“A kasbah-hotel deep in the southeast of Morocco, offering camel and jeep excursions into the spectacular Erg Chebbi dunes and beyond”
Leading off the 1st and 2nd floor landings are 12 spacious bedrooms - Traditional Kasbah, Superior Suites, and the Balcony Suites (categorised as Family Suites) - with double or twin beds (some have an additional 1 or 2 single beds for families), and an ensuite bathroom with walled shower cubicle. Up on the roof terrace are the 2 Tower Suites (also categorised as Family Suites), housed in the corner towers. Cane ceilings, woven rugs and rough straw-mud walls give them a simple, rustic feel; colour comes from plump black-red cushions and bright spangled bedspreads in yellow or blue. The mattresses are on the soft side, and you might find the occasional broken bulb or latch, but they are comfy enough for a night or two. Air-con units keep them cool at night, and electricity is reliable (24-hour mains with generator back-up).
If you take an overnight camel trek, you'll sleep at a semi-permanent tented camp which is used only by Kanz Erremal guests. Tucked away in a valley among low tamarisk trees and high sandslopes are three jaimas (nomadic carpet-roofed tents), one of which is the dormitory tent. The guide makes up foam-mattress beds with fresh sheets, thick blankets (it can be cold at night) and a pillow; lighting comes from a candle and you do your ablutions à la belle étoile - or the guide can douse you with warm water from a kettle if you're not coy.
Fresh supplies are bought from the kefs (markets) of Erfoud, cooked by unseen local women in the kitchen, and served with panache by cheerful young men in full length blue tunics and curly-toed babouches.
Dinner is very laid back, sitting at low alcoves around the main hall and taking pretty much what you get (there's no menu, so warn them in advance of any dietary requirements). When we visited, we started with a comforting bowl of warm chickpea and noodle harira soup, and a platter of 'salads' including aubergine paste, cooked courgettes and carrots. Then came a modern art installation of chewy lamb brochettes skewered into a half cabbage, and surrounded by mounds of chips and rice-filled peppers. On another day you might get tagines: chicken, fish, beef or lamb slow-cooked in clay pots with prunes, sesame, orange, aubergine and other herbs or fruit. Or you could request a 'Berber pizza', a round kesra bread stuffed with mince, spices and almonds; or, for larger groups, mechoui, a whole lamb cooked in a wood-fuelled, mud-and-straw oven and served with couscous and dates. Wines and soft drinks are available, but no beer. Given the remoteness, it's a respectable menu, but don't expect much western fare nor much variety.
Breakfast, on the other hand, is superb: steaming pancakes with all manner of jams (including a chocolate spread), a bowl of Spanish 'flan' (like crême caramel), crunchy swirls of honeyed pastry, yoghurts, fresh orange juice, and mint tea or good strong coffee (with hot milk). You can take it outside on a tray for a tea-in-the-Sahara moment.
50% discount on children aged 3-12. Children under 3 free (in parent's room); some treks might not be suitable for very young children.
The best options are the Family Suites (Balcony and Tower Suites), as these have a double bed and an additional 2 single beds, as well as having space for a baby cot.