Kasbah Tamadot

Asni, High Atlas, Morocco Book from DH5,150

Branson's lavish Moroccan hideaway delivers haute luxe, haute cuisine and haute montagne in equal measure
It was in 1998 that Richard Branson's mother Eve first came across this crenellated kasbah, perched dramatically on a hilltop and surrounded by the peaks of the High Atlas. At that time it belonged to an Italian antiques dealer who had opened it up to his friends. But she saw the potential of a luxury north African retreat and the Tamadot project was born.

After 7 years of labyrinthine negotiations and top-to-toe refurbs, it finally opened its carved and inlaid gates to guests seeking the ultimate luxury in the heart of Morocco's most spectacular mountains. Today, the extensive gardens are carefully landscaped with mature rose, fruit and cactus plants, the courtyards hold a 5-star spa with indoor pool, and the suites combine contemporary design with colourful Moroccan antiques. Outside, a cluster of astonishing Berber-style tents offer that north African luxe safari vibe. A destination in itself, we relished unwinding beside the stunning infinity pool, gazing over the snow-capped mountains and dining in the innovative restaurant. It was worth the wait.

Highs

  • The most luxurious hotel in the Atlas Mountains, with one of the finest mountain vistas in north Africa
  • The interiors are just stunning - before Branson, the kasbah was home to Luciano Tempo, a world-renown antiques dealer and designer, so every room is filled with stunning pieces
  • Superb cuisine and wines, overseen by an acclaimed chef - treat yourself to the tasting menu
  • Amazing facilities - spa, tennis courts, 2 pools (one out, one in) - make this a year-round haven
  • A heavenly retreat from the bustle of Marrakech - yet within a 45-minute drive

Lows

  • The Berber Tented Suites are particularly pricey, but then they are staggeringly opulent - probably the comfiest tents in the world!
  • Children are only welcome during the UK school holidays (but their 'Kasbah Kids' programme provides heaps of fun activities)
  • The Atlas can be surprisingly cold in winter - but rooms have heating, ponchos and heated blankets

Best time to go

The best period is March-early November. From June to August it can be pretty warm, though always about 10 degrees cooler than Marrakech and the plains. March-May and September-October are perhaps the best months for active types. From December to February, expect temperatures between 10-20 celsius, and the occasional dusting of snow on the peaks round about.

Our top tips

Don't worry about bringing your own entertainment - there are books, music and entertainment systems so that if the mountains turn cloudy and wet, you've got every excuse to snuggle in the bedroom.

Likewise they provide umbrellas, sun hats and ponchos, as well as babouches (slippers) which you can take home with you... so no need to haggle for those at great length in the souks (unless you enjoy it, of course).

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Hotel
  • 27
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome during UK school holidays
  • Closed: 9 Jan 2017 - 26 Jan 2017
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Scattered around various levels and buildings, the unique bedrooms and suites are all spacious, warm and filled with stunning pieces from around the world. Terracotta floor-tiles, patterned rugs and ochre hues keep the ambiance cosy, while carved wooden chests and fantastic mosaic ceilings lend some swagger. The chunky wooden kingsize and four-poster beds were made especially for the hotel - most Moroccan frames come too narrow.

Superior and Deluxe Rooms are spacious, but opt for a Superior or Deluxe Suite if you want a separate sitting room and guaranteed outside space. You get either a ‘Moroccan’ or a ‘contemporary’ bathroom. The former has an arched entrance into a polished-plaster sunken bath area, the latter features a freestanding bathtub with overhead shower. Powerful heating, electric blankets and (in some rooms) fireplaces help fend off the winter chill.

At the bottom of the garden, beyond the pool and tennis courts, a path leads to the Master Suite. This mini-kasbah has 3 bedrooms which can be taken as a whole - perfect for a family group - or booked individually.

Just beyond the gardens are a collection of large, private and uber-opulent Berber Tented Suites; some also come with private Jacuzzis overlooking sensational views of Mount Toubkal. All have kingsize beds and luxurious extras, including split air-conditioning to keep you cool in summer and super-cosy in winter (plus heated rugs, if you need them).

