Berber Lodge, Marrakesh
On the untouched outskirts of Marrakesh, in the village of Oumes, sits a welcoming, picturesque retreat called the Berber Lodge. Nestled amongst the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and tucked amidst a two-acre grove of age-old olive trees, this rustic enclave is laid out like a typical Berber village. At the end of a gravel path, nine simple lodges have been built using earthen bricks and eucalyptus wood beams, according to Berber tradition. The tranquil compound is oriented around one main house, where all the comforts of life – a library, fireplace, bar and dining room – are located for communal use. Outside, a swimming pool and adjoining pergola bar can be found at the bottom of the garden, idyllically situated amongst the trees.
Founded by the Swiss designer, Romain Michel Meniere, who has lived in Morocco since 2002, Berber Lodge was intended not just as an escape, but also an introduction to the indigenous North African community that lives in Morocco, known as the Berber people. Designed in collaboration with Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty of Studio KO, this is Meniere’s first passion project, after having worked on many Marrakech mainstays including Café Nomad, Bab Ourika and Riad Mena.
For Berber Lodge, things have been intentionally kept small and intimate. Each of the lodges is tastefully filled with handmade Berber rugs, vintage Moroccan furniture, plenty of cushions and artisanal textiles, along with lampshades made from long grasses for extra flair. Simple touches, like spacious wicker baskets, inviting ottomans and little wooden footstools bestow a feeling of quiet thoughtfulness, wherever they have been placed.
These intentions also carry over into the meals served each day, which are carefully curated for balance and made from organic local produce – many ingredients are also grown in the garden. The menu is mostly Moroccan but can include Middle Eastern, Lebanese or Jewish flavours as well. From freshly made salads and organic meats grilled over charcoal, to hearty tagines served with Berber couscous and a wide array of cooked vegetables, the dishes on offer rarely leave guests wanting for more.
Berber Lodge was conceived to accommodate all the aspects of living a slow life – a simplistic rotation of walking, relaxing and eating. There isn’t even a yoga programme on site available, though massages, thankfully, are available by request.
Words: Pei-Ru Keh Photography: Cécile Perrinet Lhermitte
Province al Haouz، Route du Barrage, Marrakesh 42312, Morocco