Our Morocco trip was one we would recommend to anyone who relishes adventure and has the urge to explore this fascinating country as we did. We steered away from the commercial package holiday hotel and decided to delve into traditional Moroccan accommodation, all super easy to book direct, or via a hotel search engine, for example booking.com. Take your pick and book as many nights stay as you please, even the minimum one night is accessible if you are on a tight time scale and eager to travel the country. Let us share with you our honest reviews of the accommodations we stayed at during our time there, the aspects we loved about them and the areas we weren’t as keen on. Take the stress out of hotel hunting, we’ve done all the hard work for you, bringing you some wonderful accommodation! Have a read and see where tickles your fancy!
Superbe Villa – Airbnb
Set on the outskirts of Rabat in a quiet spacious neighbourhood, housing large elegant properties, is owner Khalid’s ‘Superb Villa.’ This Air Bnb rental made for a perfect midway stop over between Marrakech and Chefchaouen as we underwent our tour of Morocco. The villa itself is extremely spacious, providing 4 large double rooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 comfortable lounges, 1 dining room, a very well equipped kitchen, and the most wonderfully kept garden with outdoor swimming pool. If that wasn’t enough the house keeper Souad, who welcomed us to the house, also acted as chef, cooking us a superb 3 course dinner on arrival of traditional Moroccan cuisine, along with the most plentiful breakfast spread.
This is the first time we have stayed in a self catering villa providing its own cook/ housekeeper, and although we were at first slightly sceptical of sharing our space with a stranger, Souad, with her charming, caring traits, soon became our friend who looked after us so well despite the language barrier. It’s a talent in itself being available in the house to assist your guests when they need it, yet be discreet enough to make those staying feel like they have privacy and space.
Carmen relished the pool and garden swings, like us adults relished the outdoor patio/dining table for dinner in the sun. We dined amongst the colourful flowers and tranquility of the garden and felt very at ease in our relaxing surroundings.
Owner Khalid was very proficient in his correspondence with us, from our initial enquiry, right through to securing our booking, and although we did not meet him in person at the property, he made our stay memorable, stress free and really enjoyable. Top man!
La Cle De Fez
How on earth can such a stunning riad be found in what seems to be the most unlikely place? Set down a tight alleyway, behind a large wooden front door with its name ‘La Cle De Fez,’ sign posted on a discreet humble plaque, is what can only be described as a beautiful hidden gem inside the medina walls of Fes. Although the city is charming in its own right, it is also cramped, chaotic and damn right difficult to navigate around due to its labyrinth of streets becoming even more intricate inside the medina walls, which is why we breathed a sigh of relief when we stepped inside this incredible riad.
From stress to tranquility, ‘La Cle De Fez’ suppressed the city noise outside its walls and provided for us a cool, stylish, tranquil base to relax. Our deluxe room was enormous and it was so nice to have the space to put Carmen to sleep in her cot, set up a distance away from our bed making it impossible for her to play peekaboo first thing in the early hours or even attempt to climb onto our bed as we slept (like she was inclined to do in the smaller accommodations).
‘La Cle De Fes,’ is wonderfully decorated and the intricacy of the internal architecture is very impressive. This meant getting up each morning was a pleasure, especially to sit in the dining area for breakfast, which comprised of rustic freshly baked breads, fresh orange juice, pancakes, fruits and a wide selection of conserves and cheese.
Their swimming pool – like the rest of the riad – is spotlessly clean and lovely and inviting for a quick splash. Mind you we had to make it a quick splash as it was absolutely freezing (being April!). However if children are on the scene us adults have to just man up and get wet!If climbing stairs aren’t a problem, the roof top terrace is most definitely worth the hike, with refreshing views across the city of Fes accompanied by a comfortable seating area and sun loungers.
Erg Chebbi (Sahara Desert)
Ali and Sara’s Desert Palace
If you’ve always wanted to visit the Sahara, and better still camp overnight amongst the sand dunes, but wondered how accessible this is, along with questioning the quality of accommodation on offer, rest assured Ali and Sara are here to fulfil your desert dreams.Set up in the middle of the Erg Chebbi desert in close proximity to Merzouga, is this unusual take on desert glamping. Ali and Sara, a husband and wife team, are the brains behind this accommodation, managing an extremely unique camp set up mixing traditional nomad berber tents with modern amenities. Our tent came with an extra large queen sized bed, clean and soft bedding/towels and a small seating area. All rooms are allocated a private bathroom, set up a few meters away from the tents, and ours was clean and tidy (with no sand in sight!). The bathroom included a wonderful hot shower, sink, mirror, western style toilet and toiletries, all ready to use to freshen up after a sweaty day in the sun. Dinner was also a delight, dining in the largest Berber tent, lit up by soft lighting making the experience very intimate and cozy.
The Desert Palace offers authentic experiences at the camp, for example rides on their well looked after camels and traditional barber music around their camp fire, however please note that these activities can commence behind schedule as the camps timings are extremely relaxed. In order to experience the traditional berber music around the fire, we had to wait for a late check-in party to finish dinner, so the entertainment didn’t start until 22:30, which wasn’t ideal due to us travelling with a little one who was so excited for the ‘party’ but also very tired and grouchy. Despite this delayed start the music and whole ambience round the camp fire was incredible!
