Kasbah Tamadot Morocco
Kasbah Tamadot, set in the footlhills of the Atlas Mountains and only one hour’s drive from Marrakech is a very special place. Here the General Managers, Leesa and Kenton Jones, tell us more about it.
1. Tell us about the history of the hotel and surrounding area
Situated in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, this area is where the Berbers originate, the nearest village is Asni which is a gateway into the High Atlas Mountains. The area is renowned for farming, with produce often grown here destined for Marrakech. From the hotel you still see farmers working their land and boys tending to herds so the area still has its original charm and industry. Kasbah Tamadot was the former home of the late Italian interior design Luciano Tempo, who filled the property with the various treasures from his travels around India the Far East and Africa.
Sir Richard Branson, our boss, bought Kasbah Tamadot in 1998 after a Hot Air Ballooning expedition that brought his mother Eve to the area, after a visit to see the property and learning that Luciano was looking to sell and move to USA, Eve convinced Richard it would be the perfect to addition to his expanding collection of hotels (Virgin Limited Edition). Seven years later, Kasbah Tamadot opened in March 2005 and has become one of the most spectacular hotels in Morocco.
2. What sets your hotel apart from other hotels in the region?
Kasbah Tamadot is the only hotel in the Atlas Mountains that offers luxuriously appointed accommodation, resort style facilities, and high levels of service. We do not compete with the hotels and Riad's in Marrakech, because our setting is so different - guests come hear to relax, looking for some peace after the hustle and bustle of the souks of Marrakech.
We also ensure that we maintain a good relationship with the local Berbers by employing 95% of our staff from the surrounding villages, they are genuinely pleased that Kasbah Tamadot is near their village because of the opportunities it has brought. Our staff are naturally enthusiastic and offer genuine Berber Hospitality, which guests love! We have also instigated various projects in the community, such as refurbishing the school and donating pencils, crayons etc to the children. We have also worked with Eve Branson and Virgin Unite to create additional employment opportunities particularly for the local women, including a craft centre across the valley, then display and sell what they make in a Virgin Unite boutique.
3. Tell us something unique about your hotel
We have six Berber Tented Suites perched on the hillside overlooking the valley, which are very special. The inspiration came from the African Safari Tents, however at Kasbah Tamadot they are luxuriously appointed in a Moroccan style. Each suite is fully air conditioned and heated so are perfect year round, in winter we have heated rugs and blankets to make it extra snug, in the warmer months guests can cool off in the plunge pool on their large deck, the bathrooms feature roll top baths, and the suites have lots of lovely extras to ensure guests are comfortable...all in all they are very romantic!
4. What is your favourite thing about working at the hotel?
The wonderful Berber staff - they are so warm and friendly, nothing is too much trouble. Since the opening of Kasbah Tamadot they have taken it into their hearts and are responsible for the homely but professional feel Kasbah Tamadot is famous for.
5. Tell us about your chef's speciality dish
Lee Cowie our Executive head chef offers a wide range of cuisine, due to the limited venues surrounding the Kasbah Tamadot we need to satisfy every taste and therefore offer an exciting variety - Tasting menus, A la Carte, Berber buffets or Bar-B-Q’s… no consecutive evening being the same. Lee and his team have many specialities but one dish in particular is the deconstructed Beef pastilla. Here Lee takes a traditonal Pastilla recipe and concentrates on individual ingredients. New techniques’ and methods such as Sous Vide cooking are used to present our unique dish which includes a Truffle Anglaise and Almond dust and is served on our Modern Moroccan Tasting menu
6. What are the most popular activities for your guests?
Mule trekking with Mohammed is a definite highlight, at first guests are a little anxious but when you ride up through the mountains exploring the surrounding Berber villages you start to understand more about the locals and their way of life. It is a very magical experience, with incredible views and usually the first time guests have done it. Mohammed used to work for Luciano Tempo and worked for Kasbah Tamadot ever since, so he has lots of stories to tell. He may take guests to his, or one of his friends home for mint tea and bread - it is a real insight to a completely different world. After Mule trekking the Spa and Hammam are also incredibly popular, especially in the afternoon after a day lounging by the pool.
7. Have any particularly interesting or well-known guests stayed at your hotel?
All of our guests are interesting and many friendships are made here at Kasbah Tamadot, as for the well known guests it would be rude of me to advertise!
8. Do you personally have a favourite time of year at the hotel?
Every season has a different beauty; my personal favourite is early summer when the flowers are blooming and fruits just appearing we have the most amazing pathway lined with agapanthus. Kenton’s however is the winter, when the snow is capping the mountains and once the sun goes down late afternoon the fire baskets and fireplaces are lit making a cosy romantic scene!
View Cox & Kings' Kasbah Tamadot break. 6 Days/5 Nights costs from £1,295 per person including flights and transfers.