Once the former summer palace of a local feudal chief, the Kasbah Du Toubkal seems like it belongs to a different century. It’s all too easy to let time slip away from you as you travel from modern Marrakech into the past, up dusty slopes and well-trodden tracks, on your way up to this mountain refuge in the heart of the Atlas Mountains.
You can drive up to the rural village of Imli and then walk the final stretch – up a short, steep path – to the hilltop citadel. The more adventurous may choose to hike the 3-4 hours from the Kasbah’s newer trekking lodge in the Azzaden Valley, or get up the old-fashioned way: by hiring a mule, then follow the scent of olive, cherry and apple orchards. Life flows at a slower pace here – a direct result of the role local Berber tribes played in the Kasbah’s restoration in 1995 and even now, its day-to-day running.
This interaction with locals is what proves so irresistible about a visit to this hospitality centre. Guests can easily gain an insight into local culture and gaze up to the heavens from the dramatic mountains of Toubkal National Park with Berber guides, while chipping in to social programmes that support communities in the region. Since its inception, visitors have helped to provide two ambulances and fund a public hammam (steam bath).
But after exploring the valleys – or even daring a multi-day hike up the Atlas’ highest peak, Mount Toubkal (4,167m) – you can return to your simply furnished rooms to refresh or try the terrace to take in the vistas while sipping on mint tea and dining on rustic fare. But what you might really want to do is just put your weary feet up and soak up the steam in the hammam – you’ll find not all heavens are above your head.
How to book: From €175pp per night (around £149), two-night min, including breakfast. kasbahdutoubkal.com
How to get there: British Airways offers direct flights from London Gatwick to Marrakech from £49 return. The journey time is three hours and 20 minutes. Transfers to the village of Imlil take around 75 minutes; the Kasbah is then an uphill 15-minute walk or mule ride.
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