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The Iberostar Club Palmeraie, located in the upmarket Palmeraie – “the place of palms” – area of Marrakech, has a secret draw for families: an oasis of swimming pools within acres of green space, kids clubs galore, and all number of on-tap activities, not least the high trapeze.
By Louise Hall
It’s not often that a family holiday combines the exotic lure of the revered 12th-century UNESCO World Heritage Red City – abounding with 1001 Arabian Nights references at almost every twist and turn – with the excitement of an adventure-filled holiday camp, all within your hotel grounds, but the Iberostar Club Palmeraie delivers.
How many resorts have a high trapeze? The euphoria of climbing the high ladder will keep adrenaline-fuelled kids high for hours. Up at the top, you can see well beyond the fortified city walls and glimpse the distant craggy snow-capped Atlas peaks sharp against the clear, cobalt skies. The kids will adore launching themselves into the warm air on the trapeze, pretending they’re monkeys swinging through the swaying palm tops, doing somersaults onto the net below and then scampering up to do it all over again.
If you’re a fan of all-inclusives then this is a good choice. If not secluded luxuriousness, it has a turreted Moroccan fairytale-castle “away-from-it-all” vibe. A sizeable development, there are kids’ clubs (one designed like a scene from the Jungle Book), adult fitness classes (zumba, belly-dancing, outdoor spin etc), a spa with hammam, various pools, a water slide, a circus trapeze and tons more activities readily available (from volleyball, to petanque, archery to Arabic lessons – useful for learning local phrases – and golf, hiking and biking trails nearby).
Holiday boredom is not an excuse for anyone staying here, though most opt to simply switch off and hit the sun sunloungers. And did we mention the nightly staged family entertainment and in-resort nightclub? It wasn’t our cup of tea and can be rather noisy (be warned – best request a quiet room, far away) but it made the holiday for many of the guests and teenagers.
We landed late in the day and arrived to a warm hotel welcome, in the spacious Moorish hotel reception atrium, of cool towels, hot Moroccan mint tea, champagne, fresh fruit and sweet treats. But the highlight was being serenaded by Moroccan musicians playing the ginbiri – a plucked string instrument similar to a banjo – and large castanets called the grageb, and given a wear of the taboush (local hats with tassles).
The kids’ club offerings are extensive and make this a properly relaxing family getaway, where tired or less adventurous families would find plenty to keep them relaxed and occupied in the hotel grounds along. And there’s plenty to fire the kids’ imaginations, from the Moorish hotel walls, to towels laid daily on your beds in animal shapes surrounded by a waterfall of petals. That it is gated and security-guarded, make it a clean, safe, fun Mecca for young families.
Louise travelled as a guest of IBEROSTAR and BA and took a sunrise hot air balloon courtesy of Naturally Morocco. Families can request interconnecting rooms. Kettles are not provided. Off season during Ramadan is very quiet.
Getting there: British Airways flies to Marrakech from London Gatwick, from £100 return.