A two-and-a-half-hour transfer from Marrakech or Casablanca airports to the sleepy village of Oualidia along less than perfect roads framed by endless plains, deserted beaches and olive trees only heightened our anticipation and excitement as we approached the traditional Moroccan country retreat. Occupying a tranquil, magical position overlooking crystal clear lagoon waters and marshes, the magnificent La Sultana Oualidia is reached by a winding dirt track.
Having been fortunate enough to stay at Oualidia’s sister hotel in Marrakech four years ago, our expectations were high: Oualidia did not disappoint. The professional yet laid-back service and beautifully presented staff – who clearly enjoy their work – make for a truly pleasurable experience.
Eco luxury seekers will be thrilled to know that the hotel adheres to strict self-sufficient principles and uses minimal water and energy. Local sandstone and natural materials have been reclaimed to create eleven beautifully carved suites – and one wooden treehouse, a spacious restaurant with an awe-inspiringly beautiful glass atrium, and numerous lounges and external terraces – all offering 180 degree views of the calm, crystal clear lagoon and creamy-hue sand dunes beyond. Each of the bedroom suites has its own bathroom, large private terrace and a sea water stone hot tub filled with fresh water from the lagoon: bliss!
The extraordinary 45-metre infinity swimming pool – surely the longest and clearest on the west coast, and pure heaven for serious swimmers – provides a complete oasis from the world. Numerous teak sun loungers, private cabanas with crisp white cushions and individual stone hot tubs have been thoughtfully arranged to make the most of the superb vista.
With a seasonal daily menu focusing on locally sourced ingredients, aromatic meat reared in the surrounding fields and fresh seafood and fish caught in the Atlantic Ocean, guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to meal times. Much of the vegetables and herbs are gown in the greenhouse.
Treats include a divine slow-roasted lamb shoulder, tangy chicken tagine and fillet of beef. The sea bass, turbot and crayfish were amongst the freshest and juiciest we have ever tasted. Indulgent desserts include the moelleux au chocolat, crème brulee a la vanilla bourbon and the tangy parfait au citron.
Why not allow the resort’s dedicated team to arrange a luxury picnic on the beach for you? Champagne, freshly caught fish and numerous other treats await you at an ultra-private cove reached only by boat.
The destination spa, housed in the centre of the main house, is the epitome of tranquility and escapism – like a narcotic; it leaves you returning again and again. Triple-height, honey-coloured vaults are adorned with beautiful modern paintings by acclaimed Moroccan artist Fatna Gbouri. The extensive space incorporates a warm water lap pool, numerous aromatherapy treatment rooms and a fitness suite for those wishing to increase some endorphins. Delightful, sensitive therapists administer age-old techniques using up-to-the-minute Moroccan products sourced from organic plants and essential oils. Aimed to relieve and relax muscles, our deep tissue massages were superb: strong enough to stimulate whilst being aware of each guest’s potential ailments. We suggest indulging in a Moroccan hammam at the beginning of your stay to strip away imperfections and prep your skin for the perfect tan.
The immaculate, manicured lawns, picture-perfect flowerbeds and lush shrubbery are tended to hourly and overseen by the effervescent manager, Khalil, whose attention to detail is remarkable. We visited in spring and enjoyed balmy, twenty-five degree weather with glorious sunshine, but a September visit is heralded as the ideal if sun is your thing.
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