Rustic eco-lodge, hidden retreat, baroque folly, or family residence steeped in history… Here I write about special and secret retreats for rejuvenation, just an hour away from the red city in the heart of the Berber mountains, suitable to all budgets.
Discover 8 top hidden gem retreats near Marrakech:
1. Olinto Atlas Mountain Retreat
As soon as you enter, the scent of rosemary and the murmur of the fountains invite you to awaken your senses: here you are in the enchanted universe of a prince! A pioneer of charming hotels in Marrakech with La Maison Arabe, Prince Fabrizio Ruspoli di Poggio Suasa chose Ouirgane region to create a whole new Eden for the privileged few. In a huge olive grove, Olinto has been designed as an ideal oasis, where beauty arises at every step, from the landscaped gardens with ponds and pergolas to the nine ocher pavilions housing the suites, all with good-sized private gardens (three with a small swimming pool heated) and large roof terrace with panoramic views of the mountains. The decor is ultra-refined image of comfort (underfloor heating and cooling) with an infallible sense of detail, cupboards lined with leather, finely sculpted painted wood, precious fabrics… A harmony that can be found in the bar and the dining room, in an elegant setting with their ocher briquettes and their colored windows.
Which room to book? One of three east-facing pavilions, if morning sun is preferred, preferably with private pool.
At what price ? From €700 per night in a junior suite, €1,000 per night in a large suite with swimming pool, breakfast and minibar included (including beer and wine). No children, teenagers accepted from 16 years old.
2. Berber Lodge
In an olive grove near the village of Oumnas, 45 minutes from Marrakech, an elaborately rustic ecolodge designed by Romain Michel-Ménière, an interior designer who has been living in Morocco for a long time, and his friends from the KO studio (Yves Saint Laurent Museum Marrakech, Grand La Poste cafe). Like a douar (village), ten lodges with terrace or private garden are scattered around the garden, all built in the old fashioned way in mud bricks, with tiled ceilings and bejmat floors (terracotta), imaginary showcase of a revisited Berber world. The very refined decor plays with styles, mixing country rattan furniture, Moroccan antiques and designer furniture from the 1950s and 1960s. With rather urban comfort: air conditioning, central heating and fireplace in the large bedrooms (40 to 50m2) and a beautiful swimming pool of 20 mx 7m (unheated).
Which room to book? The superior room upstairs for its view of the Atlas, or a superior lodge with terrace.
At what price ? From €220 for a superior double room, €240 for an upstairs suite with a view, with breakfast. Menu: €30.
3. Maroc Lodge
This is a place steeped in history: before becoming one of the most inspiring addresses in the Marrakech region, Maroc Lodge was first a family property, that of Doctor Dubois-Roquebert, doctor to Kings Mohammed V and Hassan II. In memory of their father who came here to recharge his batteries in the late 1930s, the children have transformed this lush 3-hectare estate planted with century-old trees into a confidential retreat where time seems to have stood still. In each of the seven comfortable pavilions, antiques, old trinkets and orientalist paintings adorn the very vast space (55m2 to 140m2) largely open to the garden through large openings. We take all the meals there in the summer, the cuisine based on homemade olive oil is one of the strong points of this address where we know how to receive: impeccable service and personalized welcome from the master of the house, and connoisseur of Morocco. A beautiful infinity pool invites you to cool off without missing a beat of the mountain panorama. All 40 minutes from Marrakech airport.
Which room to book? The “Junior Suite Panoramic” for its view of the valley and the snow-capped peaks of the Atlas in winter.
At what price ? From €155 the Panoramic Junior Suite for two (55 m2) with breakfast, to €370 the Executive Suite for 4 (140m2).
