Exotic Morocco

February 20 to March 1, 2023
A Hosted Vacation with Bailey Marquis

Words like "exotic" fully encompass places like Morocco. Places where riding a camel over the dunes with the sun on the horizon is not unusual here. Where hot teas are fragrantly served, carpet merchants haggle in the bazaars and Berber tribesman herd goats on the slopes of the High Atlas Mountains. A Morocco tour is basically the answer to all your Lawrence of Arabia-type fantasies: you'll stay in historic riads, camp beneath Saharan stars, have authentic dining experiences, and visit amazing historic sites that are thousands of years out. Experience the luxury and adventure of Morocco.  
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Itinerary
Image by Thiébaud Faix

What's Included?

Inclusive Vacation

9-nights includes hand-picked 5-star accommodations, transportation between destinations on a luxury air-conditioned coach, meals, daily touring, an expert Travel Director and professional Driver, and travel insurance.  

21 Meals

Breakfast daily, Picnic Lunch in the desert, Dinner daily (including a Farewell Dinner, Cooking Class, and 2 Dinners with Local Entertainment)

Adventure Experiences

Shop and barter at Marrakesh Souks, enjoy a traditional Hammam and massage, hot air balloon ride, visit UNESCO World Heritage site Ait Ben Haddou, 4x4 Jeep rides in the desert, camel rides at sunrise, hike in the High Atlas Mountains, visit the oldest Leather Tannery in the world, ande more!

Itinerary

Marrakesh Market
Marrakesh Market

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Spice Store
Spice Store

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Marrakesh
Marrakesh

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Marrakesh Market
Marrakesh Market

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DAY 1 Welcome to Morocco!

February 20, 2023 || MARRAKECH

 

Upon arrival in Marrakech, after proceeding through immigration customs and collecting your baggage, our representative is waiting for you outside of the terminal with a big welcome before transferring to your hotel. Upon arrival, check in to rest and freshen. A welcome dinner is arranged at the hotel with a briefing of the tour with your guide. After dinner, overnight.

Accommodation:  Jardins de la Koutoubia

Meals: Dinner

 

Image by Yeo Khee
Image by Yeo Khee

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Image by Macia Serrano
Image by Macia Serrano

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Image by Héctor Martínez
Image by Héctor Martínez

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Image by Yeo Khee
Image by Yeo Khee

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DAY 2 A Day to Explore the Marrakech & Enjoy a Traditional Hamman and Massage

February 21, 2023 || MARRAKECH

 

After a sumptuous breakfast, enjoy a half day tour of Marrakesh, the “Red City”, a majestic place filled with palaces, gardens, markets, and mosques. Upon arrival, you will first stand by the Koutoubia Mosque with its 282 ft minaret, an architectural landmark dating back to the late 12th century.

 

You will continue to the 19th century stunning Bahia palace and discover the intricate work done by the local artisans to decorate this splendid home built by a powerful Vizir for his Harem. The building includes one hundred and fifty rooms, countless courtyards and interior gardens, a veritable labyrinth of corridors, a Koranic school, hammams, a harem, stables. From there we will start exploring artisan quarters and the colorful Souks to interact with the real life of Marrakech people.

 

Visit to the 16th-century Saadian Tombs, where approximately 60 members of the Saadi Dynasty found their final resting place. Before sunset we will be strolling in the square of which the city is so famed, Jemaa El Fna, where hundreds of locals and tourists come to spend the end of the day watching jugglers, dancers, fortune tellers, story tellers and traditional musicians.

 

After the tour, back to your hotel to freshen up and get ready for a traditional Hammam and massage. The hammam is a must-do activity in Morocco. Historically, the Hammam was a public bathhouse for locals to clean off the dirt and grime invariably accumulated after traveling through the desert. Today, the hammam still serves this purpose for the locals, and also became popular as a therapy, a method of cleansing, and a place of relaxation. In the hammam, you’ll be submerged by a complete relaxation experience within an authentic oriental décor where you’ll be listening to your own body in an atmosphere filled with water, oils, essences and perfumes.

