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This year I have had the pleasure in visiting the colourful country of Morocco
24th April – We left London Heathrow onboard Air Maroc for an indirect flight via Casablanca to Agadir. There are direct flights with both Easyjet and Thomson.
After approx 45 mins transfer we arrived at Sofitel Agadir Thalassa & Spa
The hotel is very grand with large Arabic doors and a lovely water feature in the lobby. We were quickly checked in and shown to our rooms where a cold supper had been provided for us.
After a lovely breakfast with the obligatory crepes we had a tour of the hotel. The interior is very modern with lots of black marble and chandeliers, the atmosphere is very relaxed. The pool area is huge with no shortage of sunbeds and cabanas in well cared for gardens. Immediately in front of the pool area is the promenade which runs the length of Agadir beach. You will not be searching for a space on this huge golden sandy beach and the hotel has a private area, roped off with hammocks, cabanas and good quality rattan furniture. The sand dunes start just to the side of the hotel so the view from my room was amazing.
Next was a city tour, Agadir itself was mostly destroyed in an earthquake so very little remains of the original city but we did go up to the fort where you can take a camel ride and haggle for a few tacky souvenirs.
We also saw the port which is although seeing a few cruise ships is mostly a working port as well as a shipbuilding yard.
We also visited the following hotels;
Sofitel Royal Bay Resort – my favourite, next door to the Thalassa. Very welcoming hotel with pretty courtyard lobby, open roof and lots of pools filled with flowers, main buffet restaurant area was very nice with outside seating. Also speciality restaurants. Again huge pool area in front of the beach with access to the promenade. There is also a nightclub in this hotel for those who want to party.
Tikida Golf Palace, as the name suggests a hotel just outside the resort in the golf area. Very pretty and peaceful, lovely rooms but only really suitable for those who want the golf.
Robinsons – Right at the far end of Agadir beach in front of the dunes, very lively family hotel with lots going on. Basic hotel, good value for money All Inclusive option.
Atlantic Palace – Good location, grand exterior. Bright hotel blue/white décor, rooms a little basic.
Royal Atlas Agadir – Great location, very central, rooms in need of modernization but good options for families with larger rooms. Main restaurant very busy and canteen like however ‘Al Yacout’ the Moroccan restaurant was excellent, the food was great, traditional Moroccan specialities and belly dancing.
Today we headed north of Agadir to Taghazout, the surfers area and a resort called ‘Paradis Plage’
I had never heard of this area, what a great surprise, very quiet, one hotel named ‘Paradis Plage’. Beachfront setting very cleverly designed to give you a village feel, specialising in Surfing and Yoga this is a very laid back hotel which immediately makes you relaxed. Tried my luck at surfing building up an appetite for a great BBQ lunch beside the pool.
Late afternoon departure by road to Marrakech, after a 3 hour journey past some lovely scenery at the foot of the Atlas mountains we arrived at our hotel – Hotel Du Golf, Palmeraie, Marrakech
Site inspection of our hotel, lovely hotel with huge courtyard area with sun loungers and easy chairs. Rooms were very modern with open plan bathrooms.
Also visited the Palmeraie Golf Palace which is part of the same complex, slightly more Moroccan in feel with a central lobby tiled in traditional style with the beautiful fretwork lamps. Very nice pool area wih pretty gardens.
Palmeraie is an area just outside the central hubbub of Marrakech, it is approx 15 mins drive into the centre with many of the hotels providing shuttle services, many good quality hotels and lots of space, something that is lacking in the original city. However you are really hotel based with nothing much in the immediate area.
Next stop was – La Mamounia – THE hotel in Marrakech, historical property which has welcomed many famous guests and heads of state. There is security to get in here and a wonderful welcome with fresh dates. Right at the edge of the medina in the shadow of the Koutoubia Tower yet when in the gardens you are a world away. The restaurants here are amazing with a choice of Italian, French and of course Moroccan.
Lunch – at the Palm Plaza – a purpose built hotel with little character, full of a delegates at a medical conference which lead to a very chaotic meal. Rooms were large but the whole hotel was in need of some style.
This afternoon we visited Jardins de la Majorelle, inspired by Yves St Laurent, a pretty oasis in the midst of Marrakech. Entrance was 50 Dirhams, around £4.
Dinner this evening was at the beautiful hotel Amenjana – WOW, what a fab place, just outside the city. Built as a small Moroccan city this luxurious hotel offers amazing accommodation is not rooms but ‘Pavillions’ or ‘Masions’ some with their own pools. All units are walled with your own gate giving a very exclusive feel. Dinner was served in a Bedouin tent complete with entertainment. The food was amazing and consisted of Pastilla (a savoury pasty) and a Lamb Tagine .
Now this is what we have been waiting for! A visit to the the Souks and Jamaa El Fna Square. An absolute maze, but full of smells and sounds you would expect, from the snake charmers to the tooth doctors. You will find spices, leather and amazing lampshades, pity we didn’t have more room in the suitcase.
Lunch was at Riad Kniza – a lovely Riad in the centre of Marrakech, a little gem. Riads are traditional Moroccan buildings, home of merchants, the front door is very humble as the owner would not want to advertise his wealth, however once inside you will find the traditional courtyard with beautiful fountains and mosaics. Also a hotel so would be great if you wanted to stay right in the heart of the city.
This afternoon we visited Palais Namaskar, a tranquil retreat a 25 minute drive from the heart of Marrakech. The hotel is stunning and beautifully set around waterways, only 41 units comprising of various size suites some with private pools and Jacuzzis. Although extremely upmarket the hotel has a lovely laid back and unstuffy feel and all the staff are very friendly and welcoming.
We finished off our trip with dinner at the wonderful Salama restaurant, just a stones throw from Jamma El Fna Square in the heart of Marrakech, the also have a sky bar which gives you great views. Again traditional food but there is a choice for those who want a change from cous cous.
A great end to a wonderful trip
We flew home with Air Maroc which meant a change of plane in Casablanca, however Thomson, Ryanair and Easyjet have direct service to London from Marrakech.