Kasbah du Toubkal, Morocco

Kasbah du Toubkal, Imlil Asni Marrakech, Morocco

Kasbah du Toubkal may be just a few hours from Europe and 65km from Marrakech, but this serene sanctuary is a world apart from the hustle and bustle of city life. Perched on a rocky outcrop below Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa, with the delightfully ramshackle Berber village of Imlil spreading at its feet, the Kasbah exudes down-to-earth charm and comfort worthy of its original purpose as a summer palace.

The views are nothing short of spectacular – from our carpeted roof terrace, visitors look out on magnificent snow-dusted mountains, apple, citrus and walnut groves, stone-coloured hamlets of flat-roofed houses, waterfalls and deep ravines. It’s no wonder that Condé Nast Traveller named them “the best rooftop views in North Africa”.

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Walk through villages little changed for centuries

The pace of daily life at the Kasbah is leisurely, reflecting the tranquillity of the hotel’s surroundings. Getting there is part of the fun – a drive through the mountains from Marrakech, a short trek by foot or by mule, rewarded by a visit to the hammam/sauna or a glass of mint tea on the terrace.

The Kasbah’s décor, from its intricately carved wooden doors to its colourful handwoven rugs, is made by local craftsmen, just one of the ways in which we practise our philosophy of sustainability and community support. Whether you’re here to trek the majestic mountain slopes, or simply for a slice of peace and seclusion, the Kasbah’s warmth and beauty will linger with you long after you depart.

Accommodation

Kasbah du Toubkal is an extraordinary venture, the product of an imaginative Berber and European partnership. There is a shared belief that the beauty of the Toubkal National Park should be accessible to all who respect it. To this end the Kasbah has been transformed using traditional methods, from the 1937 home of a former caïd (a local baron) into an unprecedented haven, one that provides a variety of accommodation and event possibilities.

Kasbah du Toubkal has 14 en-suite rooms and 3 family/group rooms. There are a further 4 rooms available in the Azzaden Trekking Lodge that is about 5 hours walk away.

The rooms at the Kasbah are spread around the property. There are 5 Standard Rooms with showers rather than baths, 5 Deluxe Rooms with baths and private balconies and 2 Superior Rooms that are slightly smaller than the Deluxe Rooms.

There are 2 suites:
The Junior Suite consists of a lounge, study and bedroom with a 5-piece bathroom.
The Master Suite is about 100 sq m and the lounge has a 10m floor to ceiling glass wall and 2 balconies.

The two suites, plus a Superior Room, can be configured into a 3-bedroomed private house with total privacy.

Much of the Kasbah has underfloor heating and all of the bedrooms have great views with many having windows looking out to more than one aspect.

All rooms have fridges with complementary soft drinks, and also tea and coffee making facilities.

Rather than dressing gowns and slippers the Kasbah offers guests the opportunity of becoming honorary Berbers by providing djellabahs and babouches.

Facilities

The Kasbah does not serve alcohol in respect of the local Islamic traditions but adopts a ‘bring your own’ policy without corkage.

The bedrooms at the Kasbah are spread around the property.

In addition to the bedrooms, the Kasbah has a main dining room set in the centre of the old Kasbah, and off this are two small private dining rooms.

There is the Grand Salle which can act as a small conference room, a media/viewing room or as a yoga/dance studio. It has great views, underfloor heating and Wi-Fi.

There are two hammam/saunas (steam rooms) for guests to use, but this is not a spa service.

There is a well stocked library with W-Fi and a winter room with 360º views.

The Kasbah also has a shop selling local handicrafts.

Credit cards are taken.

The village of Imlil is a 10 to 15 minute walk down from the Kasbah.

Activities

As a mountain retreat, Kasbah du Toubkal is a place for relaxation and reflection. The life that can be observed in the surrounding Berber villages, gives guests a time to reflect on their own values and the meaning of progress. The Kasbah itself, when it was opened in 1995, was at the end of 17km dirt track and it had no electricity or telephones. Much of this has changed but local villages are still without many of the so called “modern conveniences” we take for granted.

In terms of formal activities, the main one is hill walking, hiking or trekking. Guests are offered a complementary 1-hour walk on the local paths with a member of the Kasbah team. For greater immersion into Berber culture, we recommend a half day or full day walking expedition escorted by a local English-speaking mountain guide. The full day expedition will consist of a mountain guide, a mule and muleteer, as well as a full picnic lunch.

Longer overnight treks to Kasbah du Toubkal’s remote trekking lodge is approximately a 5-hour walk away.

The base camp (Le Refuge du Toubkal) for the ascent of Jbel Toubkal, is a 5-hour trek from the Kasbah and rises 1400 metres to 3200 metres. The summit is 1000 metres higher and can be reached in 3 hours from the refuge. From the summit, the return to the Kasbah will take about 6 hours. Upon your arrival, take a well-deserved hammam/sauna.

Excursions to local markets, an adventure park with 1000m zip lines, the 12th century Tinmal mosque and the Tizi n’Test mountain pass are all close by. Shopping visits to Marrakech can also be easily arranged.

Location

Kasbah du Toubkal is located on a hilltop 1800m up in the High Atlas Mountains 60 kilometres by road from Marrakech and the city’s airport.

The road trip takes about 90 minutes starting with a 30-minute drive across the Haouz Plain where the impact of irrigation can clearly be seen. Then a rise up through the Moulay Brahim Gorges to the village of Asni.

A left-hand turn signposted ‘Imlil, 17km’ then takes you through the river valley and after about 20 miutes you arrive at Imlil.

The village reception for Kasbah du Toubkal is opposite the central car park where guests are welcomed and their luggage put onto a mule for the short walk up through the walnut groves to the front gate of the Kasbah.

Directions

60km from Marrakech. Follow the road out of Marrakech towards the Tizi n’Test Pass and Taroudant and just beyond the town of Asni turn left following the sign to Imlil (17km). Stop at the village car park and go to the Kasbah reception in the village who will arrange for luggage to be transferred by mule. Kasbah du Toubkal can arrange transfers from Marrakech or elsewhere in Morocco.

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