Mountain Views from Lavish Lakeside Oasis
In the High Atlas Mountains north of the Sahara Desert, winds whistle through dusty, scrub-covered crags. But down by the banks of the lake known as Bin el Ouidane, the arid breeze is mostly blocked by a valley, creating a sheltered environment for you to take in the deep blue water. Along this shoreline, the five-star Widiane Suites & Spa boasts a glittering oasis of its own—a broad, circular infinity pool that seems to meld with the lake below.
The hotel's castle-like façade hints at lavish interiors. The guest rooms each embody a different take on opulence, blended with designs from indigenous Berber culture. Classic rooms boast gilded brocade, satin cushions, and carved shutters, and deluxe and superior rooms add views of the lake and foothills beyond. It's the perfect setting for sampling the fruit basket and bottle of Moroccan wine that await in your room.
In a hotel chock-full of luxuries, the spa takes the cake. Within the carved hardwood and deep blue interiors of the spa, therapists perform treatments that fuse Thai, Balinese, and Turkish traditions. You'll get a 60-minute massage for two, followed by a traditional hammam ritual, which involves a relaxing sauna session and body scrub to wash away impurities and temporary tattoos.
Besides competitive lounging, the hotel organizes plenty of activities. Day trips to a hillside teahouse and to Canyon Thai, a restaurant perched above one of Bin el-Ouidane's many inlets, add a touch of romance to Moroccan vacations (included in honeymoon package). Alternatively, a one-hour cooking class (included in standard packages) will introduce you to local spices and familiarize you with Morocco's national dish, tagine, a blend of meats and veggies slowly cooked in cone-shaped earthenware.
Province d'Azilal, Morocco: Lakefront Valley in High Atlas Mountains
Tucked away in central Morocco's Berber country, the hotel is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Rare migratory birds soar above the crests, while below speedboats and jet skis zip across the sparkling surface of Bin el-Ouidane.
To the south, the High Atlas Mountains stretch across the middle of Morocco like a belt. The 11th-century citadel of Marrakech marks the western edge of the range, about a three-hour drive from the hotel. The bazaar known as the Marrakech Souk is a must-see. The sprawling market bustles with vendors selling spices, leather goods, and handicrafts, and camels tap-dancing for dirham, the local currency.