Hotels we love: Portugal and Morocco

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This year is far from what any of us expected, and though many of our clients are still wander-lusting “virtually”, the countries that we can help you discover are fortunately starting to travel again.  This month, we’ve spoken with some of our close colleagues and travel partners at some very special hotels. We asked them to help us tell our future clients what makes them so wonderful.  These are places that we personally love to stay, that our clients continually rave about, and unique, exclusive properties that make up some of our curated list of accommodations in the Mediterranean.  This month, we spoke to a few of our favorites in Portugal and Morocco, about what makes them the perfect spot for your next holiday.

Choosing an accommodation is one of the most important decisions in planning any vacation.  Like our clients, no accommodations are alike. They all have their own spirit and personality. Bella Vita Travels only works with what we consider to be the very best lodging experiences in the Mediterranean in whatever particular category is your perfect fit. Whether it be a charming B&B, a luxury 5-star hotel or a private villa, we have hand-selected our accommodations partners. This based on our stringent requisites of high quality, convenient location and superior customer service.

Casa Palmela, Setubal, Portugal
 What’s special about the particular region?

Just half an hour from Lisbon, Casa Palmela boasts stunning surroundings with views over vineyards and forests and a gorgeous beach just a 15-minute walk away.

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What type of client usually stays at the hotel?

This beautiful country house dating back to the 17th century is now a 5* luxury property.  It is the ideal base for those who want to combine the best of both worlds. The hotels allows easy access to Lisbon and its vibrant city life, yet an oasis to enjoy a stunning rural location.

What different services does the hotel offer?

The property inside and out oozes taste and class. Its labor of love for the owners, who used to vacation here as children. The service and hospitality are warm and genuine, and the food is outstanding.

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What is the best time of year to visit?

Late spring is the best time to visit. In May and June, you can enjoy time on the beach. June sees up to 9 hours of daily sunshine.

Anything else that you would like our clients to know?

Whether at the start of your vacation or to finish your trip, Casa Palmela is a wonderful option. You’ll be well taken care of by the kindest of hosts.

Areias do Seixo, Portugal
What’s special about the particular region?

A magical place in a magical setting, Areias do Seixo is a natural haven less than one hour from Lisbon. Experience originality, sublime comfort and a sense of style that seamlessly blends in with the natural surroundings of the land, the sea, and the shore.

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What different services does the hotel offer?

The 14 double rooms in the main building are romantic and magical. It is patchwork quilts adorn the wrought-iron beds and chandeliers glisten in the many mirrors on the walls. The bathrooms are vast, with showers and tubs big enough for two set on the varnished floors. The spectacular villas sleep up to six. They are decorated in the same style but come with a private pool and an outdoor barbecue area.

What is the best time of year to visit?

We recommend early autumn (September–October), when the weather is not too hot, the sea is warm, and the summer crowds have thinned out. The lower temperatures during these months also make for ideal sightseeing weather.

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Anything else that you would like our clients to know?

Staff are young, friendly and all passionate about the emphasis on sustainability and organic produce that the hotel champions. Meet the gardener who can show you around the impressive vegetable garden.  Go fishing and meet the chef who will cook your catch.  Or simply switch off in the spa which has a wide range of treatments from rose facials to cocoa scrub. Evenings often see guests gather around the beach campfire with owners Gonҁalo and Marta playing guitar and singing as the sun sets.

La Sultana, Marrakech, Morocco
What’s special about the particular region?

A little gem of a hotel in Marrakech with its unique traditional architecture, designed for lovers of hotels where every piece of architecture is unique.  La Sultana Marrakech is ideally located in the old city just a stone’s throw from the main attractions, ten minutes walk from Jemaa El Fna square

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What different services does the hotel offer?

Our kitchen offers ‘homemade selection’ for breakfast, ‘street food and from the market’ for lunch & Moroccan fine dining or French cuisine for the evening.  The rooftop panoramic terrace is really what makes the property so special with views on UNESCO listed Medina and its monuments.  You can also take a Cooking Class in the open air on the rooftop, or enjoy a complete & unique experience of your senses in our signature Spa with 100% natural products from Morocco.

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La Sultana Marrakech has curated a variety of exclusive, foodie or immersive experiences and excursions to enable guests to discover the city in a unique way.

