Aqua Mirage, Morocco – Our 2018 Holiday

So we’ve just got back from a weeks holiday in Marrakesh, Morocco & we had a fantastic time, the weather was in the 30’s every day, the food was plentiful and the slides were just unreal for Bugs! I would highly recommend Aqua Mirage, Morocco to anyone with children, you won’t be disappointed! A few minor comments on improvements but never the less a fab hotel in a hot country, what more could you want?

Flying to Morocco 

I am not a snob, I literally use SkyScanner, OnTheBeach and any other cheap holiday finder but after looking and looking earlier this year we booked through First Choice and utilised the ‘free childs place’. I’ve flown with most budget airlines, when you don’t have kids and you have a cm of leg room it doesn’t matter that much because the end product is a break/holiday, when you have a hyperactive 2.5 year old that likes to ‘HOYAAA’ the seat in front of him, pull the window shade up and down 29 times a minute and pull the desk table out over and over again you appreciate a bigger aeroplane! Last year we had a horrendous 6 hour flight to Cape Verde on a plane that should of been discontinued back in the 80’s, it smelt like smoke, had no ventilation and Frankie, at that time under 2, didn’t have his own seat so we balanced him on our laps (bearing in mind he was probably heavier then than he is now). So this year having the Dreamliner 787 was a dream, Frankie  had his own seat, Paw Patrol on demand and the windows have no shutters so he couldn’t pull the bastard thing up and down!

Frankie was good as gold despite being woken at 3am, dragged onto a shuttle bus and then a plane for a 6.20am flight. He didn’t actually sleep until around 2pm that day, crashing round the pool after running up and down the slides! Saying that, he has a new tendency which I can only assume he has picked up from nursery to ‘grab the air’ and throw it at someone and declare ‘I HURT YOU’, which is a bit creepy if I’m being honest but luckily the air hostesses gave him his snack pack so they didn’t have to endure it but the passport controllers did!

Arriving in the airport at Morocco is a mission in itself, there are numerous forms to fill out and your bags are scanned literally everytime you walk through a doorway! Luckily they do pull through parents and buggies into a smaller queue but the process after a 3 hour flight is tedious! If you ever go to Morocco remember a pen! I filled out our forms in Frankie’s felt tip pen and had to fill it out all over again once we finally got to the front of the queue!

The hotel is only 20 minutes from the airport.

Food & Drink

What worried me most before going was reading reviews on Trip Advisor moaning the food was catered for the french, it wasn’t cooked enough or there wasn’t enough variety. I didn’t need to be worried! There was a full range of fresh food cooked every day, there was a Moroccan station in the middle with different dishes, some I liked, some I didn’t but I tried most of them although I do think it would of helped if it was labelled, most dishes were a leap of faith! But all extremely nice luckily!

Breakfast was a huge selection of pancakes, waffles and ‘chipati’ type dishes, omelettes; fruit etc etc. with tons of chocolate sauce as demonstrated by Frankie below!

There was a variety of different dishes, meat, fish, pasta, pizza station, vegetables, cold meats, salads etc. every day. We always found something to eat and for Frankie, they had a little archway with childrens only food which Frankie liked helping himself to. He isn’t a fussy boy, he loves his veg, potatoes and their mash was actually really nice! & they had fresh ice creams every day which two weeks on he is still asking for after every meal!

The staff work really hard to turn tables around, in my opinion the dining area was set out very oddly and queuing became a pain but we found the earlier you went to meal time the easier it was to manoeuvre!

Also, if you tip the waiters they look after you and will fill up your glasses, help you get a table etc.

We ate in the Moroccan restaurant that was included and had mixed Moroccan starter (olives, beetroot & seedy things) all nice, and had a chicken tagine for mains which was also nice, not quite my taste but cooked well! I would definitely recommend it as a welcome change from the busy restaurant and to be waited on!

Now, my ultimate bug bearer is people moaning about the food, to put it bluntly, if you go ABROAD, they will serve food that you may not be accustomed to! If you wanted to eat chips and burgers for lunch and dinner every day then go to Clacton for the week! Don’t tar the hotel as not having enough variety because you/kids are fussy eaters! (We did get a McDonald’s on our last day though)

Rooms

Clean, shower ran well & maids came every day to clean the sheets, what more could you want?

Pool / Aqua Parc

The sole reason I chose this hotel was the kids aqua parc, the slides, wave pool and splash park were just amazing for Frankie, what more could an energetic two year old want? It was always clean and we never struggled to get a sunbed.  The main pool with the castle was perfect, Frankie climbed up and down over and over all day and even ventured to the bigger slides which he also loved! The pool was only ankle deep so I had no qualms leaving Frankie to his own devices more than I have dared to before.

There were lifeguards absolutely everywhere, I never once panicked about Frankie’s safety. It is just absolutely perfect! I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a self contained aqua parc for their little ones!

Frankie of course single-handedly managed to shut the entire pool down on our second from last day by shitting through his bastard swimming nappy just 15 minutes after the pool opened, which a kind lifeguard enjoyed blowing the whistle 1000x and gesturing over to us and him to highlight to every family in the proximity that it was all our baby boy’s fault so we could be blamed forevermore but HEY HO! We made the most of it and explored all the bigger water slides with two other couples and their children we met out there taking it in turns so us adults could run up and down like kids! To everyone on that day banned from the kids pool I am sincerely sorry!

