A mere 40-minute drive from Marrakech, cantilevered across the steep hillside overlooking the Atlas Mountains, the Ourika Valley and the Salt Natural Park, Kasbah Bab Ourika manages to be all things to all people. It’s a popular destination with Marrakech sophisticates, who descend for landmark birthdays, first honeymoon nights and marriage proposals – of which there have been many over the years, particularly in the romance-filled rose garden.
However, its unstuffy, easygoing atmosphere makes it equally appealing for laid-back pleasure seekers, who might just want to sit by the infinity pool or find shade in one of the hidden enclaves, sipping a mint tea and snacking on pastilla au lait. For the more adventurous, a hike up into the Atlas Mountains or down to the bottom of the valley for wild swimming in the waterfalls, horse riding, rafting and even skiing is on offer here.
For space, privacy and epic landscapes overlooking the entire Ourika Valley, the secluded Villa Retreat, which sleeps 10, is the perfect place to party in style. Dinners can be arranged around the infinity pool, or in a Berber tent in the surrounding gardens with fire-eaters, traditional Moroccan musicians and dancers.
Enjoy theatrical dinners either in the Kasbah’s colonnaded restaurant or in its heady garden, where feasts of North African specialities like pigeon tagine are served on low brass tables overlooking a pool lit by hundreds of lanterns.
Book a hike up into the Atlas Mountains to explore beyond the Kasbah’s well-groomed gardens. A guide will meet you at your doorstep and take you on an invigorating walk as far up into the range as you can manage. Continue the adventure on a two-hour camel trek along the beautiful Ourika River to visit the waterfalls at Setti Fatma.
Head to the Kasbah’s rooftop for a yoga session against the mountain backdrop, where you can realign mind, body and spirit in the ineffable silence of the Ourika Valley.