Can Club Med Cut it?- Kids in Morroco , Marrakech Le Riad
So, I finally made it to Club Med. during the most momentous week in recent British history we made our Brexit to Marrakech. I almost feel like I’ve made a joke in poor taste, such is the panic back at home.
Bags packed, legs summer-ready at home with the help of my lovely Perfect 10 mobile therapist. I love these guys; just book online and you have everything you need coming to you. They are also supremely professional and use top end products.
Departure day arrives. Outside, a black, brand new, spacious Merecedes people carrier awaits. We all relax into our luxurious MyDriver airport transfer and we’re off. People asked me if I was worried about going to Marrakech, what with the threat of terrorism high, but in my mind you are just as safe as in London. In fact, immersing yourself in a fascinating Muslim city actually feels good somehow. So much hate and fear preached in the west that you forget how fascinating a real difference in culture is.
Club Med is the obvious choice for families. A brand so very alien to me before but in fact at Le Riad, the 5t property attached to the wonderfully exotic 4t La Palmeraie, ten minutes by hotel bus to the very centre of it all Jemaa el Fna, luxury is the word of the day.
Not just a gaggle of kids but guests of every kind, most are faithful followers of a brand that even gets them wearing their ’45’ t-shirts proudly on the relevant theme night ( when the brand was 45 years old they launched a line of clothing that actually looks cool with the number 45 as motif). From people traveling alone, to retired couples to the expected families with kids. What’s to know is that it’s magical. It takes on every bit of the culture of Marrakech. Heady and exotic.
The all-suite Le Riad offers massive roof terraces or covered and open private gardens – outdoor living at its best. The interiors are every bit as appealing; authentically decorated in dark, rich hues, with luxury touches including a nespresso machine and free mini-bar, I was impressed.
All set in beautifully manicured gardens with lunch and breakfast served around a giant, refreshing swimming pool – we spent a lot of time in it given the temperature being in the 40’s – actually not so bad once you acclimatise – even for babies if you keep them out of the sun most of the time and sleeping in the cool of the riad or your suite.
Important things about Club Med; it’s all inclusive – including good house wine and champagne in the 5t properties. The food is very good and plentiful. More sophisticated in Le Riad with set menus for lunch (think langoustine or lamb tagine) but with huge buffet every night in the main restaurant groaning with fresh produce from oysters to interesting salads to sushi to grills, a pasta and pizza station, a selection of gourmet dishes that changes each day as does the theme.
Kids are of course well-catered for.
Kids club takes them to lunch and dinner if you so wish and the restaurant opens early for families. There’s a baby station for food with a blender and freshly cooked meat, fish and vegetables every day too. Being a very French institution, food is simply delicious.
Also, for the 5t space there is a champagne reception with canapés every evening – a great way to mingle with other guests and actually be a little bit sociable.
Now Club Med offers activities and a village feel. Here in Marrakech that means golf, archery, circus school, horse riding, tennis and lots of fitness. You can do as little ( read none!) or as much as you fancy. From the comfort of my 5t space it didn’t feel at all holiday campish – something that the ignorant snob in me was fearing.
We made use of the services of an amazing nanny – Meryam – who took baby Gabriel for walks and fed him his meals at the the table whilst we ate and took Alexander to kids club.
That’s if we could tear him away from his beloved new best-friend, Jusef – one of the best members of staff in the resort, the lifeguard and pool attendant – he played with Alexander and put up with his antics for endless hours.
So, it was moving into hot season. We sat in the shade of the palm trees or cooled in the pool, drinking lots of delicious iced tea or eating the ice-cream brought around the pool each afternoon! I was surprised as I really was worried. The children also didn’t mind. It’s a dry heat.
Outings were made either early or later. We didn’t do too much but they have excursions to all the most interesting surrounding places. We’ve toured Morocco extensively without kids so we relaxed this time. However, we did go to the souk and the main square at dusk.
No problem on the shuttle from the resort – the pushchair didn’t hinder us, we even took a ride on a caleche – a horse-drawn carriage that my nearly five year old adored. Along with the snake-charmers, monkeys, juice stalls and spices, Marrakech is an experience for all the family. Go now, especially in such times of xenophobia our kids need to embrace difference.
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