A three hour drive toward Ouarzazate takes Mrs. Local Hideaways through the massive Atlas Mountains. It’s a breath-taking road: with beautiful panoramic views of colourful Berber villages, of the fields in which women are hard at work and of the perpetually snow covered mountain peaks. And then I reach my destination, Maison d’Hotes Irocha, located in a small Berber village called Tisselday, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, at an elevation of about 5000 ft.

Upon arrival a very warm welcome by Abdul, who is very kind man of many wise words, awaits me. He serves me a lovely Moroccan mint tea, of which I personally can never have enough, on a terrace with the most stunning  view  I have ever seen. The colours of the landscape are wonderfully divers: the mud houses colour the neighbouring villages red, contrasting nicely with the green fields and the multi-coloured rock formations. What an enchanting place this is! And how fortunate I am to be spending a couple of nights here so I can fully appreciate all the beauty surrounding me. Irocha is often used as a stopover between the southern desert and Marrakech, but staying here just one night is such a shame!

Irocha has six standard rooms, three suites and one spacious family apartment, all bright and comfortable…with great beds. Warmer covers and blankets are available for colder nights, after all, you’re in the mountains here. The lovely outside pool or the small hammam will provide ample relaxation and will allow you to rest after returning from one of the many excursions or hikes. The food at Irocha is simply wonderful. You can enjoy a three-course lunch and/or dinner every day, all prepared with fresh ingredients that are available in the immediate area. In the three days that I was here, I never had the same dish twice, and everything was lovely and fresh! Some very good Moroccan wines are also on offer. And should you rather have something else for yourself or your children, all you have to do is ask one of the staff (who all speak excellent English, by the way).

As I said before, crashing here for just one night is simply too short, for there is so much to see and explore. You can go for endless walks and get acquainted with the authentic Berber culture. The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is near here, as is Ouarzazate. But Irocha is also the perfect place to lazy about and finish that book you haven’t gotten around to reading. And don’t forget to visit the ‘shop’: Ahmed  -Irocha’s owner- is a fervent collector of exceptional and beautiful things. Mrs. Local Hideaways now has a  beautiful vintage rug in her living room that she just had to take home with her.

But above all, at Irocha you feel as if you’re visiting good friends or family. Ahmed, the owner, is a wonderful and inspiring man, who knows all about Berber culture and the environment. He regularly sits down at your table for a chat, as does his brother Abdul…this is a place where you feel at ease and where you can enjoy the authenticity of the area: Irocha is a genuine Local Hideaway!

Do you want to find out more about Morocco? Read my blog ‘Mighty Morocco’.

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