Magic of Morocco NOV. 2021

Austin Gal here signing on my husband’s account. Hoping to get the vaccine before our Magic of Morocco Nov. 2021. My traveling shoes are getting restless! I’ve been eyeing this trip for some time. It appears that a lot has changed to this trip since it was first offered in 2010?? Some of the hotels have been tweaked for the better. Can anyone answer my lingering questions:
1. Do I take my Gift of time in Rabat or Marrakech? I've read past post, but these were years back and not sure if it has changed.
2. Don’t scoff at me, but I’m truly concerned!! I’ve looked at each hotel. There does not seem to be any alcohol in Four Seasons Casablanca? Each hotel advertises a bar except this one, even the Four seasons Marrakech has a bar. I can’t imagine serving a wonderful dinner without wine. I guess surely I can collect a bottle before we get to Casablanca? I just need to know ahead of time and be prepared. I’ve emailed the hotel…
3. I have 4 days to spare on the front in of this short trip. I was searching for a place to recover in the sun from jet lag. I saw that Canary Islands is only 2 hours from Casablanca. WOW that’s perfect. Lets camp out there on the beach for 4 days. But there doesn’t seem to be any flights that I can find from Canary to Rabat/Casablanca that is not 24 hour trip through Paris!!! . So are there any suggestions to where we can camp out for 4 days? (not literally camping you understand! A nice resort with spa AND WINE would be perfect B):) Not sightseeing like Madrid, but down time to recuperate.
ANXIOUSLY COUNTING DOWN THE MONTHS!!

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Comments

  • The last time I was in the Canaries, it was literally just 40 years ago to the day. There was an unexpected cold snap there, with snow and high winds. Our plane could not land, it was at the old airport in the North,we had to abort the landing and we nearly hit the mountain, the nearest I’ve nearly knowingly been in a plane crash. The pilot flew to the not quite completed new airport on the south of the island and we were bused some ways to to our resort. It’s one of my travel stories. The hotel sign ended up on our balcony and we got food poisoning.....but I do have a British friend that goes there every year at this time....pre Covid. The Brits go there a lot. If I still lived in England, it would be a place I’d want to chill out. If I remember correctly, most of the beaches have black sand.
    I guess right now is not the best time to be looking for flights. I suggest you wait until there is more hope of the Earth being opened up again and more flights resume.

  • Thank you, I'll keep that story in the back of my mind. Tenerife was also the largest deadliest accident in aviation history!! Wow, 2 stories from there!! The kicker in this story is the better hotels are going fast. I fear if I wait 3 months before when airflight opens up, there will be nothing left. What's a girl to do?? I guess hope for the best, and dream of that black sandy beach. Thanks for your input.

  • I was on this trip in 2019 and can comment on 2 of your questions. As to your extra day, I had one in both Rabat and Marrakech.
    The Rabat hotel is central and walkable, except if you want to visit Chellah, you would need transportation. The Marrakech hotel is on the outskirts so anywhere you would want to visit you would need transportation. Also consider which airport you are departing from in Marrakech. If your departing flight is from Casablanca it is approx. a 3 hour drive, plus add the 2 hours at the airport before your flight leaves. My pickup was at 3am for an 8am flight to Paris. If your flight departs from Marrakech it is only a 30 minute or less drive. So consider those time frames especially after the farewell dinner. My extra day in Marrakech I lounged by the pool and packed. I had lots of items I bought on this trip plus many Tauck "specials" so I was glad to have extra time to arrange my luggage.
    There is no liquor license at the Four Seasons in Casa due to its proximity to the Hassan II Mosque.
    This a a wonderful adventure. I have taken 11 Tauck tours and this one is in my top 3.

  • Just looked at this great itinerary for Morocco...we loved this country. The Four Seasons Hotel in Marrakech is absolutely beautiful...we were so glad we ended there...could have stayed longer. We did not find it difficult to get around from its location...we were encouraged NOT to venture out on our own so our guide made it possible to go back to the markets etc with small groups. It is one of my favorite cities. We bought a lot of gifts, souvenirs in Morocco...I walk on my runner everyday! Have no idea where else in Morocco to spend your free four days...maybe Majorca or Minorca off the coast of Spain before flying to Rabat? I so hope you get to go!

