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The Big Six: Chic Moroccan retreats


Palais Namaskar, Marrakech

The newest pretender to the title of Marrakech's most luxurious hotel opened yesterday. Expect tranquil water features, imposing Moorish arches, views of the Atlas mountains and Balinese gardens. Interiors have an airy, opulent feel, with the 41 guest rooms ranging from spacious suites to villas with private pools and four-bedroom palaces. The hotel also features a spa with treatments using the cult beauty brand ILA. There's even a liveried private jet.

Palais Namaskar, Route de Bab Atlas 88/69, Marrakech (00 212 5 24 29 98 00; palaisnamaskar.com). Doubles start at €390, B&B.

Madada Mogador, Essaouira

The Madada Mogador is tucked just behind the historic, wave-bashed ramparts that encircle Essaouira. From the roof terrace, it offers panoramic views of the Unesco-listed medina and the city's long, sandy beach. Inside, the seven bedrooms, some with ocean views, are done in a spare, contemporary style. There's also a cookery school set within a former almond warehouse, where guests can learn the secrets of Moroccan cuisine with lessons that venture out to the local souks and fish market.

Madada Mogador, 5 rue Youssef El Fassi, Essaouira (00 212 5 24 47 55 12; madada.com). Doubles start at €120, including breakfast.

Nord-Pinus, Tangier

This exotic hotel perfectly reflects the bohemian allure of Tangier – once a favoured destination for Henri Matisse and Tennessee Williams. Set in a restored pasha's palace, with views across the Straits of Gibraltar, it has just six rooms, each decorated in an effortless blend of the traditional and the modern. The restaurant turns fresh fish from the local market and vegetables from the Rif mountains into tagines, soups and salads. The roof terrace is the place to soak up the sounds of live Moroccan music at night.

Nord-Pinus, Riad Sultan 11, Tangier (00 212 6 61 22 81 40; nord-pinustanger.com). Doubles start at €190, including breakfast.

Kasbah Bab, Ourika Valley

This rural retreat sits above the majestic Ourika Valley. Built from mud and clay using the traditional Berber method of pisé, it has 15 tasteful rooms, all with views of the Atlas peaks around. Guests can lounge by the pool, spend days hiking or visit local Berber villages with the hotel's guide.

Kasbah Bab, Tnine Ourika, Ourika (00 212 6 68 74 95 47; kasbahbabourika.com). Doubles from €150, B&B.

La Gazelle d'Or, Taroudant

Opened in the 1960s, La Gazelle d'Or is one of the country's timeless boltholes. The collection of 30 suites and cottages is scattered amid dreamy, verdant gardens awash with fragrant roses and citrus groves. There's also an organic farm that supplies the restaurant.

La Gazelle d'Or, Rte d'Amezgrou, Taroudant (00 212 5 28 85 20 39; gazelledor.com). Doubles, £490, half board.

The Selman, Marrakech

The designer behind La Mamounia strikes a stylish note once again at this new address, which opens on 1 May. Here, Jacques Garcia has envisaged lofty public spaces, with velvet fabrics, mosaics and ornate wood carvings. There will also be stables with Arab thoroughbreds for equine enthusiasts.

The Selman, Rte d'Amizmiz, Marrakech (00 212 5 24 45 96 00; selman-marrakech.com). Doubles from £341.