Nomadic Lifestyle – Luxury in Morocco

Look for me here, my Nomadic cravings for Morocco will soon be realized. Always on the move, just as a desert camel roams, I will be exploring the finest hotels and experiences to share with our clients. Searching for wide open spaces, places to breathe and roam freely – Morocco is the destination!

Imperial Suite Ocean room with bed, corner windows with Atlantic Ocean views
Four Seasons Casablanca
White lounge chairs around outdoor swimming pool, tropical plants
Four Seasons, Casablanca

Looking forward to my epic adventure across Morocco, beginning on the Atlantic Coast of Tangier and leisurely making my way across Central Morocco to the Atlas Mountains and Marrakech. The spine of Morocco, separating the Atlantic from the Sahara, the Atlas Mountains soar up to the snowy summit of Mount Toubkal, and comprise the High, Middle and Anti-Atlas. 

This Journey can be designed for culture and art aficionados, photography bugs, and hikers – to include day treks in untouched wilderness, this is more than souks and the Sahara. Mountain biking has become more and more popular in small groups, take on the cols and gorges in the High Atlas Mountains. Pedal through the cedar forests of Ifrane National Park. Water sports can be enjoyed on the El Abid River and falls provide the perfect location for canyoning and walking the gorges. Morocco offers something for every desire. The Four Seasons Casablanca will catch me on arrival before I mosey out the next day. Begin with a fine hotel in a city and move toward the vast deserts with endless horizons.

Tangier, Morocco

In the heart of the Kasbah on the highest point of the Medina of Tangier with panoramic views across the Straits of Gibraltar you will find the little gem property La Tangerina. La Tangerina has a real feeling of inner sanctum yet you are just yards from the souk and a short walk from the port and seafront.

La Tangerina

Typical to my travel, I stay at multiple hotels, seeing glossy photos online is not quite the same as bed hopping, visiting spas, ordering meals – it truly is an experience which a website nor a brochure provide. And there is a hotel for every taste, our unique fingerprints are indicative of our individual must haves in a hotel.

The distinctive soundscape of the five times daily call to prayer, adhan, will echo throughout the cities and villages.  Tangier, a white-walled city perched between Morocco and Europe, was long a haven for the literary and artistic avant-garde—and black sheep—of Europe and America. Poets, artists, and lovers have wandered the streets, enhanced the villas, and designed the hidden gardens for eons. Rohuna, Umberto Pasti’s horticultural paradise will be my first morning expedition in Tangier; capturing stunning vistas and verdant fields, Rohuna, was twenty years in the making mingling spectacular views and cultivated gardens and outdoor rooms within the vast garden. The Spirit of Eden, A Garden in Northern Morocco by Umberto Pasti  was published in October by Rizzoli.

Eden Revisited: A Garden in Northern Morocco: Pasti, Umberto, Ngo, Ngoc  Minh, Sartogo, Martina Mondadori: 9780847864805: Books

Wake up to Tangier, then on to Chefchaouen, the ancient blue city known for the striking, blue-washed buildings of its old town. The Blue Pearl of Morocco. Leather and weaving workshops line its steep cobbled lanes. In the shady main square of Place Outa el Hammam the red-walled Kasbah, a 15th-century fortress and dungeon.

Chaouen Morocco - panoramio (12).jpg
Chefchaouen Photo by Hiroki Ogawa

Stopping in the ancient city of Fes, absorbing the rich culture along the way. The overland Journey continues onward to Riad Fes, a Relais & Chateaux property, luxury within the riad, a proper five-star hotel composed of five noble houses interconnected by marble staircases and dimly lit candlelit corridors.  The property is situated amid a private walled in garden off the maze of narrow streets, 13th Century buildings and busy markets. Fez, founded in the 9th Century, is Morocco’s best preserved old royal city. Donkeys and mules are commonly used for transportation in the old city’s maze of narrow streets.

Riad Fes combines a subtle mix of Andalusian sumptuousness and Moroccan art de vivre, the Riad Fès reflects its prestigious past and the refined civilization to which it belongs. This majestic palace is an authentic example of Hispanic-Moorish architecture. It offers panoramic views of the magical spectacle of the sun rising over the Fès Medina, and the Atlas Mountains. Hammams and massages, fountains, smoking-rooms, sophisticated cuisine, and a trendy lounge bar.

Riad Fes is renowned for luxury, dining, and refined service.  Guests enjoy the splendor of the ancient noble Fes families, in a one thousand-and one-nights Andalusian-style atmosphere.

