There is such a fine line between tacky and spectacular -- sometimes over-designed is over-the-top and sometimes it just makes you feel, well, over it.
I was musing on this distinction as I toured Kasbah Tamadot
, Sir Richard Branson's Moroccan hotel, a few weeks ago.
The setting, it has to be said, is uncontroversially spectacular. It's about an hour from Marrakech in a town called Asni. This is in the Atlas Mountains, and it's not a well-developed area for luxury travelers. (Most of whom stay in plush accommodations in the city and make Atlas Mountain forays -- which in fact is what I was doing, at the decidedly fabulous La Mamounia
.) If you want to stay in style in the Atlas Mountains, this is your hotel. But you've really got to like it, because once you're there, you're really there. If you want other high-end dining, spa or shopping options, you're driving the winding road to Marrakech.
Kasbah Tamadot offers suites of the traditional variety, and then there are the Berber Tent suites, which have their own private decks and plunge pools. "Restrained" would still not be the word I'd use for the décor, but the color palette is more towards the khaki and cream, and the tents skip some of the touches in the other rooms that set my tacky-o-meter aquiver -- like pillows upholstered in pinkish-purplish feathers. Yes, a tent's what I'd book if I were to stay here. But do check out the gallery and see what you think.