When Conde Nast Traveller approached me at the beginning of October for my recommendation on an unusual winter destination, I had trouble narrowing down my choices.
Would readers want to know what makes Cambodia the perfect unexpected tropical getaway? Unlike popular destinations Thailand and Bali, luxury travellers have only begun scratching the surface of exploring Cambodia’s jungles, temples, mountains — this country has it all, and winter is ideal for avoiding monsoon season.
And then came another thought: When planning for the holidays, would magazine readers prefer the magic of glass-roofed igloos in a Finnish arctic resort? Kakslauttanen is the perfect place for raising the bar on a traditional winter holiday. Northern lights? Husky safaris? An ice fishing excursion by snowmobile? Check, check, check.
But then I remembered Morocco.
There’s just something unexpected about stepping off the plane into a summer hotspot in its “off season.” Morocco has been trending as a summer destination for the last couple years, but it’s easy to forget the Mediterranean climate makes for downright perfect temps in the early months of the year. Despite that, most travelers don’t give North Africa a second thought when they’re planning a winter escape.
So I decided to crack open this gem for Conde Nast Traveller. Here’s a snippet of what I told them:
“.... One of my favorite things about the Moroccan landscape is its diversity. The medieval city of Marrakech still offers the magic of “Berber whiskey,” souks and camel rides during its mild winter. And it is the gateway to the Atlas Mountains, where you can ascend to Ifrane, known as “Africa's Little Switzerland. …” (read more HERE)
In the winter months, Marrakech’s medinas and bazaars are still abuzz, camel tours to the Sahara are still as plentiful, but travelers get two big bonuses for landing in Morocco in the winter:
A more private escape. Like I said before, tourism in Morocco is booming. In July, CNBC called it one of the top 10 travel destinations on earth. It will enchant you with all the same one-of-a-kind experiences November through March — but without the crowds. You’ll be able to luxuriate in the same vacation with room to breathe.
Skiing! In addition to all the dazzling Moroccan experiences you’ve heard about in the summer, winter gives this African gem a chance to shine in a different way. The Atlas Mountains are a short drive from Marrakech, which means winter travelers can enjoy both balmy sunshine and snow in the same trip. Who doesn’t want to have their cake and eat it too?
For those interested in an authentic Moroccan riad experience, I recommend going for local luxury over big-name hotels. There’s just something special about settling into an authentic experience in a walled city that dates back centuries.
There are dozens and dozens of medieval buildings for rent, many with gorgeous stone courtyards, plunge pools and private gardens. I’m eager to help clients find their custom needle in a haystack if you’d like to tap into my services. Riads come in all shapes and sizes, from impeccable private accommodations to those transformed into boutique hotels complete with spa services and candlelit dinners.
And if you’re up for a little (or a lot of!) adventure, you can’t go wrong with a luxury camp in the Sahara Desert or a ski resort with breathtaking views in the High Atlas Mountains. For a true slice of Morocco, you might consider an itinerary that includes both! I truly believe your imagination sets the limit when it comes to such a beautiful, diverse country.
If you’re intrigued by a winter Moroccan getaway, click over to read my advice at Conde Nast Traveller. Or drop me a message. My years as a luxury travel advisor have taught me there truly are one-of-a-kind travel experiences you can’t find on Google. It is my honor to help travelers take their trips beyond their initial dreams.