Only 45 minutes from Marrakech, Bab Ourika receives warm sunlight all day, ending in spectacular sunsets. Guests can relax in individually decorated rooms with their own terraces or unwind by the secluded swimming pool.
This kasbah (fortress) is only 45 minutes from Marrakech. But, having swapped the frenetic, raucous souks for these gape-inducing views across the Ourika Valley and Atlas Mountains, you’ll wonder if the city even existed at all. Up on its romantic hilltop throne and bathed in sunlight all day, Bab Ourika is a exercise in serenity. The vistas are of red rocks and orange trees; of ochre-coloured hamlets and Berbers pummelling olive trees. Further off, green cedes to yellow and the Sahara begins. Eventually there’s a spectacular sunset, and then an endless blanket of stars takes over.
The 15 individually-decorated rooms have earthy textiles, local wooden furniture and famously comfy beds. Most have their own terrace, too. The four categories range from Superior Rooms up to Deluxe Suites (one with a pool) which suit larger groups.
Making full use of one of Morocco’s finest vegetable patches plus produce from nearby villages, Bab Ourika’s chef offers both Moroccan and international cuisine. The menu changes daily, and even breakfast is brilliant – particularly those spicy Berber omelettes. Meals can be served in the terraced gardens, the courtyard or the colonnaded restaurant. There’s also a secluded swimming pool and Wi-Fi.
MORE INFO: Exploring the valley is a must. As well as easy walks and scenic picnics, Bab Ourika can arrange various mule-supported treks, including to the remote Salt National Park. The Monday market at nearby Tnine Ourika is also well worth seeing.
From Douglas who stayed here in May 2014
We then went to our second location at Bab Ourika and again everyone there was very friendly and professional and the greeting with an offer of fresh lemonade or mint tea was very nice and welcoming. The location is fabulous with the lovely garden and we had an upgrade to a pool suite (Room 18 – again!) which was a bonus and a very pleasant surprise. Meals were delightful and very good quality and the New Zealand manager, Amanda, was very welcoming and helpful. We had a lovely and very knowledgeable guide, Hassan, to lead us on our walk into the immediate foothills and to a local village and were out with him for 5 hours – all very enjoyable although it was getting very hot by then so ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’ came to mind, but we survived!
The only real drawback to Bab Ourika is that we felt there were not enough loungers/sun-beds around the pool, which got a bit crowded as the temperatures were rising to high 30s, and we thought that some more beds dotted around the gardens would be a good idea to avoid the feeling that ‘everyone was on top of one another’. So what we are saying is that more use could be made of the gardens to avoid over-crowding of the pool area as a way of retaining the overall tranquility of the place. We also felt that our bedroom – although generally of a high standard – let itself down with fitments which could be updated, in particular a chest of drawers with handles that fell off and windows and door fitments that are in urgent need of repair/upgrading. On our penultimate night there was a heavy storm and rain following the heat of the day, which resulted in a strong sewer smell in our bedroom lasting until the next morning which was very unpleasant (and we forgot to mention this on the hotel’s comment card, probably because everything else was so lovely).
From Christine Cubitt who stayed here in February 2014
Bab Ourika was a great starting point - Amanda has a legendary reputation and was a lovely host, her staff were fantastic, as were the gardens and food. We were a little disappointed with the 6 hour trek we had booked which was pretty slow and covered little ground but we appreciate that these activities are probably planned around the slowest common denominator. The picnic was wonderful (Amanda’s kitchen) in a beautiful location. We did some independent walking the following day which was more satisfying as we ventured onto higher ground to appreciate the views.
From Sally Wellman who stayed here in December 2013
Bab Ourika – lovely location, excellent staff – food 50-50. The lunches were all good – but half the evening meals were not. Other guests felt the same. As one of the other guests said – it needed tweeking a bit. We were upgraded to a bigger room – but it was very cold. We should have asked for extra blankets and a heater, but by the time we remembered (on our way to bed!) there was no one around.
From Jo E who stayed here in October 2013
We were all really taken with Bab Ourika and felt it was a very special place. Our walk that we did was excellent and again the Guide was really informative and friendly. The only slight downside was we felt that the food was slightly disappointing - we would have preferred a menu with more of a Moroccan twist and less European.
