Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

We also had some fun times: a huge lunch at a winery; visited an Ancient Roman town; rode in sidecars on a motorcycle tour (what a kick)...
John Woldrich | June 25, 2023

We used Hicham’s office for a one-week, 4-city tour. They were very professional and planned a fantastic trip for our 2-couple group. We visited Fes, Chefchaouen (the blue city), Rabat, and Marrakech. All were worth a visit, although Fes and Marrakech were our favorites — Fes for its old city and Marrakech for our visits to the spice market, souk, Medina, Bahia Palace and the YSL museum. We stayed in the Medina of each city in really nice boutique hotels. The Al Maha hotel in Marrakech was our favorite and highly recommended. The staff was always attentive and we had a great time with them. In fact everyone we met in Morocco was very friendly and we always felt safe wherever we went.

Of course a good guide is what makes a country come alive for you. We had some of the best in Jamal, Abdul, and the 2 Mohammeds, kudos to each of you. We didn’t know much about Morocco before we arrived but in the short week that we were there we sure got a lot of information and a better understanding for the country — enough to recommend a visit to others.

But the trip wasn’t all Medina and history. We also had some fun times: a huge lunch at a winery (another thing we learned, the Muslim country of Morocco makes some very good wines!); visited an Ancient Roman town; rode in sidecars on a motorcycle tour (what a kick); and took a Tagine cooking class.

Morocco is not a big country but the cities are spread out and the mode of travel between them is by driver and van. This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Hicham our trip manager and driver. He was the best. He was very good company on some long drives and was a master in getting the van through some congested areas and medieval streets. He also managed the trip to perfection — on our first day after a long flight from the USA to Casablanca we were scheduled to visit the Roman town after our winery lunch. Hicham asked me if we were still up to that visit? I enthusiastically said we were. A few minutes later he noticed I was sleeping in the seat next to him. He said he had a suggestion for us — reschedule everything and get us to our hotel in Fes for good night’s sleep. We still did the Roman town but on a different day and enjoyed it a lot more. This is what a good travel company can do and this team did it seamlessly.

So in a few words — try Morocco, you’ll have a great time.

In the High Atlas Mountains we hiked from guest house to guest house through ancient Berber villages...
Robert Berman | May 7, 2023

I just came back from 10 days in Morocco. I planned the trip with Hicham and Radia’s office. They did an excellent job at finding exquisite hotels and providing super guides. Our focus was on hiking in the Middle and High Atlas Mountains. The hiking specialists led us on terrific hikes. In the High Atlas Mountains we hiked from guest house to guest house through ancient Berber villages and mountain passes. The trip was fascinating, challenging and exhilarating. We also found time to wander the medinas of Fes and Marrakech with local guides. Morocco is an otherworldly experience. I highly recommend a visit here for those curious about non-Western cities or hiking. The people were very kind and welcoming (eg, when hiking through Berber villages we were invited in for dinners and tea by a few local residents). 10 days was not enough to cover all that Morocco offered.

We had the honor of being invited to Mohamed’s house to break fast with his lovely family. We learned so much about Islamic architecture and religion...
Leon Malkin | May 4, 2023
Leon Malkin

Leon Malkin’s daughters with their driver and guide in Morocco. Photo: Leon Malkin

I’m happy to write this review of our extraordinary trip to Morocco that we experienced with the help of Radia Tehitahe and Mehdi El Mliji. Their agency was recommended by Wendy Perrin, who I have used for several other trips in the past with excellent results. This trip was for myself and two daughters aged 50 and 46. We went the first part of April 2023, during Ramadan. All three of us concluded that the trip was beyond expectation. The weather was perfect this time of year, the riads were exceptional, the sights were amazing, and the Moroccan people were very warm and welcoming.

The trip was paced perfectly, but definitely the highlights for us were the absolutely wonderful guide Mohamed and driver Majid. They were such a pleasure to travel with, always on time, always with a smile or a joke, always with our safety a priority. We felt completely safe and pampered.

Our favorite cities were Fes and Essaouira. The ceramic work and tannery in Fes were especially interesting, and dinner at a local host was most enjoyable. The Medina was fascinating. The cooking class was so much fun, going to the market with our chef. In Marrakesh we had the honor of being invited to Mohamed’s house to break fast with his lovely family. We learned so much about Islamic architecture and religion, and we were very impressed how our two guides were able to fast all day and still be bright and cheerful without ever complaining. In Essaouira we got to see the goats climbing the argan trees and visit a woman’s cooperative where they processed the oil. Also of interest was visiting the old Jewish quarter and the synagogue. Every city and place had interesting things to see. My daughters went home after 10 days and I went on to Tangier and then took the one-hour ferry over to Spain. We all agreed it was an exceptional trip and we left with hundreds of photographs and wonderful memories. We would definitely recommend a trip to Morocco with the help of Radia’s team, and many thanks to Wendy for the recommendation.

Hicham's office delivered one of the best onboarding and welcome experiences we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing
Kimberley Liao | April 18, 2023
Kim Liao

Kim Liao and family in Morocco.

