Flying high in Marrakech’s Iberostar Club Palmeraie

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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.

Iberostar Club Palmeraie mountains

Iberostar Club Palmeraie trapeze

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).

All with views down the sweeping central hotel courtyard, lit by a romantic runway of flickering candles. It’s well located too: close enough to pop into the city centre via the hotel shuttle from reception (approximately 20-minutes), and a gateway to the Sahara desert. If headed into the labyrinthine Medina with young kids, best book a guided walking tour for a more relaxing experience. We highly recommend Abdul from Marrakesh Magic Tours whose Hidden Treasures walking tour was a highlight and meant we weren’t hassled as tourists generally are. If headed out of the city, there are all number of excursions that active families will relish; the Sahara Desert sunrise hot air ballooning (with Naturally Morocco, 01239 710814) won our family vote.
Iberostar Club Palmeraie hot air balloon

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.

Kid’s pool at Iberostar Club Palmeraie

The lowdown: Iberostar Club Palmeraie

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.

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