Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Kasbah Tamadot

Morocco

Sir Richard Branson’s enchanting Moroccan mountain retreat

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Kasbah Tamadot
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Kasbah Tamadot

Location

4,330 feet up in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Morocco.

Travel Information

Kasbah Tamadot is approximately 45 minutes’ drive south east from Marrakech Airport. The property can arrange transfers.

Top Tips

Get acquainted with the resident mules, Peppermint, Peanut and Paprika, who will take you for a ride around the property and to the nearby village. They also have two camels, Pickle and Pumpkin.

5-Star X-Factors

Rooms are individually decorated with exotic furnishings, inherited from the former owner, Luciano Tempo, a renowned antiques dealer.

Magical Kasbah Tamadot

Simply the most luxurious hotel in the Atlas Mountains, Sir Richard Branson’s enchanting mountainside retreat is a world away from the bustle of nearby Marrakech.

It was back in 1998 that Sir Richard Branson dropped in on Morocco during one of his attempts to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. While there, his parents found a beautiful Kasbah, perched on a hillside in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, that they dreamed of turning into a Moroccan retreat.

 

“Sadly, I didn’t quite manage to realise my (ballooning) goal on that occasion,” Branson explains, “but I did purchase that magnificent Kasbah and now my parents’ dream has become a reality.”

A journey through the mountains

Having spent a few days soaking in the vibrant energy, smells, sounds and heat of Marrakech it was somewhat of a relief to be met by Kasbah Tamadot’s charming Berber driver, and to be whisked out of the city in an air-conditioned 4x4. The 45-minute journey is a spectacle in itself, passing ancient Berber villages, winding through cliffs and snaking through valleys, up into the Atlas Mountains.

After climbing 4330ft, I see the Kasbah standing majestically on a hillside in the distance. The property is a former governor’s mansion-turned-luxury resort, and is framed by Mount Toukbal, North Africa’s highest peak, and the surrounding snow-capped Atlas Mountains. Enveloped in lush vegetation and landscaped gardens, it is a breathtaking sight to behold, especially in spring when the almond blossom is in full boom.

Inside the Berber Tent

There are only 28 rooms here, scattered throughout the property. A mix of palatial suites and opulent Berber tents, all have a terrace or balcony. My Berber tent, reached through the aromatic vegetable and herb garden, past waddling ducks and peacocks, is utterly gorgeous, resplendent in chocolate brown and red silks, carved antique furniture, patterned rugs and wall hangings, and a vast kingsize bed. Please disregard any preconceptions about “tents” - this is luxury at its finest.

The tent opens onto a large terrace overlooking the local village of Asni in the distance, on the other side of a rocky valley and across a rushing river. Slipping into our outdoor sunken jacuzzi, looking up to the mountains, brings an overwhelming sense of tranquillity. It is silent, aside from the burbling river,  bird song, and the occasional call to prayer.

Another spot to unwind is the tent’s spectacular bathroom, with a freestanding tub facing the mountains, making them the star of the show once again.

It’s all in the details

It’s the personal touches that really set Kasbah Tamadot apart. From the bespoke his & hers leather babouche slippers, to jars of treats and an unlimited mini bar, to cashmere capes provided in your size to wear on chilly evenings - every detail is considered.

Starlight screenings

Beyond the comfort of the tent, the resort has a wide array of excellent facilities. The heated mountain infinity pool, and pool-sized steamy hot tub is surrounded by sumptuous sun loungers and rich green vegetation. On warm evenings, cinema nights are held here, screening films such as Casablanca, underneath the stars. Two floodlit tennis courts are also hidden among the beautiful gardens.

By the pool stands the 3-bedroom master suite - a miniature version of the Kasbah, with its own private pool - ideal for families.

On cooler days the indoor heated pool, sauna and hammam is a sanctuary. The spa has four calming treatment rooms - try the rose-infused facial, or, of course, a traditional hammam ritual.

Atlas adventures

Venture outside the property for a host of activities including horse treks, paragliding, ballooning and High Atlas hiking.

The quality of dining at the Kasbah is superb, and due to its remote situation, we recommend opting for the full board supplement. 'Kanoun', the restaurant, offers a sophisticated mix of Moroccan, African and International cuisine, using local produce, and accompanied by an impressive wine list.

Experiencing breakfast on your terrace or balcony is a must. In addition to the freshly baked bread and pastries, juices and fruit, we order a selection of cooked dishes, laid out beautifully on our outdoor dining tale.

The retreat’s core values include supporting the local community and the hiring of local staff, who were irresistibly delightful. The hotel’s initiatives include free English lessons, and a focus on sustainability - a sentiment that pervades throughout the property.

It’s hard not to fall in love with Kasbah Tamadot. There is a sense of magic and impossible romance in its mountain air. For a couples’ retreat or a family getaway, this is a bucket list destination.

We recommend combining a stay at Kasbah Tamadot with a few nights at Vanessa Branson's eclectic, boho-chic El Fenn in Marrakech, or one of our other beautiful hotels in or around the Medina.

 

Holly Rubenstein
Holly Rubenstein


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer