Displaying items by tag: lunch at kasbah tamadot

Saturday, 15 February 2014 00:00

Kasbah Tamadot - lunch and more


Having booked lunch for our guests at Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot quite a few times while on a day trip to the Atlas Mountains with us, it had been a while since we wanted to try it ourselves. Especially since first time was 7 years ago and the chef (and management) had changed since. 
pool at kasbah tamadot

This time we went for something rather sober dish- wise: we started with ‘Crab and Mango Salad’ and ‘ Chicken with Almond Briouate’ for starters and sirloin steak/ mixed kebab for main course. We were enjoying the breath taking views ahead of us on this glorious afternoon in February while waiting for the dessert. My companion had just been discreetly apprehended by a waiter when trying to use the mobile phone . It was actually mentioned on the first page of the menu:

  starter number 2 at restaurant kanoun   starter at restaurant kanoun
‘In order to respect your fellow diners and to promote the dying art [sic] of conversation over lunch (and not with someone across the world), we would be grateful if you could kindly join us in the spirit of the Kasbah Tamadot and escape from the electronic world, leave your phone calls and relax until you have finished dining’. 

One can’t help but smile at the English sense of humor permeating that statement right there… tell you what, the truth is I do agree and that should be extended to every other restaurant in the world. But getting back to our lunch… perhaps it’s best to start from the beginning.

   6    main course at kanoun restaurant
One beautiful morning at the beginning of February ( aren’t they all in Marrakech ?.. ) we hopped into a 4x4, managed to escape the traffic mayhem of downtown Marrakech and made our way up to Tahnaoute and then Asni, past suspended adobe Berber villages and through canyons and lush valleys. February is arguably the best time of year to travel around the Atlas, although I’m sure quite a few of my peers will debate that. Snow on the peaks of the Atlas is at a maximum and surrounding valleys are all pink due to the almond flower season.  Now, trekking in the Atlas in February is a different story and snow certainly wouldn’t help – but that is only a problem over 2000 meters high.    
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terrace at kasbah tamadot's lounge    Asni is only 1150 meters high and famous for its Berber souk held every Saturday. Moulay Brahim, the village before it, holds a famous shrine , popular with visitors from the region coming to collect the baraka and used to be the favorite picnic place of Marrakchi families years ago. The unassuming road skirts through Asni, to Ouirgane , the 12th century mosque of Tinmel and then the pass of Tizi n Test at 2100 meters high, and on the other side Taroudant, to turn out to be one of the most scenic routes in Morocco. 
It is also one of the itineraries used to reach the remote dunes of Erg Chigaga by 4x4. But instead, we turn right just after Asni headed towards Imlil, the base for all the treks taking you to the highest peak in North Africa, Mount Toubkal at 4165 meters high. A few miles after the turn, an imposing building appears in the distance and one can just about make out an infinity pool past the cypresses. Parking next to it and seeing the stone lions guarding the entrance, makes it clear this is not your regular Berber house, although    hghj   

the architecture on the outside has been kept local. A different story awaits you inside: while you cross the gardens and come upon the entrance and into the reception, you realize many objects around you come from India and other parts of Asia.  

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We are shown around the property by the very hospitable guest relations manager and we start with the lounge, which has the appearance of an African lodge tent, complete with a bar, pool table and hanging terrace overlooking the dramatic valley. We then visit a Deluxe Room, an exercise in luxury and soft linen. The manager is proud to point out the glass bottles provided in the room contain water recycled locally at the Kasbah through their own patented system. Past the rose petals reflecting pool sidelined by small stone elephants, we step into the library and I guarantee you, one doesn’t need to necessarily be a literature fiend to spend quite a few hours here. Back to the main building and quite a few passage ways later, we find ourselves by the generous size indoors pool. Perhaps the most striking about the whole place is the ability to have incredible views, wherever you find yourself. Even here, at the lowest level of the house, the light coming through is more than inviting.    
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Past the spa and a patio, we now reach the terrace restaurant where most of the guests are having their lunch. In front of us, a breathtaking view of the  Mizane valley and the scattered Berber villages. On our right, in the distance, the over-3000 meters high snowcapped Atlas Mountains, a heaven for trekking outside the winter season. Outside temperature is about 25 Celsius and  many guests are wearing t shirts. And why wouldn't you ? A few fortunate ones are enjoying the heated infinity pool while we are passing through the gardens and past the tennis courts. We reach the Berber Tents, each with its own plunge pool. Perhaps the word ‘tent’ is the least appropriate to describe the opulence inside – if this is one, than I could live in a tent for the rest of my life.    tyuyt
kjhg    The generous private sun deck and its own Jacuzzi are there to complement the rest. If that is not enough for you, isolated from the rest of the property, you have a 112 square meter Master Suite complete with three bedrooms, a huge roof terrace and your own private pool.