From Hugh G who stayed here in September 2013
Luxury and relaxation in a stunning setting...
From James N who stayed here in August 2013
Bab Ourika – was excellent, a special place. Couple of issues with the food are the only points of improvement – poached eggs for breakfast were inedible as they’d clearly been cooked in pure vinegar (or at lease with way to much vinegar in the water). In general the more western choices of food (Moroccan dishes were excellent) could have been a bit bolder on the flavours as they were a bit bland to our tastes. These minor points did not detract from the place though as we loved it. Used a guide, Hasan, for a guided walk – he was fantastic, a real gent.
From Sue C-W who stayed here in August 2013
Bab Ourika was a lovely start to our holiday - the views, the gardens, the food, the rooms and the staff were all amazing.
From John S who stayed here in May 2013
Bab Ourika was was a standout. It is special (the furniture, the style, how it is situated, the views, etc.) - and the staff made us feel special. We were given a superb suite (my suspicion is this is what was available - no complaints). The food was good but not superb, but this was as expected - it was good enough. I would go back in a heartbeat - it was especially nice following the trek.
From David P who stayed here in March 2013
Bab Ourika's setting was like nothing else. Great recommendations. They had decorated the bed and room with petals having obviously got wind that we were on honeymoon.
From Keith I who stayed here in March 2013
The welcome to and stay at Bab Ourika were outstanding - Amanda did a great job ( from her we have to let you know that they are finally working on the new road)
Rooms and food were great - a really nice way to relax and wind down
Amanda had organized a 3 to 4 hour trek for us which we really enjoyed - the guide was great – good English and the walk not too onerous .
Wait staff for dining were obviously local and service was basic which was OK - the food itself was good
From Charles D who stayed here in March 2013
The welcome and service at Bab Ourika was outstanding and made everything very easy; if one was in the hotel in the afternoon, people would drift past and ask if water or tea was required. The menu was also varied.
From Liz Silverman who stayed here in October 2012
We had the least expensive room here and it was very nice, plenty big enough – we were up in the turret so had a fantastic view all around us plus our own roof top terrace. Definitely recommend this room as also very quiet as well as very private up there. The bed was one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in. Again the food was good and staff generally very helpful. The Kasbah lovely inside and the gardens wonderful – fantastic location and very relaxing. We went on one guided walk via the Kasbah, unfortunately we did not have one of their normal in house guides as they were with other guests and our guide’s English wasn’t that great which was unfortunate. The hammam was excellent and very reasonable – definitely recommend anyone going to stay there to try it. Swimming pool not heated so way too cold to go in which was unfortunate.
Only possible down side for some people – could only get Wi-Fi if you sat in a certain area in the reception; no telephone in room so you needed to go on the hunt for staff if you needed anything and no TV in room (although I have to say none of these things bothered us).
From Camilla C-C who stayed here in September 2012
Finding Bab Ourika was very difficult in the dark. Noone had warned us about driving in the dark in Morocco and certainly not along an impossibly narrow track for 20 minutes - a double brandy was necessary upon arrival. The young Berber waiters were all smiles and said yes to every request even if they didn't understand a word that had been said. We enjoyed Bab Ourika tremendously although it was just a little like Faulty Towers at times - e.g chilled beet root soup on the lunch menu arrived hot!
From Rachel S who stayed here in September 2012
The setting for Bab Ourika is stunning. It’s a beautiful building with spectacular views and grounds, but somehow for us seemed a little soulless – almost a triumph of style over substance. The staff were very pleasant, but their English comprehension wasn’t the best, nor was their awareness of guests, so just getting a drink could be hard work on occasions. Breakfast and lunch were served on a lovely terrace, but the chairs were almost the most uncomfortable that I have ever encountered. Other guests grabbed cushions off nearby sofas to make sitting less of a chore. Dinner was served outside on the lower terrace – a beautiful idea, but lighting was insufficient to be able to see the food on the plates – other guests brought pocket torches to the tables. We could merely gather extra lanterns and use our imagination. Things just didn’t see to work as well as they should have done, but not though lack of effort from the staff. Again, the Kasbah would prefer not to take credit cards, and adds a supplement for their use.