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Dakhla Ecotourism Masterplan

Dakhla is a small city located along the Saharan Atlantic coast, in the South of Morocco. The city’s main economic sectors are the fishing industry and tourism. Ecotourism is a burgeoning typology and our office asked by the green developer Siger to develop a masterplan for an ecologically sensitive area South of the city. The site is located in a windy coastal desert, which is a bird sanctuary. The conditions are ideal for wind sports. The masterplan at large proposes to protect the site, by only allowing low impact activities and accommodations. The area most visited by birds will not be accessible to visitors. We developed concepts for 3 sites.

Site 1 comprises of a visitor center complex, with rental shops, cafe, restaurant and exhibition area, that is linked to the park management and research facility. The research facility will survey and monitor the preserved site flora and fauna. The role of this complex will be to introduce visitors to the site’s fragile ecosystem and to the accommodation and activities available. It will be the departure point for guided tours.

Site 2 comprises of two spa-oriented hotels. The beach spa hotel is temporary and can be removed during low season. The spa specializes in balneo-therapy and offers tidal pools. There is a total of 32 standard rooms and 12 deluxe suites. The rock formations protect the hotel from the strong winds. The second spa hotel is located on the top of the plateau, and has three sections: a lobby and restaurant area with hotels overlooking the panoramic bay; deluxe suites nestled within the depression of the plateau which has been planted like an oasis; a spa specializing in mineral treatments (such as hot stones) located within the plateau’s second depression. There are 20 standard rooms and 18 deluxe suites.

Site 3 comprises of a secondary visitor center and a clubhouse; plus a wind sports hotel. The rooms in this hotel are built with tensile structure and are equipped with kite generators that produce all the energy needed by the camp. There are 8 deluxe suites and 48 standard rooms.

Team: Aziza Chaouni, Andres Bautista, Andria Fong(ACP)