Getting out of bed at 4am is never easy but the thought of jetting off to sunnier climes certainly helps to motivate. The sunnier climes I headed for last week were those of Marrakech for 3 days at one of the two Club Med resorts the city boasts. Club Med is a leader in the all-inclusive, luxury holiday space with 80 destinations worldwide. Whether you want water sports, skiing or simply to lie by the pool whilst the children are entertained in the kids club, there is something for everyone. My home for the next 3 days – Club Med La Palmerie, even had an 18 hole golf course where you can practise your swing in 25 degrees of sunshine and gaze over the snow topped Atlas Mountains in the distance!
We were greeted the traditional Moroccan way; with a cup of heavily sugared mint tea. Having checked into my room a stroke of genius sent me off to the spa for a north African full body massage spa ritual with Argan oil, the perfect antidote to an early start resulting in copious amounts of head nodding in cattle class. Note to self to make a routine of this after all future flights.
Time for a quick change before pre dinner cocktails and canopies in the bar. The all-inclusive buffet style dining room was packed to the brim with lots of local delicacies as well as some classic fall back menus so there really is something for everyone. For me though, it’s part of the experience so every plate of food I ate on my trip consisted at least fifty per cent of food that I didn’t recognise and certainly couldn’t name… it all adds to the experience. Back to the bar for a night cap in the best seat in the house – right next to the open fire place.
Day 2 began with an alfresco breakfast and then off for a morning’s excursion. There are plenty to choose from in every Club Med which is a really good way to get out and about with minimum fuss -exactly what you need when you’re supposed to be relaxing! Our guide took us for an up close and personal look into the artisan quarter of the Medina where all the men are busy creating their wares to sell later that day. It’s fascinating to see the speed at which they produce such intricate artefacts.
The perfumes and colours are not to be escaped in the labyrinth of alleys that form the fringes of the Medina. It’s very easy to get lost so it’s essential to have a patient guide who will wait for you if you’re the sort who has act on that impulse purchase or needs to take another great photo. You can pick up pottery, leather goods, wood, shawls, slippers, kaftans, carpets, spices, turtles and erm… false teeth – I kid you not! Bartering is a sport in these parts; the stall holders will be most disappointed if you don’t play the game so bargains are there for the taking.
Back to Club Med for their gorgeous weekly, alfresco White Linen barbeque lunch followed by an afternoon of activity to work off all the food!
Loving the summery sound of ball on tennis racket, but not wishing to risk being seen by anyone I know in London I thought this was a golden opportunity to see if the tennis lessons of my youth had stayed with me. This was the place to try I thought, surrounded by total strangers. Good job really as I’m totally hopeless but nothing lost (other than my dignity and the money my Mum spent on my lessons) as activities such as tennis, volleyball, basketball and aquarobics are all free of charge. Something else that was free of charge was the Flying Trapeze so I had to have a go! What a fantastic experience with great Club Med instructors to guide you every “swing” of the way! I managed to hang upside down on my second go which is nothing short of a miracle!
A very busy day meant an early night for me as the following day was an prompt start for my next excursion.
The Atlas Mountains are home to the Berbers who were the first inhabitants of Marrakech. I wonder how much their lives have changed in the last 4 years since they got electricity! The Club Med excursion took us 2,000 feet up into the mountains stopping at various vantage points along the way to take in the different scenery… and how different it is! At one stop, turning 120 degrees I felt I was looking at Africa, Tuscany and Wales! We went for tea (mint and sugar of course) at a Berbers house and even popped into a local school to say good morning to the children.
Dinner in the Club Med private dining room brought my action packed mini break to an end. I must admit that the phrase “all inclusive” to me previously conjured up images of sun burnt Brits eating plates of chips by the pool but these 3 days have really changed my opinion. Club Med packages include Return flights from London and transfers between the airport and Resort, accommodation in a Club Room, all gourmet meals with wine, beer and soft drinks, bar drinks and snacks, a wide range of group classes and sports activities AND children’s clubs from ages 4 to 17!!!
If you, like me are too busy to plan the perfect value for money get away with a variety of activities and excursions, Club Med is the holiday for you. Relax and let them take the stress – that’s what holidays are for right?
Prices for the winter season start at £679 per adult, with a departure on 12th January from London Heathrow – includes a saving of £150. Book by 23rd January 2013. To book visit www.clubmed.co.uk or call 08453 67 67 67.