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“Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!”
Review of Kasbah Bab Ourika

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Kasbah Bab Ourika
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Ourika
Certificate of Excellence
Austin, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!”
Reviewed December 29, 2012

The food was delicious and much of it is grown on the property. The management and staff are top-notch and someone is always available around the clock. The setting and views are spectacular. There is enough space inside and out that you can mingle with other guests if you like, but if you want to enjoy your solitude there are many lovely places to relax. We stayed for two days and I wish we had planned to stay a bit longer.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank ellen d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Doha, Qatar
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2012

We really enjoyed our short stay in Bab Ourika. The staff looked after us, and kept our wooden fire going in the evenings to fight off the cooler winter weather. There's little surrounding the hotel apart from a couple of small villages, but it's a great place to go for a wonder and take in the views.

The food on offer was limited (with only two main courses available) but ok, and wifi was just available in the main reception with a very slow connection. I dont think you can complain about this though, as it is great to escape the internet for a few days and catch up on some reading. Recommended for the end of a trip to wind down after travelling to Marakesh.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank ADFezzer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
59 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2012

Mohammed drove us from Marrakech through dozens of tiny villages. We arrived in the Ourika Valley when he nervously started to tell us the many reasons why going to the Kasbah Bab Ourika was a bad idea.

We parked outside a vast and ghastly rambling edifice in the valley floor with a spectacular view of the river and the mountains beyond. Here, he announced, was a very splendid alternative place for lunch. His father had helped build it. And it was at least 900 years old. And the food, he said, was going to be marvellous.

We toured the vast and empty tourist restaurant. Huge armies of staff scurried around painting, hosing down the stairs, varnishing walls and cleaning furiously. Floor upon floor of function rooms were piled high with overstuffed cushions, and each vast room smelled of very fresh paint. We were invited to admire the new bar. We ooo'd and ahhh'd, admired the new paintings and even had a ride in the elevator.

We told Mohammed that his choice was lovely but that we'd be going to the Kasbah Bab Ourika - with or without him. He sulked and got back into the car. My travelling companion wondered if we'd made the right decision. Tthere was silence in the car for a few tense moments

10 minutes later Mohammed veered off the main road and hurled the car down a dirt track through a very scruffy little village and then over a precarious bridge and on to an even smaller road. And then there was no road at all. There was still silence in the car. I leant forward and said to Mohammed that we hoped he wasn't too cross that we wanted to go to our place rather than his. He paused briefly as he negotiated a hairpin bend on a dirt track half way up the mountain and came clean. He had, he announced, considered telling us that Bab Ourika was closed today, but he'd changed his mind because we were ok people. Then the reason for his reluctance became clear.

In a cloud of dust and potholes and hairpin bends we crawled up the side of the mountain in first gear. Mohammed shrugged and as he negotiated a three point turn to get the car round the worst bend of the road said that it'd be ok, it would just mean that he'd have to clean the car this evening.

20 minutes later we pulled into the driveway of what can only be described as paradise. A vast building perched on the most felicitous promontory offered sweeping views of the surrounding hills. Bab Ourika is exquisite, courtyard upon courtyard leads out to a panoramic terrace with shady seating places and beyond a crystal pool, croquet lawn, gardens and more stepped terraces.

Delicious food was served with winning charm. A resident Maltese puppy bounced around people's legs demanding attention. The food was simple but delicious. The lamb meatball tagine was outstanding, served with a crisp Moroccan wine and the crumbly meringue for desert was dressed with herbs from the garden. The other guests had descended into a silent torpor lazing on the vast terrace sofas under artfully draped canvas sunshades.

If you come to Marrakech and only experience the old town and the small palatial riads in the medina without visiting the Atlas mountains, you're missing a trick. Morocco’s old town houses are introverted, tucked away behind their high walls and expensive wooden front doors. The life of a country kasbah retreat in the mountains is quite the opposite. It’s all about facing outwards and admiring the view and about breathing in the grandeur of the mountains. And this particular kasbah is the perfect complement to being lost in the Marrakech medina.

This wonderful place is built on traditional principles designed by Stephen Skinner an English architect in partnership with rammed-earth specialist Argus Hardy and French designer Romain Michel-Ménière. Between them they have embraced the organic, rural character of the kasbah and by using Berber rugs and textiles, as well as natural wall and floor finishes and contemporary cleverly sourced accents and furnishings, have created something quite spectacular, restrained, elegant and seductive perched on the edge of the valley.

Kasbah Bab Ourika seduces its visitors with the surrounding landscape, the cool courtyards filled with orange trees and blinding pink bougainvillea, the terracotta floors overlaid in thick wool rugs. There are ancient Berber chests, great brass candelabras, open fireplaces for long winter evenings, and a resounding sense that you've been welcomed into something that feels like Skinner's own private country estate where the air is crisp and fresh and rich with the smell of wild herbs.

