Taking the family to Marrakech is child's play

Club Med has re-styled a hotel in the Moroccan city as a family-friendly resort. Kate Simon reports

My nine-year-old son Quincy is clinging to my arm. He stopped holding my hand in public some time ago, but today he's taking no chances. We are walking around the Jemaa el Fna square in the centre of Marrakech, where Mikey, a friend newly made at our hotel's kids' club, had a snake dumped on his head just the day before.

Mikey visited in the morning, but we are in the medina just before dusk, when the world appears to turn out on this ancient marketplace, so we're not such a target. Still, Quincy is unimpressed by the sideshows, recoiling from the Barbary apes spinning at the end of their masters' leashes, the Berber dancing boys, and the women armed and ready to pipe henna in intricate patterns on the skin.

So we retreat to the roof terrace at Club Med's La Medina hotel on the edge of the square, where the atmosphere may be enjoyed at a snake-safe distance. As guests of its sister resort in the Palmeraie district, to the east of the old city, we are able to drop by, even stay for dinner, before returning to our lodgings on the free shuttle bus, which makes the short, 15-minute journey throughout the day and evening.

It's a convenient arrangement, especially for the growing number of people wanting to visit this traditionally adult destination with their children. The grown-ups can explore the Moroccan city's exotic side while being within sanity-preserving reach of the hotel for when the children inevitably weary of sightseeing.

That's good news for Club Med, because it has just restyled the hotel in the Palmeraie as a family resort by launching a mini club to make it even more appealing to this market. Club Med has plenty of experience hosting families, they make up more than half of the guests staying at its 80 "villages" around the world, attracted by the hassle-free, all-inclusive packages offered and the extensive childcare available for kids aged four months to 17 years. The rebranding of Marrakech La Palmeraie takes the number of Club Med's family resorts to 45.

The Moroccan hotel's new club accepts children from the age of four. It is capacious, designed as a miniature riad, with a swimming pool and well-equipped, age-appropriate, indoor and outdoor play areas. There's even a small patch of land where kids can indulge in a little light gardening. And the hotel's vast lawns offer plenty of space for supervised games. Open during the day and in the evening, parents can even leave the grounds while their children are being cared for, creating the possibility of child-free excursions to the souk or beyond the city limits to the High Atlas mountains.

Children are looked after by GOs – "gentile organisers" – who are required to have some knowledge of the English language. Club Med prides itself on its multinational appeal, claiming its staff come from more than 100 nations, speaking upwards of 30 languages. That's one of the reasons why the company is confident it can increase its UK market, which currently accounts for only a small percentage of annual guests. At this Moroccan resort, the aim is to increase the number of British families visiting by 20 per cent, year on year.

Yet, while Club Med's operation is a slick one and the idea of making it easier for families to visit Marrakech is a winner, one problem needs to be addressed: the lack of competent English speakers in the kids' club. British visitors will enjoy Club Med's Gallic bias – particularly the high standard of food on offer. But more staff with good English will inevitably need to be hired to convince us linguistically-challenged Brits that this is a truly family-friendly destination.

COMPACT FACTS

How to get there

Kate Simon travelled to Marrakech with Club Med (08453 676767; clubmed.co.uk). Seven nights costs £749 per adult and £559 per child aged three to 17 years, including return flights with Royal Air Maroc and full-board accommodation.

Suggested Topics
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'