We stop at the village of Imlil and check into the office for the Kasbah du Toubkal. Our bags are loaded onto the back of a mule and we walk ten minutes uphill to the property.
A group of young, polite Berber men (the Kasbah du Toubkal employs only from the community) receives us. The staff here has obviously mastered the art of genuine hospitality.
My friend and I are escorted to the library, where we are presented with chilled diet cokes from a silver tray as we learn about the Kasbah du Toubkal and review our hiking options (the hotel is located in Morocco's Atlas Mountains).
Our room radiates coziness and charm. Someone very deliberately laid out our slippers and towels, turned on the bathroom lights, stocked our mini-fridge with American beverages, and filled bowls with dried fruit and nuts for us. We love it.
Lunch is served in an open tower overlooking the Atlas Mountains from 360 degrees. The tower, lined with benches and pillows, becomes our favorite place to hang out.
We gather in the dining room, where we sit side-by-side with the other guests over candlelight. Friends are made. All of us moves to the library to finish our bottles of wine, then we migrate outside for a stargazing session. The atmosphere is so clear and pure in the Atlas Mountains that the path back to our room is naturally lit.
Of the hundreds of hotels I've stayed at in my life traveling extensively for work and pleasure, the Kasbah du Toubkal is definitely in my Top Five.