  • milmil
    edited January 11

    Austin Gal , you will love this tour, Amazing country, great itinerary and if you get Todd you would have won the lottery.
    I do recommend an xtra day or 2 if possible... in Marrakech, also do Essaouira with Tauck and the cooking class on your own, book the class on their website. La maison Arabe ; the place is close from the Four Seasons a taxi is about $5.00 and do give yourself a treat at the
    FS Spa. it is amazing.
    http://www.lamaisonarabe.com/en/ateliers-cuisine.html
    if you need any info. please private mess. me, I'm more than happy to help.
    M.

  • I’m also going to Morocco in November .. just got my airfare (used United points). I am planning to have an extra day in both Rabat - I welcome ideas! We are coming down to Rabat via Tangier and Chefchaouen. I will also have an extra day in Marrakech which I will probably use for the markets, etc.

  • I would recommend in Rabat:
    a visit to the Chellah, The Kasbah of the Udayas including the Andalusian gardens, also the Medersa.
    To visit the Royal Palace is a waste of time, all you are allow if the guards are in good mood it's to stand infront of the main entrance.- Be aware if they see you with a camera bigger than your cell phone- the will come after you saying you are a professional photographer and will not let you take any.
    The Hassan Tower & Mohammed V Mausoleum complex are a most see sights, they are included with Tauck , so I would skipped.
    In marrakech there is a lot more to see- not included with Tauck. I would visit the Bahia Palace the Marrakesh Museum and the Ben Youssef Medersa. the Jewish , The Mouassine Museum and Jewish market also around the Medina, you will find some hidden treasures...

  • Ok...let’s get real... what were your great finds?? What did you buy? My group needs to know!

  • milmil
    edited January 11

    I bought and amazing old style Dr.'s leather bag, it was 1/2 off retail $$ here in U.S and I did bargain a little more... so, I ended paying a great price. it is a great quality also bought a set of krafted candle holders and a small metal lantern set for my backyard- those I had them shipped direct. Other than that I spend money mostly at the Spa. The Spa in Fez- is small but excellent and the one at th Four Seasons amazing.

  • But did you buy a fez in Fez?

  • Not from Fez, but a fez that I have that was my Dad's.

  • Thank you all. I was really getting down and depressed thinking I had chosen the wrong trip. (like our Paradors of Northern Spain!) But thanks to all of you, you have me excited once again. Such a group of wise and giving people!! I did get a policy response from Hotel; Sunny Greetings from the Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca. Further to your request, we would like to inform you that the Hotel does not have a Liquor License , and that we are still waiting for our license to be delivered by the Public Authorities. We will be happy to recommend some restaurants which serve Alcohol. Kindly be informed that it would not be possible for you to consume Alcohol at the Hotel's Restaurant, however you are welcome to bring it to your room. Looking forward to welcoming you in our urban oasis. We remain at your disposal for any further assistance.

    So that settles that, We simply will eat out while we are in Casablanca. That thought never occurred to me. I'm scrapping the idea of Canary islands and adding extra to Rabad. Now I’ll start googling all of those fantastic places you’ve mentioned, and start saving for my own Medical bag and a cool Fez hat and cross my fingers for Todd. o:)<3
    Your AustinGal.

  • I thought Sam looked familiar, just a little older in his pic above...