4. Kasbah Beldi
On the land of an old farmhouse, overlooking Lake Lalla Takerkoust, the owners of the Beldi Country Club in Marrakech, faithful to their passion for gardens, have created a poetic 15-hectare estate with a sumptuous scenography in winter when the lake fills up and the Atlas is capped with snow. Indulge in full slow life , have a lunch in the shade of a centuries-old pistachio tree, a game of pétanque and chill out on the sunny terraces bordered by two long swimming pools (30 m, one of which is heated) .
Which room to book? A lodge for the full view of the Atlas. With family or friends, a small house with 2 or 3 bedrooms.
At what price ? From €145 per night in a suite, €160 in a lodge, breakfast included.
Kasbah Beldi , Lake Lalla Takerkoust, Village of Talet 42103, Morocco.
5. The Palais Paysan
Contemporary lines and a country soul, this is the paradox and the strength of this unclassifiable address built in the middle of nowhere, 20 km from Marrakech on the road to Amizmiz. Planted on a hill overlooking one of the most beautiful panoramas in the region, the building blends seamlessly into the landscape with its minimalist architecture and ocher tones. Inside, the 18 spacious rooms (40m2) on the ground floor or upstairs, were designed by designer Ludovic Petit in an ethno-chic style, combining noble and raw materials, sobriety and creativity in keeping with the spirit of the place. All the comfort is there but in eco-responsible mode: the air conditioning is based on an evaporation system and the water is heated by solar panels.
Which room to book? In winter upstairs to enjoy the solarium on the terrace and the view, in summer on the ground floor.
At what price ? From €199 per night in a double room with breakfast.
6. Douar Samra
This is the most perched of our addresses: at an altitude of 2000 m, at the foot of Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa (4167 m), and 1h30 from Marrakech. Douar Samra is the ideal refuge to disconnect and contact with the Berber mountain: this authentic ecolodge located in the heart of a village is only accessible on foot or by donkey, that of the house, which also takes care of the luggage ! We therefore put on our sneakers without forgetting to play the lizards on the terraces in the sun. It is a question of storing up the light before dining by candlelight: renovated in the tradition, the main house is devoid of electricity, including in its four bedrooms. If you want an access to energy however, you can opt for one of the two mini-suites or the garden cabin
What we like: the terraces/solarium with mountain views.
Which room to book? It all depends on whether you are ready to go without electricity or not, and on the desired level of comfort, which is higher in the mini-suites and cabins.
At what price ? From €90 per room for two with half board.
7. Sel D’Ailleurs
Here is a very intriguing name, but which takes on its full meaning when you discover its origin – the neighboring saltworks of Marigha (salt village in Berber) – and the address itself, both unclassifiable and deeply rooted in the Berber territory. Buried in two hectares of gardens facing peaks evoking Provence, the discreet buildings evoke an imaginary south, steeped in influences that can be found in the tasty cuisine based on fresh daily products. Only eight rooms, spacious (30m2) and comfortable ( air conditioning, but also a fan) in a rustic style, and a swimming pool bordered by pergolas, unheated in winter (a second heated one is planned).
Which room to book? Prefer rooms with a very large double bed.
At what price ? Count €115 per double room with half board. Lunch between 34 and 40 € depending on the composition (to be reserved at least 2 hours in advance).
8. Tagadert Lodge
Three patios, as many gardens and outdoor lounges, two of which have a fireplace, and a collection of terraces to warm up in the sun...24 km from Marrakech, near the village of Oumnas, this pretty guest house is full resources for a stay with family or two in the calm of the countryside. The authentic architecture – adobe walls, carved wooden pillars, woven reed ceilings – is coupled with modern comfort: the five bedrooms and suites (including one quadruple and one triple) are all equipped with air conditioning and heating. A small swimming pool (5 mx 3 m) that can be heated by reservation and at an additional cost (€20/day) is available for sunny days and warm lounges with a fireplace and board games for winter evenings.
Which room to book? The triple junior suite with private garden, the family junior suite (with two queen-size beds) the only one with TV if you really can’t live without it!
At what price ? From €80 per double room with breakfast.