In the coastal resort of Agadir, Jonathan Brown finds a corner of Morocco with a distinct German feel.
Tree-climbing mountain goats, a German “club song” and cave-dwelling nomads. It’s not a mixture I’m all too used to, and certainly not your typical holiday fill, but neither is the Moroccan paradise of Agadir – a sand dune-filled, sun-soaked stretch of mountain-backed North African coastline that is full of surprises.
Located about 150 miles south- west of the capital Marrakech, Agadir is a low tempo sun-lounging hot spot bedecked with glistening pools in four and five star resorts that attract tourists from countries far and wide.
On arrival after our short flight from Gatwick to the pint-sized Agadir-Al Massira airport it became crystal clear that a stay in this coastal hub is tailor made for a picturesque stress-relieving break away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
A 45-minute drive to the palatial beach-side behemoth that is Robinson Club Agadir flashed by, as we rolled up to the guarded grand entrance of this all-inclusive suntrap situated to the south of the main beach strip beside the Moroccan king’s summer palace.
Waved through to the palm tree-laden drive towards the decadent main reception building, we’re greeted by hotel staff offering traditional Moroccan sweet biscuits and glasses of prosecco – a welcome truly befitting of a king.
But this is not a typical slice of North Africa, it has a European streak that is instantly noticeable and certainly offers something different. Robinson Club is the German market leader in resort holidays with a portfolio of over 20 high class, all-action locations all over Europe and Africa. All the staff are fluent in German, the local tongue of Berber and locally spoken French, so hearing an “Ich bin” here and a “Guten Tag’ there becomes part of the beach-side routine. Most of the menus come in German and English as well, although there are also plenty more nationalities that visit Robinson Club.
As we’re given a brief tour of the vast complex it becomes obvious that this place is an idyllic retreat, somewhere you really can forget about your troubles. In fact, there’s not a great deal you would actually need to venture out of the club for.
It boasts three restaurants including a monstrous world buffet boasting different international dishes every day of the week, although you can indulge in sweet Moroccan tagine pretty much 24/7, as well as a beach-side eaterie catering to sun-lounging guests all day long.
On top of that there are literally hundreds of sun loungers dotted around two pools or of course the glittering Atlantic Ocean, as well as a hair salon, a spa and enough sporting activities to keep your heart racing for a year, from surfing and football to tennis and spinning. If sports and sunbathing are your passion, there’s no need to look any further.
The area is also renowned for its array of top golf courses, so there are plenty of opportunities to practise your swing in paradise.
Simply sitting back and soaking up some rays is often top of my holiday agenda, so the complex’s three all-inclusive bars got used to serving me poolside Pina Coladas. Morocco’s love of flavoured tobacco, or shisha, is embraced with a rooftop shisha lounge, Cafe Maure, which sits you beneath the stars at night overlooking the picturesque pools, the rolling dunes to the left, the Agadir strip to the right and the calming ocean directly in front of you. It’s an awe-inspiring space, whether you like shisha or not.
And, although Robinson Club certainly embraces its Moroccan setting, there are some pretty out-there German touches that take a little getting used to, for example the Germanic Robinson club anthem playing every night at midnight in the complex’s trio of bars, and the on-site nightclub that is the epitome of Euro pop.
Once you’ve straddled the German-Moroccan balance there is much to love about this premium resort on a beautiful stretch of Agadir. It caters to all, whether you’re a couple after a romantic break in the North African sun or a family looking to get away from the pressures of daily life with the option of letting your children enjoy the hotel’s international kids club.
And if you’re after a more authentic taste of North Africa there are a handful of excursions, including trips to Marrakech.
We ventured out to Tafraoute in the heart of the Anti-Atlas Mountains and, though the three-hour trip is not one for the faint-hearted, the high altitude views, the taste of mountain market life and the bizarre yet breath-taking eroded rock scenery is truly a once in a lifetime experience. It’s worth adding that the traditional tagine we tasted in the remote town was unbelievable.
The Anti-Atlas Mountain region is a forgotten landscape that is dotted with rare, native argan trees, famed for producing skin cleansing oils. There are cave-dwelling nomads trekking in the baking sun, washing their clothes in randomly placed underground reservoirs and a small group even stopped at the roadside stood with a herd of goats that were climbing trees in search of fruit. The journey is littered with eccentricities.
And after a long day exploring the landscape surrounding Agadir, the knowledge that you’re heading back to the palatial Robinson Club in the humidity of the Moroccan coast is what holidays are all about.
Run a bath, settle down and peer from your panoramic balcony over the picture book sea. It’s a beautiful, yet unusual, slice of paradise.
Robinson Club Agadir is set next to Agadir Beach, neighbouring the summer palace of the Moroccan king.
Prices for a seven-night stay in a standard double all-inclusive start at £655 per person including flights. This package can be booked via www.thomson.co.uk.
Accommodation-only packages are also available on www.robinson.com.