 

Enjoy a 30-min. scrub with black soap or soothing spices eliminating toxins from your body. After Hammam, sway to the massage room where you will experience a 30-min. traditional Moroccan massage to eliminate tensions and gain energy and vitality.

 

When you finished the Hammam and are ready, transfer to a local restaurant to enjoy a typical Moroccan dinner with entertainment. After the dinner, back to your hotel for overnight.

 

Accommodation:  Jardins de la Koutoubia

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Hot Air Balloons
Hot Air Balloons

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Hot Air Balloons
Hot Air Balloons

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Local Market Merchant
Local Market Merchant

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Hot Air Balloons
Hot Air Balloons

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DAY 3 Hot Air Balloon & Cooking Class

February 22, 2023 || MARRAKECH

 

Float above Morocco’s countryside and enjoy aerial views of the Atlas Mountains on a sunrise hot air balloon flight. After about a drive in a 4x4 pickup from Marrakech, you’ll arrive at the airfield where Moroccan tea will be served. First part of the flight is in high altitude to admire the region in its entirety: Jebilet Mountains, Marrakech, and the Atlas Mountains. Second part of the flight is at low altitude over typical villages where you’ll see valleys, farms, kids going to school, etc. After flight, you’ll be driven through the Moroccan bush in a kaidal tent where a typical Berber breakfast will be served. 

 

Note: The activity will be confirmed the previous due day depending on weather forecast. All flight times are approximate and subject to change due to weather conditions and weight restrictions.

 

After you get back to Marrakech, you have the option to join your guide to purchase a traditional Moroccan outfit (at your own expense). 

 

At 4PM, you’ll be picked up for a unique gastronomic experience, 20-min. drive from Marrakech. The cooking class is taking place on the terrasse of the villa in a spectacular décor with the Atlas Mountains in the background. The New York Times 3-stars Executive Chef will unlock the secrets of the Moroccan recipes he has mastered over the years. You’ll leave with an inside perspective on one of the world’s most highly cherished cuisines. Dinner with the Chef (cooked class food will be served). This activity includes a welcome drink and a brief introduction to the property with picking fresh produces from the garden if season permits; a traditional tea session, bread making and spices demonstrations; and the preparation of a 3-course meal (appetizer, traditional Moroccan dish, and dessert).

 

Accommodation:  Jardins de la Koutoubia

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt

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Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt

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Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt

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Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt

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DAY 4 Onwards to the High Atlas Mountains

February 23, 2023 || AIT BEN HADDOU – OUARZAZATE – DADES  

After breakfast, bid farewell to Marrakesh and journey across the High Atlas Mountains and the spectacular Tichka Pass on your way to Boumalne Dades. Stop for a brief tour of Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A giant fortification, it is a unique example of pies clay architecture and one of the filming locations for several films and TV shows, including Gladiator and Game of Thrones ... "Are you not entertained?!?"

 

Enjoy lunch on your own before arriving to Ouarzazate, also known as the “Hollywood” of Morocco. Enjoy the city tour of Ouarzazate, beginning with the Taourirt Kasbah that is considered one of the most beautiful Kasbahs in the country. Continue to Dades, located at the edge of the Sahara Desert, where you’ll be swept away on your orientation tour by the magnificent canyons and breathtaking landscapes. Arrive at your upscale hotel where you’ll enjoy an included dinner.

Accommodation:  Xaluca

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Camping in Desert
Camping in Desert

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Image by Sandra Kaas
Image by Sandra Kaas

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Image by Sergio Gómez
Image by Sergio Gómez

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Camping in Desert
Camping in Desert

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DAY 5 Oasis Visits and Desert Camps

February 24, 2023 || DADES – TINGHIR – MERZOUGA  

 

Today, travel to Erfoud, widely described as an “oasis” in the Sahara Desert. Along the way, marvel at one of Morocco’s most visited natural sights, the lush Todra Palmeraie Gorge, with dramatic 985-foot-high walls that will make for spectacular photographs along your walking tour, so be sure to have your camera ready!

