Guest Post: Kasbah Tamadot – being a guest of Sir Richard Branson
According to self-promotion, the Kasbah Tamadot is not a normal hotel, but more the Moroccan retreat for Sir Richard Branson. Not it was about to walk the talk and finding out if that’s true.
Beforehand it should be mentioned that the acquisition of the property by Sir Richard Branson goes back to the initiative of his mother Eve Branson. She fell in love with the Kasbah and had to take over responsibility of the adoption and surrounding villages, in return of the acquisition. Ever since she cares for the three surrounding villages and especially for the women working as craftsmen and giving their families a perspective.
Already being picked up at the airport left big expectations. Since we enjoyed the great service by Swiss Int. on the way from Zurich to Marrakech, we were expected and ushered to the VIP salon in the arrival area by an employee, after walking across the forefield of Marrakech Manera airport. Quickly a friendly airport employee checked our passports in order to accomplish entry. After about 10 minutes he came back and had already taken care of all the formalities without our support. Instead of lining up in a long queue we were convoyed by three employees through a separate VIP entrance to the baggage conveyor belt, where our luggage was already waiting. Consequently we sat hardly 20 minutes after arrival in our 4WD vehicle, which was well air-conditioned and equipped with enough cold water. It took us in about 60 minutes up to 1.300m meters high to the Atlas.
Arriving in Kasbah we were welcomed with a well-smelling cold cloth and immediately being taken into a lounge with lavish oriental chaiselounges, in which we were pleased to fill out the last two rows of the registration with our post address. In order to sweeten this unpleasant effort, we were supported with a glass of Champaign. Shortly later we were greeted by Kathryn, who exposed as a good soul, with an excellent sense for guest’s wishes.
After emptying the Champaign glasses we received a detailed tour through Kasbah Tamadot and reached our abode for the next three nights after 30 informative and impressive minutes: Room 54, which is a “Tented Berber Suite with plunge pool.”
The Kasbah Tamadot has 27 rooms and suites, whereof the suite in our category is the most exclusive, besides the master suite with three bedrooms and 25 meter pool. The suite itself comes with about 65 square meters living space, very tastefully arranged with a comfortable king size bed, an oriental seating area, desk in the living room, a dressing room and a fantastic bathroom.
The bathroom has a noble bathtub and rain shower, besides a double sink made of precious metal. Aside you find an extensive utility space for all kind of hygienic articles. The amenities come in form of high quality crucibles with incredibly well-smelling and -feeling products of regional production.
The 40 square meter big not accessible terrace offers two comfortable padded sunbeds and a 3×2 meter plungepool, besides a big dining table and padded chairs. Not to forget the stunning panorama on the valley to the feet of the Kasbah, the mountain chains surrounding and the Berber village on the other side of the ravine. This panorama changes during the day caused by the different sun insolation and presents itself in a dozen of different red and yellow shades.
More conveniences of the suit is an extensive and free of charge minibar, which contains a 375 ml bottle of Moroccan red wine, white wine and rosé. Furthermore there’s a big selection of softdrinks, beer and mineral water as much as you can drink. It’s being refilled on a daily basis and on hot summer days the water supply, which is quite enormous with 8 liters, is being complemented free of charge. Added up to that every guest, whether just staying for a week or a night, gets a traditional Moroccan Babouche. There is also a fresh inventory of fruit, depending on the season coming from the very own orchard, an excellent selection of tea for the traditional teapot and coffee from the Nespresso machine. Last but not least a selection of freshly roasted almonds and pistachios belongs to the basic equipment of our abode.
The accessible wardrobe contains more helpful utensils, such like a representative Kasbah Tamdot cloth bag for the pool utensils and comfy traditional wraps and fluffy blankets for cold hours and days. The comfortable king size bed featured bedding of highest quality, besides a nice selection of valuable cushions. The Bose iPod Radio played, whenever you enter the room, snuggly music from different artists. A well-integrated, and only available in the Berber Tented suites, TV and DVD player caters for short entertainment and offers movies from all eras in a library, preferably in English language. The suite has two air conditions, which quickly cool or heat up the tent construction at any time.
