12 – 16 SEPTEMBER 2018:
It was time for a sister holiday and after seriously debating every possible holiday destination, we opted for Marrakesh. We’d been to Agadir previously and really liked it there so we thought let’s do Morocco again but try a different city. A lot of people rave about Marrakesh so we thought we should see what all the fuss was about.
Adam Park Hotel & Spa
So our first stop was obviously our hotel, the Adam Park Hotel & Spa.
The hotel was fairly average. We had no complaints but also had nothing to praise about it in particular. The hotel could do with some updating and whilst the location was fine, there didn’t seem to be much within walking distance. I heard there was some type of shopping mall a few blocks away but I personally never saw it. The hotel had two restaurants, one Moroccan and the other Italian cuisine. We only tried the Italian restaurant and it also was just pretty average, nothing to write home about but nothing to complain about either.
The bedroom was relatively large and had a balcony overlooking the courtyard. There was a fridge in the room but little else in terms of in-room amenities. The hotel does have a spa area so we indulged in a massage and hammam bath. We’d tried this before in Agadir and whilst it’s a strange treatment, it is also quite satisfying being naked and having people scrub all of your dirt and dead skin off you! Even though the spa had a variety of massages available, we really craved a Thai massage so we googled where to get one and found this place: https://www.massage-thai-marrakech.com/
We spent a lot of time (and money) here as we both enjoy a traditional Thai stretching massage. I wished we were in Thailand as the Thai massages there would have been a fraction of the cost.
Breakfast was served as a buffet and had a mixture of mini pastries, breads and some hot food such as boiled eggs but the choice was quite limited. None of the breakfast items were to my personal taste unfortunately. I didn’t feel a great desire to want to roll out of bed early just to get breakfast.
Would I stay there again? Probably not – I think it would be better to try something different if I ever end up in Marrakesh again.
FANTASIA MOROCCAN DINNER & CULTURAL DANCE SHOW
On our first night we decided to try the Fantastia experience. Friends of ours had been to a similar show in Agadir and they highly recommended it. The experience started with us being picked up from our hotel. Then we were transported to the show venue which was approximately an hour’s drive in the mini van. The venue was a palm grove with Berber-style tents and a sand arena.
Upon arrival, you are able to walk around a Moroccan style museum to understand about some of the history and culture. Then you head in to a large tent for dinner. The dinner was described as a traditional Moroccan dinner. It consisted of roast lamb, couscous and mint tea. The meal was accompanied by Berber music and belly-dancing displays.
After dinner you take a seat by the outdoor arena and enjoy an electrifying folklore show featuring horse riders, dancers, magicians and other exotic acts. There were displays of Moroccan horsemanship, with riders dressed in historical battle costumes, performing stunts and blasting rifles into the air.
This was not really a highlight of our trip. Whilst we were glad we did the excursion, I don’t think I would necessarily recommend it. It was interesting to watch and it had the potential to be amazing, but somehow it failed to have the ‘wow’ factor for me.
ATLAS MOUNTAINS AND THREE VALLEYS
This excursion is a full-day tour of the Atlas Mountains and Three Valleys. It started with an early morning pickup from our hotel – around 8am. We travelled in an air-conditioned minivan to a traditional village and oil cooperative. We then continued up the mountain area taking in stunning scenic views. There were only four of us in our group which was nice and intimate. My sister and I were lucky to experience the tour with a couple visiting from Italy who were very helpful especially when we struggled to walk up the mountain. We definitely wore the wrong shoes. I had thin flip flops and could feel the rocks underneath my feet as my shoes had virtually no padding. It’s quite a physical tour with lots of walking so be prepared to burn some calories.
Our guide then took us to Imlil Valley where we rested on a terrace to enjoy a cup of Moroccan tea and a piece of cake.
Afterwards we set out for Ait Souka Village. We experienced a traditional Berber lunch, including salad, tajine, couscous, and fruit. At the village, we then followed our guide to the home of a Berber family to learn about their culture and way of life.
On the way back there was an opportunity for a camel ride which everything seemed to really enjoy. It’s one of those things that most people seem to want to experience at some point in their lifetime. I found it a little scary when I did it in Egypt years back so I opted to wait in the mini-van and have a snooze instead. All of that walking from earlier had tired me out!
Our trip was a memorable experience, marvellous views through the Atlas Mountains and a fantastic guide and driver who were not only informative, but also very helpful – they took care of us well.
QUAD BIKING IN THE PALMERAIE
My sister and I can never resist a quad biking excursion in the dessert. We were picked up from our hotel and driven approximately an hour to the dessert. We were in a group of around 10 people, most of which decided to drive the quad bikes solo as opposed to partnering up. We rode past traditional mud brick homes and visited a Berber village for mint tea and snacks.
The excursion was the most fun we had in Marrakesh, however I made a mistake of not realising my helmet had a visor to protect my eyes. Initially I was driving the quad biking and getting heaps of dust going all over my face making it almost impossible to see where I was going. Luckily I realised there was a visor before I blinded myself with too much dust.
The ride was quite long and after a while it did get a bit boring as the scenery doesn’t change – it’s just sand and then more sand. However it was still a fun way to spend the afternoon.
After three days in Marrakesh I can safely say that it’s not a place I would visit again as a city trip destination. Agadir in my opinion is much nicer, better atmosphere, tastier food and it’s by the sea! However at least I can now tick Marrakesh off the bucket list.