T’hami el Glaoui, Pasha of Marrakesh during the French Protectorate, was the last great southern tribal leader, a shrewd supporter of colonial rule (see The Glaoui) and personal friend of Winston Churchill. Cruel and magnificent in equal measure, he was a spectacular party-giver in an age where rivals were not lacking. At the extraordinary difas or banquets held at the Dar el Glaoui for his Western friends, “nothing”, as Gavin Maxwell wrote, “was impossible.” Hashish and opium were freely available, and “to his guests T’hami gave whatever they wanted, whether it might be a diamond ring, a present of money in gold, or a Berber girl or boy from the High Atlas”.

As a despot, and agent of colonial rule, he was so hated that, on his death in 1956, a mob looted the palace, destroying its fittings and the cars in its garages, and lynching any of his henchmen that they found. However, passions have burnt out over the years, and the family has been rehabilitated. One of T’hami’s sons, Glaoui Abdelssadak, rose to high rank in the Moroccan civil service and became vice president of Gulf Oil.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Morocco features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
7 places to get off the tourist trail in Morocco

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Morocco

Marrakesh? Check. The souks of Fez? Been there, bought that. Jebel Toubkal? Climbed it, twice. So what else does Morocco have in store once you’ve ticked off …

25 May 2017 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook