“Peaceful Franco-Moroccan retreat offering spectacular views, mountain walks and home-cooked meals from home-grown produce”
The Art Deco theme continues through the guest rooms, where 1970’s-style black-and-white bed rests and marble floors bring a touch of clean minimalism. You’ll find distinctive Moroccan touches too, such as the wooden safe cupboard made from antique Berber shutters, and a vintage armchair bought from Marrakech’s iconic 1920s hotel, La Mamounia. A fireplace in each room and a feature brick wall keep things cosy on colder nights. There’s a 30-inch plasma screen, but with views like these, you’re unlikely to be tempted by the TV. White curtains billow out as you open the large windows looking out onto the jaw-droppingly beautiful Ourigane Valley. Directly below is the garden, dotted with cacti and almond trees; you’ll just about make out the domed top of the local mosque in the background.
The 5 Premium Rooms are all equally gorgeous, each with their own private balcony or terrace looking out onto the spectacular Atlas Mountains. On a mezzanine level, the black-and-white tiled Moroccan bath and shower are big enough for 2 (and there’s a separate loo). Follow the private stairway with bamboo bannister to find the communal rooftop terrace or pool area. The Standard Room is much the same as the Premium Rooms, the main difference being that it doesn’t have any private outdoor space. Honeymooners might want to splash out on the one and only Junior Suite: it’s an entire first floor of loveliness, completely independent from the rest of the house with its own large lounge area and 2 private terraces.
Domaine Malika’s dedication to local produce and home cooking really shines through at breakfast. Sure, you have freshly baked pastries and bread, eggs however you want them and freshly squeezed orange juice…but the jams! Wonderful concoctions made on site from the garden’s organic bounty include green tomato, apricot and almond, prickly pear, grape and apple, and grapefruit and peach.
Dinner too is a labour of chef Hafida’s love. Using produce from the garden whenever possible, the daily dinner menu is written out on the chalkboard in the lobby and you’ll be asked in the morning whether you’re staying for dinner. Say yes (why drive elsewhere when you can relax in such peaceful surroundings?). There’s a Franco-Moroccan set menu, so do warn in advance if you’re a vegetarian. You might get a turnip and cumin soup for starters; your main dish could be ombrinette (fish) with orange and anis; and for dessert, hope for the crushed almond and dark chocolate mousse - it’s heavenly.
Lunch at the hotel can be arranged with prior warning, but you’re best breaking up a day’s hike with a lunch stop elsewhere. Choices range from all-out luxury at Kasbah Tamadot (part of the Branson collection) to visiting a traditional Berber home (accompanied by a tour guide). Our favourite lunch was a lemon chicken tagine by the pool at Chez Momo, about 1.5 hours’ walk from Domaine Malika (15 minutes in a taxi). A closer option is the 4-minute stroll to L’Oliveraie de Marigha, a lovely hotel and restaurant managed by the same French family as Domaine Malika.