High Atlas Mountains camps - Residence de la Roseraie

Residence de la Roseraie

La Roseraie’s greatest days may be a decade ago when it was THE, and only, place to be, but there is still plenty of reason to come here. Maybe by today’s standard it is a little rustic but to us that is it’s charm and when the gardens are in full bloom you can forgive it for not keeping up with the times. It has undoubtedly been superceded by the Shangri La that is Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot, but if that level of luxury is not what you are seeking then the Roseraie has much to offer.

Twenty-six hectares of meticulously tended gardens nestle in a valley beside the village of Ourigane, surprising at every turn with yet another secluded corner. Literally thousands of rose bushes (which flower from March to May), groves of olive trees, mature magnolias, pomegranate and quince bushes, giant aloe vera-lined paths and citrus orchards make up the mature gardens through which ochre coloured cottages are strewn. All of the 49 rooms and suites have their own private terraces or balconies, almost all having views of the mountains that ring the setting, and some sharing separate pools for their pod of suites. The most luxurious villa has its own private swimming pool and garden.

Along the lines of the best country clubs, the central pool is overlooked by a covered terrace opening off a bar and restaurant where fires burn in the colder months. The ambience created is very much that of the Roseraie, just a great place to hang out. An authentic Moroccan restaurant with low cushioned seating and elegant mosaic tiled fireplaces at either end of the room is open in the busier season.

If you are after a place where you can play tennis in the morning (two clay courts), lounge around the pool before lunch, take your siesta under the shade of a date palm and do it all again the next day with perhaps a village walk or ride then this place is eminently more suitable for you than those where you are expected to put on your walking boots. Trust us, the surrounding peaks can look perfectly wonderful viewed from the swimming pool.

The staff are attentive, mainly Berbers from the nearby village of Ourigane who have worked here for decades. They seem happy to go beyond the relatively limited menu choice (limited in the off season only) to suit your children. The management is rather hands off, so don’t expect to be courted at cocktails, but they can be found somewhere around reception.

Just over an hour’s drive from Marrakech, many people just pop in for lunch as part of a day in the mountains but it’s very deserving of a few days in the glorious early summer months of March to June when the gardens are at their finest, or in September-October when the intense summer heat has faded.

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