by Alex Longmore
Earlier this year I had the good fortune, while perusing Instagram to come across the delightful Berber Lodge situated just outside of Marrakesh in a small village called Oumnas, right at the foothills of The Atlas Mountains. Positioned so near, you can see the snow capped peaks nestled in the distance from every room at the lodge. Wary of booking anything through the portrayal of Instagram I was slightly sceptical. I hadn’t needed to be! It’s a whole lot more and then some than it seems on social media and the hotel’s website.
It is stylish beyond, super relaxing, exquisitely executed from a design perspective and has the most comfortable beds known to man – one day it rained so hard that I literally read Nadia Murad’s book, The Last Girl, all day from my boudoir only to surface for lunch, so I know just how comfortable they really are. The food is beyond delicious, the pool huge, the positioning just great – super near Marrakesh that you can zoom in and out via car but far away enough from the hectic life of the city so you can really relax and fully immerse yourself in nature. I absolutely fell in love with the place and will be back to visit as soon as the balmy heat of the Moroccan summer subsides and I can get back to this oasis of tranquility. There is something very special about The Berber Lodge, it is in fact, pure magic.
THE LOW DOWN
Who, What, When and Why? Designed and run by the French/Swiss designer and decorator Romain Michel Meniere, a hugely talented and established designer in Morocco… The Berber Lodge is his complete vision and he has renovated it to incorporate traditional Berber characteristics mixed with European influence. The Berber Lodge is a small hotel with 9 suites and is situated twenty minutes outside Marrakesh. Meniere wanted to fuse together his passion for entertaining and his love of design so that guests feel like they are staying at a private home rather than visiting a soulless hotel.
THE ROOMS Spacious, all with super sized king beds. Each bedroom is a generous suite with living quarters and a large bathroom. They all have open fires, which is just bliss once the temperature drops at night. Nothing better than drifting to sleep with a log crackling in the hearth. No room service, its a home from home so it’s about everything being served in the dining room – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Beautiful terracotta coloured walls and floor tiles give the rooms a calming quality and traditional moroccan artisans work can be seen in the rugs scattered across the floor and the rattan work used for the headboards and furniture. The bathrooms all have deep baths, handmade stone sinks and naked pendant light fittings.
THE FOOD It’s utterly delicious, like mouth watering. What you see is what you get, there is one menu for all and it changes daily. Tagine’s are The Berber Lodge thing and they are inventive and of course scrumptious. I am still trying to emulate their honey, chicken and sesame seed dish I ate there. The dining room is as stylish as the rest of The Berber Lodge, look up from your plate to the ceiling for a complete treat. A big fan of the ceramics in Morocco I just loved the Tamegroute green tableware. I wanted to put the whole lot in my suitcase and take it home with me. I predict a cookery book might be the next stylish fete on the menu for The Berber Lodge, I really hope so.
GUESTS A total mix, some uber chic Parisians, lovely English folk, we talked Brexit fatigue and lot’s of other Europeans. When I asked how they had heard about the place, the unanimous cry was ‘Instagram’ but I promise you it’s not a selfies stick kind of place. The lodge is sprawling so you don’t really see many other guests. Everywhere is quiet and relaxing.
THE GROUNDS A huge pool, comfortable sun loungers complete with your very own straw sun hat, waiter service set in a beautiful olive grove. The land is next to a working farm, when I was there there were lambs grazing in the next door field. An organic vegetable garden, huge cacti and each room has its very own terrace.
THE STAFF Delightful. Romaine is a character and very welcoming. His kind and accommodating assistant went into Marrakesh after her work had finished to buy me another suitcase for all the tat I had bought! Not high maintenance at all! Nothing is too much for the staff at Berber Lodge and they should be praised for this.
All the interior and exterior photos I shot on my phone. Here is how to get The Berber Lodge look in your home…
– Article by Alex Longmore