The opening of the Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay boasts at least a couple of firsts: the first all-pool villa resort in Morocco, and the first outpost of the Singaporean brand in Africa and along the Mediterranean. 

Set along Morroco’s north-eastern coastline within sightline of the Rif Mountains and the Martil Valley, the resort ticks all the boxes of an idyllic beach retreat – though more adventurous types might prefer day trips to the nearby UNESCO towns of Chefchaouen and Tetouan, or the haul of antiquities at the Museo Municipal in Ceuta.

For the rest, a sedentary mood beckons. All the more because, in many ways, Banyan Tree’s in-house design team, Architrave, did not stray too far from Middle-Eastern tropes, specifically Andalusian Moorish themes of arabesque and Mashrabiya patterns, long corridors of arched doorways, hand-cut mosaic tiles and wrought ironwork. Meanwhile, the 92 villas and public spaces are clad in a warm mix of travertine, cedar, and brass.

The spa, styled after an Andalusian courtyard, is stuffed with hydrothermal thermal therapies, hammam and body scrubs on hot marble slabs. Meanwhile, the dining options are happily schizophrenic. At Tingitana, chef Georges Roche serves up a seafood paella, while his counterpart Sukkasem at Saffron turns out a mean red curry with tofu, basil and aubergine.