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Atlas Widan review: Experience the Moroccan art of living | Africa | Travel


Atlas Widan is set in tranquil, quiet surroundings beneath the distant view of the Atlas mountains (Image: Atlas Widan)

Atlas Widan adds an opulent and modern twist on what it describes as the “Moroccan art of living”

Highlights

  • Beautiful architecture and decor
  • Warm, friendly staff
  • Swimming pool and hot tub area
  • Locally sourced, seasonal menu
  • Stunning location beneath the Atlas Mountains 

Atlas Widan Review

Morocco is fast becoming a must-visit short-haul destination for UK customers, with an estimated 50 flights boasting around 9,000 seats per week from major airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways.

In the summer, temperatures reach a scorching average high of 37C, but it also makes for a fantastic winter sun getaway, with average highs in December reaching 20C. To top it off, the average flight time from London to Marrakech is just three hours and 30 minutes.

Atlas Widan takes these elements and adds an opulent and modern twist on what it describes as the “Moroccan art of living”. Expect subtle elegance with a splash of colour, mosaic tiles and beautiful Berber rugs.

The hotel didn’t have the easiest start to life, with its grand opening in February 2020 quickly overshadowed by the looming presence of the pandemic.

Despite this, hotel owner and General Secretary of the Regional Council of Tourism in Marrakech, Mustapha Amalik safely welcomed guests where possible throughout and Atlas Widan’s popularity has only been growing since.

From weddings to bat mitzvahs, couples’ holidays to family gatherings, the hotel caters to a far-reaching variety of guest needs, all set to the tranquil backdrop of the Atlas Mountains. And whether you’re looking for peace and quiet or a jam-packed adventure, the hotel is a fantastic base – with the colourful souks and thriving Médina just a 20-minute drive away.

Inside the bedroom at Atlas Widan

Though the room stays true to Moroccan heritage, modern comforts are provided (Image: Atlas Widan)

The Rooms

Rating: 4/5

Housed within the main Riad are eight suites, split between the ground and upper floor. The roomy Junior Suites, where we spent a stay, are perfect for solo travellers or couples. Tadelakt, a traditional Moroccan plaster made from limestone, creates the smooth curves of the room which run seamlessly from the Moorish arch surrounding the bed through to the bathroom sink and stunning teal bathtub.

Though the room stays true to Moroccan heritage, modern comforts are provided, including a sumptuous bathrobe and slippers, natural toiletries, a hair dryer, free WiFi and satellite television.

By day, the room is bright and airy, with golden sunlight flooding through the vast windows, and once the curtains are drawn it becomes an undisturbed haven for a restful night.

By day, the room is bright and airy, with golden sunlight flooding through the vast windows, and once the curtains are drawn it becomes an undisturbed haven for a restful night

The Premium Suites, located on the upper floor, come with two double beds perfect for families or groups. Guests can throw open the double doors each morning and step onto the terrace, where they will be greeted by views of the majestic snow-capped Atlas Mountains.

As well as the main Riad, Atlas Widan also provides private properties for guests seeking a little more space. Located in the gardens are the Douirias: ‘little houses’ which are separate spaces within a traditional Riad. Each small home spans an area of 36m2, and offers a large double bed, a bathroom with shower, a lounge area and a terrace with a private garden.

On a grander scale are the villas, luxurious two- and four-bedroom homes away from home, but with the round-the-clock service one would expect of a high-end hotel. Warm tones and stunning Moroccan design features run throughout, with the bright and spacious living room leading out to a private swimming pool and panoramic terrace area.

Bathroom in the suite at Atlas Widan

Bathrooms are complete with a turquoise bath tub, perfect for relaxing (Image: Atlas Widan)

The Spa

How does Atlas Widan compare to other luxury hotels?

Rating: 4/5

There’s also a heavy focus on relaxation here, and on days when you want to skip the sensory explosion of Marrakech, the spa is on hand to provide time-honoured cultural treatments.

Located in the basement of the hotel, the spa is a dark and sensual space, bathed in twinkling candlelight. The spa values Moroccan tradition and may feel more simple than those found in other luxury or chain hotels.

But simplicity does not mean a lack of quality. There is a modest list of treatments available, with the hammam serving as one of the spa’s main specialities, using a combination of black salt and steam to soften and nourish the skin.