Insofar you haven’t booked on of the five Berber Tented suited with pool, or one of the four Berber Tented suites without pool (built just 18 months ago), or the Master Suite, a big surprise awaits you at arrival, because all other rooms and suites are unique in location, size and color. No premise equals another and as a little guideline it should be noted that mostly those rooms or suites with the biggest expanse carry the worst view and vice versa, even though this is a matter of perspective.
If the guest doesn’t really like the assigned room, the always friendly and attentive team will do everything to find another room or give an upgrade against payment. Based on the mostly mediate endowment and according to hotel and reviews in diverse forums, this is not a problem.
Certainly you should book the Berber Tented Suites and especially the Master Suite early in advance, since this category is extremely popular and was completely booked out during our stay in the first week of September.
For all of those, who prefer public places instead of private of the suites or rooms, the Kasbah Tamadot offers, besides a swimming pool with Jacuzzi for 30 people, a terrace restaurant and bar with library, comfortable lobby, business center with pc and lavishly big leather chairs and Reflection Pool with uncountable seating possibilities in the inner yard.
Cullinary the Kasbah spoils its’ guests with a great a la carte breakfast, which contains an excellent yoghurt, fresh fruit, traditional Moroccan bread types, breakfast Tadjien and egg dishes of all kinds. Furthermore they serve an attractive lunch offer at the pool terrace or optionally by the nimbly room service.
The daily changing 7 course menu, buffet and a la carte rotating evening offer is being served at different locations, depending on the weather. We had the pleasure to enjoy the international 7 course Tasting menu in romantic atmosphere at the Reflection pool on Saturday, the a la carte menu on the roof terrace on Sunday and the extensive Berber Buffet at the pool’s terrace on Monday. The culinary round trip continued after our departure on Wednesday with the a la carte menu, on Thursday with a Moroccan 7 course Tasting menu on the long tablet at the pool and a BBQ buffet on Friday. Due to elaborate and diversified culinary offer you won’t be bored during a longer stay.
With almost 120 always courteous employees the Kasbah comes to a guest/ employee ratio of 2:1 and so justifies the demanding price level. Simple Deluxe double rooms come at a moderate price of 600 EUR per night, including breakfast. Whereas a Berber Tented Suite with pool is about 1.200 EUR per night, including breakfast in a double occupancy, but it justifies this with a special experience indeed.
The optional bookable full pension, consisting of a free choice of the lunch and dinner menu, is calculated with realistic 80 EUR, but doesn’t suit late risers. Starters come in the lunch as well as dinner menu come by 10 EUR, main courses at about 20 EUR and dinner buffets as well as Tasting menus with 50-60 EUR. Drinks, except the strong, slightly bidder Moroccan mint tea, must be paid separately and come by 5 EUR for one liter of water, wine for about 25 EUR and a beer for 8 EUR. This is appropriate in terms of price and service. International wine pairings to the Tasting menus are also set in about 50 EUR.
The hotel offers an extensive selection of tours and activities, like quad and mountain bike tours, hiking with out without Mulie or horse, or even a balloon trip at morning sunrise. Prices vary between 15 EUR for a one hour Mulie trip and 350 EUR for a three day hiking tour on the 4.000 meters high mountains of north Africa.
In the hotel itself you have the option to visit the attractive SPA with indoor pool, a fitness center with panorama view and two tennis courts, as well as a Petenque place. SPA treatments come at around 100 EUR per hour to an international typical level.
For picking you up from Marrakech Menara airport the hotel charges about 90 EUR for the 60 minutes drive, or between 1.200 and 1.400 EUR for the 20 minutes helicopter flight. All these are one way per vehicle! After three nights in the Kasbah Tamadot one can conclude Sir Richard Branson and his team have walked the talk and not created a hotel with this beautiful place, but a holistic safe haven. Almost everything is perfect in this unique place of silence and relaxation.
Finally mentioned must be Sir Richard Branson, in order to buy the Kasbah from the prepossessor , had to buy a bulging antiquity warehouse. This lead to the whole building being stuffed with antiquities from Asia, including Indian elephants, Chinese dogs and Greek gods, which makes a nice and harmonious impression together with the Arabian flair on people.