I love to visit unusual places and hotels with its own unique concept. Strongly influenced by all the pictures I have seen on social media, I really wanted to spend one night in the Scarabeo desert camp. So when planning a trip to Morocco one of the first things I did was booking our luxurious tent (you can also read here my Marrakesh guide and here my tips on safety and tourists traps in the city).
I have read also some other blog posts about glamping in Scarabeo. 100% of them have been super positive. Do not get me wrong. I fully understand that, but what I was actually missing was more balanced feedback on what I can actually expect. Pictures from the camp are beautiful as the camp is really picturesque, but it is also good to know some pros and cons before booking your stay, right? ;)
It was my personal experience and of course some other guests may had a different opinion. I am sharing with you my absolutely subjective point of view :)
So what to expect when glamping in Scarabeo Camp?
What I loved there:
- The desert camp is a really picturesque place. Especially sunrises and sunsets are magical to watch as there are no other camps, buildings, cities visible from the place. You will be separated from the city lights and you will have the opportunity to take some really good shoots.
- It is located about 50 minutes drive from Marrakesh so a reasonable distance to plan even one night stay. And that is what most of the guests do. One night stay is for sure enough to experience this glamping (glamour + camping) life.
- The camp is pretty luxurious vision of a desert camp. Tents look truly amazing and all the deco pieces are chosen with a great taste. You will have a standard bed in the tent, your own bathroom with toilet and shower, a small spot to charge your devices and even a real fireplace. All looks absolutely beautiful, especially when lighted up with candle lighting.
- The food they serve is really good, especially taking into consideration they cook in a tent! We had delicious chicken tajine and amazing chocolate dessert. Also breakfast was super tasty. You do not need any other source of food as they offer a half board stay (dinner and breakfast) and also a separate lunch option. For sure all will be fresh and delicious.
- They do serve wine there! This was an important advantage for me as a wine lover ;) It’s a choice of white, rose and red Morrocan wine. Wine is not such an obvious option as not all the places in Morocco serve alcohol.
- For additional fee you can experience a camel ride or a massage, as they also have a little massage center in one of the tents. In the evenings they also make a fire place outside so if the weather is fine you can enjoy it while watching the stars.
- Not everyone knows, that if you do not want to stay there over the night you can also come only for a lunch or dinner. Just book it upfront so they can prepare for your visit. This point is also a disadvantage for other reasons so please continue reading.
What I consider as a disadvantage:
- Officially, when you look at the map you can see that Scarabeo is located in the desert. But please bare in mind that it is not the sandy desert that you probably imagined. There are no real sandy deserts around Marrakesh. This place is rather like a stony field with some dust on it. No sand and no dunes, even if it may look like like this from the pictures.
- There is a transfer that they offer from Marrakesh to Scarabeo and back but it is pretty expensive – 50 euro one way. Instead, we have decided to use the car that we have rented anyway, but it was really hard to find the place. We did not get any directions from Scarabeo how to find them and there is no single sign on the way. We only found it as one of the locals we met showed us the way. Also, there is no public transportation available.
- The service in the camp was very poor. The place is famous and maybe this is the reason of it, but they do not put much attention to high standard service. We have been served but almost for everything we had to ask several times in a row as they have been keep forgetting about us. Also, when arrived we have been left on our own for almost 2 hours in the main tent. No information, no service, no food or drink. There was literally nobody there from the service so we have been waiting there with some other guests just not knowing what to do next or where is our tent.
- Your experience is strongly influenced by the weather. On the day we have arrived to the camp it was heavy raining till late night. We got wet and had no place to dry as the fire place in main tent was not working. While having a good weather you can go for a walk or just stay outside and admire the surrounding. With a bad weather there is not much to do there. You need to stay inside of your tent or in the main tent where all the meals are served.
- For sure it is great to have the possibility of visiting the place only for lunch or dinner but well… not for those who payed to stay there for the night. It happens that big and loud groups are coming to Scarabeo for lunch only or for a camel ride. This can be really interrupting your desert quietness…
- If you are a temperature sensitive person be prepared that in winter season it may be quite cold there, and in summer extremely hot. Also, no air conditioning is available. During cold nights you have a fire place in the tent. However, once per approx. 2h you need to put some wood in it to keep the tent warm.
- The place is rather expensive. We have payed 240 euro per nigh, without meals, beverages and transportation cost.
So that’s it. Not saying to avoid it, as at the end it is really cool experience. If I would go there again with all the cons in mind? Yes! But in the time where the weather is more stable and predictable ;)