Paul, "the gregarious vaulter" (a former French pole vault athlete) and his mother, Agnes, "the sweet-fearless navigator" (she drove us to the market in Asni one day, requiring nerves of steel handling the "s" curved road as well as weaving between the flotilla of donkeys, mopeds, trucks and crowds of people) have created a wondrous haven in the Atlas mountains.
Taken over from a talented French architect, who originally built this 7 guest room retreat, with a flair for both the modern and understated kitsch, it is on a stunning piece of property with unmatched views of the Atlas Mtns. Paul and Agnes have now made it their own personal pride and joy. From the rooms and it's views to the swimming pool, terraces and gardens, Domaine Malika is a visual feast, as are the meals.
After a "country quiet" sleep and a generous morning breakfast of fresh orange juice, sublime yogurt and fruits, eggs and warm breads eaten under a canopy of olive trees my wife and I were ready for a hike.
We took the Berber villages hike Paul recommended and laid out for us on a map. Moderate in difficulty, this 2-3 hour partially paved, partially dirt road hike leads you up into and alongside a river valley footpath where you arrive upon the first of three Berber mountainside villages you encounter. This slightly rocky, uneven and sometimes stream riddled path is shared by the local Berber villagers as they pass by on their daily routines of managing their gardens, hauling market goods by donkey or collecting their children for lunch. In our times of doubt as to which was the correct path to stay on, with a smile we were happily guided in the right direction.
We marveled at how this millenniums old people continued to live in such direct contact with their natural surroundings. Each village, with the towering local mosque in view to help guide us, were greeted by the smiling residents in front of their red clay and stone homes (with the occasional rooftop satellite dish). The women, dressed in brightly colored outfits, were going about daily chores or inquisitively peering at us through the wrought iron windows from their well kept but rugged homes.
Between the Berber villages, the Atlas Mountain views and a to-die-for retreat with great hosts, good food, comfort and ultimate relaxation, mark the Domaine Malika as the next stop on your Moroccan to-do list.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Domaine Malika is a luxury guest house in the Al Haouz province boasting a wonderful setting in a valley in Ouirgane surrounded by pine forests and olive groves. This guest house offers a refined and friendly atmosphere where guests on holiday in Morocco will spend enjoyable moments in a relaxing and luxurious ambiance in a natural setting next to the Toubkal national park with views over the High Atlas mountains. ... more less
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