite, Imouzzer. Restaurant reservations can be arranged by Dar Tamazerte’s staff.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Organic produce
Eating:
Activity: Ourika Valley

Activities

  • Laze by the pool in the shade of a curtained pergola, play tennis on the shared clay court (rackets are provided but you'll need to bring balls), or attempt a game of boules

  • Treat yourself to a Berber massage using locally sourced and much sought-after Argan oil (48 hours’ notice is required)

  • Explore the beautiful Ourika Valley. Visit the terraced village of Setti Fatma, have lunch by the river, and walk to its 7 waterfalls. More strenuous treks can also be arranged via the concierge, as well as visits to Berber villages hidden in the lush hillsides via mule, camel or on foot

  • Head into Marrakech (half an hour’s drive away) and explore the wonders of the city. A personal shopper can be hired to escort you through the souks, and a knowledgeable English-speaking driver can show you the spectacular sights. We really enjoyed our guided day-long tour of Marrakech’s highlights

  • Seek adventure - quad biking, 4x4 trips, horse riding, camel treks, hot air balloon rides, mountain biking, and ultra-light aircraft and helicopter flights can all be arranged

  • Go fishing - the deep mountain lakes have been known to yield some record-breaking catches for keen anglers

  • Brush up on your golf - there are 5 golf courses within a 30-40-minute drive, including the renowned Palmeria and Samanah courses

  • Embrace winter - Morocco’s only ski resort, Oukeimenden, lies at the end of the valley road (40 minutes away) and is at its snowy best from mid-January to mid-February. After a day on the slopes, warm yourself by Dar Tamazerte’s open fire

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boules
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Skiing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife

Kids

The villa is a welcoming place for children, with plenty of outdoor space, although very young kids will require supervision. A baby cot can be provided free of charge. There's plenty to keep kids entertained, including the tennis court, boules, games and DVD collection.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

A baby cot and highchair are available by arrangement

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

  • Kids under 2 eat for free, under 10s dine for half-price
  • Staff are happy to prepare kids meals

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced

Distances:

  • Airport: 20 minutes
  • Shops: 7 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for Dar Tamazerte