This review is quiet long as the resort has so many features that you can give comment lightly. I’ve kept our main comments to the front part of the review, there are a few negative comments at the end.
Reasons for choosing location:
We booked 2 weeks at the Mazagan Beach Resort in early July 2013 for a special family holiday (to celebrate my wife’s 40th birthday), it was our first visit to Morocco and wanted something with 5-star facilities.
We missed our flight out (my fault), so it as very helpful when Mr Chahid (from reception) rescheduled our pick-up and advised us about the hotel reception area at the airport (nice touch, offered refreshments while waiting for the shuttle to the resort).
Upon arriving at the hotel (@10pm), as our youngest child had fallen asleep, so the reception suggested we go straight to our room and sort out the check-in the next day (again a nice understanding of our stressful travel).
The rooms are clean and well laid out, we had 2 double beds (2 adults/2 children), large TV (with plenty of free and paid channels), nice en-suite set up (including separate bath/shower). We chose the view of the main pool rather than the sea view so that we could check how busy the pool was (important when deciding for pool or beach for the kids). Other elements included a large safe (big enough for a laptop), plus a mini-bar (see negative comments below). There’s plenty of storage with large draws, wardrobe and bedside units to keep the room tidy of the usual holiday clutter. There was also free wifi throughout the hotel and in the rooms, but the signal varied due to bandwidth and location (some areas got better reception than others).
The exterior of the hotel is very well done, nice attention to detail for both the buildings and the layout of the paths and vegetation. The architecture plays heavily with light and water, using both elements to make for interesting visual features. The style is very Moroccan, lots of ceramics, arches and atrium’s, with walkways opening out into green areas and water features.
There are two pools, the main one is the centre of the resort and is clean and well designed (but not too deep). There are side islands with palms trees to give shade in the pool or you can bask in the centre area in the sun. The water is clean has plenty of fountains to give a nice sound effect. In the evenings the pool area is taken over by frogs and crickets, they prove very entertaining (sounds and swimming in the pool). Out of the pool and you have plenty of little ‘zones’ to relax in, with a variety of sunbeds, umbrellas and Fatboy beanbags and hammocks (all free to use including a supply of towels). In addition there’s also square beds with a four-poster curtains at 30€ per day if required (only used once during our stay).
The children’s pool is more fun focused, with two water slides. The big one is the best (according to our 5 year old), plus the pool has different steps to suit play or rest. It is set away from the main pool to give the main pool some peace (but children can also play in the main pool without issue).
The pool areas are serviced by pool ‘boy’s who can arrange sunbeds, supply towels, bring drinks/lunch from the Oasis restaurant next to the pool (helps if you tip them for the next day). There’s permanent lifeguards for the main pool (2+) and the children’s pool (1+), so very reassuring for parents as they are very focused on their job.
The beach was very nice, clean with soft sand and the same facilities as the pools (sunbeds, pool boys, etc, plus there’s lifeguards also available for the beach (beware the tide and currents can be strong, especially for small children).
Eating at the hotel:
There are two cafe/bars on the beach, the main one was the only one open whenever we visited the beach. They have a nice mix of live music combined with CDs, plus we noticed a DJ on some days (see negative comments). The food was fresh and well done, although the variety was limited to what we’ve experienced in other 5-stars beach clubs. The decor and ambience was relaxed, very beach linen look and comfortable.
The Oasis pool cafe was good, again the selection was mainly focused on snack type food (fruit, pizza, salad, etc). The grilled pear and blue cheese salad was nice, especially if accompanied by the spicy potatoe wedges. All types of drinks were available, we liked the virgin cocktails and fresh fruit juices. You can eat in the cafe, or order the same menu to eat at your sunbed (no extra charge - but helps to tip the pool boy when he delivers it).
The breakfast restaurant was a buffet with a wide variety of tastes and options, ranging from fresh fruit, cereals, juices through to pancakes, pastries, cooked meats, potatoes, etc. Everything was very fresh and tasty, you could order omelettes direct from the chef who made it while you watched (you choose you own ingredients). We’d recommend the double espresso and the sweet mint tea, the ordinary coffee is a little weak and tasteless in comparison.
For diner you have the choice of the Market place which is the main ‘inclusive’ restaurant, or a number of other restaurants which cost extra. We liked the Market place due to it’s very wide buffet range, which varied from hot and cold food, split into different sections (sushi, Indian, Asian, Moroccan, etc). The menu was changed regularly so you could have your favourite dish or try new things as required. Overall the food was very fresh, our favourite was the Sushi (go early to get the best choice), the Moroccan section and the Indian section (spicy). For deserts you have a wide selection of puddings, pastries, ice creams, fresh fruit and a brilliant chocolate fountain (the obvious favourite with our children). A wide variety of drinks can be ordered from the waiters who deliver it to your table.
After diner we’d head for the cafe area next to the cassino which served a very nice sweet mint tea (great for after diner digestion), plus a great place for the children to meet others and play on their iPads (good wifi reception). There were other areas but we stayed mainly to the family sections that suited our needs better, there are plenty of other options for couples without children. We didn’t get the chance to enter the casino, children are not allowed access plus you have to dress appropriately to enter. You can use the cash machines and currency exchange machine, our tip would be to change your money in as large a block as possible to reduce the tax and fee (we got more for a 200€ block than we did when changing four 50€ notes separately over a few days).
Sports activities & Spa facilities:
The gym was well laid out, plenty of good quality kit that was easy to use (or you could get helpful advice from the staff). Free drinks helped for the mid-afternoon burn (plus a free towel to dry the sweat away), we didn’t try the tennis but did hear positive things from other guests about it.