 

Continue to Erfoud, the gateway to the desert, where you’ll switch to 4x4 vehicles that allow a smooth navigation on the sand, and drive to the desert camp through the dunes. Upon arrival, enjoy your free time to rest and freshen then get ready for your dinner under the stars or under a Berber tent (depending on the weather). Overnight at the camp.

Accommodation:  Desert Luxury Camp

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Image by scott dukette
Image by scott dukette

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Image by Daniela Castro
Image by Daniela Castro

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Image by Annie Spratt
Image by Annie Spratt

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Image by scott dukette
Image by scott dukette

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DAY 6 Camel Rides in the Sahara

February 25, 2023 || MERZOUGA

 

Wake up early today to enjoy a sunrise camel ride through the dunes. Back to your camp for breakfast and a shower. Later, enjoy a memorable, full day included excursion through the Erg Chebbi, the largest sand desert in Morocco.

 

You’ll begin by discovering the town of Rissani, formerly a caravan center and still an important commercial center in the region, with a large and vibrant souk at its center.

 

Then, head into the desert via a 4×4 caravan and discover various small villages until you reach Tissardmine, a serene village where you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch before ascending to the peak of Erg Chebbi. This stunning view of the vast surrounding desert will take your breath away, and you’ll trade automobiles for camels for the authentic Moroccan travel experience. One of the highlights of the trip, a journey through the Merzouga dunes on … yes again because we can't get enough … camelback!! This experience should leave you with memories that will last a lifetime (and amazing pictures as well)!

 

Return to your camp after sunset and enjoy an included dinner.

Accommodation:  Desert Luxury Camp

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Image by Phillip Waterton
Image by Phillip Waterton

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Image by Steven Striegel
Image by Steven Striegel

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Image by Carlos Ibáñez
Image by Carlos Ibáñez

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Image by Phillip Waterton
Image by Phillip Waterton

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DAY 7 Goodbye Desert, Hello Riad!

February 26, 2023 || MERZOUGA – IFRANE – FEZ  

 

Leaving Merzouga this morning, we drive through the Middle Atlas into the north enjoying the marvelous oasis of the Ziz Valley before arriving in Midelt, a small town located between Erfoud and Fez. You may want to enjoy your lunch here on your own before heading to the quiet French built alpine resort town of Ifrane. It feels more like Switzerland relocated to the Middle Atlas than North Africa, with its clean air, scrubbed streets and leafy outlook. The French built it in 1930, deliberately trying to re-create an alpine-style resort. It is a popular summer day trip for picnickers; in the winter, the affluent flock here to ski.

 

Continue to Fez and check in at your Riad! Tonight you will enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with entertainment. Return to you Riad for overnight.

 

Accommodation:  Riad Salam

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Image by Christopher Eden
Image by Christopher Eden

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Image by Selina Bubendorfer
Image by Selina Bubendorfer

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Image by Kyle Frost
Image by Kyle Frost

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Image by Christopher Eden
Image by Christopher Eden

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DAY 8 Visit the Oldest Leather Tannery in the World!

February 27, 2023 || FEZ

 

This morning you will be met at your hotel for a guided city tour of the spiritual capital of Morocco, Fez. 

 

The first stop is the entrance of the biggest royal palace of Morocco. This palatial complex is located in the center of the Fez El-Jedid area and is surrounded by high walls with an intricate and elaborate decorated doors. The doors are bronze and they shine like gold. The palace is closed to the public.

You then continue the tour with a panoramic view of the medina, before venturing to the heart of the largest old souk in the world in the medieval center of Fez. The medina of Fez has not changed for centuries. Its narrow alleys house hundreds of merchants and craftsmen selling a range of products such as dates, fish, spices, copper urns, carpets, and musical instruments. One of the most interesting sites in Fez is the Leather Sook and the oldest Leather Tannery in the world. The tannery dates back nine centuries.

