The story of the Kasbah Tamadot

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Published on 14 January 2016

When I was trying to fly around the world in a hot air balloon, I based several attempts out of Marrakech in Morocco. During preparations for one of these adventures, my mum and dad headed off into the Atlas Mountains. They came across a beautiful Kasbah and banged on the door. They fell in love with the place.

The story of the Kasbah Tamadot

That evening my parents came to see me and made it very clear that I should acquire this Kasbah up in the mountains. Fortunately I immediately fell in love with it myself. I love my parents and didn’t want them to disown me! We bought the Kasbah Tamadot and started planning to turn it into a unique retreat.

Black and white side profile photo of a older couple
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After 9/11 we had to scramble for the Group to pay the bills and had to sell a number of hotels. Thankfully, the Kasbah survived, but our plans to launch it as a hotel were put on hold. After two years of renovations, the Kasbah Tamadot opened its doors to the public in 2005. Out of what looked like ruins emerged one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in the world.

Richard Branson and Eve Branson watching the Polo in Morocco
Image by Jack Brockway

The journey up from Marrakech is under an hour, winding your way through the mountains and beautiful villages. You see a magnificent castle in the distance, and it takes your breath away. I visit as often as I can, and it is a special place for all of our family. As mum says: “You have to fall in love with it. You can’t do anything else.”

Richard Branson at Kasbah Tamadot
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99 per cent of our employees are from the surrounding villages. As the staff say, we are one big family. Mum has run her foundation in the Atlas Mountains for many years, doing everything from teaching people languages to professions.

She has even organised her own incredibly successful charity polo tournament in recent years – against the ill-chosen advice of yours truly! Now the Kasbah has been running for 10 years and is thriving. People who came a decade ago are still coming back 10 years later. Thank you to all of the guests who have experienced the Kasbah Tamadot over the years, and especially to all of the wonderful staff. Here’s to many more years of supporting the local community and creating unforgettable experiences for our visitors.