The property has 3 superior rooms, 7 deluxe rooms, 4 superior suites, 3 deluxe suites , 1 deluxe suite with its own pool, 4 Berber tents, 4 luxury Berber tents and 1 Master Suite. 

All in all, 27 rooms, suites and tents.  Yet I can’t recall seeing any hotel with this many public spaces and gardens. The architect has managed to strike that balance where even with all rooms occupied, guests will never feel crammed. There is so much public space around the property that you are almost guaranteed to find an isolated spot at any time of day or night. And there is something for almost everyone to find here, from people in their 50’s and 60’s to couples  tgedr

coming for a romance or families with small children or teen agers.

Speaking of children, this must be THE place to stay during summer holidays, when scorching temperatures assault Marrakech, making it too hot to stay in. One hour drive from the city and its busy souks, snake charmers and ornate palaces, this is also an ideal base for walks in the surrounding Atlas Mountains or serious trekking, if that is what you aim for. Special food and beverages or simple snacks and light meals can be prepared for all children. Film projections are arranged during the pleasant summer nights in the gardens by the outdoors pool. Dedicated babysitting is available with advance notice given. And why not make a stay at Kasbah Tamadot part of a Morocco family holiday ?

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Peppermint, Parmasan, Peanut and Paprika, their four resident mules, are on hand to capture the children’s hearts.  That is, if Pickle and Pumpkin (the two camels) and Pudding, Plum and Peaches (the three donkeys) haven’t found them already!  

Children can ride the resident mules, venture off on a Moroccan treasure hunt, participate in nature walks, take to the bumps on a four-wheel drive excursion, go on a horse and cart ride, or simply partake in Moroccan tea party, learn how to make delicious local dishes and splash around in the indoor or outdoor infinity pools. Children are especially welcome in the summer ( 5 July to 31 August) when those under 11 years of age get to stay for free and those under 6 years of age also get to dine for free.

  rter   werw The lunch menu is no lonver avvailable on the internet but we can send it to you in a pdf attachment. Lunch at Kasbah Tamadot is available on our Atlas and the Lake and Atlas and 3 valleys day trips. Accommodation in the luscious Berber tents and suites at Kasbah Tamadot is part of the Divine level of our Caravans Dust tour and other bespoke tailor made tours of Morocco. For more details call us at +212 638 636 719 or send us an email here .  
Published in Morocco travel blog
Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00

Atlas and the Lake

lalla takerkoust lake

The ideal day trip from Marrakech when spending a few days in the red city, a true immersion into the Berber culture.

Trekking in the Atlas Mountains, lunch at Kasbah Tamadot, tea with a Berber family or 12th century Tinmel Mosque are the highlights of this excursion from Marrakech. 


Leaving Marrakech behind, the day trip follows the tarred road through small villages scattered across the plain. Soon afterwards, you will arrive on the shores of Lalla Takerkoust lake where a small break is recommended to take in the panorama before starting the ascent towards the deserted  Kik Plateau. Time to take out your cameras! Ruins of Kasbahs once property of the local Pacha border the road. The limestone plateau is 1800 meters high and offers spectacular 360 degrees views and, in the spring, a marvellous spread of alpine flowers. From November to May, the surrounding peaks of the Atlas Mountains greet the view. On the other side of the plateau, lies the picturesque village of Moulay Brahim with its shrine where women from all over the area come and light candles, praying for baraka. By the river, camels and restaurants await their clients either for a Berber tagine or a camel ride. Asni is where a very important Berber souk is held on every Saturday and local producers bring fruit, vegetables and livestock to sell.