For the Spa, my wife tried this out for Haman and massage (both in the Spa and also at the main pool where they have two massage areas). It’s a classic Spa set-up, with a wide variety of options, my wife tried a few things and had mixed experiences (see negative comments). She found the pool massage better than the Spa on the first couple of days.
For beach activities we highly recommend the Quad bikes, body-boarding and camel rides (especially for the children). The Quad bikes last about an hour and is a great chance to have some fun on four wheels (they also offer a dune buggy but we thought this was a little expensive based on other 5-stars we’d been to). The body-boards are really fun, the bodysuit is a must as the sea can be cool (inclusive in the hire), and lasts for an hour an a half (just enough before you get too tired). The half hour camel ride is cliché but fun all the same, our children really loved the camels and the character of the camel driver who dressed the part, well worth the memories. Overall the kit looks well maintained and you do get all the required clothing to suit your choice of activity (helmets, body suits, life jackets, etc).
The Kids Club:
This was a brilliant place for our children, then went for the first week of the holiday before wanting to stay by the pool for the second half. We found the activities were very well thought out, balanced between active and creative, with some fun parts (games and movies with popcorn, etc). They take the children from 9-10am through to 6pm, then there’s and evening time from 7-10pm to allow the parents time to chill after lunch. Our children went to the 5-12 year old club, but there’s also a baby club and a teenage club for older children. The staff are excellent, caring and very kind, plus they really take care of the children making sure they are safe and enjoy their stay (very reassuring for parents).
The hotel staff:
Overall we found the staff in all areas to be warm, friendly and very welcoming. There are a few individuals who stand out due to their personality, the welcome staff at breakfast always remembered our children’s names (as did the manager who also handled the kids lunches). The giant ‘Abdilla’ who serves sweet tea in the mornings was also a great favourite with our children, fun personality and very patient. The ladies who welcomed us at the Market place in the evenings were also warm and friendly, asking about the day and how we were doing. There were many others who helped make our stay enjoyable, when my wife got sick one day she was treated by the resort medic (very nice calm man), additionally the duty managers at the reception were also very helpful when we had other issues.
During our two week stay we only had two main issues which we had to raise with the hotel, the first being the billing system which caused us some stress at the beginning of our holiday. When using the bars, restaurants or facilities of the resort you are asked to pay or sign the charge to your room (we found it safer to sign to the room to reduce having to carry lots of cash with us). We’d booked half board which included our breakfast and evening meal (excluding drinks), with our children being full board (drinks inclusive). On a number of occasions we were presented with bills for things that were already included in both our half/full board status, which meant we had to argue the point at the time. We were reassured that the items would not go onto our bill, but when checking the billing link on our room TV we found they had been added. So regular trips were required to the reception to clear up the rogue bills. Additionally we found that mini-bar charges were being added regularly, even though we only used it three times during our stay. This was clarified when we were told that if you touch an item in the mini-bar, a sensor records it’s removal and it goes onto your bill (even if you put it back). Luckily though they don’t charge you unless it is recorded by room service who replace used products, but it still added some concern in the beginning.
Our second main concern was mainly our fault but should not have happened, my wife had a silver necklace with a small cross on it, which after a few days she stopped wearing. She forgot to put it into the safe where the rest of our valuables were and put it into her make-up bag (which was zipped shut). Towards the end of our holiday she went to get the necklace and found the silver chain had gone (but the cross remained in the bag). Someone had taken the chain and left the cross during the middle of our stay, we can’t be sure who or when this happened. We complained to the manager so that they were aware of the theft, we wanted to make them aware for the future so that if it happened again then they could hopefully find the culprit. We should have put the necklace in the safe, we’d become too complacent due to the warm nature of the staff and didn’t think anything like this would happen. I would add though, that overall we found the majority of the staff to be fully honest with us. There were a number of occasions when staff had brought back money to us when we’d left change, or hats and books, etc that were left on tables. You should not judge the whole resort team by one bad apple... just make sure you put everything in your room safe.
There were a few minor irritations as well, for a 5-star hotel we missed the option to have tea/coffee in our room (you have to order room service), the telephone system isn’t always answered quickly and can take a few calls to get a response, the music at the beach restaurant can sometimes be too ‘Ibiza DJ’ which might explain why it was empty when we witnessed this.
Also my wife found that the Spa sessions were not exactly the length of time specified, an hours massage could be 45 minutes with a bit of chat and waiting for 15 minutes (the hamman also). She complained to the manageress who apologized and offered my wife a free 30 minute massage to make up for the difference (which she enjoyed very much).
I’m lucky to have been able to visit quiet a few 5-star hotels/resorts around the globe over the years to give me a good understanding of what makes a good one from and average one. The Mazagan resort on a whole is a good experience, one which I’d recommend to either families or couples, who want to relax and have a peaceful luxury holiday. It is not the best 5-star I’ve ever been to as there are a few things mentioned above which detract from the luxury aspect, but it is certainly above average.
Also as a side note, we arrived at the start of Ramadan (which we didn't know before booking) and found the resort to be quieter than normal (about 50% full) but had no issues with eating/drinking or the service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Mazagan Beach resort is a magical destination combining relaxation, leisure and sports through its infrastructures: Golf, Spa, Casino, Kids Club, restaurants. All the amenities are built to facilitate the stay. The hotel is set in 250 hectares of landscape with a private beach of 7km and features a 180° view over the Atlantic Ocean, a very good recommendation for families (special offers for children rooms), couples & singles. The design of the 500 luxurious and spacious rooms (42 m2), the flavours of Moroccan gastronomy and the Spa ensure you an authentic memorable experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mazagan Beach Hotel El Jadida