From beachside resorts and mountainous retreats to desert escapes and inner-city hideouts; here are a few of the most spectacular places to stay in Morocco…
Words Helen Brown
For many, Morocco holds a beguiling fascination. Though only a ferry-ride from Spain, it has a cultural diversity so rich it has the pretence of a far-flung, exotic adventure. Here you’ll find epic mountain ranges, ancient cities and vast deserts. And the best bit? It all comes minus the jet-lag and sky-high price point.
With its Saharan dunes and High Atlas peaks, Morocco is a playground for adventurers. The mountains afford a host of activities, from hiking to camel riding, while the lower ground is a mass of rugged coastlines, waterfalls, caves and dessert. From the labyrinthine medina of Fez to the vibrant, carnival vibes of the Djemaa el-Fna, Morocco’s cities are incredibly captivating. Take a pew in a bustling street cafe, order a mint tea and watch the world pass by. Learn to roll couscous, have a shopping spree in the souq or get lost in the medina. The grand squares provide endless opportunity for Instagramming and the cuisine wins the heart (and tastebuds) of most. It has a deeply entrenched tradition of hospitality which draws visitors back time and time again.
WHERE TO STAY IN MOROCCO?
Kasbah Tamadot is a sprawling mass of lush gardens, with a vantage point that looks out over Ouirgane Valley. What was once a crumbling hillside fortress is now one of the most luxurious addresses in the High Atlas area. It’s the facilities and services here that will make your stay really special. Along with indoor and outdoor pools, there is a five-star spa, state-of-the-art gym, tennis courts, library and a kids club. The hotel is also the perfect base camp for trekking, camel riding, quad biking and paragliding.
Rates from around £509 per room per night, virginlimitededition.com
This quirky hotel in Marrakech has a prime spot for shoppers, close to the Medina, the city’s souk and Jemaa El Fna square. The place boasts four restaurants, two pools, a spa and immaculate, traditionally dressed staff. But it’s the grounds that are the real selling point. The hotel sits on 17 acres of walled parkland including flowerbeds, lawns, cacti and vegetable gardens, which are beautifully lit up at night.
Rates from £373 per room per night, mamounia.com
This purse-friendly stay is walking distance from the souks and just 4km from Marrakech airport. The real attraction here is the rooftop terrace which offers awe-inspiring views of the Atlas Mountains. Rooms are traditionally decorated and a Moroccan breakfast is available every morning.
Rates from around £43 per room per night, riadeden-marrakech.com
The Royal Mansour is an elegant palace, sitting on the edge of the medina. Along with its great location, it boasts a selection of private riads, each with their own terrace and plunge pool, situated in almost four hectares of fragrant Moorish gardens. The hotel is owned by the King of Morocco and is the ultimate in lavish luxury.
Rates from £889 per room per night; royalmansour.com
BANYAN TREE TAMOUDA BAY
Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay ticks all the boxes of a heavenly, beach retreat. The Mediterranean waters are clear, the sands perfect and the weather year-round good. It also delivers one of the world’s best spas, proffering an exceptional treatment menu of hydrothermal thermal therapies, body scrubs on hot marble slabs and more. The food is heavenly too. At Tingitana, chef Georges Roche serves up a seafood paella, while at Saffron, guests can tuck into a mean red curry.
Rates from around £537 per room per night, banyantree.com
Casa Hanna provides airy and spacious rooms, charming courtyards, a patio garden, and obligatory roof terrace. It sits in the centre of the old Medina of Chefchaouen and is a 15-minute walk from Ras El Ma Spring. The Akchour Waterfalls are just 30 km away and it has a prime location for mountain biking and trekking in the Rif Mountains.
Rates from around £56 per room per night, casahassan.com
Design lovers will swoon at first sight of Hotel Sahrai. Oversized Fassi pottery and brass lanterns feature in the communal areas, while the understated rooms are complete with sunken baths and Acqua di Parma products. It looks out over the Medina, high up on the southern hills, but a shuttle bus is available for the convenience of guests. There’s also the Givenchy spa, two restaurants and sumptuous rooftop cocktail bar to enjoy.
Rates from around £112 per room per night, hotelsahrai.com
LE 135 HÔTEL
Le 135 Hotel is a must for those looking for a dose of culture and history with their holiday. It lies in the heart of Casablanca with easy access to many of its attractions like Cathedrale Sacre Coeur, the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, Hassan II Mosque and La Sqala. With only eight guest rooms, a stay here is intimate and cosy.
Rates from £61 per room per night, le-135-hotel