“A small and colourful guesthouse in one of the highest villages of the mighty Toubkal Massif, imbued with the warmth and vitality of its remarkable owner”
There are various different types of guest room slotted into the fabric of Douar Samra. There are 4 in the main house, Main House Doubles and Main House Triples; most have no electricity and are lit by candlelight and oil lamps. Three Mini Suites (Mouss, Sdez and Sbat) reside in a separate group of buildings in the garden and are larger, each sleeping 3-5. Here there is electricity, and Mouss (the largest) has a cosy mezzanine to separate the 2 sleeping areas.
There’s also the Treehouse room, perched on 8m stilts just a stone's throw from the main house. Shaded by trees in summer, and warmed by a wood-burning stove in winter, it has a wraparound balcony offering magnificent views over the mountains and village. Inside there’s a kingsize bed and space for a cot, too. The feel is rustic chic, with wooden walls, a mirrored open-plan shower, a separate toilet, a hairdryer (there's electricity here), plus tea and coffee-making facilities for your post-hike mint tea.
All of the rooms feel very snug and welcoming and seem to reflect Jacqueline’s own inner warmth. There are bright Berber blankets for curtains, low tataoui ceilings, straw-matted floors, little niches for candles or lamps, richly-coloured sequined cushions and masses of original paintings.
Simple wooden poles rendered into the walls give you somewhere to hang your clothes and reed baskets provide additional storage space. The small tadlakt shower rooms have a similarly organic, homespun feel: sinks set into simple pole frames, screed floors and shower gel and shampoo in a small woven basket. Best of all though, you can slip out of your walking boots and into a pair of the cosy babouches that Jacqueline has placed in all of the bedrooms.
Even if you’re here during the winter months, when temperatures can plummet at night, you won’t be cold. Each room has its own open hearth, there are thick Berber blankets on the beds, cosy fleece dressing gowns and you’ll have a hot water bottle delivered last thing.
Douar Samra’s kitchen is the real heart of Jacqueline’s home. Whenever you pass by you’ll be greeted with a waft of spices being used for your next meal, and a smile from Rachida and her team of helpers. This is the place to try out a few words of Berber or French and, if you’re interested, to be talked through what goes into traditional Berber cuisine.
We ate as well here as we did anywhere in Morocco and have happy memories of sharing dinner with Jacqueline and her guests around a low table in the candlelit dining room. It has the same embracing vibe as the rest of the house with beautiful tataoui ceilings, low tables dressed in brightly-coloured shawls, cushion-laden benches, a fire burning in the hearth and Mohammed, Jacqueline’s second-in-command, busying about.
As vegetarians our meal was made up of a spicy vegetable soup followed by delicious Berber eggs (a sort of tomato tagine) while other guest feasted on tender, slow-cooked chicken spiced with ginger, cinnamon, saffron and cumin. Deserts were simple yet lovely, our favourite was a wonderfully moist almond cake followed by the obligatory mint tea. All vegetables and fruit, where possible, are cultivated in the hotel's organic garden and in the village.
Breakfast is of the simple, Moroccan variety, and is slightly different each day. It’s served out on the terrace in the warmer months. Bread is baked every morning; pancakes and jams are prepared in-house and are accompanied with pot-fulls of coffee and hot milk. You may also get fruit, yoghurts or sometimes boiled eggs.
If you’d like a picnic to take on your hike, just let Jacqueline know the night before; you'll get chicken mayo sandwiches, mixed salads, eggs, fruit and mineral water.
Children are celebrated everywhere in Morocco and nowhere more so than in the Berber villages. It’s yet another sign of Jacqueline’s generous nature that children under 7 years stay for free and those up to 12 yrs receive a 30% discount on adult rates. You probably won’t need a babysitter because there’s nowhere to go at night. But one could be arranged if you want to just chill out in the restaurant for the evening, or go for a stroll.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Five of the rooms can be used as triples plus Mouss (one of the garden Mini Suites) has two extra single beds.
Babysitting available by arrangement
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking