We decided to book Terres d'Amanar for a mountain retreat for 4 nights during our stay in Morocco (see Riad El Mansour, Marrakech and Paradis Plage, Agadir for my reviews). We were attracted to it for the outdoor activities, green policies and pledges to work with local Berber villagers. Plus it’s only a short car journey out of Marrakech.
It’s a fairly straight road to the main town of Tannahout, drive on another few kilometres and the dirt track road to Terres d'Amanar is clearly sign posted from the main road. The road climbs a couple of hundred feet above sea level and the scenery is stunning.
Terres d'Amanar is like driving into a huge ranch, the entrance is guarded by friendly security men. We checked in at reception and were shown to our Superior Lodge Room. Wow. The rooms were much larger than expected. A huge king size bed, ample storage and French windows leading out onto our private garden, there was a chameleon living in the flower bushes! Separate walk in shower and bathroom with nice touches such as freshly picked lavender and Moroccan toiletries. The living room was massive, a central Berber style day bed, large enough to fit 4 people, tea / coffee making facilities and French doors leading out into the private garden. The windows have traditional shutters covered in traditional Berber fabrics and the lighting is quite cool… I’ll leave that a surprise!
The lodge is set within beautifully maintained gardens and due to its elevated location, surrounded by stunning scenery, the Atlas Mountains back drop, Berber villages and lush green valleys.
The food was good, buffet breakfasts were served from the Berber tent that looks over a valley. Most scenic breakfast setting we’ve ever experienced. Omelettes, eggs, Berber pancakes, homemade breads, freshly squeezed orange juice to set you up for the day. Lunches were served from the café 5 minutes walk from the main lodges. Good selection of meat skewers, salads, breads, olives etc. Dinners were served from the Berber tent in the evening, buffet style and lots to choose from, something for everyone.
We could get cans of juice, bottles of water and ice cream during the day from the waiting staff or walk across to where the outdoor activities were held and purchase from the small café there. You don’t need any cash when you step inside Terres d'Amanar, we added everything to our room and it was very good value for money.
Our top highlight was definitely the outdoor facilities on offer. For an extra £21 each, we did Archery, Zip Lining, Acro Park (like an assault course through the tree tops) and Mountain Biking. I enjoyed walking around the perimeter of the ranch, lots of wild life and looking down into the valleys. I meet a couple of Moroccan farmers herding goats and a lovely Moroccan man singing his heart out on his donkey one day.
The Mountain Biking isn’t an easy ride or for the faint hearted. We set off at 8am in the morning, our guides drove us to the starting point 2600m up the side of a mountain. It’s a brilliant car journey, driving through typical Berber villages. There’s a lot of abject poverty within these areas, very humbling to see however the local people are very friendly. Lots of waving and ‘Bonjour’ en route! Be careful and take some a long sleeved top and trousers, perhaps some mountain biking gloves too. I made the mistake of going a wee bit too fast at the start and braking too hard too late….skint knees, hand and elbow! I’m an experienced biker but wee accidents do happen so best to take appropriate biking protection if that’s what you fancy doing on holiday.
After all of our adventurous escapades during the day, we would head down to the pool to relax out and chill out on the sun loungers.
The staff are friendly and we received good service. Any questions were answered and the staff always stopped by for a wee blether everyday. Terres d'Amanar is really peaceful away from the hustle and bustle of mad Marrakech, suitable for young adventurous couples and families. There’s a play park and trampoline for the youngers one (us adults couldn’t resist a jump on the trampoline on day!), farm animals and a couple of horses. All of which are looked after and facilities well maintained.
We drove the Tizi ‘n’ Test route over the Atlas Mountains to Agadir – a must if you have the time, the route is stunning!!!
Our only gripe was that there’s no air conditioning in the rooms. This made it quite uncomfortable to sleep at night. We ended up leaving the French doors open, only marginally cooler. We appreciate that this is an eco lodge and air con goes against these values. However, if there’s an eco friendly way to cool the rooms during the hot summer months I’m sure guests would appreciate it.
The hotel didn't respond to any of my email communications prior to arrival either, a tad annoying but not off putting.
It’s useful to have a French phrase book handy because English isn’t as widely spoken in the mountain areas compared to the Moroccan cities.