Our family of three (2 adults + a 5-year old) had a phenomenal time in Marrakech and Zagora and know with certainty that it would not have been so magical without Hicham’s team.

This trip was singular to the nth degree (even accounting for a car crash, nearly missing our departure flights, and an overly aggressive souq vendor who harassed us when we got lost).

Radia planned a gem of an itinerary. She was super-patient as we worked through various itinerary options and gave excellent suggestions for where to stay and what to do.

Hicham’s office delivered one of the best onboarding and welcome experiences we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. I’m not just talking the fast track arrival experience which is neat. I’m grateful for:
Starter cash so you can tip your hotel porters
Local phone so you can reach your driver and ops team
Personalized welcome gift
Local office to sort out problems
Vans with WiFi (uber-handy when you have an 18-hr RT drive to the desert)

On our second-to-last day, we were rear-ended (other driver was at fault, and thankfully all parties were safe). Noureddine was unfazed, and we only waited maybe 10-15 minutes before another car and driver came for us so that we could continue with our itinerary.

This is the sort of big stinking problem that no one wishes on their vacation, but having Hicham’s office infrastructure in place made a scary situation seem like no big deal.

Driver and guides
Our driver, Noureddine, was a total pro and made our trip memorable. It was such a pleasure to have a laid-back professional willing to share about Moroccan culture and work with our schedule, even when he was fasting for Ramadan. I have so much respect for how tough it is to go the entire work day with not just no food, but no water!

I won’t forget the time near Zagora where it was pushing 3:30 and we needed lunch, but no one was serving because of Ramadan. Noureddine was able to find a spot that ended up delivering one of the most memorable meals we’ve had anywhere. Seriously, look for Cafe La Belle Vue Chez Mustapaha. It was amazing.

Our guides on the select tours and treks we went on were terrific. Nabil from Insiders Marrakech really stands out in our mind, as does Ahmed who took us on our Ourika Valley trek.

The activities that Radia suggested for Marrakech were spot on. We really loved:
1) Sidecar tour of the city (don’t miss this! You get to see parts of the city that tourists don’t go to, including the Beverly Hills section of town)
2) Ourika valley trek (we were the only ones on the trail and our picnic lunch was so special. There is a donkey who meets you for lunch so kids who get tired like our son can ride the donkey on parts of the flat road on the way back)
3) Having a pre-arranged babysitter to watch our son while we enjoyed a hammam experience

It shouldn’t stop you, but the Majorelle Gardens were surprisingly a meh experience (it was overrun and felt like being at Disneyland). The YSL museum was a definite waste of time. I was wowed by the YSL exhibit in Denver in 2012, but this museum has maybe 20-30 dresses max on display. If you’re going anticipating dresses galore a la the travel exhibits for Alexander McQueen (Metropolitan Museum of Art), YSL (Denver Art Museum), or Dior (Brooklyn Museum), this is not it.

We had great experiences with all the locations that Hicham’s team picked for us. The Caravan du Sud tents in the Sahara were something else—we’ll never forget how special the experience was and how lucky we were to be the only party there that night. Our 5-year-old loved running up and down the sand dunes!

The Almaha Riad was where we spent most of our time. It was a solid stay that could easily have been exceptional except for:
1) Refusal to turn the pool heater back on. On the day we arrived, April 7, the pool was heated. We left for the weekend and on April 10 when we returned, the heat had been shut off. We asked 3 different staff members if it would be possible to get the heat back on, but were denied. La Maison Arabe, a competitor, had their pool heated for that week we were there, so it was baffling to us why the heat would be shut off before peak heat arrived.

2) There was unevenness in the quality of the reception staff. While some were super friendly and happy to see us, there were definitely ones whose vibe was that we were disturbing them when all we were doing was passing through the reception area. The crew working the restaurants is top-notch. We looked forward to seeing Yussain, Youssef, and Red One every day (apologies for all the mis-spelled names).

Suggestions for improvement:

Majorelle Gardens
Originally, we were supposed to get to the gardens for a 10am tour, but we found out the day before that the tickets hadn’t been booked, and so 12:30 was our new start time. We didn’t want to waste our last few days on vacation and opted to arrive earlier to shop (you don’t need more than one hour BTW, there aren’t many stores around).

I would have wanted to avoid having to eat around here to be honest, and wish we had known about the food situation. Had we known, I would have lobbied hard to have our tour time start later in the afternoon, and definitely not at 12:30, so we could grab lunch elsewhere. Alternatively, I should have asked for help securing a reservation nearby.

Fast Track Departure
Fast track arrival is great, but fast track departure is almost a necessity given the inexplicable delays we faced in all three pre-departure lines (ticketing, security, passport control).

For whatever reason, we were not on the Fast Track departure list and even though Noureddine tried hard to find the person for us, they never showed up. We were already cutting it close and our driver wasn’t able to make progress with his calls, so we went it alone.

I suggest confirming Fast Track departure the day before you leave so you aren’t worried you’ll miss your flight as we were. All in all, it took more than an hour for us from ticketing through to gate arrival and it was a touch scary, as we’ve never cut it that close to departure before.

I swear I didn’t mean to write an essay :)

Book with Hicham and Radia—it’s a no-brainer!

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