Guest post and photos by John & Sarah Lithgow
Why You’ll Love It
We visited Fawakay at the end of December for a week to celebrate a 40th birthday and to introduce our children to somewhere a little different. Our kids at the time were 8, 6 and 3 years old and they loved the holiday. In fact, we all agreed that our time in Morocco was one of our best holidays ever.
Fawakay Villas consist of three individual private villas set within the very large and beautiful walled gardens of the owner’s home. Delicious meals are prepared in a central kitchen and can be served wherever (in your private villa or, for example, by the pool) and whenever you like.
The owners, Francis and Dawn, moved from the UK some time ago and have become experts in taking the hassle out of the whole holiday from sorting out a local camel ride to having kid’s yogurts in the villa fridge. You can easily spend happy and relaxed days within the confines of the gardens but the bustle of Marrakech is only a short taxi ride away.
The children happily went off to play with the assorted resident animals whilst the adults could read a book in the sun. As a family we rated the whole experience as the best holiday we’d ever had together.
Why The Kids Will Love It
Fawakay Villas is very kid-friendly. On offer are basics such as cots and baby monitors as well as bottle sterilising tablets and formula milk – just let them know what you need when making your booking. They also have a special children’s menu, offer kiddie cooking classes, princess spa treatments, toys, DVDs, clay modelling and more. Francis is also happy to whip up junior mocktails for younger guests (served by the kiddies pool).
Doris the donkey, peacocks, dogs and various other assorted animals share a huge garden which is perfect for hide and seek. Little dens to chill out in, hammocks to snooze in and a swimming pool to cool off in… there’s plenty of space to run wild but be safe.
There is also a table tennis table, a full sized tennis court and a small outdoor play area for younger children. It is very easy for children to play with other children staying at the other villas. Plenty to explore and do both inside Fawakay and nearby.
Our eldest, Estella, particularly enjoyed the Moroccan cookery class, the henna painting and playing new games with other guests around the pool. Robbie, our middle child, loved all the places to hide, the swimming pool, table tennis and chasing the various animals with Ziggy, the owners’ son who was around the same age. As for Josie, aged 3, she loved the “Bonjour House” (what she called our dining room because the lovely ladies who brought our meals all said Bonjour to her!) and the hidden dens around the gardens.
All three kids thought the children’s food was fantastic and there has been repeated requests for “Fawakay food” since we returned home! Stress free mealtimes alone make for a relaxing holiday with kids in tow.
There are three individually styled villas available: Lak Lak, Sannor and Taos.
Lak Lak is the smallest of the three and sleeps between 2 and 6 people in three bedrooms over two floors. As a family of five, we felt we had more than enough space. The Master suite upstairs has a double four-poster bed, a sitting room, a phenomenal bathroom (with bath and separate shower) and a sun terrace.
Adjoining the main sitting room downstairs there is another double bedroom and inter-connecting twin room and bathroom (with shower, no bath). There are plenty of cushions and loungers, open fireplaces, air-conditioning, TV, DVD and IPod docks. A cosy dining room is located downstairs as well as a private pantry with tea and coffee-making facilities and a well-stocked minibar and fridge which is restocked daily. Open fires are lit when the temperature starts to drop.
Sannor and Taos have a similar footprint, but have an extra downstairs bedroom leading off the dining room. Both these villas sleep 6-8 people.
The décor throughout all three is beautifully done, all three villas hosting Moroccan pictures and ornaments.
Best Rooms For Families: All the villas have been designed with families in mind and any one of them would be ideal. Depending on your family size (and budget) you can take guidance from the owners, Francis and Dawn, as to which villa would suit your particular needs. Cots and high chairs are available.
Breakfast is served in the dining room of your villa at a time agreed the night before – a wonderful spread of toast, fresh fruit, fruit juices, hard boiled eggs, fresh pancakes, omelettes and cake. Extra milk and fruit juice always available, along with a choice of tea or coffee.
The lunch menu includes a choice of soups, sandwiches, Moroccan salads, and other dishes. Lunch can be served wherever in the grounds you would like it, and at your requested time.
The evening meal for adults (12 and over) is a set menu. Whilst the menu is relatively restricted for choice (two or three options for each of the three courses), the quality is simply outstanding. Every meal we had without exception was beautifully cooked and delicious. We did not feel any need to go into Marrakech for dinner.
For Kids: There was an extensive kids menu with all the favourites along with other choices. Our children ate fruit and vegetables all week which was a welcome change from the usual holiday fare in other destinations.
Activities for the Family
Swimming, tennis, table tennis, spa treatments (by pre-booked appointment with spa staff coming to your villa), moroccan cookery classes, henna tattoos (done at the villa by a local person). A host of other activities close to the villas – camel riding, donkey riding, quad-biking, walking in the Atlas mountains, and activities a/v in Marrakech.
Air-Conditioning, Babysitting, car seats in hotel transport, cots, doctors & hospitals, extra beds, inter-connecting rooms, kids’ activities, laundry service, pushchair friendly, spa, swimming pool, children’s pool, WiFi in certain spots, eco-friendly.
When to go:
The best times to visit Marrakech are from March through May and again from October through November. The spring and autumn months enjoy the best weather and the least crowds – apart from Easter when rates and tourist numbers both rise. January and February can be unpredictable, June through August is hot!
Location & Travel:
Fawakay Villas is located 10km from Marrakech in a remote location, next to a small village. A taxi into Marrakech takes around 20 minutes. The nearest airport is Marrakech Menara Airport. Flights from UK airports take 3.5 hours. Taxis from the airport to Fawakay take around 30 minutes; Francis can organise airport transfers. Hiring a car and driving is not recommended, many of the roads close to the villa are unmarked and their are no signs.
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
Reviewed by: John & Sarah Lithgow
1. Make sure you visit Marrakech’s famous souks and do not shy away from haggling. This was a highlight of the holiday for everybody and not as stressful as expected with three young children in tow!
2. Ask Francis to book lunch for you at Nomad – a fantastic roof top restaurant hidden in the souks.
3. No need to hire a car as the private taxis used by Fawakay are good value and friendly and take the stress out of getting around.
For more information, visit the hotel’s website.