I’m looking forward to a sunset aperitif on the roof top with the ethereal muezzin call to prayer in the background. The panoramic view of the Fez medina and the Atlas Mountains on the horizon.

After three days exploring Fez, I will continue my Journey, my private driver, Mustapha, is with me for the duration of this overland expedition!  With a stop at Sahara Desert Luxury Camp, under the jet-black star-studded skies, nights are spent around a bonfire, entertainment provided by local nomads swaying to traditional music.  At night, glamping in a luxury tent with a magnificent blend of a traditional Moroccan style and contemporary decor.

Two nights at Dar Ahlam. On the fringes of the Moroccan desert, shaded by the palms, lies Dar Ahlam. Located in Skoura, a charming remote traditional Berber village in the South on Morocco – Province of Ouarzazate, away from the touristic paths. Terracotta colored stone meets sapphire skies as this traditional Kasbah cuts an imposing shape across the landscape. Unwind in a haven of manicured lawns and fragrant almond blossom. Or step out into the wilderness of the desert for a night under the stars, where you will soak up the elegant beauty. Activities are created by the visionary founder Thierry Teyssie, Dar Ahlam, which more than lives up to its Arabic translation as the ‘House of Dreams’. Bringing a sense of showmanship learned during his days as a French actor to his Moroccan Kasbah, all the world’s a stage for Thierry when it comes to creating unique experiences for his guests. Can’t wait to see what his dreams produce for my stay!

The décor changes with the seasons, sumptuous fabrics and colors bringing the environment to life. Days at Dar Ahlam are long and luxurious. Without the distractions of television and technology, you can really unwind. Instead, indulge in a massage under the olive trees or head off for refreshments by the river. Spend a balmy evening atop the Kasbah, aperitif in hand, before feasting on a freshly prepared supper under the vast sky. Meals are served in surprise locations; activities are designed around your tastes and delightful diversions are typically offered daily to each guest.

Exotic and exhilarating, Berber culture has its oldest roots in the Atlas Mountains. Follow my path to the award-winning Kasbah Tamadot. Sir Richard Branson’s stunning retreat nestled in Morocco’s beautiful Atlas Mountains.

Divided into the three sections, the High Atlas in central Morocco, south of Marrakech, are home to Mt. Toubkal and the eponymous national park, the highest peak in North Africa. These drop down to the lower peaks of the Anti-Atlas further south, where you can hike to peaks such as Jebel Aklim with spectacular views across to the highest in the north. The Middle Atlas in the far northwest are the backdrop for Fez and Meknes, more set up for day trips than full on mountain immersion.

One common denominator, all the mountain ranges have in common: The Berber people. Berbers are a welcoming people with strong traditions, it’s more than dates and rosewater. Traditional subsistence farming is the norm in the Atlas Mountains, with small farms producing nuts and fruits, local sheep and goat herders can be seen along the roads.

And eventually reaching Marrakech to explore luxury hotels and charming riads in the medina. On the way, a brief escape to the coast, to Essaouira, and another lovely Relais & Chateaux property, L’Heure Bleue.

Heure Bleue Palais, Essouira

Situated on the Atlantic coast 2.5hrs from Marrakech is the laid-back fishing village of Essouira, famous for its Gnaoua music and artistic scene.  Many local and foreign artists have settled here continuing the vibe that attracted visitors such as Jimmy Hendrix and Cat Stevens (Yousuf Islam) in the 1960’s.

Once an old Portuguese fishing village, Essouira is a perfect place for those who wish to wander the souks for wooden carvings that it is famous for, to stop and enjoy fresh seafood and local wine while watching the fishermen come in with their daily catch.  For a more active alternative the kite and board surfing is excellent here and there is horse riding, camel riding and golf available. 

Heure Bleue Palais, Essouira

Along the path, I will visit a rare Moroccan winery, as you know, a Muslim country does not indulge in spirits. The Val d’Argan winery, which is nestled in a valley between the sea and inland plain, the Val d’Argan area benefits from the mixed climate of ocean breeze and Saharan heat, producing wines with unexpected flavors. The 30ha property includes olive and Argan trees, from which the domain has taken its name. These trees grow only in Morocco and yield an olive-like fruit. The estate also produces Argan oil.

The Heure Bleue Palais is not an ordinary hotel, it is a house steeped in history but also men and women serving their guests. Like a pearl in an exceptional setting, the Heure Bleue Palais welcomes you in Essaouira. At the heart of the bay of the ancient Mogador, this palace has for word of order the well-being of its guests. The Blue Hour Palace lives in the heart of Essaouira and its Medina World Heritage Site by Unesco. Heure Bleue Palais has an extraordinary location: at the gates of the historic old city known as the Medina, the hotel is also just minutes away from the beach and surrounds of the city. 

