Chrissy's Collection: Sofitel Mogador Golf and Spa, Essaouira, Morocco
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What is Chrissy’s Collection?With her lengthy travel background, Chrissy has years of experience assessing accommodation with quality and customer satisfaction firmly in mind. She was also a hands-on Director of an upmarket Kensington apartment-hotel for five years
As our own Silver Travel Advisor we are delighted that Chrissy brings her experience and eye for stylish detail when she reviews Boutique and Country house hotels. Chrissy’s Collection are her personal recommendations of hotels with something extra that makes them stand out from the rest: discreet and exceptional levels of personal service; stylish, contemporary and comfortable interiors where relaxation is key; smaller, quirky or character properties; luxury hotels with super spa facilities, exquisite dining or amazing locations. In short, very special places.
In total contrast to staying in bustling Essaouira the Sofitel Mogador Golf & Spa Hotel is a different world. Located opposite Mogador Island about 10 minutes drive from the medina this new and very contemporary hotel is set in a verdant oasis of manicured grounds overlooking an 18 hole golf course and the distant forest and sand dunes towards the sea. The course was designed by Gary Player and also includes a driving range.
Although my grandfather was the golf pro at Royal Lytham-St-Annes in the ‘30s, I have never played golf other than the crazy variety at which I excelled – obviously in the genes – but have never felt the pull to take it up. However, a longer stay at this hotel could definitely have changed that. Cycling around this beautiful course I could see why whacking a tiny ball and following it for miles on foot across the beautifully maintained links with azure blue skies, sunshine and the fantastic backdrop of the sea had its appeal. So I’m definitely up for this in the future. Note to self: pack the right clothes and shoes next time.
Borrow the hotel’s bikes and go for a spin around the course and walk over the dunes to discover one of the areas best attributes, the wild, unspoiled beach that literally stretches for miles and miles. We walked for hours and hardly saw a soul, other than some horse riders galloping along the water’s edge creating sea spray with Essaouira a distant backdrop, an evocative and memorable sight.
The hotel has been built so all147 rooms and 28 villas face the golf course and distant sea to maximize the spectacular views of the wide open spaces. Designed to harmonise and compliment its natural, wild, wooded seaside location, the interior and exterior décor includes Essaouira dry stone, wood and driftwood, with lots of natural light. The huge, airy, reception, whilst contemporary, is very elegant with oversized Moroccan lanterns, wooden and leather furniture with a nod to the local Souiri culture.
Our standard room was a good size with an open plan central bathroom (but enclosed loo for essential private moments!) that could cleverly be closed off by sliding panels. With cream walls and pale blue drapes mirroring the colours of Essaouira and other soft furnishings reflecting the vibrancy of Morocco, the room was pleasing to the eye and very comfortable. The huge blue tiled bath was a central feature of the room, as was the bed which certainly met Sofitel’s concept of ‘My Bed’ guaranteeing a good night’s sleep. With full width glass sliding doors opening out onto a wide balcony overlooking the swimming pool area and the golf course towards the sea, the room felt very spacious.
The hotel has two large swimming pools, one heated and one natural, with a wide choice of sunbathing options, including wooden four-poster platforms with a central low table for drinks and snacks, lounging cushions and cream muslin drapes gently blowing in the breeze. Certainly, something for everyone and even if the hotel was full – which it wasn’t during my visit – it would be unlikely that the pool areas would ever feel crowded. Pool service was also good and a nice touch was being brought a complimentary fruit cocktail in the heat of the day.
This area of Morocco is generally quite windy and due to the hotel’s position there was always a breeze. I found the breeze pleasant and a relief when sunbathing but it can be quite fierce at certain times of the year, particularly mid-summer, so if you aren’t a fan of windy resorts check before you go.
The Atlantic restaurant is located next to the main pool and specialized in fish dishes and was open during the day. We ate there twice and the food was very good. They do a fabulous fish tagine and the Moroccan wine was very drinkable. There are also other dining options as well as a small intimate fine dining restaurant open in the evening.
The Spa is in a separate building and houses the well equipped gym, treatment rooms, a truly fabulous relaxation room and the atmospheric baths complete with lounging areas, lots of cushions and drapes. We had a joint hammam and gommage – a traditional steam and exfoliation treatment - that was excellent. With German efficiency my husband’s therapist ensured he was in the steam room for the required number of minutes to ensure his pores were open and sent him back when she thought he hadn’t been in there long enough. We led side by side on two stone slabs where we were hosed, covered in black olive soap, hosed again and then scrubbed within an inch of our lives before being oiled and hosed once more. We certainly felt clean, very relaxed and slept like babies.
This hotel would be a good choice if you want to holiday with grown up children and grandchildren as there are a lot of options to suit all generations: golf – including a children’s golf school; well equipped gym; cycles; excellent swimming and paddling pools; a fabulous children’s centre; wonderful walking around the golf course and along the beach. Daily activities are also offered such as Moroccan cooking classes, sports programme and there is usually music in the evening in the stylish bar, which when we were there was very good.
For family holidays a private villa with butler service, garden with BBQ area, and small private heated pool would be a very good option. Contemporary interiors, each villa has two double bedrooms sleeping up to six, and a dining/kitchen area with fridge but no cooking facilities. And if you want a BBQ on your terrace the butler will do it for you. Home from home with help, a perfect combination for a relaxing stay.
Sofitel Mogador Golf & Spa
Other properties from Chrissy's Collection:
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