Curated Travel Itinerary - Morocco
Africa's most visited country, Morocco is supremely diverse, chaotic, colorful and a melting pot of cultures. It is so close to Europe, that on a clear day you can see Spain from Tangier, yet so different from the western culture as it's a thriving, liberal Muslim nation of its own.
There are the Atlas Mountains and desert camps in the Sahara, offbeat towns and villages in the northern Rif Valley, and blue and white bohemian coastal retreats stretching from north to south of the country. Distinctive, delicately spiced Moroccan food is another highlight, alongside artisan traditions that make Morocco’s ancient medinas some of the best shopping malls in the world. Streets riddled with mosques, souks, and palaces provide a historic photogenic charm to tourists.
One must visit hammams, savor street food, and shop at contemporary boutiques in Marrakesh, before heading to the Atlas Mountains for some hiking. Make sure you build in time to go to the Hollywood-famous ksar of Ait Ben Haddou, which has featured in productions such as Lawrence of Arabia and Game of Thrones. Cosmopolitan Casablanca is full of art deco architectural treasures and Fes’s medieval medina is just like any other urban center in the world, and its Fassi culinary heritage makes it a favorite spot for cooking classes.
HiO Recommends - like we always say; pick the hotel, and then the destination!
1. Dar Seffarine, Fes - an immersive experience of Moroccan culture
One of the first boutique hotels in the area, Dar Seffarine is a fine example of Fes's architectural glory. The approximately 600-year-old house took seven years to restore, emerging as a finer version of its past. Conceptualized to give guests a feeling of belonging and cultural immersion, it’s common to find guests wandering through the kitchen while the evening meal is being prepared, to share drinks with fellow guests in the intimate kitchen garden before dinner. Likewise, dinner and breakfast are communal affairs where folks share tales of their adventures and one can learn a great deal about Moroccan architecture from the owners-managers.
2. Azalai Desert Camp, Chigaga - where luxury meets the rustic desert
Few experiences can beat an overnight camp in the Sahara Desert, and Azalai Desert Camp brings you luxury in an unparalleled landscape, where guests dine under the stars and fall asleep to the desert wind. Large white tents are furnished with rustic glamour - antique traveling trunks, rustic timber furniture, rattan and rugs, and lanterns to light the night all add to the ambiance. Personal butler service is provided to each tent, attending to everything and serving welcome drinks (mint tea, usually) and meals. Dinner is served by candlelight, comprising a four-course set menu of Moroccan and French dishes.
3. La Mamounia, Marrakech - Moroccan hospitality at its finest
A palatial hotel, La Mamounia has an A-list guestbook with Jennifer Aniston, David Beckham and Sir Winston Churchill among former guests. Moroccan decor with zellige tiling, enormous chandeliers, doormen dressed in traditional attire and fountains surrounded by beautiful lights, this hotel is chosen by those who want to experience Moroccan hospitality in style. The rooms are spacious with elegant Moroccan decor and white marble bathrooms. The suites are larger with walk-in closets and a terrace overlooking the pool and gardens. You could also pamper yourself at the private riad-style retreat, which has three rooms (each with a walk-in wardrobe), four bathrooms, an indoor lounge, dining area, kitchen, private pool and terrace.
HiO Top Tips - travel to Morocco like a pro!
In any major city, it’s best to avoid wandering around quiet medina backstreets at night.
March to June and September to November are the best months for pleasant, warm weather; Morocco’s inland cities are best avoided in July and August when it’s blisteringly hot.
Moroccan cab drivers rarely “have change” when you need it. To avoid overpaying, keep your coins.
Be careful as a woman traveler - dress as conservatively as possible to avoid undue attention, and be aware of your surroundings!
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