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The only problem I had was the shack ‘drink and food hut’, they only served coke/lemonade/fanta or water out of bottles and the place was infested with wasps. The barman had a huge swollen eye where he was stung so bad. I understand that the area is an ‘aqua park’ so no alcohol allowed but it would of been nice for parents in that area day in day out to have a few beers! (who doesn’t love a holiday beer DON’T JUDGE ME!)

Many Trip Advisor reviews moaned about the amount of wasps and bees, this is NOT the hotel’s fault whatsoever, every day we clocked many groups leaving half drunk fizzy drinks around which of course in a dry heat country such as Morocco, attract a barrage of wasps! We got in the habit of sticking to water until the evening or downing it at the ‘shack’. The staff have lids on all the bins and go round clearing the wasps when they find them too.

We only sat around the main swimming pool for one afternoon (said day Frankie shut the aquaparc one down) and although only 20ish.. It was like sitting round at 18-30’s club with Stormzy and Grime hammering loudly and the entertainment staff doing ‘zumba’ (bump n grind) with a group of kids and early 20 year olds, but it was nice to actually have a proper swim and a beer in the pool!

Entertainment

The evening entertainment was hit and miss, the mini disco was more like a nappy night for the under 18’s in a nightclub, there was no big fish little fish or the chook a chook train, it was ‘mans not hot’ and some extremely odd rapping/chanting songs which all the children older than 10 obviously loved but the younger children were getting frustrated they couldn’t keep up with the routines. It would of been nice to do some basic moves at the mini disco, not every child has the rhythm of Dua Lipa and the pace of Pharrell.

(Taking a photo of Frankie was near on impossible this year so all my carefully planned outfits for him serve no pixel evidence!)

The entertainment staff work really hard and the Michael Jackson show (as highly recommended 200x over) was actually really good, the other nights it was fun to watch the karaoke and belly dancing but they would talk mostly in french it was hard to work out what was going on, on our last night a couple ‘Wayne and Linda’ were dressed up like a King and Queen on their first wedding anniversary and carried around.. Again had no idea what this was about but the locals queued to get pictures with them.. We literally couldn’t work out what the fuck was going on but everyone else seemed to enjoy it.

Nevertheless we enjoyed the atmosphere in the evenings and people watching as does everyone else! We met two other couples with kids on holiday which was all lovely and we had a lot of fun and had six sets of eyes on all 3 kids at all times which helped!

Lastly, with the World Cup on I thought it was ridiculous that the sports bar showing the football is a payable bar and the beer ran out on the day of the England game which the fans thought was a conspiracy but to the eight scousers walking around with flags attached to them screaming and chanting, if it was a conspiracy I half don’t blame them! Ha ha..

Marrakesh

We went into Marrakesh twice on our trip, once with one couple and their little girl and again the six of us with their little boy as well.

We got the free shuttle from the hotel one morning which took 20ish minutes (again Frankie was overjoyed to go on a bus, I may just take him to a bus station for his 3rd birthday) upon arriving in the town we were kinda conned into following a guide but it was well worth the 300 dirhams (roughly £20-25 I think) as it is honestly one of the busiest places I have ever experienced in my life, there are mopeds, horses, taxi’s and quads EVERYWHERE! There are people trying to wrap cobra snakes around you, stick monkeys on you and aggravate your child with loud bright things to make you buy them; we taught Frankie ‘LA (no)’ and literally rattled it into him not to touch anything, lucky for us Frankie is an extremely stubborn, hot and bothered child in a buggy in the town square so when a seller attempted to go near him he started his physco ‘I HURT YOU’ routine as mentioned earlier and they backed off!

There are fake bags, vans, trainers, tracksuits, the list honestly goes on but I felt so harassed I only ended up emerging with a shot glass (I buy one everywhere we go), some keyrings and argan oil/spices which we acquired on our ‘tour’ from the guide. If we didn’t have Frankie with us I would of ventured a bit longer and stayed to look but I was nervous of taking my eyes off him in case a monkey decided to crawl up next to him!

We were walked down an alleyway and into a ‘clinic’ with ladies making argan oil out the front, a Moroccan man with a northern accent in a white lab coat I can only assume he got off of eBay took us into a room and gave us a sales pitch on every type of ailment you can think of, it was very surreal, the two men had a 20 dirham (£2) massage too and I of course bought oil to cure my back pains, some weird black powder that apparently cures hay fever and snoring and some rose scented argan oil and the kids got a bar of soap. I love a sales pitch, I honestly cannot say no, I’m one of those with a ‘talk to me face’ and I always get pulled in!

The second time we went it was a bit overcast in the morning on the day before we went home so we went into town for something to do and walked up to the mall and treated ourselves to a McDonalds, don’t have the steakhouse fries they’re crap! Haha. We also got an iced latte in Starbucks, which was yummy and I picked up my ‘Starbucks mug’, I love collecting a shot glass and Starbucks mug from places I go, most recently the mugs who knows how many I can pick up! More shit for my kids to chuck when I’m old and shoved in a home one day!

Finally…

I would recommend Aqua Mirage to families with children for the aqua parc alone, it’s a great hotel with hard working staff, the restaurant was extremely busy at times and it was a shame the steak restaurant we would of liked to try was payable but even so it’s a lovely hotel in a hot country with more than enough to facilitate the kids! A few slight mentions above but nevertheless a great place for a family holiday & I would be happy to go back.

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