Heure Bleue Palais Premium Suite

For many years the main square, streets and lanes of the Medina come alive with Essaouira’s calendar of musical festivals, including the Gnaoua & World Music festival, the Alizés musicale and the Andalusies Atlantiques festival. 


It’s time to dream again, borders are open, boosters are available, the world is anxious to welcome travelers and we are excited to begin curating Journeys again for our dear clients! Several epic Journeys are in planning stages, time to escape!

“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” ~Charles Horton Cool

Morocco beyond Marrakesh Nomadic Escape

Morocco is a land of legends and fascination, despite its closeness to the European continent, its soul lies in the cradle of its North African coastal home. A historically independent nation, it has always been a multi-cultural ancient crossroad for trade, ideas, and migratory people. There is a rhythm and beauty and an ethereal light, its charms have wooed travelers, poets, and artists, inspiring some of them to never leave. Kandinsky, Matisse, and Renoir were pleased by its evocative temptations. A heady mix of the Orient, Arabian nights, and Muslim influences.

Le Sultan du Maroc by Eugène Delacroix in Tangier

The imperial cities of Marrakesh, Rabat, Fez and Meknes offer innumerable architectural buildings left by former rulers. An enchanting country, a favorite of mine and our clients for many, many years. Besides intimate city exploration, we can include authentic desert tents along with dauntless camels to scale the dunes at sunset and sunrise…let your imagination be boundless! From the desolate deserts to domed mosques, splendid imperial palaces and tombs, the impressive tranquil Atlas Mountains, where the rich and colorful Berber culture beguiles every visitor. Morocco is truly an enticing destination. You will hear the call to prayer, Adhan, one of the finest resonances in Morocco, which takes places five times a day. Recited or sung by a muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is ʾadhina أَذِنَ meaning “to listen’. The beauty of the call lies in its melody reverberating from the mosque minarets in the still of night or the chaos of the day. I’m captivated by it. Why not practice being quiet five times a day and be grateful for life?

Chefchaouen, Morocco

To truly explore, allow three weeks for a deep immersion, less time would focus on several cities and a sojourn in the Atlas Mountains. A thumbnail look at a longer Journey, follow me in autumn when I return to this charmed country of colorful souks, the melodious call to prayer and a visit to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, where women are allowed to visit. Although it is only the 7th largest mosque in the world, Hassan II claims the title of having the largest minaret in the world. Capped with a spotlight that shines east towards Mecca, the minaret is 700-feet tall, towering above the Atlantic Ocean. 

Southern Morocco is a land of tales and legends. Khamilia home of ancient Gnawa tribe where you can stay and sing with these magicians by the fireplace, the road of the ancient Kasbahs, the Drâa Valley, Tamegrouote and its ancient library counting books from the 14th century brought by pilgrims, the dry lake of Iriki.

Tangier, Morocco

Moroccan cuisine has gained massive followers among food connoisseurs. Staples of most meals include lamb, fish, and fowl, including pigeon, which is considered a delicacy when baked in pastry, the b’stillah is a national favorite. Vegetables including tomatoes, eggplants and onions are typically served with the well known and loved couscous. Bread, or Khob, as in many Middle Eastern and North African countries is considered a deep cultural symbol as well as a daily staple. Crusty, round flattish loaves are often baked on a girdle over an open flame or earthen ovens.  Mint tea is served everywhere in dainty tulip glasses.

An ancient Moroccan proverb: “manage with bread and butter until God sends honey”.

Moroccan woman making Bread or Khob,

Home to Morocco’s primary international airport, Casablanca is the main gateway into the country for many visitors and often their first taste of the country. This city is an industry and business powerhouse and compared to the exotic charms of Marrakesh and Fez, it can’t compete. There is a European touch to much of its architecture, and the city has a modern swagger that is unseen in other parts of the country.

Although Casablanca’s tourist sights and attractions may not be as obvious as those elsewhere, you will find some gems if you dig a little deeper. The medina quarter is a charming area and much smaller and easier to navigate than those elsewhere. And the colossal Hassan II Mosque is top of the list on most sightseeing checklists. For film buffs, there is nothing more synonymous with this city than the 1942 cinematic classic Casablanca. Apart from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the movie’s real star was Rick’s Café, where much of the action took place.