Desert Luxury Camp, Morocco
What’s special about the region where you are located?     

The desert dunes of Merzouga are magnificent opening to different landscapes. It is as you are driving through middle of nowhere and suddenly from far away you start seeing these gorgeous tall desert dunes like mountains in the background.  The dunes are really impressive as you start approaching them. Tall and the vivid orange hue color is just eye catching. It is a beautiful region that clients often say is the best part of their trip visiting it in Morocco.   The gentle camel rides swaying on the dunes while riding, the night sky covered by stars, the gentle lantern lights at night, campfire and the drum music creates a special memory of clients’ trip.  

Though not easily reachable about a 10 hour drive car ride from Marrakech and around 8 from Fes. But there is a local airport in Errachidia, about 2 hours away from the dunes. Royal Air Maroc offers few weekly direct flights from Casablanca. 

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What type of client usually stays at your hotel?
We have all kinds of clients. We have many honeymooners or people looking to get engaged.  The men are often looking for the most romantic moment to propose.  But we also have families with children (we don’t recommend very little one – from about 3 years old is better), friends ,  young professionals. We had some important people like football club owners, ambassadors ,  or clothes designer. 
What different services does your hotel offer? 

We aim for clients to have all inclusive experience. All meals including lunches (for 2+ night stay) are offered, all drinks (non alcoholic) , and many activities such as camel riding , sand boarding.  Each client is taken as a VIP in the most friendly way. We are so proud of our staff as even though each has its role / job in camp they are always ready to help with clients requests.  We also have a tented pool which is great from spring to fall. 

What is the best time of year to visit the Sahara?
Spring from March to about May and then again fall from mid September to about mid November.  Winters months are great too but you must be ready for the cold nights that settle in once the sun sets down.  Summers I would say are the worst as the heat during the day is really high and there is nowhere to hide. Even the nights are still hot. We offer AC at night in tents or the option sleeping outside under the stars.   As much as encourage clients to stay 2 nights, during summer only 1 night is allowed/ recommend it. 
Tell us about your unique philosophy…
We really care for each client and guest. In the hospitality industry it’s extremely important to take each client’s wish as your own and do all possible to make it happen. It is also important to do it with a smile and positive energy.  I also believe in setting the right expectation.  In spite of making the camp beautiful and comfortable as much as possible we are still a camp.  It’s one of the biggest challenges for me to set the right ideas to clients about the camp. 
Then not only our guests but also staff at the camp is treated at the most kindest way. We are all one team.  Hamid one of the owners is from the area and knows the desert dunes like no one else. He has great story telling about the dunes and you can hear the love and passion when he talks about this region.  
Anything else that you would like to share?
The desert is beautiful region and staying there is one kind of life experience. I would recommend not to rush it. Plan this part of your trip well so you have time to enjoy the desert and not just come for the night leaving early next day as you rush to your next destination. The desert is slow pace place. Here people don’t necessary care what day of the week is, they orientate themselves by stars and moon so take your time to fully appreciate this beautiful natural wonder and don’t rush.  Remember that in spite of the beauty of the desert, there are nights that there is storm, there are clouds with no stars in view and therefore having more then one night you’ll have a bigger chance to experience the serenity and beauty of the desert at least on one of the nights. 
Palais Claudio Bravo, Taroudant, Morocco
What’s special about the region where you are located?     

Outside Taroudant, in the countryside, Chilean hyperrealist painter Claudio Bravo created this palace as a residence for his personal use. After his death, his heirs opened the palace to the public as a luxury hotel located in the heart of the 75 hectares’ property.

Each warm and spacious room is like a museum, as the palace is decorated with the important art collection of its former owner and creator; paintings, sculptures, and unique pieces of furniture.

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What different services does your hotel offer? 

The property boasts extensive orchards and gardens, and a full reproduction in scale of Marrakech’s  Menara Gardens, including the Saadian House and the lake!

We also have horses, and offer day excursions to discover the region, a hammam-spa, a museum devoted to Claudio Bravo, a restaurant, and plenty of space, sophistication, and quietness to reconnect with your inner life. 

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What type of client usually stays at the hotel?

It’s a great fit for art lovers, looking for an upper-mid range or luxury experience.

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