Morocco Imperial citis
Marrakesh, Essaouira and the High Atlas Mountains in luxury
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Private nomadic camp in the Sahara
- Privately guided tours
- Private transfers and airport meet and greet
- Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
At a glance
Explore three contrasting sides of Morocco on this luxurious seven-night journey, getting a privileged insight into the North African nation’s rich culture, history and modern face on privately guided tours, all while staying handpicked luxury riads and kasbahs.
Begin the ‘Ochre City’ of Marrakesh, where you’ll be shown around the old medina, a teeming labyrinth of medieval streets and alleys that have enthralled visitors for decades. Treat all your senses, especially your taste buds, at Djemaa el Fna’s food market, and visit grand palaces, bazaars, historic tombs and the gardens of Yves Saint Laurent.
Head to the coast to be cooled by the Atlantic breeze and two nights in the old port of Essaouira. Nicely laid back and touch bohemian, be guided around the city’s seaside medina, wander endless beaches and discover the beautiful countryside close by.
End at an opulent kasbah high the Atlas Mountains, with plenty of time to relax and take in the views along with a privately guided hike through rustic Berber villages and breathtaking landscape.
Example Trip Itinerary
VIP Meet and Greet
Private transfer to Marrakesh
Accommodation in Marrakesh
- 27 rooms and suites
- Two heated swimming pools
- Hamman and spa
- Cigar cellar
Behind a modest facade close to the Koutoubia Mosque and bustling Jemaa El Fna Square, what was once a grand private riad has been transformed into a sanctuary of a luxury hotel. The Villa des Orangers is an elegant place, with 27 rooms and suites arranged around three garden patios, fragrant with citrus tree accompanied by the sounds of songbirds and tricking fountains. Décor is palatial, with fine fabrics, intricate stuccowork, carved wood and antiques. Most of the rooms have their own balconies or terraces, with the ‘Private Riad’ enjoying two bedrooms, solarium, plunge pool and its own private entrance. A sparkling swimming pool sits at the heart of the property (a can be found on the rooftop overlooking second rooftop overlooking the Koutoubia and Atlas Mountains), next to which is the excellent Mediterranean restaurant. Other spots to relax include fire-warmed lounges, a cigar cellar, an impressive hammam and a spa.
- 28 rooms and suites
- Swimming pool
- Spa and sauna
Inside the walls of Marrakesh’s medina, across the road from the Saadian and short walk from the buzz of Jemaa El Fna square, La Sultana is an intimate luxury hotel made up of a five 19th century riads, each delicately resorted to retain its elegant charm and a palpable sense of history. Maze-like alleys ways lead to sprawling corridors, hidden chambers and peaceful courtyards. There are 28 rooms and suites, each uniquely designed but with a traditional theme of hand carved woods, rich fabrics, antique furniture, fireplaces and sculpted ceilings. La Sultana’s restaurant offers delicate Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine with tasting menus served in the cosy patio during the winter or up on the rooftop terrace with fabulous city views, as well as lighter lunches. Cooking classes are held every morning. There’s also a courtyard swimming pool and a sumptuous vaulted spa with two hammans, jacuzzi, sauna, baths, open air massage booths and a rich selection of natural local products.
- 54 villas
- Nine suites
- Three restaurants
- World-class spa
- Heated swimming pools
- Fitness centre
- Kids’ club
A short way south east of the bustling medina, the Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech is an understatedly opulent resort set nestled amid 20 hectares of olive groves and fragrant gardens centred around a serene series of ponds with the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. There are 54 expansive one- and two-bed villas, each with a heated pool, jacuzzi and open-air shower set within a private walled garden. Seven suites have rooftop plunge pools making the most of the views while two Infinity Pool Suites offer direct access to the spa. The design throughout them all is a calm blend of traditional Moroccan décor and elegant contemporary touches. Dining here is superb with three restaurants – traditional Moroccan cuisine with a contemporary twist at Mes’Lalla, al fresco, all-day dining at Pool Garden, fine Cantonese dishes and innovative at Ling Ling, and lighter bites and champagne at Le Salon Berbère. Of course you can also have food brought to your villa or suite at any hour. The spa is world class, drawing on the Mandarin’s Oriental heritage and Moroccan location to create a holistic oasis with two hammams, four private treatment rooms, heated pool, yoga studio and comprehensive fitness centre.