On top of benefits for the skin, the treatment relaxes the mind and body, along with boosting the immune system by increasing circulation and opening pores to release toxins.

Guests can also indulge in a manicure and pedicure, before taking a dip in the bubbling hot tub.

Dining lounge at Atlas Widan

Meals can be enjoyed outdoors or in the indoor lounge (Image: Atlas Widan)

Dining and Drinking

Rating: 4/5

Dining at Atlas Widan is a cosy affair, with lounges connected to the main interior courtyard, as well as space to enjoy dinner with a view on the upper terrace.

The kitchen is open from breakfast until dinner, with a menu of freshly made dishes using entirely locally sourced ingredients.

As a result, the menu changes seasonally, shining a light on the unique flavours of Moroccan gastronomy found in dishes such as Harira soup, pumpkin tajine or honey-glazed poached pears.

Over breakfast, be sure to try some of the light, fluffy Moroccan pancakes along with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. The chef also works with local producers, incorporating regionally-mad olive oil, honey and jams.

Though dishes are pre-determined based on the season and produce available, the chef is able to make tweaks to accommodate for dietary requirements, including vegetarian and vegan diners.

However, the seasonal dishes do mean there isn’t the same diverse selection on offer that you might find at a larger hotel.

The hotel does not feature a dedicated bar area, though there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available to order from anywhere in the hotel, as well as a small selection of alcoholic beverages. 

Amenities

  • Restaurant
  • Lounge area
  • Spa
  • Swimming pool
  • Bookable transfers
  • Golf packages
  • Family-friendly

Location

Rating: 3.5/5

Atlas Widan is situated outside of the main hub of Marrakech, which means there isn’t a lot to do in the nearby vicinity unless you have transport.

Luckily, venturing beyond the complex is easy enough, with reception staff on hand to help book and arrange car transfers to and from the city, as well as other local tourist attractions.

Just a 23-minute car ride away is Jardin Majorelle, the one-hectare botanical garden created by French Orientalist artist Jacques Majorelle over the course of 40 years, starting in 1923.

The garden was later purchased by fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, and is conveniently located next door to the Yves Saint-Laurent museum. An explosion of colour and floral scents, the Jardin Majorelle provides a tranquil place to stroll beneath the sun-soaked leaves and inhale a moment of calm away from the busy city.

And any trip to Morocco is not complete without a trip to the buzzing souks. Rich in rainbow hues and filled to the brim with trinkets and treasures, the souks were traditionally an open-air market which has now grown to feature a wealth of goods from local artisans and craftspeople. The Médina and Souks are just a 26-minute drive away.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a peaceful holiday to lounge around and soak up the sunshine poolside, then the quiet surroundings are ideal.

The swimming pool area at Altas Widan

A stunning patio and pool area makes the perfect spot to soak up the Moroccan sunshine (Image: Atlas Widan)

Value For Money

Rating: 5/5

Rates vary depending on dates and demand, but on average, Junior Suites start from €180 (approximately £156) per night, Premium Suites start from €240 (£209) per night and Villas start from €600 (£523) per night. All room rates include breakfast.

Find rooms and book direct on the Atlas Widan website. Or, compare deals and prices for a stay at Atlas Widan with Booking.com or Hotels.com.

Final Verdict

Route de Ouarzazate
Marrakesh
Morocco

Telephone: +212 80 852 6925

Website: www.atlaswidan.com

Bathed in colour and dappled in sunlight, the stunning yellow Riad is surrounded by four hectares of lush gardens and greenery, providing a secluded haven.

The main courtyard centres around a trickling fountain, while a swimming pool nestled behind the Riad welcomes guests to cool off on sweltering summer days.

Though our December visit was a little chilly to brave a dip, Mustapha says he has hopes to heat the pool in future to allow for year-round swimming.

The curved pool loungers are a chic spot to soak in some vitamin D, and an adjacent pergola is a perfect spot for a shady lunch.

The hotel also offers a selection of authentic experiences, including a cooking class and a traditional Moroccan mint tea ceremony, all making use of the plants grown in the Atlas Widan gardens.

For guests looking to indulge in Marrakech’s traditional Riad experience, while benefitting from the tranquil surroundings only the countryside can offer, Atlas Widan is perfectly placed.




This story originally appeared on Express.co.uk

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