Courtney Whitaker checks into Kasbah Tamadot, part of Richard Branson's Virgin Limited Edition collection, in Morocco's Atlas Mountains.
Location: The Kasbah is a pleasant and scenic one-hour drive from the hustle and heat of Marrakech.
Getting there: You'll be able to relax and admire the imposing High Atlas Mountains as your driver negotiates narrow, rocky gorges and colourful Berber villages. Keep the camera handy for historical wonders such as the ancient village of Azrou (The Rock), built from the burnt pink clay of the surrounding mountains. You'll also pass through the village of Asni, a short jaunt from the Kasbah, where there are weekly markets.
Check-in experience: The high Kasbah (fortress) walls of Tamadot (soft breeze) hide a peaceful oasis, where we are met with cold, scented towels and a glass of Moroccan gris (grey wine). Jamal is a welcoming host and takes us on a tour of the stunning property before we settle into our room.
Room: Atri (star). A deluxe suite with a separate living room, bathroom, bedroom and balcony. The suite is tastefully decorated using traditional Moroccan furniture and artworks, and thick, opulent drapes in deep turquoise and jewel tones. There is air-conditioning; a coffee machine and a minibar; the contents of which are complimentary. The balcony has two levels, one with a view out over to the village across from the hotel, Tansghart, and the upper level with two chairs and a view out over the swimming pool and the surrounding mountains. We felt pretty regal, perched here at one of the highest points in the hotel with a sunset cocktail. The beauty of this hotel is in the smallest touches; not a detail has been missed, including locally made, monogrammed leather babouches (Moroccan slippers) for each guest to use and take home.
Bed: Firm but comfortable king, with lush monogrammed linen and soft pillows, and a wooden headboard with intricate carved patterns.
Bathroom: Luxurious. The star of the room is the deep, green marble soaking tub, with two shower heads, including a rain shower. The vanity is also green marble, with a large sink and full-height mirror on the door. The height of the bath means it can be slightly precarious to enter it via a box step, but bath mats are provided for grip.
Toiletries: His and hers Le Sens de Marrakech products in Amber and Musk, in eco-friendly refillable glass bottles. Delicious.
Facilities: Three pools — two outdoor and one indoor, a spa and hammam, a gift shop, a library, tennis courts, table-tennis tables, a farm, a well-equipped gym, a restaurant, and the gorgeous Asmoun Lounge — a relaxing space in a Berber tent with a full balcony, bar, pool table and fireplace.
Food and drink: Breakfast is served on the pool bar terrace and is a la carte, with a glorious selection of typical Moroccan fare, such as Berber porridge, or Western classics, such as eggs benedict. Breakfast also comes with a tray of starter pastries, cakes and breads, with confit figs, locally made honey, and preserves. The Moroccan mint tea is a must to wash it all down. Lunch can be served poolside or in various locations around the hotel, also a la carte. A note in your room directs you towards the night's dinner location, which can be on the rooftop terrace, by the pool (with a weekly screening of Casablanca on a projector) or by the reflection pool.
We couldn't get enough of the Berber Feast on our first night — a selection of tagines, couscous and Moroccan salads. It was enough to feed an army, but we did our best.
Wi-Fi: Free and fast. Especially impressive given the remote location.
Noise: Only the call to prayer from the mosques of neighbouring villages. And occasional chatter from the resident ducks, peacocks, mules and donkeys.
Price: Rooms from $1064 per night; deluxe suite $1780 per night. Half and full board options available.
Extras: Richard Branson's mother, Eve, has worked tirelessly in this area to create the Eve Branson Foundation, which works with local villages to help young people learn craft skills. Many of their products can be purchased in an onsite boutique, with profits going to the creator of the piece, and their village.
Perfect for: Honeymooners or those looking to switch off from technology and reality in an exotic luxury setting.