If you are thinking of a family holiday to Morocco, one of the best options is Club Med, which has three very different properties, overlooking the Med, bordering the Atlantic and in Marrakech, practically in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains.
Club Med does have a reputation for being expensive, but excellent value for money. I would prefer to describe it as not a budget option, and not at the top end. You really do get what you pay for. Is it worth paying the extra for the extra with Club Med?
Yes, I think so, especially if you are travelling as a family, but only if you are going to take up what is on offer. That is not to say that it is not a good option for single travellers or couples. Indeed many single travellers make use of the excellent sporting facilities available.
Let us look at each of the three properties that Club Med has in the country. I am looking at each property from the point of view of a family holiday to Morocco.
Getting to Morocco
Morocco is a comparatively short flight, only 3 hours from London. The Summer as you might expect is hot, so if heat is a problem for members of the family, particularly babies and young children, it may be better to plan your family holiday to Morocco in the cooler periods, perhaps the Spring or October half terms or Easter Holidays.
The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham, which you are unable to get outside the Country. It is readily available at the airport, where they might also try to persuade you to buy a pre-paid currency card. I am not entirely convinced of the value of one of these cards. Local currency is also available through an ATM with your usual debit/credit card with all of the advantages and disadvantages that this has.
Although Morocco is on the African continent, it also borders the Mediterranean. Yasmina stands pretty much opposite to Gibraltar, although slightly to the right as the coast turns away from Spain. The resort is pretty much right on the beach, a beautiful stretch of golden sand.
The facilities include a golf course, 12 clay tennis courts, archery, a Trapeze school, horse riding and fitness. Water based sports include paddle boarding, kayaking and Aqua fitness in one of the three pools. Group tuition or coaching in most of these activities is included in the All Inclusive package, so if you take up these options, you will get a lot for your money. Private lessons are available but generally as an extra
Rooms are spacious, with three room categories, Superior, Deluxe and Suites, split over 4 modern buildings. Most reviews comment positively on the cleanliness and on the excellent customer service.
There are two restaurants: the Main restaurant is under a covered terrace and serves a variety of local and international cuisine. One of the advantages with staying in a Western style hotel or resort in a Muslim country is alcohol is available whereas is more local accommodation, alcohol is much less likely to be served. Alcohol here is included as part of the all inclusive package as one would expect.
The other restaurant, the Gibraltar, is on the beach, under Berber style tents. It serves Moroccan food, and certainly in the evening, pre-booking is necessary.
There are some excellent excursions available, either through the resort or privately. The White City of Tangier and the Blue City of Chefchaouen are both nearby, and you should definitely tear yourself away from the Resort to visit both.
Three reasons for staying at Yasmina :
- Horse riding at sunset
- Visit to Chefchaouen
- Toes in the sand at dinner
Instead of the Mediterranean, you could choose to stay on the Atlantic coast.There may be a little more of a breeze that it’s Med cousin, which can be blessing in the Moroccan summer.
Agadir provides the same sporting and leisure activities as the other Club Med properties. Some of these activities, including the Kids Clubs are located a little way from the Resort, 15 minutes by shuttle, which perhaps is a bit of a drawback.
The Children’s Club to give it its proper name is divided into 4 age categories from 4 months to 17 years, although the last category, 11 to 17 is not always available, being limited to usual half terms and holidays. There is always (paid) baby sitting services available.
Rooms are standard or deluxe and contained in three storey buildings dotted over the resort. Again, of a good size and cleanliness.
The Main Restaurant, the Founty serves typical Moroccan food with 560 seats inside. There is also a terrace with a further 200 seats, so you can enjoy the evening sun as it sets. There is no need to book at the Speciality Restaurant, the Arganier, although this is not open every day. It is waiter service and has 70 seats inside.
The resort has 4 bars, which, again, is a major selling point if you want to enjoy alcohol on your holiday in Morocco.
And the Wow Factor
There are some excellent excursions to be had for the more adventurous members of the family, including off road quad bike riding, dune buggies, sea scooters and a treetop adventure.
And now on to what I would regard as the jewel in the Club Med Moroccan Crown:
Marrakech La Palmeraie
The resort is set in an ancient olive grove on the suburbs of Marrakech. Not only does it offer a reasonably authentic Moroccan experience in the resort, it provides for an upgrade to a 5* Riad experience. Even more Moroccan, bigger, more luxurious.
The resort is about 15 minutes drive away from Marrakech and all of its attractions. Transport between the 2 is not a problem. It is of course in complete contrast to the vibrant and slightly chaotic city: it is calm and relaxed.
The Sports Academy is second to none, especially for families, with the same activities and coaching available as in their other resorts. Imagine playing golf at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. It’s a pretty impressive view! There is also a Mountain Biking school for those who really want to work that cardio. They also run power walking classes which are an excellent workout as well as a good way of seeing some of the local area.
You also have the excellent Cinq Mondes Spa. One of the experiences you have to try is the Hammam. A Hammam relies on steam to open up the skin’s pores and an olive oil based soap really gets you clean and feeling invigorated. It is based on the public bathing rituals of the ancient Romans, but nowadays you probably will not get the local gossip that you might have swapped some 2000 years ago.
2 Restaurants, following the Club Med scheme of one all encompassing restaurant and one speciality restaurant, the El Kebir. Table booking in the evening is required for El Kebir, which provides local dishes. There are also three bars.
Again there are two standards of accommodation, Superior and Deluxe. A nice feature is that the accommodation has separate toilets. The Deluxe is slightly larger at 30 sq m as against the Superior’s 27. There is also the option of moving up to the more Exclusive space, which provides a massive 42 sq m, separate living room and private balcony.
I am not a great fan of All Inclusive Resorts simply because of the encouragement to stay in the resort rather than getting out into the local community and experiencing the particular country in which you happen to be staying. If you are staying in “big brand” resort which replicates its features across its resorts, is there much point in travelling? Yes they all have their little differences and local customs, but are you staying in the country or in “The Resort”?
However, there is no denying that some brands, such as Club Med, do provide you with a lot of reasons for staying in resort, particularly for families. Imagine that you want to improve your own tennis, and introduce your children to the sport. A daily lesson plus some family game time is a great way to start, with pretty much guaranteed good weather. The Club Med resorts are all close enough to places of interest to be able to combine the advantages of all inclusive with the ability to explore. In Marrakech, you have to go to the Souks, have a cooking lesson, perhaps visit the Sa’adian tombs and the Jardin Majorelle. You have the opportunity to observe both Berber and Bedouin Culture. In Yasmina, you have to visit Chefchaouen and probably Tangier as well.
If you would like any more information on Club Med and on Morocco in particular, please get in touch. It is a wonderful country to visit, as a single traveller, a couple, a family or even as a group.