- 209 rooms and suites
- Four restaurants
- Five bars
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- Clay tennis court
- Organic garden
- Fitness centre
In an enviable location close to Marrakesh’s medina and Jemaa el Fna square, in the middle of beautiful royal gardens from which it takes its name, La Mamounia is an icon of luxury and Moroccan hospitality. For almost a century, the landmark hotel has attracted dignified clientele from around the globe, being a firm favourite of Winston Churchill (who has both a suite and bar named in his honour) and Hollywood stars, as well being where James Stewart and Doris Day stay in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’. While countless other luxury hotels have opened in Marrakesh since 1923, La Mamounia has confidently remained one of the finest establishments in the city with modern yet considerate updates under notable architects to its palatial Deco-Moroccan interiors, world class chefs and timeless service. There are 136 rooms, 71 suites and three private three-bedroom riads. The higher the floor, the better the view over the medina or gardens, especially from those with private balconies. The style is unashamedly Moroccan, with dazzling tiles, intricate stuccowork and sumptuous fabrics. Four acclaimed restaurants include the slightly formal Le Français, L’Italien and fabulous Le Marocain, each serving modern takes on national cuisine, as well as the relaxed Pool Pavilion, the spot for breakfast and lunch buffets as well as a famous Sunday brunch. There are also four bars and a pastry shop which sits the edge of the park. Another highlight here is the expansive spa, with traditional hammams, heated pool, and numerous booths to indulge in all-natural products made from Moroccan argon oil, ghassoul, saffron and more.
- 53 riad villas
- Three restaurants
- Three bars
- Fitness centre
On the eastern edge of Marrakesh’s historic medina, the Royal Mansour is a private enclave built for the king of Morocco that has set new standards for luxury in the city. There are no suites or rooms here. On arrival, you will be escorted through palatial Alhambra-inspired gardens to your private three-storey riad, one of 53 here. On the ground floor find a central courtyard, living room and bar. Bedrooms (one to four rooms) and bathrooms are on the first floor with a plunge pool and fireplace on a Bedouin tent shaded roof terrace overlooking the city. The larger riads also feature dining rooms, their own swimming pools, steam rooms and private hammam. Each are uniquely decorated and lavishly appointed with fine silks, contemporary art, intricate mosaic and stuccowork, and handmade furniture, a fine blend of tradition and modernity that was the work of some 1200 craftspeople. Service here is exemplary and discreet. Riads are assigned staff – two bedrooms or more will garner you a personal butler – who reach each residence via a network of underground tunnels, presenting fine meals and the like meaning you need never leave. A wonder through the rest of this exclusive mini-medina reveals it to be a true architectural masterpiece, with a large outdoor pool, tea lounge, library, art gallery and one of the finest hammam spas in the country. There are also three glamorous bars including a fumoir, and three fabulous restaurant; the relaxed La Table, and two fine dining options, one French and one Moroccan, overseen by three time Michelin star awarded chef Yannick Alléno. When you do venture out, the excellent concierge team can recommend the best souks, boutiques and galleries, or you can discover the old town by horse and carriage. Special excursions to the mountains and desert beyond can also be arranged.
With its rich atmosphere, fascinating history and rich Berber culture, the city of Marrakesh encapsulates what draws people from around the world to Morocco. Near one thousand year old red walls surround the historic medina, with monumental gates leading through to a warren of winding alleys. It’s here you’ll find Marrakesh’s vibrant souks, markets and artisan workshops selling fragrant spices, leather-ware, jewellery, Berber carpets, spices, fabrics, lamps, pottery and more. The centrepiece is Jemaa el-Fnaa, a bustling market place square that hosts storytellers, musicians and performers in what is an unforgettable nightly spectacle.
One the other side of the walls is the rest of the city, known as the Gueliz. The lavish El Badi, Bahia and Royal Palaces flank the kasbah, each wonderful examples of Berber design and craft. Also out here are wonderful gardens such as Yves Saint Lauren’s Jardin Majorelle and the sprawling Menara gardens set against the Atlas Mountains.