 

In Fez, you will visit the Jamaa Al-Karaouine (the world’s first established university) and a Medersa (a Koranic school). You will also visit the tannery, a clay workshop, the artisan quarters, and the other souks.

 

Back to your hotel and get ready for an afternoon trip to the surrounding village of Bhalil. A very charming village, with well-kept houses, a seasonal river dividing it and its numerous bridges. This rocky hilltop village which its people have carved into the mountainsides looks a lot like Swiss cheese. Bhalil offers visitors spectacular views of the town and the lush, green valleys, a sparkling river and fertile land that embrace it. The streets of Bhalil are lined with artisans who produce traditional and exquisite crafts to admire and purchase. The entire town has an extremely laid-back atmosphere to it. The younger women of Bhalil wear a Djebella, while older women wear ihafs or tarfs on their heads that cover their entire bodies and men don a head wear referred to as Razzas. But above all, Bhalil is known for its cave-houses, in which residents take great pride.

 

Back to Fez for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation:  Riad Salam

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Image by mouad bouallayel
Image by mouad bouallayel

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Image by othmane ferrah
Image by othmane ferrah

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Image by mouad bouallayel
Image by mouad bouallayel

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Image by mouad bouallayel
Image by mouad bouallayel

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DAY 9 Explore Ancient Meknes

February 28, 2023 || MEKNES & VOLUBILIS – RABAT  

 

Breakfast at the hotel. We drive to the ancient Roman city of Volubilis to explore its stunning ruins.

 

Impressive stone arches and columns, some tumbled down and others still standing tall against the vivid blue sky, invite us to take a step back in time. Only about half of the 40-hectare UNESCO site of Volubilis has been excavated. The better-known monuments are in the northern part of the site, farthest from the entrance in the south: The Capitol, dedicated to the Triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, dates 218AD; the Basilica and 1,300 sq. meters Forum are nearby. Here, floors of what were once family dwellings are still covered with decorative tile mosaics depicting mythological beings, such as Orpheus charming animals with their lyre and Hercules performing his legendary 12 labors. The fact that so many of these tiles are still in place with their colors, after centuries of exposure to the elements, is astonishing.

 

Then on our way to Fez, visit the Imperial city of Meknes, the one-time home of the Moroccan sultanate with its Medina all-winding narrow streets and grand buildings that justify its stamp of Imperial City. Remnants of three sets of fortifications, ingeniously incorporated into the city roads network, emphasize its past importance and glory.  The king's tomb sits at the heart of what remains of the original imperial city, flanked by an almighty royal granary, the magnificent Bab El-Mansour.

 

Continue to Rabat and check in at your hotel to freshen up and get ready for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant with entertainment.  After dinner, back to your hotel for overnight.

 

Accommodation:  Villa Mandarine

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Traveler Walking In Airport
Traveler Walking In Airport

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Flight Board
Flight Board

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Traveler Walking In Airport
Traveler Walking In Airport

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DAY 10 Goodbye Morocco!

March 1, 2023 || RABAT - CASABLANCA AIRPORT  

 

After breakfast, transportation to the international airport of Casablanca for your return flight.

Meals: Breakfast

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Hosted Vacation

Bailey Marquis of Travel Central

Hosted Vacations offer Outstanding Value, Exclusive Amenities and an Experienced Personable Host on board to ensure your trip is more enjoyable.  Bailey is an experienced traveler and advisor with Travel Central in Louisiana with clients all over America.  Focus is always to create a customized experience with a focus on adventure and local experiences. More on Bailey.

HOW TO BOOK

$3,970 pp Twin Share | $1,865 Single Supplement​

  • A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is due to book.

  • Final payment is due by November 2, 2022.​

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance is required for this vacation and quote will be given to you at time of deposit. More about travel insurance.

