It’s pretty memorable, working out on the best equipment (Technogym) and looking out across the dunes to a sandy beach and the bright blue Atlantic. Actually a girl has plenty of sybaritic moments at Mazagan, Sol Kerzner’s beach resort an hour’s drive south of Casablanca, Morocco.
Well, to be truthful, only 50% of the investment comes from Sol, but never mind. Why has he not stuck his main labels, Atlantis or One&Only on this one?
With 500 rooms, it is not big or glitzy enough for an A, and not small and discreet enough for an O&O. Honestly, though, it has nearly everything a girl wants.
I was a bit exhausted after a choc-ful flight from Paris. Arrive at Casablanca airport and once the seatbelt sign is off, there is a stampede onboard. Every Moroccan, regardless of age, seems to be fighting to get out first, and you soon learn why. Immigration takes at least 45 minutes.
But there is a solution. Buy Mazagan’s VIP welcome and you are ushered into a private room, all silk flowers and brand-new Macs, and immigration is done for you, privately, in ten minutes. Once at Mazagan and in corner suite 4520 (top, fourth, floor) I ran a bath, put in some orange bath salts and lay back, and watched a triathlon on CNN…
Other moments at this luxury resort? Waking up and looking down from my balcony, down at the small lake below, with its gurgling water feature, and out to sea. Most mornings, riders gallop along the beach and into the hazy distance. I headed down for the gym, which at that hour was actually empty save for a local pundit pontificating on television.
Only a few hours later I was back in the fitness complex for a facial in the serious-business spa. There are 19 treatment rooms, busy most of the time; my room looked out over a golf course. Its white walls sort of came together in a point, in the centre of the ceiling. A bright blue abstract oil was a reminder of the midday sky. Leila started working on me, and I fell asleep.
This is a hotel of monochrome – and polychrome. The main, open-square rooms block (the Grand Riad, around the gigantic square pool) is mushroom-coloured stone, echoed by pool towels and umbrellas.
The main lobby lounge has upper walls of brilliant emerald and yellow glass. Suite 4520 had six patterned turquoise dining chairs, and fuchsia and burgundy casual seating. China everywhere is white here, or multi-coloured in another restaurant. The kids’ clubs, separate for pre- and actual-teens, are riots of colour, plus six sleek new Mac computers in each.
I coincided, this visit, with a 300-strong incentive from France. What a great place for a meeting. On top of all his other facilities, GM Stephan Killinger is adding moto-cross, beach buggies, paintballing and a football field, for team building.