Soak up the atmosphere in Marrakech
What a trip! On arrival into Marrakech Airport, we were whisked into the VIP Lounge and offered cold towels, drinks and snacks whilst the staff took our passports to be stamped and collected our luggage before escorting up past passport control and straight to our luxury limo.
As soon as we saw the red walls, the Katoubia and light up fountains, we knew we were in Marrakech where we found ourselves being driven up the private entrance to the Royal Mansour, its main lobby dimly lit by Moroccan lams and candles which flickered in the water features.
We were shown straight to our 3 storey, 3 bedroom Riad thorough a very grand entrance with a small water fountain which lead through to the spacious living area / dining area, ground floor patio and kitchenette. To the first floor, was a very spacious and plush bedroom and en-suite oversized bathroom with a huge tiled bath and separate rain shower. Up another flight of stairs, we discovered our own private rooftop terrace with plunge pool, day bed and mini-bar. After a great night's sleep we were welcomed to the restaurant terrace by freshly squeezed orange juice, pastries and my favourite - Eggs Benedict!
The rest of the day was spent tanning on the roof terrace, enjoying a light lunch, dips in the pool and a relaxing full body massage in the huge state of the art spa. After early evening cocktails on the terrace over looking the Hivernage Park at La Mammounia, we walked back to Royal Mansour for a dining extravaganza in the French Restaurants where we were treated to squid stuffed with spider crab followed by sea bass in sea foam whilst listening to the sound of a local musician.
Amanjena was our next destination, where we were accommodated in a very spacious Villa next to the huge pool which looked stunning when light up at night. We chose a delicious selection of dishes from the Thai menu for lunch and ventured into the Jamaa El Fna (the main square in Marrakech) for some haggling in the souks followed by some street food (Mergueze and fries) surrounded by snake charmers, henna tattoo artists and street performers. What an experience! It was nice to return to the calm of Amanjena for a candle lit drink by the pool and a good night's sleep before our drive to the Atlas Mountain the next day.
Within less than an hours drive out of Marrakech, we were driving through the local villages of the Atlas Mountains, passing families playing and washing in the rivers, tourists giggling on camel rides and local men and women climbing the mountains on their donkeys. We arrived at the unassuming entrance of the Kasbah Tamadot - Richard Branson's Atlas Mountain Retreat. We felt at home as soon as we walked through the welcoming lobby and caught sight of the turquoise blue pool against the red backdrop of the mountains.
Our home for the night was a luxury Bedouin tent with blue drapes and dark wood furniture, a roll-top bath with a view and bi-fold doors opening onto a private terrace with plunge pool. Days were spent lounging around the pool in the 40 Degree heat, lunch at the pool terrace and a seafood tagine dinner on the rooftop terrace, watching the moon rise above the mountains.
We were sad to leave Kasbah and Morocco, but we will be back!