Seaside Side Trip
Located about two hours west of Marrakech on the Atlantic, the quiet port town of Essaouira (pronounced essa-wee-rah) offers one of Morocco’s loveliest combinations: a beautiful beach that’s a favourite of kite flyers and wind surfers; waters plied by fishermen in blue boats; a tiny, well-preserved medina (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and souk; dramatic rampart walls built on the cliffs, the waves crashing down below; and a funky, laid-back vibe courtesy of the many artists and craftspeople who call the charming seaside town home. It’s a backpackers haven, but a number of smart attractions entice the chic set to explore Essaouira’s many charms.
Tucked into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains just outside of Marrakech, the Oliveraie de Marigha farm is the closest place to the city for some of the best views of this part of Morocco. Grab a seat by the pool (and a cocktail, of course) and enjoy jaw-dropping panoramas of the snowy Atlas Mountains in the distance. When you’ve had your fill of the beautiful views, stay for a casual lunch at the restaurant, which uses produce grown on site.
Ask the Concierge to arrange a Land Rover excursion to the high peaks of the Atlas Mountains. You might visit the Berber village of Toulkein, which is well off the tourist track. There, you can experience traditional rustic life, as well as the Berber culture’s famed hospitality. Take Moroccan mint tea with locals, followed by a cooking course to learn how to make a fragrant tagine. After lunch and time spent enjoying the views of the unspoiled highlands of the Atlas, you’ll be returned to the Resort in time for dinner.
Morocco may be known for its artisan culture, but it’s also home to an up-and-coming wine industry. And the vintages—especially the whites—are quite good. At the rooftop Bleu d’Orange lounge, you can sample some of the best bottles the country has to offer. Arrive at dusk, when you can witness the sun setting over the Menara Gardens as musicians provide a live soundtrack to the perfect evening.