With only a four hour flight and no time difference to contend with, it's the perfect place to discover a splash of Arabian magic with guaranteed winter sun.
The mere mention of Club Med might dredge up memories of childhood package holidays, but don't be fooled as the brand has had a complete makeover and the Marrakech Resort of Il Palmeraie is the perfect premium option for anyone looking for that little bit of luxury without any of the hidden extras when the time comes to pay your final bill.
Set in Morocco's oldest palm grove, the traditional architecture and spacious rooms of the Il Palmeraie Resort offer a taste of the Medina without any of the hustle and bustle, giving you the chance to unwind by one of the resort's lagoon style pools or relax in the tranquil gardens after a long day spent strolling through the souk.
If action is more your thing, there's a full schedule of activities included in the price, and as well as all the usuals including tennis and golf instruction, no stay is complete without a go on the terrifying, but utterly exhilarating, flying trapeze.
If you're looking for something a little more luxurious, upgrading to a room in the resort's exclusive five star Le Riad is also an option. As the choice destination for visiting Moroccan celebs, it combines all the warmth of the Club Med experience with an exclusive pool, bar and concierge service. All set within a stunning traditional Moroccan Riad, it'll have you feeling like Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca in no time.
Eat and Drink
The Resort itself centres around an international buffet style restaurant where frankly you can probably find any cuisine you can think of. The menu is ever changing but always contains a range of local, seasonal specialities including meat and seafood dishes, hummus and the most fantastic fresh olives we've ever tasted.
It would be a crime not to try a tagine while in Marrakech and the Resort's El Kebir restaurant is just the place to sample some traditional fare. Although booking in advance is required, it's worth it for the specially prepared menu of fragrant and fruity tagines served with local couscous.
When it comes time for a nightcap, the Club Bar is the heart and soul of the Resort, offering a full list of drinks which you can enjoy next to the traditional wood burning fire or on those balmy spring evenings, outside on the terrace alongside the floodlit pools.
No visit to Marrakech is complete without getting yourself lost in the souks of the Old Town, but the Resort can also organise for a local to guide you through the maze of alleys that house workshops selling everything from herbs and spices to traditional textiles and local sculpture. They should also be able to arrange a visit to a local Berber Pharmacist, who will be able to sort you out with local essential oils and all manner of natural lotions and potions that will apparently cure everything from the common cold to heartbreak and shyness.
After a busy morning shopping, lunch in a café overlooking the Djemaa el-Fna Square is just the spot to sample a locally blended spiced coffee before a visit to Yves Saint-Laurent's Marjorelle Gardens. An oasis of North African plants and cacti, it's the perfect place to while away an afternoon before stepping inside the house to inspect Saint-Laurent's personal collection of Islamic art, ceramics and jewellery.
If you want to venture further afield, a day trip into the Upper Atlas is also an option. Amid breathtaking views, you'll drive high up into the mountains, visiting the enormous Lalla Takerkoust dam, before finishing the journey with a visit to a traditional Berber settlement, where you can chat to a local family over a traditional mint tea.
Although the majority of activities are included in the price, for all you equestrian enthusiasts it's definitely worth heading out on a hack aboard one of Arab horses that reside in the Resort's private stables. Accompanied by a local guide, you'll ride deep into the palm groves that surround the Medina, getting right off the beaten track and a real taste of that adventurous Moroccan spirit in the process.
If you're not a rider it's still worth the walk across the Resort's gardens for a look, even if it is only to pet one of the baby camels who also live there.
After all that exertion you'll be needing a bit of pampering and the on site Wellness Centre is the perfect spot to unwind. With a full range of treatments and a Turkish bath, we'd fully recommend a massage using locally sourced Argan oil, followed by a relaxing herbal tea in the Zen area.
Prices to La Palmeraie for the season start at £919 per adult (price includes a 30% saving on the stay only part of the holiday) with a departure on 20th April 2013 from London Heathrow. The cost includes: Return flights from London and transfers between the airport and resort. Accommodation in a club room, all meals with wine, beer and soft drinks plus bar drinks and snacks. To book and find specific pricing click here.
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