Every palace needs a potter. The gorgeous Fairmont Tazi Palace, in the hills half an hour’s drive up from intriguing Tanger, or Tangiers, has Omar. He’s creating and throwing every day, right next to Crudo restaurant. Omar makes Crudo’s plates, whatever you want, and teaches kids how not to do wonky clay push-and-pinch.
Back in 1928, the King of Morocco’s disciple Mohammed Tazi built himself a guest palace. Never used. Now it’s a resort; all its 133 rooms, terraces or private gardens overlook its 3.5-acre estate, lavender and lily ponds. Pomegranate juice, bowls of dried fruits and nuts, divine lemon-scented chicken tagine and remarkably agreeable red or rosé, from Meknes.
African Beverly Hills
Although there’s a Swissline spa to tempt, don’t stay onsite. Walking the immediate surrounds is an introduction to steep hill-hikes along roads without a hint of debris. Either side, private mansions remind this area is often called the Beverly Hills of Africa.
Possible excursions include beach picnics, horseback riding and a visit to Yves St-Laurent’s one-time home, now re-imagined by Jasper Conran. It’s in the Kasbah, the ‘lookout’ near the Medina, old town. Celebrities from Barbara Hutton to the Rolling Stones have fallen for this rabbit-warren of four-foot wide alleys between enchanting houses, white with turquoise accents.
Post-excursion, or whatever, dine Persian in Tazi Palace’s Parisa. 24-hour marinated kebabs and surprisingly drinkable local wine, from Meknès. You’re enveloped in the walls’ ten-foot faces, street art by Togo wunderkid Sitou Matt. A palace always wants to stand out.