Ourika valley perfection.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Boywithkite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vero Beach, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 15, 2012

What a great place. The rooms were comfortable with outstanding views, fireplaces and balconies. We watched the moon rise over the mountain range from our balcony. The management was incredible and available at all hours.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a fireplace (if you are not traveling during summer) and a balcony.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TravelPamVB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2012

We spent a week at the Kasbah as part of our honeymoon in November, having had it recommended to me by a colleague. First impressions are of course of the drive up the valley, which as the Mercedes taxi inched its way around potholes in the dirt road, left me wondering whether my colleague's concept of luxury is rather different from mine. But I needn't have worried: the hotel itself, perched on the hilltop (in fact together with its extensive terraced gardens it occupies the entire hilltop), is an oasis of luxury among these poor but friendly Berber villages.

It is not a large hotel, so the staff are soon familiar with all their guests. The manager, Amanda, was particularly helpful, organising a few excursions and providing some postcards and stamps for me. (The hotel doesn't have a shop as such, but there are few locally produced craft items that can be purchased from reception. I'd advise anyone visiting Marrakech as well to do their shopping in the city).

It's hard to overstate the beauty of the hotel's terrace and gardens and the spectacular views which it enjoys in both directions: on one side the Ourika Valley drops away and the Ourika river winds its way past several villages; on the other side of the hotel is a parched canyon of red earth like a Martian landscape plus a little vegetation. The verdant gardens of the hotel itself are all the more striking by comparison.

Dinner is served from 7:30pm but at the time of our visit it was dark by 6pm so I would advise taking a good book or cards or something to fill this time. There Kasbah provides one or two games, including Backgammon. Another reviewer has mentioned the chicken at dinner being "as dry as weetabix" and I'd have to agree with that, however I'd also say that that was the exception in what was otherwise excellent food. We especially enjoyed the beef tagine with quince and the smoked salmon pate starter.

Finally, a few small negatives:
1) The bed in our room was large but not very comfortable - the mattress seemed to have lost its spring, at least on my side of the bed.
2) There was only 1 choice of wine by the glass (of each colour). In fact I enjoyed these wines, particularly the red (a Moroccan one called 'Sahari'), but still, more choice would have been nice.
3) The pool is unheated. This was just about okay for me, but not for my wife.

All in all we had a wonderful stay and would definitely recommend the Kasbah to friends and family.

Room Tip: We had room no.7 which is a standard room but seems to be the best room on the side of the hotel ov...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank hcday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 26, 2012

After 3 nights in Marrakech Kashah Bad Ourika was just what we needed.
Only 45mins from Marrakech with amazing views, great food and a very chilly swimming pool!
Room 7 was exactly what we wished for, with a very large bath room and bath, views of the mountains and a log fire (which was needed at night!) Perfect end to a great holiday.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BritishTourist88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2012

We stayed here in November after 3 nights at a riad in Marrakech. The contrast was amazing. Surrounded by beauty and instilling an instant sense of calm, all the stress of Marrakech melted away. We had room 7 at the back of the hotel and although we could see the outdoor dining area there was never any noise. The kasbah felt safe. We didnt lock our room (there is a safe in the room). The weather was unexpectedly hot so the pool was welcome. Food was amazing; E20 a head for dinner. The house rose wine was E14 and very drinkable. We did the forest trek which took 4 hours and was quite tough in the heat but a great experience, our guide was great and there is no way you could take a trek without a guide ( no public footpaths here!)
I couldn't fault this place, I don't often return to the same place twice but I would definitely go back to Kasbah bab Ourika.

Room Tip: Room 7 is a deluxe double room. It has a large bed / 2 singles, a huge bathroom with separate shower...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SazzleJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kasbah Bab Ourika

Property: Kasbah Bab Ourika
Address: Tnine Ourika, Ourika, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Ourika
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Ourika
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Kasbah Bab Ourika 4*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bab Ourika perches majestically on a hilltop at the apex of the Ourika Valley, guarding the gateway to the snow-capped Atlas Mountains – yet it is only 45 minutes from Marrakech’s International airport. With 360 degree panoramic views, this innovative new hotel receives warm sunlight all day, ending in spectacular sunsets. From its unique eyrie-like position it offers a birds eye view of the Atlas, of traditional Berber villages and of the lush river valley below. The Kasbah is one of the most eco-friendly hotels in Morocco; constructed principally from rammed earth, the traditional Berber building technique, it seems almost to have grown out of the rocks beneath. The thick walls provide such good insulation that air-conditioning is unnecessary. Solar panels provide hot water for the hotel and and the underfloor heating in the dining and bar area. Soon a biodigester will provide electricity and compost not only for the hotel but also for the village below. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
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