Before you read on please dont think this I am only rating this trip as fabulous because it was our honeymoon, I am rating this trip as fabulous for many reasons.....
This was our first trip to Morocco so neither of us knew what to expect, when we arrived at the airport there was a slow customs queue but I think it felt longer because we arrived quite late in the evening so we were tired already. The wait for the cases was also a little lengthy but you'd expect this anywhere - just a tip if you need to change money don't panic about doing it at the airport, you get the same rate at the hotel and they dont charge commission.
So once we left the terminal we were "sort of" direct to our coach by the First Choice rep, when we got to the coach we were approached by someone who we thought worked for the coach company, in fact he turned out to be someone who decided loading cases on to the coach would earn him some money, the people in front of us didn't tip him - so just be mindful you need to load your own cases on to and off of the coach - IF there had been a rep there directing people then we may have known this to start with.
Once we arrived at the hotel (no rep accompanied us on the coach) it was a little confusing, we got our cases off of the coach and went in to reception to check in, at which point our cases were taken back off of us and taken outside and we were escorted to the restaurant. At this point (it was quite late and again there had been no direction from the First Choice rep about what was going to happen when we arrived) we decided to leave the restaurant and just check in. Once we had done this we were given stickers to attach to our cases which were then taken to our room and we were taken to the restaurant to have a snack and a drink and we set off to find our room.
We were in room 4116 which I think is the "family" block as there were a few adjoining rooms next to ours but it was quiet (which we had requested) and overlooked the gardens. In our room was a bottle of champagne which was a lovely touch to a hectic start.
Other than the first night confusion all I can say is that the rest of our honeymoon was absolutely fantastic. The hotel grounds are fabulous, the gardens are well maintained, the complex itself is spotless and the food, drink and service was excellent.
The pool area was busy, but we were there at high season so you expect this, but you will have to get up early to get a decent sun lounger - there is space for everyone but it really depends if you're bothered about having some shade, if you are then you will need to get up early as these spaces are at a premium - as we found on a couple of days when we thought 8am would be early enough, nope you need to start reserving them at around 6am. There are signs around the pool saying the reserving sunbeds is prohibited and items will be removed but actually this never happened so if you cant beat them you'll have to join them.
Our room itself was spacious and clean and we were given towel art pretty much every day, the aircon could have been a bit more powerful but given the temperatures were over 40 everyday I am not sure that any aircon would have been powerful enough!
The food was excellent, there was plenty for everyone and I am not sure what people have been complaining about saying there was no choice. Breakfast there was everything from cereal to a full cooked breakfast (including bacon and sausages), fruit and even salad if you wanted it, there were pastries and cakes and the coffee was amazing!
Lunch was served in the poolside restaurant and again there was plenty of choice from salads, cooked foods (Moroccan dishes/pasta/paninis/chicken) and outside there were burgers and BBQ available.
We ate most days at the buffet restaurant for dinner, which gave plenty of choice, I am not sure what other people were looking at when they have reviewed this restaurant, but there was definitely plenty of choice, there was a Moroccan dish on offer every night, Italian food, salads, veg, fresh cooked meats (chicken/beef/lamb) and desserts and fresh fruit. There were also themed evening, Italian, Spanish and Moroccan while we were there.
We only ate at the Italian restaurant one evening, it was more intimate than the main restaurant and the food was as you would expect, pasta, pizza, salads etc.
We ate at the Moroccan restaurant twice and the food was just amazing. If we could have eaten here every night we would have we loved it, the atmosphere was lovely, and the staff really attentive and we couldn't have asked for more. The tagines were delicious, we couldn't have asked for more.
The staff at the hotel are worth their weight in gold. We have never been made to feel more welcome at any other resort, everyone from the reception staff to the bar staff to the restaurant staff were just brilliant. You'll also find if you try to speak some french that they'll be appreciative (even if its rubbish like ours!). The animation team were also fab, they try to get you involved but if you dont want to be then they'll leave you be to enjoy your holiday.
Just a couple of other things I want to mention that other people have complained about:
Cats - the cats are no bother, they are well looked after by the hotel and they do not bother holiday makers, in fact I felt sorry for the cats that were constantly man handled by kids that cannot be controlled by their parents.
Evening entertainment - The animation team put on a different show every night and considering they're not professional dancers etc. these shows were great, I am not sure why some people were reporting there was nothing to do after 8pm, if you eat dinner at 7 and then go back to your room then of course there is nothing to do, but there are 3 bars, and I know for a fact that after most of the evening shows had finished in the "theater bar" there was a DJ and you could ask him to play whatever music you wanted, so there was enough dancing to be had until midnight. If you want a lively nightlife with clubs etc. Marrakesh is only 15 minutes away you could always take a taxi to a nightclub - but common sense should tell you that in a Muslim country you're not going to have Ibiza style bars on your doorstep.
Drinks - The drinks were excellent, the beer they served was award winning, the wines were excellent and the cocktails were plenty potent!
First Choice - I wouldn't bother booking with First Choice to visit this resort again, I would rather book it adhoc myself and save a little money. There was no help from the rep from the airport to the hotel, while were were there I was sick and the rep offered no help at all, and we had to visit her 4 times to try and get money back on a trip we couldn't go on because I was too ill to get out of bed (this wasn't an illness picked up at the hotel).
I cannot praise the hotel and the staff more than I have, this is a place we will definitely be visiting again and again we had such an amazing honeymoon.
Thank you to all the staff that made it special for us.
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