PRE OR POST TOUR OPTIONS

Airline reservations and pre and post stay options are available to be curated to fit around this trip. Air schedules and pricing with be available starting on April 17, 2022.​

MAKE A RESERVATION OR GET MORE INFORMATION

​Call Bailey at 504-834-7000 or email bailey@travelcentralvacations.com. A complimentary reservation will be created and emailed over to you with full details for you to consider.

Accommodations

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Les Jardins de La Koutoubia

Marrkech

This luxurious hotel is a 2-minute walk from the famous Jamaâ El Fna Square. It features a Carita Spa, a hot tub and the outdoor swimming pool is surrounded by palm trees.

The air-conditioned guest rooms are spacious and open onto a patio. Each room is equipped with a mini-bar and a TV. Some rooms feature an elegant living room. All rooms at Les Jardins De La Koutoubia have a private bathroom with amenities.


Indian specialties are served in Les Jardins de Bala restaurant. Guests can enjoy a drink in the piano bar or on the rooftop terrace.

Guests have access to the hammam and the heated indoor pool under extra fees. Massages are available upon request and there is also a beauty salon.

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Riad Salam

Fez​

A guesthouse located in a quiet corner of the Fez medina, this beautifully restored residence features 8 sumptuous suites and 2 bedrooms, all showcasing the work of Fez artisans. Riad Salam is arguably the most romantic Riad in Fez, with its carved cedar wood ceilings, mosaic floors and intricate plasterwork.

Riad Salam offers you a panoramic view of the medina of Fez and the Atlas Mountains. For moments of rest and relaxation, Riad Salam offers its guests a private spa experience, with authentic hammam and relaxing massages.

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Xaluca

Dades

Located just 12 mi from the Dades Gorges, this hotel is set in the heart of the Atlas Mountains. You can relax in the outdoor swimming pool and hot tub or in the spa’s hammam and massage rooms.

Exposed stone walls and a modern, Moroccan décor are offered in the rooms and suites at Xaluca Boumalene Dades. All accommodations has views of the Dades Valley and the suites have a terrace.

An American-style buffet breakfast is served every morning under the restaurant colorful glass ceiling. You can also enjoy international cuisine after an aperitif in the large bar.

Free Wi-Fi access, a fitness room and tennis courts are some of the other facilities at the hotel. Free private parking is available on site and excursions can be organized at the 24-hour reception.

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Villa Mandarine

Rabat

Located in Rabat, La Villa Mandarine is set in an orange grove, a 5-minute drive from Nahda Stage of Mawazine Festival. It offers an outdoor heated swimming pool. You can relax in the massage room and hammam or drive to the beach in 20 minutes.

Individually decorated in a contemporary style, the rooms at La Villa Mandarine feature a private balcony with views of the garden. All accommodations also has a seating area with an LCD TV.

Breakfast is served to the comfort of guest rooms or on the terrace, which leads onto the garden. The restaurant also offers a range of contemporary cuisine, while the bar has a range of cocktails.

You can relax by the fireplace in the spacious living room, play pool or work out in the fitness room. Free private parking is available on site and the prestigious Dar-Essalam Golf Club is a 10-minute drive away.

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Desert Luxury Camp

Merzouga

A sea of soft, warm, apricot-toned sands – the undulating landscape of the desert is one of Morocco's most enchanting natural wonders. For millenia, travelers have marveled its infinite stillness - a beauty beyond words. For the weary traveler seeking such restorative magic, we offer a very special retreat our Luxury Desert Camps.

Our Luxury Desert Camps in Morocco offer the visitor an escape from the crowds of the cities – as well as contact with other tourist camps. Aside from your guide and your companions, the only other people you may encounter during your stay are the native Berber Nomads that call this harsh yet beautiful environment home.

Exotic Morocco
Feb 20 - March 1, 2023 || Marrakech to Casablanca

 

Image by zakariae daoui