Further up, the road splits : straight ahead, the charming little village of Ouirgane with its majestic lake, an artificial dam created using dynamite only years ago. Due to the absence of the shores, the lake seems to have suddenly flooded the steep valley, as the branches of the pine trees almost touch the  surface of the water. 

Our excursion from Marrakech follows now one of the most picturesque routes in Morocco, one which is seldom used by intrepid travelers concluding a tour across Morocco coming from Sahara's dunes and Taroudant. Alas, before long, the impressive 12th century mosque of Tinmel, unveils itself in the distance. It feels almost eerie that this same route used by our day trip from Marrakech would be the same used by the Almohad armies to take over Marrakech centuries ago, destined to become the founders of an empire stretching from Western Sahara to nowadays Libya and all the way up to Cordoba and Seville, in Spain. It is a mosque that can also be visited by non muslims and draws inspiration from the Great Mosque of Cordoba with its beautifully decorated archways, sturdy towers and monumental doors. Once the visit concluded, lunch can be had in a charming inn in the area, by the pool.

If you choose to turn left instead of following ahead to visit Ouirgane and Tinmel mosque, our itinerary serpents along Oued Mizzane, in the shade of nut trees and crossing mountain springs, passing by Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot, to finally reach Imlil, the most picturesque trailhead in Morocco. On some days, the clouds descend and pass through the valley at eye level, like the ghost of a slow- moving train. In July and August you are guaranteed to find perfectly cool temperatures away from the scorching Marrakech. Martin Scorsese used it to shoot 'Kundun'and for good reason: Imlil will surprise you with the beauty and drama of the surrounding High Atlas and the local waterfalls are the perfect excuse for an enchanting mountain walk. If you want to catch your breath on the way and sip a mint tea or a coffee, there's no better spot than the roof terrace of Kasbah Toubkal . For those of you that want to try some serious Morocco trekking, a 3 hour trek on foot or mules can be arranged on spot or in advance. Lunch can be had at the exceedingly charming Douar Samra ( Moroccan). Lunch at Kasbah Tamadot is also recommended, for a special occasion. The menu is international and lunch needs to be booked in advance.


For those fit enough and willing to go totally off the beaten track, the more strenuous trek to the Roulidane waterfalls is worth every stretch. Even in October, after the long hot summer, you will spot patches of snow on the plateau dominating the falls. The walk is long and you will need to stop and catch your breath plenty, but you are rewarded with breath- taking views, lost-in-time adobe villages, remote sheep folds and terraced gardens. The few locals you will cross on your way will invite you for tea. Arrive at the base of the waterfalls in the afternoon and have some great shots to then, descend to the village below. Later, have a Berber lunch with a steamy tagine and freshly baked tafernoute bread while overlooking the peaceful valley. On the way back, we can choose to return the same way or draw a loop to join the Asni- Imlil route and be picked up by our driver. Tip: trekking equipment including ski sticks and boots can be rented locally.

On the way back to Marrakech small villages with their mud- brick adobe houses greet your eye sight, stacked into the hillside or lining the water course shaded by the palm grove. The river gives place to the canyons and gorges and the local Berber granary towers over the landscape, a quiet sentinel guarding the silence of the valley. Past Tahnaoute, the tarmac road follows its course among olive or orange orchards and golf courses to reach Marrakech soon after. 

You are free to choose your time of departure. However, in order to make the best out of your day out, we recommend leaving no later than 9 AM. Forecasted return time in Marrakech is 5 PM.

PRICE.............................................................................................. 65 EUROS PER PERSON ( BASED ON 2 PERSONS SHARING THE VEHICLE). DISCOUNTS APPLY FOR 3 OR MORE PERSONS.

The rate includes: private ( sole use) of the modern air conditioned Toyota 4x4 and the English fluent driver- guide, entrance fees to all sites and monuments, refreshing drinks inside the vehicle, pick up and drop off from/ to the hotel/ Riad and transport insurance.

Published in Day-Trips