Morocco keeps giving more - FT how to spend it

28 Oct 2012

Max has a strong commitment to local communities (he is an Arabic speaker who has lived in Morocco for 12 years).

Morocco keeps giving more - FT how to spend it

MARCH 01 2012
SOPHY ROBERTS

In the 1980s, Chris Lawrence produced numerous fashion shoots in locations from Hawaii to Marrakech for the likes of Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh and Herb Ritts. He also established Best of Morocco, a UK-based tour operator. When he sold the company in 2005, Morocco lost a true one-off.

Now Max Lawrence – the former designer-owner of the popular Tigmi Tagadert hotel, 20 minutes outside Marrakech – has taken up his father’s mantle (with Chris as consultant) in a new specialist tour operation, Lawrence of Morocco (www.lawrenceofmorocco.com). Like Chris, Max has a strong commitment to local communities (he is an Arabic speaker who has lived in Morocco for 12 years). Itineraries include exploring the south of the country by light aircraft, stargazing from a new desert observatory hotel, Sahara Sky (www.saharasky.com), trekking in the Atlas mountains and surfing in Oualidia (second picture).

This makes a change from the obvious luxuries of Marrakech, which is now at a tipping point, so conspicuous is the presence of the five-star mega-brands, which, in April, will include the new Taj Palmeraie (www.tajhotels.com; first picture; from $700), 15 minutes outside the city walls. Taj will be going head-to-head with the recently arrived Four Seasons Marrakech (www.fourseasons.com/marrakech; from €369) – the gardens need to develop to give this hotel some much-needed spirit.

Testimonials

Client review Toubkal foothills Atlas mountains

Trek in Atlas foothills.

Dear Max,

Thank you for organising our trek/trip.  It was fabulous and all went seamlessly.  The hotel was kind enough to give us a room upgrade and a late check out, so all good there too.

We would love to do one again next year.  If we were to be really critical, we were disappointed not ...

C. Hay

Nearby older Berber women in brilliantly coloured skirts were already hard at work, picking mounds of animal feed.

Freelance travel writer, Fiona Dunlop, travelled to Southern Morocco with Lawrence of Morocco in April 2013, writing for the Independent.

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We know Morocco intimately

Max Lawrence - MD Lawrence of Morocco

When travelling around Morocco it is not (contrary to common belief) necessary for women to ‘cover up’ out of respect for local modesty traditions. Morocco is a very mixed society with Moroccans who dress as westerners and more traditional families dressing in a more traditional way.

The only areas of the country where it is advisable for women to cover up their legs and shoulders would be in some parts of the High Atlas Mountains (very remote areas) where the locals are rarely visited by foreigners. It is highly unlikely that you will be visiting these areas on any holiday arranged by Lawrence of Morocco.

Max Lawrence, Owner

First travelled to Morocco in 1986. Lived and worked in Marrakech for 12 years.