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Bottled water
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hair straightener
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • Umbrella and sunhats
  • WiFi

Eating

With an intimate fireside bar for pre-dinner cocktails, and the option of terrace dining with breath-taking views, Kanoun restaurant is a match for the magnificent setting.

The cuisine is based on local produce - spices and dried fruit from Marrakech, fish from the Atlantic coast, vegetables from Asni - with a few international dishes thrown in for good measure. All the classics are there at dinner: spiced lamb tagine, vegetable couscous, traditional pigeon pastilla with roasted artichoke and spinach. The more unusual options like confit of wild Norwegian salmon and cheese plates with walnut bread might be a welcome sight for those who have had one tagine too many. Desserts include roasted pears with mascarpone or perhaps peanut mousse with raspberries. For a special evening, do as we did and indulge in the 5-course fine-dining extravaganza with accompanying wine flight - a real treat.

Come morning, breakfast includes freshly baked bread and pastries, plus juices, fruit and cooked options.

If you’re feeling lazy, order a light lunch by the pool. Perhaps a feta and chorizo tartlet or parma ham with figs and green beans? There’s no shortage of sorbets and ice creams to cool you down either.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cooking classes
  • Kids' menu
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

When you're bored of sunbathing, dipping in and out of the infinity pool, listening to local musicians performing in the amphitheatre, enjoying cinema nights, playing tennis and strolling the gardens, you can...

  • Arrange a trip to Marrakech for some serious souk shopping, as well as palace visits and even golf. It's a 45-minute drive each way - just ask the hotel for a taxi-transfer
  • Spend an afternoon under the tutelage of one of the head chefs, learning Moroccan and Berber recipes, and ending with the chance to eat your creations
  • Unwind in the Asounfou Spa's indoor pool and 5 treatment rooms (an outdoor treatment room can also be set up in the grounds). There's also a sauna, a Moroccan hammam and products from Yon-Ka, Aromatherapy Associates and others
  • Walk, mountain bike or take a mule-ride to the Berber hamlet on the opposite hillside for some fresh mountain air and restorative mint tea
  • Drive over the breathtaking Tizi'n'Test pass, stopping to visit the 12th-century mosque of Tin Mal
  • Choose from a fantastic array of 1- to 5-day guided excursions, perhaps a mule trek down the river to Asni village, a gentle wander to waterfalls in the nearby Ourika Valley, a 4x4 trip across the desert or a fully-fledged multi-day hike
  • Ascend north Africa's highest peak Jbel Toubkal, whose snowy 4,168m summit dominates the horizon; guides, baggage mules and simple refuges will be organised for you

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Private guided tours
  • Tennis
  • Trekking
  • Well being
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are very welcome at Kasbah Tamadot during the UK school holidays and there is never a dull moment for kids: treasure hunts, cookery classes and table tennis tournaments are just some of the activities that can be organised on request.

Typical UK school holiday dates:

5-28 February
18 March – 24 April
27 May – 5 June
1 July – 4 September
14 October – 6 November
16 December – 8 January

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Berber Tented Suites are not suitable for children. All other rooms can fit a baby cot and the suites have space for at least 1 rollaway bed; some also have a separate sitting area, which can be useful if you want to read after putting your child to bed. Larger families could book exclusive use of the 3-bedroom Master Suite, which has a private garden setting and it's own pool.

Children under 6 go free in their parents' room. Children occupying their own room without any adults will be charged the normal adult nightly rate.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available for an extra charge, advance notice is required to guarantee availability.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

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

Children's meals:

There's a young diners menu including some Moroccan-themed dishes so they can try something new. Special requests can be prepared with a little notice.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Children are welcome to participate in 'Kasbah Kids' (bespoke activities for all ages), which are generally free of charge
  • Meet the resident mules (Parmesan and Paprika), camels (Pickle and Pumpkin) and 4 donkeys (Pudding, Plum, Peaches and Parsley)
  • Indoor pool with inflatable toys
  • Outdoor infinity pool
  • Horse and cart rides
  • Games, books, movies
  • Moroccan cookery lessons & tea parties
  • Nail painting in the spa

Families Should Know:

Small children riding a mule must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Children are not permitted in the Berber Tented Suites due to their mountain-edge location.

Distances:

  • Airport: 45 minutes
  • Hospital: 45 minutes
  • Market: 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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