If offered to be picked up by the team and taken to the camp anytime before 16:00, we definitely recommend checking in advance with Sara if you will be able to check straight into your room. This wasn’t the case for us and we had to wait until 18:15 until our tent had been prepared for our check-in (which did seem strange, as check out was 12 o’clock from guests leaving that morning). There are plenty of comfortable shaded areas, a lovely hammock to relax in, a games room full of books, and drinks to buy, however we couldn’t really wind down fully, having all our bags at hand, knowing we were still to unpack. This sadly had a knock on effect to the camel ride, due to only having 10 minutes to check into our tents, change our daughter, get suncreamed up and generally get organised (which was a tall order travelling with a toddler).
Due to us leaving late for the camel trek, we were only on the camels for 10 minutes each way (and can only hope the sunset spot where we were dropped off at was as good as the intended spot we would have been taken to if we had left on time for a 1 hour camel trek we had anticipated). Take note, If the camel guide drops you off in the middle of the dunes and wonders off with all the camels without any conversation or instruction, rest assured he will definitely be back around 40 minutes later to collect you after sunset. Don’t do what we had considered doing, which was trying to find our way back to the camp on foot, in fear of being stranded in the dark! We can laugh about this now, but at the time we were a little concerned, which distracted away from the sunset.
A few other pointers if staying at the desert palace; the camp is lit up at night by beautiful Moroccan lanterns, leading the way to tents and bathrooms, however remember to carry a torch, which we desperately needed when the camp’s generators ran out of electricity at 23:30 plunging us into pitch blackness. Last of all, if you are in need of a cot in your tent, specify this on booking, but also remind the team of this a few days before arriving to confirm it will be there and all is ready for your stay.
Despite a few tiny hiccups during our stay, the experience at Ali and Sara’s Desert Palace was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we will always remember fondly our time at the camp. Our daughter regularly recollects about Romeo her beloved camel and the wonderful party around the camp fire.
High Atlas Mountains
Only an hour and a half drive out of Marrakech amidst the High Atlas Mountains is the wonderful Kasbah Africa Hotel. This place is a truly refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of Moroccan city life, and makes for a relaxing spot to chill out and unwind, along with also being a good base to explore the incredible surrounding mountain range.
In order to reach Kasbah Africa we had to initially drive for a short while down a simple dirt track, and wondered where this road was taking us. After spotting the hotel sign and parking up, we were surprised to have to go down a large amount of outdoor steps, but were relieved when Mustaffa, the hotel worker sprinted nimbly up to meet us, and helped carry all our belongings down to the hotel. If you have mobility issues, perhaps sadly this hotel isn’t ideal for you, however if you can make it down the steps, you will be rewarded for your efforts, with incredible views of the Azzaden Valley, it really is stunning!
We received a very warm welcome from Redwan, the hotel manager, who showed us around the grounds, speaking excellent English and making us instantly feel at home. Our room was superb, elegantly furnished, with masses of space. We were amazed to see they had even included a telescope in each room for star gazing, as well as a log burner for the cooler winter months. The views when we opened our bedroom door each morning were perfect, looking out onto lush green hills, spring flowers were blooming, a river ran through the bottom of the valley and an inviting swimming pool awaited us further down on the level below our rooms.
This pool was the icing on the cake, with beautiful views and fully geared out for relaxing, with comfy sun loungers and soft grass surrounding it, along with it being extremely well maintained. Meal times were simple yet tasty, with the hotel offering basic three course Moroccan dishes, at a price. With few restaurants in the area, guests may be left with little choice other than to eat at the hotel, so one area of hotel feedback we would give is for them to extend their menu and possibly offer more options. Other than this, we couldn’t knock the attentive service offered by the waiters and all staff were very charming.
Would we recommend Kasbah Africa? Definitely! Would we go back? Most certainly! Our stay here was extremely enjoyable!
Being the sister Hotel to the Kasbah Africa, where we had previously stayed, the standard had already been set high, so we were intrigued to see if Riad Africa met our expectations as a must stay accommodation.
Let us start off by saying that although Marrakech is incredible and mesmerisingly enchanting, it is also extremely intense, and at times can be quite hard to navigate around and explore without getting lost (which is actually half the fun!) This is the main positive of staying in Riad Africa, being that it is bang in the middle of the medina, only a short walk to Jemma el-Fnaa square. Once inside it’s walls, it’s so peaceful and relaxing, you would be non the wiser you are staying in such a busy spot! Just what you need for a good nights sleep to recharge the batteries!
All the rooms, covering 3 floors are set around a small swimming pool, and the entire riad is compact, very cosy and tastefully decorated. We recommend booking a room on the first floor, in order to distance yourself away from the ground floor noise, which isn’t bad, but light sleepers may be kept awake by other guests talking and noise from the kitchen. The pool is another area to consider if you are staying here with young children, due to it being a hazard for little ones being so close to the ground floor bedrooms.
In regards to the customer service at Riad Africa, all staff were courteous, very helpful and support from owners, Nick and Tim was first class. They recommended top things for us to see, how to stay safe, not get ripped off in the souks and so much more, letting us in on Marrakech’s secrets and hidden gems. On two mornings when we had very early picks ups, we were escorted to the taxi rank by one of Riad Africa’s staff members, who made sure we got to the collection point safely and on time, which was so thoughtful. The food we also thoroughly enjoyed, being delicious pancakes, a huge spread for breakfast and Moroccan/Italian dishes for dinner, including a whole children’s menu!
Let the charms of Marrakech woo you and stay here for an unforgettable experience in this truly magical city.