Famed for its ancient kasbahs and breathtaking natural beauty, Morocco is undergoing a quiet transformation into one of the world’s hubs for contemporary art. In the past several years, a veritable artistic renaissance is occurring behind the scenes, with a surge of new world-class museums, galleries, and art fairs drawing au courant art collectors from around the world.
For those looking beyond the white cube galleries of New York, Paris, and London, the journey will foster a sense of place, forging a community between collectors and some of the most exciting artists from Morocco and across Africa.
Conceptualized by SmartFlyer’s Erina Pindar and led by our friends at Montague Contemporary, we embark on a holistic 9-day journey across Morocco – visiting leading galleries in Casablanca for an insider’s view into the hot contemporary African art market; getting lost in time with a mesmerizing tented stay in the Sahara desert; a restorative jaunt to the private and remote Dar Ahlam in the Atlas Mountains; finally, ending our adventure in the vibrant city of Marrakech, where we will provide unparalleled insider access to the fast emerging contemporary art scene, culminating with a VIP experience at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.
For those who want to be ahead of the curve and gain a deep understanding of the contemporary African art scene, our journey offers an up-close and personal glimpse behind the scenes to discover some of the most exciting emerging talents in the world. Rare glimpses into the studios of artists, fireside chats with leading local collectors and curators, and insights gathered from local market savvy are all central to the journey.
Our local experts ensure that your journey affords an opportunity to connect with the people and the place. Spending quality time with the artists in their studios, exploring local cultural institutions, taking some time to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of the destination - our design is holistic and tailored by nature, ensuring each client achieves their own vision of local understanding.
9 days from $9,325 per person, based on double occupancy, including 9 nights’ accommodations, daily breakfast, and a customized program of private experiences. $7,000 single supplement. Limited to 20 guests. Internal and international flights are not included in pricing.
Bathed in natural light, this seaside Hotel cascades down a hillside toward the Atlantic. Perched on a beach just 10 minutes from the heart of Morocco’s largest and liveliest city, the sweeping views you’ll find from your private balcony easily fulfill the romantic reputation that precedes Casablanca.
Sand dunes ripple in every direction as far as the eye can see. Welcome to Iriki, the ancient salt lake we transform into your seemingly endless sandbox, if only fleetingly. Encircled by the honey-hued bluffs, your tent is an inviting retreat filled with African reed mats, Berber cushions, and vintage camp decor.
Secluded by palm groves and almond trees at the edge of the Moroccan desert, this two-hundred-year-old rammed earth Kasbah the color of Champagne is our original maison des rêves. Gracefully made over with all modern comforts and the necessary technology, this singular fourteen-room hideaway overlooks the Atlas Mountains, with a palm-shaded swimming pool, hammam, and candle-lit massage room.
The Royal Mansour can be counted amongst the few establishments in the world that defy hotel excellence. Just a few steps away from the famous Jemaa El Fna square beats the heart of the Marrakesh Palace, offering travellers the unique concept of a medina within a medina. Each area has been designed to intuitively take guests on a sensory journey. Take a step into the secret and sumptuous history of one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.
Architectural tour of Casablanca's Art Deco district Day 1
Guided visit to Hassan II Mosque + Private viewing at an art gallery Day 2
VIP experience at the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Day 6
VIP Dinner + Hosted conversations with an artist Day 7
Hot air balloon experience + Private visit to Villa Oasis Day 8
Welcome to Morocco
Welcome to Morocco’s economic capital, Casablanca. You will be greeted by the VIP Fast Track team who will whisk you through customs. Upon retrieving your bags, you’ll be met by SmartFlyer’s local partners, Experience Morocco, whose driver and guide will be by your side for the entirety of the trip, helping to navigate the nuances of the destination the way only locals could on your behalf.
A quick ride from the airport will bring you to the Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca for your first check-in of this Moroccan adventure. This modern seaside retreat, set in the multiuse Norman Foster–designed Anfa Place, is perched on a beach just 10 minutes from the heart of Morocco’s largest and liveliest city, the sweeping views you’ll find from your private balcony easily fulfill the romantic reputation that precedes Casablanca.
Lunch is on your own, we recommend dining at Bleu, the hotel’s signature Mediterranean restaurant that draws inspiration from Casablanca’s coastline – a view easily seen from every table, both inside and on the terrace. And after, this afternoon, we’ll take you to explore Casablanca’s Art Deco district for an architectural tour.
