The so-called Jewel of the South, Marrakesh is gleaming these days with the recent addition of two hotels and a duo of nightspots. Ksar Char-Bagh (Palmeraie de Marrakesh; 212-44/329-244;; doubles from $655) is a synthesis of Moorish styles; it has 12 suites with Ottoman antiques, as well as a labyrinthine fortress, fragrant Persian gardens, and a traditional hammam. Mediterranean dishes are prepared by the Paris-trained Damien Durand. • Two hours south of the city, up in the High Atlas mountains, the palace of a former caid (local ruler) has been converted into the well-priced Kasbah du Toubkal (Imlil; 33-4/66-45-83-95;; doubles from $155). Its 11 rooms have carved doors, polished plaster walls, and views of Mount Toubkal's snowy peak, the highest in North Africa. • French expats and visiting celebrities sample authentic Provençale dishes—daube, bouillabaisse—at La Madrague de St.-Tropez (Place du Petit Marché, Rte. de Targa; 212-44/447-979; dinner for two $70), on the edge of the city's Guéliz district.• Equal parts restaurant, cocktail lounge, and disco, the open-air Sunset (Circuit de La Palmeraie) also has a pool surrounded by oversized mattresses; on warm days, it serves as landlocked Marrakesh's unofficial beach.
—Richard Alleman

La Madrague de St.-Tropez