Have you ever considered Ouarzazate, with its lush oases and desert landscapes? To experience a change of scenery and play the role of desert prince and princess, you don’t need to travel thousands of kilometers. Eco lodges, luxury tents, secluded havens – here are our four favorite spots on the doorstep of the Sahara.

While Dakhla has become an essential destination in the Moroccan deep south, our team has also fallen for the charm of Ouarzazate. Regarded as the gateway to the Sahara, its name, meaning “the city without noise” in Amazigh, it is a true wonder for the eyes and the soul. Located 193 kilometers from Marrakech, south of the High Atlas, the city and its surroundings perfectly embody the idea of a “journey to the end of the world”. Desert landscapes, verdant valleys, waterfalls, and ancient kasbahs, not to mention its famous film studios, Ouarzazate delights everyone from relaxation enthusiasts to hiking aficionados. In recent years, Ouarzazate has become home to numerous rather chic and exclusive spots, shielded from the urban hustle and bustle. Here are our four recommendations for an idyllic retreat under the palm trees.

How to Get There? By plane. In July, August, and September, there are 7 flights per week between Casablanca and Ouarzazate, costing around 800 MAD for a round trip. Don’t hesitate to inquire about airport transfers to and from your accommodation.

The Most Heavenly: L’Ma Lodge in Skoura  Ouarzazate

“There are places where you enter and never want to leave. L’Ma Lodge is one of those places…” This statement perfectly captures the effect of this little piece of Heaven, nestled in one of the most beautiful palm groves in the region, 36 km from Ouarzazate. Originally a football field and abandoned land, it has been transformed into a lush garden surrounding a charming Kasbah-style guesthouse. A genuine bohemian-chic cocoon, complete with a splendid pool – a true delight in the summer!

What we particularly appreciate is the cozy and family-friendly atmosphere, which includes siestas in the shade of olive trees, massages, and rounds of pétanque for the adults, and play areas (trampoline, cabin, slide), and visits with the park’s animals for the kids.

In terms of cuisine, indulge in a refined, exclusively organic, and authentically Moroccan menu. The herbs are from the garden, while other products come directly from the local market. The rooms and suites (ultra-contemporary and comfortable) are quiet and are secluded within the riad. The cherry on top? A panoramic rooftop to admire the sky and catch a few shooting stars.

Price: Room (1 or 2 persons) with breakfast, 115 euros per night. Suite (1 or 2 persons) with breakfast, 165 euros per night. For 3 consecutive nights, there’s a 10% discount for rooms with breakfast.

L’Ma Lodge
Skoura Palm Grove, Ouarzazate Province
Tel. +212 666 647 908 / +212 808 57 72 21 / +212 672 482 246

The Most Chic: Dar Ahlam in Skoura           

The name of this establishment says it all. Dar Ahlam, the “House of Dreams,” is a high-end hotel nestled at the heart of a traditional Kasbah in the Skoura palm grove, 45 minutes east of Ouarzazate. More than just a place to stay, it promises “life experiences.” It offers 14 Berber-chic suites, along with an expansive garden with a heated pool, perfect for lounging in the shade of almond trees in the afternoon.

Here, there’s no reception, and while WiFi is available, there are no phones or TVs in the rooms either. Leave your watch behind and let the ambiance of the place carry you away. Elegant traditional decor, brick floors, adobe walls, and wide-open spaces – this refuge for sophisticated nomads reveals flower-filled gardens created by Louis Benech, the designer of the Tuileries Garden in Paris. It also features a hammam, a massage room, and a cozy rooftop for admiring the Atlas Mountains.

When it comes to food, meals are tailored to the day’s inspirations and the desired time, offering personalized menus that promise to tantalize gourmets. The recipes are developed by renowned chefs like Pierre Hermé, for the sweet, and his wife, Frédérick Grasser-Hermé, a successful cookbook author, for the savory. So, it’s impossible not to be tempted. Excursion enthusiasts aren’t left behind either. The establishment offers custom outings with dedicated guides, such as visiting the Valley of Roses, having lunch in a tent by Lake Ouarzazate, or enjoying a twilight tea in a Berber village, among others. But we won’t say any more; that would spoil the surprise. In short, if you want to experience the exoticism of the Moroccan deep south with a service akin to the grandest palaces, this is a priceless stop.

Price: All-inclusive packages starting from 13,750 MAD per night for two persons.
Dar Ahlam
Skoura Palm Grove, Ouarzazate Province
Tel. +212 524 852 239


The Most Unique: Umnya Desert Camp on the Brink of the Sahara

If “Umnya” means “wish” in Arabic, it’s because this luxury camp is set in the heart of the Erg Chegaga, a globally recognized spot for stargazing and – hold your breath – meteor showers every October and November. Granted, this spot is a little over 5 hours away from Ouarzazate, but it’s well worth the journey!

The tents, comfortable with private bathrooms and high-quality bedding, are pitched on the dunes. There is definitely no risk of disturbance from neighbors; each camp is nestled in its own dune, offering absolute privacy for experiencing the desert’s beauty like a local. You wake up with sand beneath your feet, and your plates are filled with a blend of traditional Moroccan flavors, including 80% vegetarian dishes. To fully immerse yourself in the experience, try out the (many) activities the camp offers.

On the agenda are nomadic excursions, sandboarding (gliding down the dunes), as well as yoga and meditation sessions, sunrise camel rides, quad biking, and even cooking classes. The most motivated guests can enjoy retreats and themed stays with experienced guides. Whether it’s yoga and meditation, golf on the dunes, or an astrology weekend, it’s all based on individual preferences. Our wish? To go there — and very soon.

Price: Nightly rates starting from 1500 MAD on full board basis.
Umnya Desert Camp
Erg Chegaga, Sahara, Mhamid El Rhozlane, Ouarzazate.
Tel. +212 600 666 616

The Most Natural: Hara Oasis in Agdz                          Ouarzazate

In the Draa Valley, 70 km from Ouarzazate, this eco-lodge with a natural spirit and a laid-back ambiance is nestled in the “world’s largest palm grove.” It is a hidden oasis that reveals itself by the riverside and the ruins of the ghost town of El Hara. Please note: to access it, you need to leave your vehicle behind and walk a few minutes accompanied by Congo, the establishment’s donkey and mascot, who carries the luggage. Once you arrive, you’ll discover 14 bungalows with simple and locally-inspired decor, perfectly integrated into the landscape. Want to take a dip? It’ll be in the natural pools of the river below. You’ll be lulled by the murmur of water and the chirping of birds, creating a moment of total relaxation.

In the evening, candlelight reveals the vastness of the moonlit sky, where you can enjoy local-inspired meals. In short, a no-frills refuge for city dwellers on the brink of burnout. And for those who can’t sit still, the place offers numerous organized walks on thematic routes: earthen architecture, volcanic mountains, cave art… While you trek alongside your guide, you’ll take in the vast and wild view. Incidentally, while we definitely advise you to leave your  smartphone behind, we highly recommend you do bring sturdy walking shoes. 

Price: Double room with breakfast included at 700 MAD per night.
Hara Oasis
Hart Chaou, Tansift Commune, Agdz, Zagora
Tel. +212 661 743 710

Picture (c) : Lma Lodge

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