Meet your local guide and head to the magical medina of Marrakech. Reach the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa square to really feel the oriental wonders of this place. Your guide will awaken your five senses during this tour as you stop at the tastiest food stalls, visit olive and nut souks and sample local specialties. Moreover you will see various artists ranging from snake charmers to acrobats.
Your private guide will show you around some of Marrakesh’s historic highlights in the medina, the old fortified city which is ringed by some 19km (12 miles) of walls and monumental gates which date back to the 12th century. The entirety of the old town is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as narrow streets, riads and bazaars, the walls encompass grand palaces, gardens, mosques, bustling squares, tombs and museums including Bahia Palace, the Saadian tombs, the Medersa ben Youssef, and the ever-present Koutoubia Mosque, whose minaret will always help you to find the right direction.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé first visited Marrakech in 1966, quickly falling in love with the city; its vibrant colours, intricate decor and buzzing markets a constant source of inspiration. Upon learning that the 1930s gardens of French painter Jacques Majorelle were to be developed, the couple bought them and a grand private residence, the Villa Oasis.
The Jardin Majorelle was restored and opened to the public, becoming one of the most visited attractions in the city, a peaceful enclave on what is now the Rue Yves Saint Laurent. The couple also opened a museum dedicated to Berber art beside the garden. After Yves’ passing, his ashes were scattered here and a memorial built.
In 2017, a stunning new musuem dedicated to the couturier was opened next to the gardens as the first dedicated fashion museum in Africa. Inside the woven brickwork facade find permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, conservation archive, bookstore, cafe and library.
Private transfer to Essaouira
Before arriving in Essaouira, stop to visit the Val d’Argan organic vineyards, where some of the best Moroccan biodynamic wines are produced. Enjoy a short walk around the property and a wine tasting paired with lunch.
Accommodation in Essaouria
- 33 rooms and suites
- Two restaurants
- Two bars
- Rooftop swimming pool
- Hammam spa
The Heure Bleue Palais is the only Relais & Châteaux in Essaouria, a 19th century riad built into the medina walls that was lovingly renovated into a charming hotel in 2004. There are 33 rooms and suites arranged around a plant-filled courtyard, all traditional in style with a dash of colonial charm. Most suites also have fireplaces separating the bedrooms from the sitting areas. Dining options are varied, ranging from tapas and cocktails at Kemia to elegant Moroccan cuisine at the candle-lit Salon Oriental. Atop this is an impressive roof terrace with the open-air Terrace Grill, heated swimming pool and sun loungers enjoying panoramic views over the town and ocean. There’s also a fine bar in the plush English Lounge. Finally, as you’d expect from a hotel in region of essential oils and Argan, Heure Bleue Palais has a traditional Hammam and a range of wellness treatments available.
- 21 rooms and suites
- Roof terrace
- Bar and numerous dining spaces
- Sister villa with swimming pool
The Villa Maroc is a charming little riad formed from four 18th century houses in a fantastic location between the beach, harbour and the heart of the medina. Interiors are shabby-chic with whitewashed walls, a scattering of antiques and traditional tiled floors. There are 21 room and suites in all manner of shapes and sizes, including two family friendly apartments. Elsewhere in the slightly maze-like property you’ll find quiet spots to read, fire-warmed lounges, a bar, small spa and roof terrace with great views where light breakfasts are served. Traditional three-course dinners can be arranged as can barbecue lunches in the countryside at the property’s sister villa – Les Jardins de Villa Maroc – which also has a swimming pool and can be reached by shuttle.
Essaouira is a laid-back port town cooled by the vents alizés trade winds gently blowing in from the ocean on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Once known as Mogador, the town took its current name from the 18th century medina – ‘souira’ meaning small fortress – with crenelated walls enclosing a handful of palmed-lined avenues and connecting atmospheric alleys.
A mass of blue fishing boats undulate in the protected harbour whose catch can be found grilled on open air stands, while the planned streets of the medina contain restaurants, galleries, boutiques and an altogether more relaxed place to browse. Sandy beaches extend for miles out from either side of the town, swept by near perfect breezes drawing in wind and kite surfers from April to August. Inland there are a handful of more rural retreats, argan tree plantations and even vineyards to discover
Meet your local guide and enjoy a relaxed walk in the charming whitewashed medina, from the lively port, around the historic battlements and across narrow streets to learn about this charming city’s history and culture.