As the evening approaches, we’ll go out in style to celebrate our first day in Morocco with a welcome drink at a private venue followed by a festive dinner at Rick’s Cafe.
A Day in Casablanca
Spend your morning at leisure with breakfast at the restaurant or via room service, because what’s better than breakfast in bed? But, don’t linger too long, because this morning we are taking you for a guided visit to Hassan II Mosque.
Casablanca’s spectacular Hassan II Mosque was built in 1993 and sits along the Moroccan city’s Atlantic oceanfront. The project is estimated to have cost as much as $800 million, funds that were raised entirely from public subscription. Over 6,000 Moroccan master craftsmen and artisans were employed to work Morrocan sourced materials (marble from Agadir, cedarwood from the Middle Atlas, and granite from Tafraoute) into intricate designs that decorate the structure.
Lunch is at leisure, followed by a private viewing event at one of the city’s leading contemporary art galleries.
Afterward, we head back to the Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca, make sure your bags are packed and ready to go before we head into an early dinner and our 50-min flight to Ouarzazate. Upon landing, you’ll be whisked away to Dar Ahlam for the evening.
Nothing but the stars
Take your time this morning before meeting the group for brunch, but make sure you’ve packed a bag because we’re not staying put quite yet. A day of adventure is ahead of you as we head off to the desert for an evening under the starry night.
Retreat to the House of Dreams
Dream under a sky awash in stars and rise with the first hints of the brilliant North African sun. Your breakfast table is poised to admire nature’s awe-inspiring morning ritual.
After breakfast, we head back to Dar Ahlam for the next forty-eight hours. Dar Ahlam is not so much a hotel as a team of over 100 people dedicated entirely to you. Meals are customized and served to you among a selection of distinct, private settings like our flourishing gardens by Louis Benech, the gifted designer of the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris and the Bosquet du Théâtre d’Eau at Versailles.
Days at Dar Ahlam take shape around completely personalized adventures with your dedicated guide. Trek into the Valley of Roses, explore among the corn stalks and pomegranate trees of a nearby palmeraie, and drive to the hilltop vestiges of a 12th century Berber village for a traditional tea ceremony at dusk. To all of these, we add elements of surprise.
Our only wish is for you to leave Dar Ahlam with memories more beautiful than dreams.
Arrival into Marrakech
We must now say goodbye to the dream that was Dar Ahlam and make our way to the Red City of Morocco. A scenic drive through the Atlas Mountain awaits.
Your arrival to Marrakech will take you to the iconic Royal Mansour hotel. Just a few steps away from the famous Jemaa El Fna square beats the heart of the Marrakesh Palace, offering travelers the unique concept of a medina within a medina. Traditional architecture, lush gardens, and outstandingly sophisticated riads await you. The design incorporates the elements of an authentic medina, where guests can stroll around and discover sensual delights. The rooms and suites have been replaced by luxurious riads, and the corridors by winding alleyways.
For the evening, get ready, because we’re taking you for a VIP preview of 1-54 hosted by Montague Contemporary for first access to the show.
1-54 Preview Day
The morning and afternoon are all yours. VIP programming continues at the 1-54 fair where you will have access to a host of special events at the fair, or explore Marrakech and its vibrant art (and shopping!) scene on your own.
This evening we will be gathering back for a final VIP dinner and a hosted conversation at a private venue.
Don't Miss This One!
One last adventure before we wrap up our time together. Our morning starts before the sun is up. Leaving early from Marrakech shortly before sunrise, this hot air balloon experience is one to remember. As you rise with the sun and soar above palm oases, Berber villages, and irrigated fields, you’ll enjoy a whole new perspective of the Moroccan countryside with a sublime breakfast served up in the sky.
Afterward, VIP access to Villa Oasis, a home that Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé shared for over three decades, where you’ll get to see the workshop where YSL designed most of his collections. The home also hosts one of the greatest private collections of art.
After breakfast, depart to Casablanca airport for your departure flight back to the States.
9 days from $9,325 per person. Limited to 20 guests. Connect with your SmartFlyer Travel Advisor, or our Montague Contemporary partner to book our 1-54 Morocco Adventure Trip departing February 18, 2022.