Morocco: Pause & play

Morocco: Pause & play

Set the right pace for a balanced break

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Every trip to Morocco heralds the promise of adventure: when simply shopping in a souk becomes a journey of cultural discovery, full of exotic sights, sounds and smells, it’s clear this land holds exciting discoveries around every corner.

Visitors can get their thrills in many ways, from surfing the waves or sitting back on the beach, to hiking the trails to Mount Toubkal or taking it easy in a mountain retreat – getting the right balance is all about tailoring a trip to suit your client’s mood.

Taghazout



Pause: The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit for ‘union’, and there’s no better way to feel at one with the world than a yoga retreat in one of Morocco’s quieter coastal resorts.

Surfer town Taghazout, just north of Agadir, is home to Paradis Plage Surf Yoga & Spa Resort, where an open-sided yoga shala offers Atlantic Ocean views and the sound of crashing waves as a soothing backdrop to its three daily yoga classes.

With two or five-day packages offering 75 minutes’ tuition a day from £40 and £80 respectively with Classic Collection Holidays, guests will be saying ‘namaste’ in no time.

Play: This resort can also cater to another passion, surfing, with access to Atlantic waves, and an in-house surf school for advice from fellow boarders.

Beginners can book full tuition – 90 minutes a day plus board and wetsuit hire, costing £45 for two days or £110 for five with Classic Collection – while even experienced surfers can benefit from guidance on the best surf spots or a chance to try stand-up paddleboarding.

Morocco surfers

Essaouira



Pause: There’s no real logic as to why golf and spa so often go hand-in-hand, and yet they make happy bedfellows at many a luxury resort, not least Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa.

With its 18-hole Gary Player-designed course surrounded by sand dunes and ocean views, plus a sizeable spa with two pools and a hammam, the resort caters equally well to both markets. Plus, its setting on 600 hectares of an untouched landscape aids the sense of relaxation.

Play: Once kids are in the picture, the idea of chilling out in the spa or taking time over a round of golf pretty much goes out of the window as parents struggle to keep them entertained.

Luckily, that’s all sorted for them on an escorted tour such as the Morocco Family Holiday from the Family Adventure Company. This eight-day tour includes a picnic on the beach and a chance to ride camels along the sand dunes at the Berber village of Sidi Kaouki, 17 miles south of Essaouira.

Prices from £630 per adult and £567 per child including flights.

Marrakech



Pause: The classic mistake on any city break is trying to squeeze too much in, yet in a city as frenetic as Marrakech, wandering through the twisting souks or stopping for a cup of mint tea overlooking the organised chaos of Djemaa el Fna is just as rewarding as racing from one sightseeing highlight to the next.

Add to that a few fun but relaxed activities such as a cooking class at La Maison Arabe or a spa session in a traditional hammam, and a weekend break is all the richer.

La Maison Arabe
La Maison Arabe

Play: That’s doesn’t mean visitors will be short of sightseeing options, with ornate mosques and historic palaces at every turn, plus green oases like the Majorelle Gardens or La Palmeraie.

If they want some guidance, book a walking tour such as Urban Adventures’ Taste of Marrakech, a culinary journey through the souks sampling olives, dried fruit, nuts and Moroccan pastries (from £34); or recommend an escorted tour such as Kirker Holidays’ new 10-night Imperial Morocco trip through Rabat, Meknes, Marrakech and Fes, blending museums and architecture with dramatic scenery, led by lecturer Fiona Dunlop.

Atlas Mountains



Pause: There are few better spots for R&R than the serene foothills of the Atlas Mountains.

With a host of boutique hideaways, many run by Berber communities or heavily involved in local projects, guests get a real sense of Moroccan culture without compromising on comfort. In fact, accommodation at luxury properties such as secluded country retreat The Capaldi or Virgin Limited Edition’s Kasbah Tamadot surpass those of many a big-brand skyscraper.

The Capaldi Hotel, Atlas Mountains
The Capaldi Hotel

Play: If sitting back and looking at the mountains only whets clients’ appetites to see them up-close, going on foot will give them the best feel for the landscape.

Anatolian Sky Holidays has introduced a four-night walking holiday exploring the pretty river valleys, traditional mountain villages and serene forests of the High Atlas Mountains.

Those seeking a greater challenge might find a hike to the top of Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, more to their taste; Intrepid Travel’s eight-day trek starts in Marrakech before staying in a Berber house in the village of Aroumd, followed by a two-day hike which ends with spectacular views across the Atlas range from the summit (from £378 land-only).


Sample Product



Pause
Classic Collection
offers seven nights’ B&B at Paradis Plage Surf Yoga & Spa Resort from £934 for a junior suite with Gatwick flights and transfers.
classic-collection.co.uk

Sovereign offers a week’s B&B at Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa from £799, with UK airport lounge access, private transfers and easyJet flights from Gatwick on October 10.
sovereign.com

Play
Anatolian Sky’s
four-night Atlas Mountains walking holiday includes B&B at Kasbah Angour, guided walks, flights, transfers, and entrance fees. Prices from £599 in November.
anatoliansky.co.uk

Kirker Holidays’ 10-night Imperial Morocco tour visits Fes, Rabat, Meknes and Marrakech, from £2,890 including flights, most meals, entrance fees, a guide and Kirker lecturer.
kirkerholidays.co.uk

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