A late night reading of the Conde Nast Traveller’s Hotels List reminded me of a place I visited during my trip to Morocco (but foolishly never blogged of it), the famous Kasbah Tamadot, Sir Richard Branson’s Moroccan retreat! I know you must be thinking it is impossible to forget such visit, but with our days filled with things to do and places to see, it just skipped my mind and only came on the surface tonight. So I hope you do not mind me taking you a few months back to Morocco and into one of the most luxurious and interesting places of the country. Welcome to hotel Kasbah Tamadot!
Where: Kasbah Tamadot, Morocco
The story: On our way back to Marrakesh from the Atlas Mountains we stopped in a place, just an hour away from the city. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere and while the boys started chatting, my eyes laid on an old man selling some traditional, handmade carpets. Colourful carpets, mini rugs with black and white motifs and a few stone necklaces, all arranged carefully against the ground, trying to make the best impression for the potential clients…
…and on the other side of the road it stood tall and majestic, the hotel Kasbah Tamadot! It took me a second to realise where I was about to enter (before my brain worked out the odds), and I found myself emerged into a traditional style luxury hotel that smelled of roses and eucalyptus oil. We were greeted by the stuff who led us towards the infinity pool, a place of calmness and relaxation overlooking the Atlas Mountains.
Sir Richard Branson bought Kasbah Tamadot back in 1998 and at that time Marrakesh was starting to gain momentum, becoming an interesting destination for Europeans. He bought it and saw a vision about the place and its unique location. He got involved into building it up and became passionate to help the locals, educate them arts, teach them English and help them make money either by working for him or producing products that he could help them sell to the people that would visit the hotel. And the locals loved him for his act of kindness and for respecting the culture.
Kasbah Tamadot (which in the Berber language translates to “soft breeze‘) is a sanctuary, upon your entry you forget about your problems and you feel peaceful and calm. The reception is covered with golden details and in between this and the pool there is a small garden featuring a big fountain that was covered in roses. We followed the staircases that led to the gardens facing the mountains and were seated in the elevated area that gave us the best views to the swimming pool and the surrounding landscape. At the time of our visit the grounds were occupied by a few people, some lying around the swimming pool and some others enjoying their meal along with a few bottles of wine on the restaurant’s veranda.
Our table was under the trees and we were greeted by birds singing. We ordered some traditional Moroccan mint tea that was served in silver tea pots with coloufrul tissue handles. The service was excellent and the tea was mind blowing, full of aroma and just what we were craving after a long day in the Mountains!
Without doubt this afternoon tea felt one of the most rewarding experiences! Being there in that moment observing the electric blue skies, the dark red Moroccan setting, people enjoying themselves and all that while smelling roses and mint aromas, set my senses on fire and truly felt like heaven on Earth! In Kasbah Tamadot the time stops and everything was carried on at a rather more sedate pace.
I didn’t get my camera out much but I hope these pictures will make some justice of the day. I wanted to enjoy the moment and also respected that fact that the guests wouldn’t appreciate much someone taking pictures while they were relaxing. We finished our tea and headed back to the car with heavy hearts as time flew away quickly- we wouldn’t mind staying a bit longer! As we were driving away I looked at the old man selling his rugs and promised to be back one day to buy a small rug and maybe stay in the Kasbah Tamadot, a bit longer this time!
Have you ever heard of the Kasbah Tamadot?