The Capaldi

Lalla Takerkoust, High Atlas, Morocco Book from Eur170

Extravagant country estate in the low Atlas Mountains: 2 pools, a gourmet restaurant, a spa/hammam, and hosts who pamper you like close friends
Imagine you have a best friend with a fabulous country home: spacious guest quarters with super-kingsize beds and fireplaces, fresh flowers and a stack of good books by your pillow, landscaped gardens with expansive views, and plenty of places to hide away. That’s exactly what Ed and Tara Lyle envisioned when they created The Capaldi, set in the grounds of a 4-hectare former olive farm in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, a 35-minute drive from Marrakech and its airport.

Their version comes fully loaded: 23 Moroccan-Zen rooms and suites in a resort-style oasis, with 2 pools, a spa, a lantern-lit roof terrace, exceptional cuisine from a chef who embraces your preferences - and of course the warm hospitality you’d expect as guests of fortunate friends. Global travellers who fell under Morocco’s spell, the Lyles are fun and attentive hosts, orchestrating activities, fetching blankets on chilly evenings, and sending you off on explorations with a pre-programmed mobile and a picnic lunch. It’s a wonderfully relaxing and romantic way to experience the Moroccan countryside, and the perfect complement to a few days at their Marrakech riad.

Highs

  • Accessible luxury, with rooms and suites to suit all budgets (most with terraces and some with private pools)
  • Charming and unpretentious hosts who bend over backwards to make your stay perfect but also respect your privacy
  • Year-round amenities - one of the pools is heated, and there’s a library, a spa, cosy salons, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, even a cinema
  • Superb international cuisine that draws residents of Marrakech out to the restaurant
  • Close to a diverse set of adventures, including watersports on Lake Lalla Takerkoust, dune-buggy excursions and camel rides in the Agafay Desert, and guided treks in the mountains

Lows

  • No children under 12 - this is very much a hotel for couples and honeymooners
  • No in-room TVs, although the cinema has a big screen for watching films and sports
  • No other restaurants within walking distance
  • No twin rooms

Best time to go

The Capaldi is open all year round. Spring (March-May) and autumn (October-November) are idyllic, with daytime temperatures in the mid 20sC and cool evenings. Mild winter days (December-February) average just under 20C, plummeting to around 6C at night. Summer (June-September) brings blistering heat and temperatures can spike into the 40s.

Our top tips

While mountain views are visible almost everywhere on the property, head for the roof terrace at sunset for unforgettable panoramas.

The walk to Lake Lalla Takerkaust a great way to explore the stunning setting and neighbouring villages, reward yourself with a leisurely lunch at La Flouka, one of our favourite waterside eateries.

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 23
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Over 12s only
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Deluxe Pool Suite

Rooms

Rooms and suites range from cheaper Farmhouse rooms in the original mud-brick building to Deluxe Pool Suites with their own walled yards and private 7x3m swimming pools.

All come with super-kingsize beds and fireplaces, and most have both a shower and a window-facing bathtub in their ensuite. All but the Standard Farmhouse and Prestige Rooms have private outdoor space, ranging from small Juliet-style balconies to furnished roof terraces and courtyard patios that overlook lush lawns. Luxury amenities include Egyptian linens, fresh flowers, complimentary mineral water, robes, slippers and artisanal soaps.

Our favourite option was the mid-range Atlas Room, set on the second floor of the contemporary main building and popular for its commanding view of the grounds and the snow-capped peaks beyond. We also liked the indulgent cosiness of the Farmhouse rooms. But the 2 Deluxe Pool Suites are a worthy splurge if you can afford it, offering 70sqm of living space, a 30sqm tiered patio, a private pool and a covered loggia.

The minimalist style mixes grey and black accents with warm earth tones from brick, stone, tile and tadelakt finishes. This creates a sharp backdrop for shimmering red-silk pillows, sumptuous curtains, hammered brass light sconces and Moroccan lanterns that spin mesmerising shadows across the walls. Thanks to market finds such as lattice partitions, kilim rugs and low circular tables, no two rooms are alike.

See Rates for full details of the different categories available.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Fireplace
  • Fresh flowers and complimentary mineral water
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • IPod dock in the suites
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Terrace/balcony in most
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Enjoy breakfast on the shaded patio or by the pool. There's a selection of tasty hot and cold options - scrambled eggs and salmon, homemade breads and jams, perfectly cooked omelettes - all served with tea, coffee and juice.

Lunch and dinner are served on the patio or in the restaurant, which has sophisticated black and white décor, Moroccan arches and lanterns, a double-sided fireplace and a retractable glass skylight. You can also dine on the roof terrace with its panoramic views. The internationally inspired cuisine emphasises local produce - some from The Capaldi’s own herb and salad gardens. Dishes change with the seasons, but options might include beef carpaccio with rocket and parmesan, jumbo prawns with grilled vegetables and an almond sorbet, and chocolate croccant with homemade ice cream. Just ask and the French chef will whip up delicious vegetarian alternatives or accommodate other dietary requirements. There’s a short list of hand-picked wines, too, and half-board supplements are available if you plan to eat in every night.

An abbreviated menu of tapas-style dishes is available poolside or via room service, and there’s also a bar. The loggia and fireplace by the smaller of the 2 swimming pools make wonderful places to relax on cushioned couches with a cocktail.

The restaurant has a private dining room for special occasions, and staff can arrange picnic lunches in the countryside. Ed and Tara can also give you directions to a charming lakeside restaurant and pick you up afterwards.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Restaurant Olive Terrace
Activity:

Activities

  • Sunbathe on a poolside daybed with a book borrowed from the library, watch a movie in the cinema, snooze on a shaded circular lounger hidden among the roses, or enjoy a sunset cocktail on the roof terrace
  • Head to the spa for a traditional Moroccan hammam, an argan-oil massage or a bath treatment using scented oils and rose petals
  • Hike to nearby Lake Lalla Takerkoust. A 40-minute walk or bike ride through local villages (with a pre-programmed mobile phone in case you get lost) will bring you to a charming restaurant on the banks, where you can enjoy a beer, some lunch and maybe a bit of jet-skiing or fishing
  • Take on the dunes with a quad-bike or dune-buggy ride over the sands of the Agafay Desert
  • Trek or cycle in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Ed and Tara can recommend local English-speaking guides to show you the best trails on bike or foot
  • Go hot-air ballooning or hop on a camel - the hotel can book a range of local activities
  • Experience the chaos of Marrakech medina (a 35-minute taxi ride away), with its souks and ancient palaces. Staff can arrange a day trip, or you can combine a stay at The Capaldi with a few days at its sister property in the city

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Canyoning
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Rafting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being

Kids

The hotel is aimed squarely at couples and those seeking a peaceful retreat. That said, children over 12 are accepted and will enjoy dune-buggy rides, quad-biking and watersports on the lake. Note that there are no twin rooms or extra beds.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for The Capaldi