Deirdre Sweeny and Michele Anderson from Sunway and Komeil Nofeli from Club Med in London hosted three travel agents – James Malone, Rathgar Travel; Catherine O’Brien, Roscrea Travel; and Zita Forde, The Travel Broker – and travel media to a four-day educational trip to the 4-trident Club Med Marrakech La Palmeraie in Morocco this week.
Ryanair departs from Dublin to Marrakech on Wednesdays and Sundays at 15.55 for the 3h35min flights and the transfer to Club Med is just 20 minutes, making three-day or four-day stays an easy option – or combined with a stay in Agadir and Sunway flights.
The resort was off-season when we visited (and we brought the rain with us from Ireland!) but it will be busy again over the Christmas and New Year period. Despite the intermittent rain and mostly cloudy skies, everyone had a great time. Club Med Marrakech has all the facilities one might want, including not only swimming pools, activities, day excurions, fitness room, a lovely (but bit pricey) spa, 9-hole golf course, and tennis courts, etc, but also trapeze training, which seemed to be very popular among the mainly French guests. (In conjunction with Cirque du Soleil, Club Med is introducing experiential circus activities, ‘Creactive’, at the 4-trident Punta Cana in Dominican Republic in June 2015.)
The buffet food was very good, as one would expect from a French company (but perhaps partly in Chinese or Italian ownership in the near future), as is the truly all-inclusive nature of the offering. This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks between meal times, while drinks include unlimited wine with dinner plus unlimited bar drinks including international brands – and that extends right through the evening into the bars and night clubs.
The result is that Club Med’s basic holiday cost and 5% base commission level for agents may at first sight appear misleading. When the actual holiday cost is compared with other resorts, where “all inclusive” is not so all-embracing (particularly at ski resorts where Club Med includes 6-day lift passes and morning and afternoon adult ski tuition at all levels), and with the 5% applying to the total package including air fares, then the Club Med option can often be the best, for the client and the agent.
Club Med Marrakech is also one of the few of the 80 resorts worldwide to have the new 5-trident Luxury Space concept, whereby the Riad offers the private exclusive location of 60 suites (including some with a roof terrace and a second double bed and shower under the stars!), a bar and a dedicated pool within the Palmeraie gardens – and with all the facilities of resort available to Riad guests.
There are regular free bus transfers into the Marrakech medina, with the souks and the Jardin Majorelle the top two ‘must-sees’.