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Atlas Kasbah

Agadir, Morocco

The award-winning Atlas Kasbah Ecolodge is the first eco-friendly accommodation in the UNESCO Argan Biosphere Reserve. Built in 2009 atop an open, tree-studded hill, it is located on the lower flanks of the High Atlas Mountains a short distance inland from Agadir on the Atlantic coast. Incorporating Berber architectural elements and resembling a majestic fortress, Atlas Kasbah offers 11 en suite rooms decorated in a spicy red and gold palette. In keeping with the serene atmosphere of its isolated natural setting, the hotel does not have TVs, though a swimming pool is on site for guests' relaxation. The restaurant serves a rotating daily menu of freshly prepared Moroccan specialties, served on a terrace overlooking the surrounding hills.

In its brief existence, the Atlas Kasbah has already received the prestigious Responsible Tourism Award from Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism, the International Green Key eco-label from the King Mohamed VI Foundation for the Environment, the ALM Ecology Trophy, and the Heritage and Creation Trophy. The hotel's owners, Hassan and Helene Aboutayeb, both hold master’s degrees in sustainable development, and the property represents the fulfillment of their dream to create an environmentally and culturally sensitive accommodation within the Berber community. Among its innovative features are locally sourced natural building materials such as mud brick for walls, double flush toilets, biodegradable bathroom and cleaning products, drip irrigation for the garden, use of photovoltaic (solar) energy to heat water and generate 80 percent of the hotel’s electricity, passive solar heating, and maximization of natural lighting and ventilation. Leftover vegetables from the on-site organic garden are used as animal feed.