Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

More to Morocco Than Marrakech; AMY GLENDINNING Visits the Quieter Side of Morocco and Stays at the New $370M Mazagan Resort

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

More to Morocco Than Marrakech; AMY GLENDINNING Visits the Quieter Side of Morocco and Stays at the New $370M Mazagan Resort

Article excerpt

Byline: AMY GLENDINNING

OPEN the doors to my hotel room and the booming sound of the surf crashes in as I inhale the sea salt air.

I've got to be honest: this is what I've come for - the chance to surf in the Atlantic, as well as a chance to come back to Morocco.

The west coast is a part of the country I've never been to and I'm dying to get in the water.

Tourism has yet to take off amongst Europeans in this part of Morocco, with most heading to Marrakech and Essaouria.

The resort I'm staying in is a vast, new creation - a huge, four-sided $370m castle right on the beach about an hour south of Casablanca Airport.

Called Mazagan, it is aiming to attract tourists to this part of Morocco with a luxurious resort featuring golf courses, a spa, restaurants, horse riding - and surf board hire. Phew.

The size of the place is pretty overwhelming: 500 bedrooms surrounding a huge pool replete with sunloungers and palm trees.

Mazagan also has six restaurants, bars, a nightclub, a vast golf course and a huge casino - all surrounded by beautifully manicured grounds.

The beach stretches out on either side beyond - beautiful and largely deserted.

I finally get my surfing fix, hiring a wet suit and board to spend a few hours catching waves on a midsize swell which is pretty consistent the whole time I'm there.

Other options for exploring the beach are quadbiking or camel riding - but I find some early morning runs as the sea mist rolls away are my favourite way to explore.

An exhilarating horse ride is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience as the grey horse I'm riding takes off and virtually flies along the shore through the surf.

When it's time to relax, Mazagan offers a traditionally decorated spa, or hammam, including a steam room and water features decorated with rose petals.

I enjoy a full-body orange flower oil and salt scrub and a manicure before sipping mint tea on a sun lounger outside with the crashing of the Atlantic surf in the background.

Once you've worked up an appetite, you are spoiled for choice in terms of places to eat.

Restaurant Market Place offers a buffet style selection of foods from around the world, from Japanese sushi to Middle Eastern dips, plus pizza and curries. …

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