With the cold weather starting to bite in the UK I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit Agadir, Morocco, at the end of October - where the weather is still sunny and warm and the beach resort of Agadir perfect for an alternative half term family getaway, some great value 5* luxury, or as a base for a more active holiday.
I flew with Air Arabia who have just launched their twice weekly low cost direct route from Manchester to Agadir - increasing competition with other airlines and keeping prices competitive for travellers. The only downside, for me, of flying with Air Arabia is no alcohol allowed on board by law (although it’s only for 3.5 hours), so I didn’t get to have my traditional in-flight G&T!
I stayed at the 5* Sofitel Royal Bay Resort, which is on Agadir’s 10k long strip of golden beach. The hotel is designed in a modern Moroccan style, and has its own private area on the beach. All the rooms in the hotel have a sea view, and there are also some villas with their own private pools. The atmosphere in the hotel is very relaxed, with a beautiful pool surrounded by a surplus of sunbeds, hammocks and cabanas even though the hotel was full.
The Royal Bay Resort is next door to another 5* Sofitel Hotel, the Thalassa Sea & Spa, which is more contemporary in design, and boasts an award-winning thalassotherapy spa. The Thalassa Sea & Spa hotel has a modern restaurant and beach bar overlooking its own private beach area with laid back music playing while everyone chills out. Guests staying at either Sofitel hotel can walk between them and use the facilities at both.
I also visited the 4* Iberostar Founty Beach, which is popular with families as you can choose to stay all-inclusive. The hotel is just about to close for a few months for a major renovation ready to welcome guests back next summer, with fully refurbished accommodation, and would be a great value family holiday option packaged together with low cost flights.
A highlight of the trip for me was a delicious fine dining evening meal in the atmospheric and intimate restaurant at Riad Villa Blanche, a luxury boutique hotel, with only 28 rooms. I would recommend a meal here to anyone visiting Agadir – it would be perfect for a special occasion.
Another highlight was visiting the 5* Paradis Plage Surf Yoga & Spa Resort, which is a short drive along the coast from Agadir, close to the surfers village of Taghazout. It’s a perfect spot for beginner surfers and the team also take daily guided surf trips to other beaches for the bigger waves. After a delicious lunch I had a surfing lesson – I was ecstatic to manage to actually stand up and catch some waves (even if only for a few seconds!) The surf lesson was followed by an hour of Yin yoga, the ultimate in relaxation yoga, which took place in a pavilion overlooking the beach with the sound of the waves in the background – bliss! I did not want to leave this place and hope to be back soon with my family so we can all learn to surf together – kids would love it! You can do as much or as little as you want here – surf, yoga, spa, fitness, or just relax and re-charge your batteries by the pool or private beach.
My final highlight was a visit to the Agadir Sunday souk which was a wonderful experience - full of colourful fresh produce, aromatic spices, locals stocking up on supplies for the week ahead, and of course bargains galore! The souk was enormous and very busy but was clean and organised and felt very safe. If you want to return home with some traditional souvenirs it’s the place to purchase products made from Argan oil and leather goods (or alternatively fake football shirts and fake designer bags!).
If you are looking for a new destination for your next beach holiday, Agadir has a long golden sandy beach, sunshine for 300 days of the year, and average temperatures of 35 degrees in July and 20 degrees in the winter, making it an ideal winter sun destination. It’s also in a great location for more active travellers who want to explore the Atlas Mountains.
More photos of all the hotels & activities mentioned in this blog are on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/CatherineMackeyTC