Where to Stay in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Kasbah Bab Ourika sits atop Ourika Valley, guaranteeing spectacular views
Kasbah Bab Ourika sits atop Ourika Valley, guaranteeing spectacular views | Courtesy of Kasbah Bab Ourika / Expedia
Mandy Sinclair

Exploring the Atlas Mountains, just a few hours from Marrakech, provides a glimpse into Berber life. Whether you’re hiking Mount Toubkal or enjoying a romantic holiday lounging poolside, book one of these top Moroccan hotels with Culture Trip.

During spring and summer, many flock to the Atlas Mountains to hike Morocco’s highest peak, Toubkal, at 4,167m (13,671ft) above sea level. During winter, you can even ski at Oukaïmeden. Explore the remote valleys in the region, dotted with Berber villages, or head into the hills on a camel trek.

To experience this off-the-beaten-track side to Morocco, book Culture Trip’s six-day group adventure where you’ll get to hike the Atlas Mountains and stop off at a traditional Berber village.

1. Kasbah Bab Ourika


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Courtesy of Kasbah Bab Ourika / Expedia

Though situated just a 45-minute drive from Marrakech Menara Airport, the Kasbah Bab Ourika is gloriously remote. It sits at the top of the Ourika valley, looking out over hills, olive groves and, beyond them, the Atlas Mountains. There are 15 rooms in the main building and 12 (including two pool suites and a villa) in the gardens, all of which have unbroken views of the surrounding peaks and landscapes. The onsite restaurant specialises in Berber cuisine, and bookable experiences include camel trekking, guided hikes through Berber villages and tea-making lessons.

2. The Capaldi Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Luxury

The Capaldi
Courtesy of the Capaldi / Expedia

Tranquillity comes as standard at the Capaldi Hotel, a luxurious retreat that only admits kids over 12 years old. Stress-busting amenities include a spa with a marble hammam and relaxation rooms overlooking the mountains, two outdoor pools set in manicured gardens and a 24-person cinema with a well-stocked film library. For the best views, book a Superior Farmhouse suite, with its own roof terrace, or an Atlas room, which features Juliet balconies facing the Atlas range. French, Moroccan and Italian dishes are served at the sought-out restaurant.

3. Domaine Malika


Courtesy of Domaine Malika / Expedia

Domaine Malika is an eight-room lodge in the Berber village of Marigha, close to the Jbel Toubkal National Park. It’s a great base to immerse yourself in Berber culture, offering traditional dishes cooked with ingredients from the garden and orchard at the property. Guided expeditions (on foot, mule or horseback) to nearby settlements are popular and sometimes include lunch with the residents. Exfoliate with a clay body wrap (ghassoul) in the hammam, or unwind with a Maghreb-style massage in the soothing treatment room. Stays must be at least two nights.

4. Ecolodge Dar Itrane


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Courtesy of Ecolodge Dar Itrane / Expedia

Situated in the Bougmez Valley, a 4-hour drive east of Marrakech, Dar Itrane (which translates as “House of the Stars”) encourages you to learn about local history and customs. Head to the library, stocked with books on Berber mountain life. Read up, then join a guided hike of several days throughout the valley, sleep in bivouacs or typical cottages, sample regional cooking and summit the 4,070-metre (13,353ft) Ighil Mgoun, the third-highest peak in the Atlas range. If you fancy a solo hike, the lodge provides road books with detailed routes and itineraries.

5. L’Amandier


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Courtesy of L’Amandier / Expedia

Located in the Ouirgane Valley, just 45 minutes from Marrakesh, L’Amandier has views of the nearby mountains from its infinity pool, while the rooms benefit from breathtaking views of smaller peaks and red soil that covers the valley. With nothing but nature for miles, this is an ideal spot for those looking to escape city life. Start the day with a private yoga lesson before joining one of the hotel’s guided Berber treks with a picnic en-route.

6. Douar Samra

Independent Hotel

Douar Samra
Courtesy of Douar Samra / Booking.com

Perched in Toubkal National Park in the High Atlas Mountains, Douar Samra is a rustic, family-run retreat with a welcoming feel. Choose between one of four bedrooms in the main house, a mini garden suite or a treehouse. Its owner Jacqueline will welcome you, while Mina will cook up a traditional Berber feast for breakfast and dinner. Tech-addicts should ask for a room with electricity, some are only lit by candlelight. Douar Samra is the perfect base for hiking Mount Toubkal or short day treks through the local area. Return to a crackling log fire in the winter.

7. Kasbah Tamadot

Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel, Hotel

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Courtesy of Kasbah Tamadot / Expedia

Luxury meets nature at this boutique hotel featuring only 28 rooms and suites, many with their own private pools. Wander through the hotel grounds, and you may just be surprised by the surrounding beauty. After all, it was during a ballooning trip over the region that owner Sir Richard Branson purchased the kasbah. Gain a deeper understanding of the local culture during a unique excursion – hike with a local guide, take a mule trek through the Atlas Mountains, or head off to visit the Tin Mal Mosque, one of two mosques open for non-Muslims to visit in Morocco.

8. Touda Ecolodge


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Courtesy of Touda Ecolodge / Expedia

This little gem is one of the finest places to stay in the Aït Bougmez Valley. Just eight simple rooms make up the Touda Ecolodge, but it’s the community atmosphere that makes the hotel come alive. Sip mint tea by the fire, or get your hands dirty in the kitchen, and learn about Moroccan cooking. There’s also a traditional tadelakt hammam that you’re welcome to use. The hiking opportunities from here are endless – cross the mountain range that leads to Lake Izourar, or meet the local villagers closer to base.

9. Kasbah du Toubkal

Luxury, Eco-Lodge

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Courtesy of Kasbah du Toubkal / Expedia

With 360-degree views of the Atlas Mountains in the heart of Toubkal National Park, Kasbah du Toubkal is the perfect starting point for day treks or when returning from the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. Just to get to your room, it’s a 100-metre (328ft) climb uphill (don’t worry, there are mules on hand to carry your luggage). Each of the 15 rooms has a mountain view; larger groups should book the garden room with a kitchenette and private terrace.

Mark Nayler contributed additional reporting to this article.

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