Mazagan Beach Resort in Morocco opened its £26million doors in October 2009 with a celebrity filled and glamour fuelled party. The likes of Naomi Campbell, Gerard Butler and Yasmin Le Bon were all mesmerised by the stunning coastal property, in a previously unexplored region of Morocco that benefits from a year round temperate climate. They were also drawn to the elaborate £15 million party that was laid on to celebrate the opening. With 1,500 guests to impress, hotel magnate Sol Kerzner (who owns the likes of Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel) went all out: laying on 5,000 bottles of champagne, 100,000 roses, 10,000 candles, 50 horses dressed in the national costume, and over 300 traditional folk entertainers including fire breathers, belly dancers and palm readers.
Resting on the Moroccan coastline, close to the fortified city of El Jadida (named Mazagan by its sixteenth century Portuguese rulers) the property covers 200 acres, with a further 200 waiting to be developed for future leisure ventures. Within the current complex there is already the only casino within a 200km radius, a nightclub, luxury boutiques, eight restaurants, a golf course, spa and pool. For such a big hotel it is far from ostentatious, and doesn’t lack the soul that some of its contemporaries do. That said, upon arrival you could be fooled into thinking you were driving up to a grand shopping mall. The car park is obscenely large and indiscreetly positioned right at the front of the otherwise stunning property that it does somewhat spoil the moment. However, no rooms overlook it which is its saving grace.
Set around a magnificent internal courtyard, the resort is private, but far from intimate, with 500 rooms, suites and a private Club Lounge boasting views of the ocean, lagoons, golf course, landscaped gardens and stunning swimming pool. Every room features Moroccan inspired decor with elegant bathrooms and modern facilities including satellite television and Wi-Fi. Many of the rooms can interconnect to provide larger spaces for families. Accommodation across four levels of the resort includes 234 King Deluxe rooms, 234 Deluxe Twin rooms, 20 Mazagan Suites and eight Executive Suites. For those who really want to go all out, there are the two Presidential Suites or two Royal Suites located on the top floor of the front corners of the building overlooking the ocean.
Entertainment and leisure time comes in many forms, from a Gary Player designed 18-hole golf course and magnificent spa to the lively Sanctuary nightclub and grand casino. The complex owns seven kilometres of the sandy beach, so guests are guaranteed a well-maintained shoreline along with a sense of privacy and exclusivity. Throughout the summer season the sand is lined with deckchairs and tables from the hotel, with perfect waiter service. Lying in the centre of the property surrounded by bars, restaurants and bedrooms, the pool is stupendously inviting all year round. The paths leading up to it and around the complex are manicured to perfection, lined with hundred of date trees and other colourful vegetation.
Nestled between the resort’s palm and orange trees, The Mazagan Spa is a haven dedicated to relaxation of the body and mind. Managed by ESPA, the spa features 12 treatment rooms overlooking the ocean, including two couples rooms and an additional luxury VIP two-person suite. A wide range of ESPA facial and body treatments are on offer and an authentic Moroccan hammam is also on site. Fitness fans can work out in the fully equipped fitness centre, attend one of the daily Pilates and yoga classes or try out some of the watersports offered at the resort including surfing, windsurfing, fishing and jet skiing. Nordic walking, tennis, horse-riding along the beach, cookery and craft classes are also on offer.
If you are looking to extend your break beyond the four walls of the resort, the on hand concierge team will be happy to arrange a variety of day trips. The nearest major city about an hour-and-a-half away is Casablanca, a city of incredible contrasts. Aside from the bad traffic, it’s a destination with a rich cultural background and heritage offering wide boulevards, open parkland and imposing Hispano-Moorish and Art Deco buildings. The best known landmark is the incredible Hassan II mosque, completed in 1993, which is well recognised as one of the largest and most stunning mosques in the world. It’s shining newness is a striking contradiction to much of the city’s crumbling old buildings.
Another outing to enjoy on your stay would be to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site of El Jadida, the property’s namesake. El Jadida was held by the Portuguese for 250 years from the sixteenth century, during which time it was called ‘Mazagan’. During this period they built the fortified and moated medina adjoining the harbour but after the Portugese left in 1769, the town was burnt down. Having been reconstructed by Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah in 1815 it was re-named El Jadida, meaning ‘The New’. An afternoon’s visit to the town still rewards visitors with traces of the town’s Portuguese past, with the Medina’s intricate lanes and ramparts, and most notably in its remarkable underground cistern – pillared and vaulted like a church crypt. Outside of the medina the modern market is a thriving opportunity to take in some local living and pick up some spices or gifts to take home.
Back at the resort, when it comes to dining there are eight restaurants to choose from. The Market Place serves up an international buffet, Morjana offers delicious traditional Moroccan food; think tagines, seafood pastilles, kebabs and vegetarian couscous, served alongside delicious pastries. The Mediterranean Restaurant has a choice of mouth-watering eatery Italian and Mediterranean dishes, while the Fish and Seafood Restaurant has a menu filled with fresh fish specialities grilled on the BBQ and Spanish treats including mouth-watering tapas, traditional gazpacho and paella.
In essence, Mazagan Beach Resort caters completely for relaxation and leisure time. It is the destination of choice for those visiting Morocco and looking for peace and tranquility with the opportunity to enjoy fine dining and entertainment in the evenings. Magazan is also a resort that you might find hard to leave. Fortunately, if you are struggling to tear yourself away, you can always opt for purchasing one of the 67 private villas which are for sale. Prices on application of course!