TGV to Tangier and Chefchaouen. Tangier has long been romanticized by artists, writers, and esoteric Beat poets, who arrived at its lively shores chasing escapades. On the Northern tip of Morocco, Tangier, an ancient white walled seaside city is the crossroads to Europe.  In the 1920’s to the 1950’s it was long known as a haven to bohemian artists and an avant-garde literary community. Known for its brightly tiled interiors and in particular, a rambling estate garden of legendary Italian horticulturist and writer Umberto Pasti and his celebrated garden Rohuna. Like Matisse and Delacroix before you, wander through streets lined with whitewashed houses and allow yourself to be transported by the dreamy atmosphere of the city. With wide boulevards, a medina revealing Moorish craftsmanship, and European colonial influences, Tangier retains an enduring eccentricity, and an undeniable charm.

Two hours southeast of Tangier, is Chefchaouen, the Blue City, the Blue Pearl of Morocco, an otherworldly escape sits high up in Morocco’s Rif Mountains. Surrounded by striking green valleys which are a vibrant contrast to the beautiful blue and white houses and mosques. There are endless opportunities for scenic hikes and walks in the Rif Mountains that surround Chefchaouen. Artisan shops offer traditional hand-made goods including handwoven rugs, Moroccan lamps, Berber textiles and ironwork, jewelry, caftans, and woven baskets.

Further south lies Fez, Morocco’s spiritual and cultural capital. Fez vies with Marrakesh for the title of Morocco’s most exotic city. This is the country’s spiritual capital, and despite the encroachment of modernity, it has maintained its authentic appeal down through the ages, holding onto its stately bearing as an Imperial City. Its minaret and dome-punctured skyline and timeless, crumbling Islamic architecture are top things to see for travelers.

Only one suggestion of the multiple exclusive torus we can offer here. Architecture and Islamic garden Tours Lose yourself in the gardens of ancient palaces and exotic Riads perfumed with orange blossoms, citrus, blood red roses and the sweetest jasmine. The tour combines an overview of the fascinating and beautiful world of Moroccan Architecture which showcases all the main ornamentation and decorative techniques from floral motifs, geometry, ceramics to calligraphy, symbolic of the rich cultural heritage of the vast Islamic empire and uncovers the mysteries of the Islamic concept of Chahar-bagh, the four-fold garden and leads us to discover earthly paradise revisited.

Overnight at Riad Fes Restored to its original glory, this Relais & Châteaux property is in the Medina, in the heart of the ancient city of Fez. Riad Fès is renowned for its luxury, impeccable service, and fine restaurant, it has been restored to its original glory in the heart of the ancient city, a serene atmosphere with decor reminiscent of Arabian Nights. 

Sahara Desert. Overnight Desert Luxury Camp

Skoura. Surprisingly lush and abrupt as it springs from the tawny landscape, Skoura deserves a lingering look for its kasbahs and its rich concentration of date palm, olive, fig, and almond trees. Pathways tunnel through the vegetation from one kasbah to another within this fertile island—a true oasis, perhaps the most intensely verdant in Morocco. Skoura is such a magical place, that if you’re on a grand tour of the Great Oasis Valleys, think about basing yourself here.

Stay Dar Ahlam. On the fringes of the Moroccan desert, shaded by the palms, lies Dar Ahlam. Terracotta colored stone meets cerulean skies as this traditional Kasbah cuts an imposing shape across the landscape. Experience a land of adventure from this Kasbah near Ouarzazate, gateway to the Moroccan desert. Unwind in a haven of manicured lawns and fragrant almond blossom. Or step out into the wilderness of the desert for a night under the stars, where you will soak up the elegant beauty in the privacy of your own luxury tent. Secluded by palm groves and almond trees at the edge of the Moroccan desert, this two-hundred-year-old rammed earth Kasbah the color of Champagne is an original maison des rêves. Gracefully made over with all modern comforts and the necessary technology, this singular fourteen room hideaway overlooks the Atlas Mountains, with a palm shaded swimming pool, hammam and candle-lit massage room. Dar Ahlam is not so much a hotel as a team of over 100 people dedicated entirely to you. Meals are customized and served to you among a selection of distinct, private settings like their flourishing gardens by Louis Benech, the gifted designer of the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris and the Bosquet du Théâtre d’Eau at Versailles.

Trek into the Valley of Roses, explore among the corn stalks and pomegranate trees of a nearby palmeraie and drive to the hilltop vestiges of a 12th century Berber village for a traditional tea ceremony at dusk.

