Travel is often boxed in familiarities: Popular destinations are bequeathed as though religion, while itineraries function like biblical scriptures. Oftentimes, the hotels on such trips offer no more than a roof over one’s head while on holiday and hardly leave an impression.
But none of these qualms exists at the Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco. Located just an hour’s drive from Marrakech, the Virgin Limited Edition property is a sanctuary within the famed Atlas Mountains. With no more than 28 rooms and suites in a building camouflaged by mud-brick that blends it seamlessly into the mountain plains, the hotel renders privacy in its most luxurious.
Kasbah Tamadot was discovered and purchased by Sir Richard Branson in 1998 when he visited Morocco with the goal of circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon. As the former home of renowned antique dealer and interior designer, Luciano Tempo, Branson also inherited a 1,000 square metre warehouse filled to the brim with tables, sculptors and ornaments collected from India, Indonesia and North Africa — which now decorate the property.
No two rooms are alike, as each room at the Kasbah Tamadot has a uniquely descriptive Berber name which has its own story to tell. Some rooms come in pastels; others with dark green or blue walls, with large round mirrors or deep velvet reliefs as their upholstery. They are individually decorated using traditional Moroccan furnishings and antiques, as well as items from the vast collection of previous owner Luciano Tempo.
Its selling point lies in its ideal location for thrill seekers and slow-paced travellers alike, as it offers wide-ranging activities that are simply unique to the property. During the Summer season, these activities include cooking courses with traditional Moroccan Kanouns (wood ovens), a day excursion around the hills, mule trekking through eucalyptus and olive groves, and a golfing masterclass at the Royal Golf Course — the private property of King Mohamed VI.
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Still, the atmosphere at Kasbah Tamadot is relaxed and informal. One can simply pack their suitcase for the season and the types of activities they plan on doing during their stay. The hotel also emphasises wellness and charity, where free English classes have been set up for the local population, as well as the presence of the Eve Branson Foundation and Virgin Unite in the vicinity.
Although the hotel only opened its doors to its first guest in 2005, the years since have made it a landmark in Morocco. It provides a packaged vacation that is distinct from its name, as no other hotel can provide the same. With countless decorated awards and achievements, Kasbah Tamadot proves that a hotel is more than just a place to stay.
This article first appeared on Men’s Folio Singapore.
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