Thank you for using Ryanair and keeping us in a job for another few days, said the captain as we landed in Marrakech, one of the more intriguing new routes that started from Dublin during 2014.
The Morroccan Killarney is not new to Irish visitors, it is just that we are used to travelling there from Agadir. One effect of this is to give us easier access to one of the best of Club Med’s collection of 80 all-inclusive resorts from around the world.
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Club Med has something usually absence from the travel industry: a real history, having grown from straw cabin beach huts to an iconic status, especially among the French. They invented all-inclusive before the Caribbean.
The impact of all inclusive comes at many levels, most subtly on the attitude the people who stay there. They like to participate and they like to party.
If you are paying seven euro for your glass of wine at the bar you do not ten to stay out as late. Club Med understand this.
The big selling point for many of the resorts is how action packed they are. In Marrakesh we watched as the staff went through very complicated line dancing routines and prepared for the Michael Jackson show the following nights.
The staff are all young and good-looking and full of the sort of enthusiasm that people don’t get in the mundane Monday to Friday lives that they lead but seek when they go on holidays.
And that may be Club Med. It is an escape within a comfort zone. We love our comfort zones, particularly when the journey takes us to places where we have been conditioned by external forces to regard as uncomfortable, for which read Islamic countries and Asia.
Club Med offers the little excursions out beyond the comfort zone for those who enjoy something more adventurous than the badminton or the tennis or the swimming pool.
What are the high points? You can’t go wrong with the night club. It is high enough, looking over the resort, as if to suggest that prominence should be given to those who stay up late, drink dramatic cocktails, and successfully negotiate their way down the stairs.
Other resort-rats may slumber away at a somewhat different level, the downstairs people.
During the day you can view the town from here. It seems distant, a red sand Oz, minarets peeping beyond the palm trees, with the mountains beyond.
Marrakech is surprisingly adventurous for a town so full of five star hotels and cruise ship coach excursions.
The adobe walls are pockmarked. Sometimes the sun peeps through. Motor bikes whittle by, tooting their horns, women in burqas perched precariously atop, the Moroccan flag draped from poles at the side. If you time it right, the call to prayer fills the eardrums but every sense is being engaged. You smell spices you can never recognise, even when there doesn’t seem to be anyone selling them nearby.
You need somewhere comfortable to retreat to after taking on a day in the market place, with its peculiar secret codes of collective purchasing, the cries of “I give you global price, I give you democratic price ,” and the over-riding feeling that, no matter how hard you haggle, and getting them down to 20pc of the original asking price is not unusual here, that you have been roundly ripped off.
One of the women in the party concluded: “I definitely paid too much, he gave me a packet of tissues as well.”
That’s for you to cry all the way home,” she was told.
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Eoghan Corry travelled to Marrakech courtesy of Sunway, who run the Club Med programme out of Ireland, offering all-inclusive holidays in 80 Club Med resorts across the world. +3531 2311800 www.sunway.ie or your local travel agent.
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