Meet your local English-speaking guide for the short drive to reach some of the most magnificent landscapes in the region. You will walk on a beach and spot some argan trees, leading up to the Sidi M’barek waterfalls. Here the nature will offer you a stunning show. At the end of morning, you will be welcomed by a family to taste traditional mint tea in pure tradition of the Moroccan hospitality.
High Atlas Mountains
Accommodation in High Atlas Mountains
- 15 rooms and suites
- 10 Berber Tents
- Three-bedroom Master Suite
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- Restaurant and bar
- Tennis courts
In the rugged foothills of the High Atlas Mountains, the Kasbah Tamadot – meaning soft breeze in Beber – is a stunning luxury retreat in a valley just an hour from the bustling Marrakesh. The expansive estate can be divided into four main areas. The original Kasbah building contains 15 original rooms, indoor pool, spa, library, tented Asmoun Lounge and a stunning courtyard reflection pool. Lovingly restored from what was once a crumbling fortress, the unique rooms feature a smattering of antiques, many with private balconies or terraces, and the best located for views of the valley and Atlas Mountains. Next to this is the fabulous heated outdoor swimming pool (ideal for winter dips), hot tub, amphitheatre, sundeck, gym, spa treatment room and a collection of fruit trees. On the other side of the pool, find the Master Suite, a miniature version of the main Kasbah with three bedrooms and a private pool, an ideal set up for families. Beyond this are extensive gardens, tennis courts and the 10 Berber Tents. Sitting on decking overlooking the valley below and mountains beyond. All are sumptuous and six have their own jacuzzi. The Kanoun Restaurant serves delicious local and international cuisine and, if the weather suits, you can dine al fresco by the pool or on the rooftop terrace. There’s also an intimate fireside bar where you can try the local Moroccan wines. This is a great place to simply relax after time in the city but there’s plenty on offer to keep you busy too. You can learn the secrets of Berber cooking with relaxed culinary classes, visit to the local craft houses in the neighbouring villages supported by the Eve Branson Foundation, trek along the river or up mountains on a range of trails or get acquainted with our resident mules, Peppermint, Peanut and Paprika, before a ride around the property. On warmer evenings Kasbah Tamadot hosts cinema nights where you can watch a selection of Moroccan inspired films in the open-air under the stars. Children of all ages are welcome and a range of activities can be tailored to suit each child.
- 26 rooms
- Outdoor swimming pools
- Extensive gardens
- Spa and hammam
The Kasbah Bab Ourika stands on a hill looking down on the Ourika Valley’s river, green fields and citrus groves, all framed by the snowy peaks of the Atlas Mountains. There are 26 beautiful rooms, each individually decorated in a way that blends traditional Berber architecture with vintage pieces and modern luxuries. Rooms are split between the main earthen building and the garden, including two pool suites, and all enjoy outstanding views A fabulous place to escape the energy of Marrakesh, relax in the extensive gardens, read in the fire-warmed lounge or watch the sun set from the infinity pool. Meals are served in the gardens or in the colonnaded restaurant by a chef who specialises in traditional Berber recipes as well as international cuisine. There’s also a spa and hammam, camel trekking, guided village walks, a number of hikes, mountain biking and more.
The Atlas Mountains are a rugged chain that span North Africa from the Atlantic coast through Algeria and Tunisia, an imposing barrier between the fertile Mediterranean coast from the vast Sahara Desert. The most dramatic section, the High Atlas, can be found in central Morocco, which also includes the tallest peak of Toubkal 4,167 metres (13,671 feet) which towers over the landscape due south of Marrakesh.
Roads follow green valleys dotted with mud-built Berber villages, up through forest and over winding passes then down to wadis and old caravan trading posts on the edge of the Sahara. It is a haven for hikers of all levels from spring through to autumn, whether following well worn trails or donning crampons to conquer jagged peaks. Snow falls from November to April – ski resorts can be found up here – and can last well into the summer on the north face of peaks.
There are some fabulous walks from your kasbah which can be tailor-made to suit your interests and you may find yourself walking through fields of olives, plums and the vegetable gardens of local villages, following rivers through valleys or embarking on more challenging mountain trails.
Private transfer to Marrakesh Menara Airport