“A sustainably run hilltop kasbah, set majestically amid north Africa’s highest mountains, offering supported treks”
The Kasbah offers a vast range of accommodation options, from simple Berber Salons (split-level dorms for 3-12) to private guestrooms with hot showers and spectacular little balconies. In between the two, price-wise, are the rooms at Dar Imlil, a convenient and comfy guesthouse down in Imlil village.
Given the choice, we'd go for a private guestroom - even the Standard Rooms are lovely, and 2 of them are tucked away in the rooftop towers. No effort has been spared to make your stay more comfortable - within the parameters of sustainability and loyalty to Berber tradition, of course. Hot showers come from a local spring heated by gas bottles brought up on muleback. Games and books have kindly been lugged up here so that you don’t have to bring them. Warm sheets and blankets cover the beds, which can be arranged as doubles or twins. The one distinctly foreign touch is a kettle with sachets of Nescafe and tea, in case you need a break from the addictive mint brew.
The more expensive Superior and Deluxe Rooms are larger and even more luxurious. Superiors benefit from a private balcony or small outside area, while the Deluxe Rooms feature French windows that lead out onto a private balcony with wonderful views. Ensuite bathrooms come with a hand-sculpted bath (and/or shower). One of the Deluxe Rooms and one of the Superior Rooms - facing south, towards the summit of Toubkal - can interconnect.
To the side of the Kasbah, and slightly lower, is the stunning Garden House, which is cleverly designed so that it can be rented as a whole (3 bedrooms) or divided into an Apartment Suite (with kitchen), Junior Suite or Superior Room, all by locking off certain rooms. Its large lounge comes with an open fireplace and picture windows leading onto a terrace overlooking the valley, while its kitchen boasts a fridge, washing machine and a microwave (it is normally booked on a B&B basis).
Large groups and those on a tighter budget should book a Small or Large Berber Salon (dorms for 3-7 or 4-12) in Kasbah Toubkal. Each has a downstairs seating area with couches which can be slept on at night, as well as an upstairs sleeping gallery with very limited headroom. Bathrooms are shared.
In Imlil village, 15 minutes' walk below Kasbah Toubkal, you'll find Dar Imlil - a simpler house with 10 bedrooms, indoor seating areas, and a large terrace overlooking the village. Manager Abdou is the brother of Hajj Maurice (who manages the main kasbah), so service is of a similar standard, and rooms are almost identical in size and spec - though lacking those elevated views, of course. Staff are on hand to cook your meals, offer mint tea and snacks when you return from your trek.
If you book an overnight trek through the kasbah, accommodation is either in simple mountain refuges (on the Toubkal ascent), or in the Kasbah Toubkal-owned Azzaden Trekking Lodge (on the 6-day trekking package). This comfy refuge, situated 4-7 hours above the kasbah (depending which route you choose), is a great option for those who want to get deep into the mountains but don't like the idea of roughing it. It has 4 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom and heated floors; and a lounge, terrace, hammam and good food. It is staffed by the guide and muleteer who accompany you.
In the Kasbah's cosy dining room, take your place at a low candle-lit table for those Berber rituals which make dining a pleasure. It's great fun (and it's tasty), but don’t expect haute cuisine. First off, rose water is poured from an elegant silver kettle onto your hands and rinsed into an equally ornate bowl. Next, round breads arrive in a vast pyramidal basket, followed by a simple flour-based harira soup eaten with a wooden spoon. The main course is usually a tagine or couscous served on a central dish - less spicy than elsewhere, perhaps to cater for western palates. After a simple dessert, the rituals close with mint tea poured from a particularly impressive height, said to settle your stomach before bed. If you’re staying for more than few nights, the menu may begin to tire, and vegetarians have limited options.
Breakfast, available early for keen hikers, is an array of local breads, dried fruit, jam, eggs and nuts. In good weather, breakfast and lunch are served outside on the stunning roof terraces - though by dinner time it's usually too chilly up at this altitude. There's also a smaller dining room and a pretty terrace at Dar Imlil, as well as a few eateries in the town.
Out of respect for Muslim traditions, the Kasbah is not licensed for alcoholic drinks so, if you fancy a tipple after your exertions, you are welcome to bring some wine or beer with you from Marrakech.
Children of all ages are welcome and under 5s are free. Children under 15 pay the full B&B rate, unless staying in an extra bed, but are given a 50% discount on meals and trekking. There are often school groups staying in the dormitories, so there may well be plenty of playmates around. Families have undertaken several of the easier day treks from the kasbah, generally children love exploring the mountains in the company of a mule!
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
We'd recommend the self-contained Garden House (sleeping 6) or Dar Imlil, a house with 10 rooms nearby. Older children, particularly teenagers, are welcome to share rooms, and a Kasbah Toubkal Deluxe Room and Superior Room can interconnect. An Apartment Suite or Junior Suite would also be also perfect for families or friends (sleeping up to 6) and the Remote Trekking Lodge sleeps up to 8.
There are no specific children's meals, but the simple tagine and couscous dinners will suit all, and the traditional food rituals will enchant older kids. Children under 15 get 50% off meals.