Off to the High Atlas Mountains at indulgent and magical Kasbah Tamadot, where days are spent hiking to nearby villages, doing sunrise yoga, and immersing oneself in the unique Berber culture. Situated in the spectacular Atlas Mountains in Morocco, the award-winning Kasbah Tamadot is owned by Sir Richard Branson. This 28-bedroom hotel is perched at the top of a valley with views up to Mount Toubkal and over to some of the traditional Berber villages that dot around the region. Postcards soon from my Berber tent, the private deck is equipped with loungers to soak up the views and where I will enjoy outdoor dining under an ebony sky bursting with a thousand stars.  My Berber Tent Suite is awaiting my arrival!

In the Berber language, Kasbah Tamadot means ‘soft breeze’. It’s easy to imagine you’re a million miles away from it all in the gorgeous surroundings of Kasbah Tamadot. Located in Asni, a little village and marketplace in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, an area inhabited by the friendly Berbers,

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Berber Village in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Depart the magical Kasbah for a short ride through the mountains to Marrakech. The maze of souks must be explored in the covered bazar, I wouldn’t navigate without a guide, pedestrian movement can be interrupted by beasts of burden, mostly donkeys; the scent tells you of the wares. Every type of similar object sits side by side, the leather merchants rest on mounds of bags, prices aren’t marked, it’s a plucky game of negotiation. The Spice Traders Square is the epicenter of the medina, the fabric covered market tables groan under the weight of conical towers of pungent spices. Mysterious herbalist concoctions, baskets brimming with rose petals, this is the best place to purchase the well-known ras el hanout, the famous Moroccan spice blend. Argan oil is best found in a pharmacy as it is a staple product.  Open air vendors will tempt you with their colorful wares and snake charmers do exist on the famed Jamaa el Fna Square, in the Marrakech medina quarter.

Marrakech’s Jardin Majorelle is a must visit, designed in 1920 by famed French painter Jacques Majorelle. Historic museums, surfing on the coast and trekking in the great Atlas Mountains are only a few of the striking and authentic offerings. Private visits can be arranged to the Yves Saint Laurent home, Villa Oasis, followed by a privately guided tour to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, where guests are taken into two worlds dear to Yves Saint Laurent’s heart: fashion and Morocco. This awe-inspiring museum exhibits a significant part of the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent’s collection, and is a legacy to Marrakech, a city that held such a crucial place in Yves Saint Laurent’s life. The Museum of African Contemporary Art is the first museum dedicated to African Art in Morocco, giving a voice to young, emerging, and established artists, to be proud of their roots in their continent.

Many exclusive tour options but two I am interested in doing besides roaming the souks and private gardens. Calligraphy means “beautiful writing” and Arabic calligraphy (or more properly, Islamic calligraphy) is considered a high art form in the Arab world and is increasingly gaining recognition and appreciation worldwide. Evening Cocktails with Private Storytelling The Moroccan tradition of Hikayat, or storytelling dates back almost 1, 000 years. Some stories were recorded and other stories are passed orally. Hikayat was used as a way to pass on cultural beliefs, such as moral lessons to children and to entertain people on long winter nights. This form of entertainment was found in cities throughout Morocco but today Marrakech’s Jemaa El Fna square is the only city that’s keeping this tradition alive. Reserve one evening to enjoy a private session of this dying art in the comfort and peace of your hotel with the master Storyteller Ahmed Ezzarghani in both Arabic and English before dinner.

Moroccan Tradition of Storytelling Revives in Marrakech

In Marrakech as in other larger metropolitan cities, there are two choices for hotels, authentic chic riads within the walls of the ancient medina for a truly cultural mix or at larger hotels outside the medina. Or stay in both, enjoy the medina culture in the old walled city, where you can walk everywhere amid the fascinating maze of streets or escape the constant activity and slumber outside the walls in luxurious five star hotels. Something for every taste.

Activities have been carefully designed to provide our clients with some of the best experiences that are available in Morocco. We can tailor the activities to your needs, creating full day programs and include meals, fun elements or romantic touches to make your stay in this exotic country truly magical and memory making! An awe-inspiring country with a solid sense of culture.

“As a young child I wanted to be a writer because writers were rich and famous. They lounged around Singapore and Rangoon smoking opium in a yellow pongee silk suit. They sniffed cocaine in Mayfair and they penetrated forbidden swamps with a faithful native boy and lived in the native quarter of Tangier smoking hashish and languidly caressing a pet gazelle.”

— William S. Burroughs