Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Kasbah Toubkal review

Glenn, Marcus, Ania and Agata had an absolutely splendid time at Kasbah Toubkal. The environment is clean and friendly. The food is plentiful, healthy and delicious. The staff goto every effort to pamper their guests. There are many walks and hikes to experience. They have slow but useful DSL speed Internet.

We would recommend this Kasbah to others. Within half an hour of arrival from Marrakech we looked at each other and declared ... why didn't we come here earlier?

Location Location

The Kasbah is about an hour taxi journey from Marrakech. It is next to the town of Imlil and s a quality building set in spectacular views

Other Guests
Many English speaking people, many relatively posh! This means on the one hand the sounds of civilised English, but conversely some guests were trying a little too hard to be sophisticated which might intimidate some people (not us of course!)

Breakfast was included in the price and dinner was 220 MADS per person per night. Not bad. There are no comparable restaurants in nearby Imlil and the decent looking one 4Km away was never attempted.

You have to bring this from Marrakech. It is not available in nearby Imlil. Also it is recommended to take the empty bottles with you so as not to offend devout Muslims who should not come into contact with alcohol.

The Kasbah can provide all the equipment you will need to scale Mount Toubkal including sleeping bags, hiking boots, winter gloves, crampons, Ice Axe. This will save you bringing out these items.

Walking Paths
The area is complete with numerous walking paths. The explanations at reception don't work that well. If you venture out without a guide you might well get lost. With Agata's supreme navigation skills we conquered all, but anything else would have led to problems

I'm not sure if it's a coincidence to the mediocre maps and instructions but the Kasbah offer the service of guides to accompany you on treks. And for longer journeys they will also include a donkey/ass to carry any possessions or food for lunch.

Our Room

Our room had heated stone floors. Fantastic!

There was also a quality iPod dock so we could play music from our Apple phone or music player. Included were also some Jedi suits, a pair of Binoculars, basic toiletries and extra bedding.

During over 5 days at that Kasbah I saw I bug. Totally incredible. Could be the season but I was expecting creepy crawlies everywhere.

The Kasbah could also advertise as a cat Sanctuary. At least 6 cats were available for admiring, stroking, feeding or chasing throughout the stay.

The average household income of a family is 4000 MADS per month. 10 MADS to a dollar. In other words about 5000 USD or CHF per year.

We now know the tipping policy should be don't, well certainly to kids or opportunists asking for money on the streets. It can lead to a begging dependency cycle. Far better to channel money into the various local charities such as those promoted at Kasbah Toubkal.

At the end of our holiday we had several nearly new items of clothing such as our running trousers, Hiking boots that we felt we could donate to local charities. The Kasbah operates this recycling service free of charge.

Internet at Reception

Room near reception with wireless Internet

The upstairs Panoramic lounge with Internet and a large fire

They have Internet in two places, either inside the main entrance by reception, or in a special panoramic viewed room above the conference centre. Whilst the speed of the connection was measured as never faster than 16 KB/second it was adequate for light surfing. We suspect that they are using a 3G and not a DSL Internet connection which is then shared out to multiple wireless routers.

Phone reception
Patchy at best and some carriers did not seem to have any agreements with our Swisscom carrier resulting in almost zero mobile phone coverage.

Cash machines
No there are none. No obvious change or money facilities at the Kasbah or in neighbouring Imlil. The kasbah takes credit cards but cash is necessary to buy any local artifacts so you need to take this with you from Marrakech.