  • Austin Gal , Hello again...
    Well, I have done both tours.. to Start , Northern Spain doesn't have the flavor that Southern Spain and Morocco have.. they are more civilized and although the cities are beautiful.. people are not as friendly as the South.. ( By the way I'm from Spanish heritage.. so... no, I'm not insulting anyone it's just a fact. ) Barcelona is the exception.
    It is also worth mentioning that even if you're not attached to the group.. when in this one the people are not friendly or lively , the dynamic of the trip becomes tedious and it will be hard to fully enjoy it ,it Happen to me with the India Trip were the group was divided in small cells of individuals with lots of drama and not friendly at all. Thanks god there was a group of crazy single divorced and widows that made the trip memorable for me. Australia was the other one... not really sure how to define that group. Any who... Morocco is incredible and people are very sweet and friendly, food is divine , and the crazy Medinas are super fun. Fun Chaos.!! Just imagine 7 of us ladies... with shopping bags getting into a small Taxi van with only $7.00 total collected between all of us.... the poor guy took us and could not stop laughing hearing us,, being loud and crazy because we've bargain the fare.
    Around Morocco I felt really save and never had any situation that would make me feel uncomfortable. It is also very interesting to see how many different etnic groups and different religions get along together .. Yes you can dress just like you would here in U.S just be respectful about showing to much skin.
    The Four Seasons Casablanca is beautiful and the sunsets are amazing, the rest. at the lobby level is really good. They don't have the license for alcohol because of the country religious believes.. but there are plenty of rest. near by. You only spend 1 night at this hotel... if you want , you can always purchase a bottle of wine at the wine tasting place you visit between Rabat and Fez/Fes. or at The Rick's Cafe... Wine is included with the meal, drink as much as you can... we average in that lunch 1.5 bottle per person.. :))) insane.
    My Morocco group was amazing, everyone got along and were super fun. Our tour guide the best! if you tell me via private mess. your reservation date, I can find out if he is taking that group.
    The four seasons Marrakech has great cocktails and excellent Spa. spoil yourself . :)

  • Mil - I just sent you a message. Nancy

  • edited January 12

    Mil, how can you tell which tour director will be taking a group on a particular date? I know you could be emailing a TD privately and sometimes the agent might be able to tell you if you book your tour nearer the date. We book our tours way too much in advance. If we have asked about a particular TD because we have had them before and know they do that tour, the agent may still not commit to telling you or knowing. I know that certain guides, especially if they have seniority, often lead the tours they want. But it is never guaranteed. I can think of three of my tours right off the bat where the Tour director was changed at the last minute.
    We were once told by another traveler that she thought the Paradors tour spent a long time on the bus for her. That’s something that people have different opinions about.
    We have noticed that some tour members drink a lot especially when alcohol is included with a meal. I like wine, but how someone can consume one and a half bottles of wine at a meal and still get up really early for a tour day, it’s beyond me. These days, I feel guilty when I drink two glasses of wine, maybe three glasses of wine, since the recommended amount for a woman is one 5 oz glass a day to not risk yourself everything from liver damage to cancer. I have only encountered one tour with the majority of single women and that was not a Tauck tour. Only three men. I prefer more men! While I have been aware of some minor conflict with people not getting on with each other, I’ve never experience anything like you are mentioning here. Especially on the normal size groups, it’s easier to decide who you can hang out with. Most people are usually on their best behavior on group tours.

  • And then there was the time we did something we had never done before, we asked the TD to give us a break, and put us in a different group, one without Mr and Mrs X? The TD responded with a knowing smile, "I hear your pain. You are the third couple to make that request today. I looked at the rotation and since you've had more than your fair share of the X's, I have no problem changing you to a different group. Have a great day." We did! :D

  • My dearest British I'm very so Happyyyyyyyyyyyy to hear all your tours have been Prefect! ,good for you.. but reality is that I didn't have the same luck with 2 of the 9 tours I have done... and no! I'm not complaining or making it up, it just happens and I don't blame anyone... it's is what it is... non of us are gold coins to be like by everyone. People have different backgrounds, interest and facility to interact with others... some connect easier then others.. some have better disposition to meet new people.. and others as I remember well .. like one of our forum regulars once said " she doesn't go on tours to make friends".... there you go!... :)
    Now, moving along... the 1.5 bottle of wine per person (average) was what we had during a 4-6 hour period.. while in Casablanca... it started at the rest. Rick's Cafe and continued at the hotel in one of the guess room... it may sound a lot but we all adults had a great evening and no one was drunk or had Cirrhosis from it. I personally don't drink on daily bases... only in social settings if so... or while on Vac. and with a Spanish/French/German grandfather That taught me how to drink I have never make a fool of myself.
    Also ,as I'm inspire tonight ... regarding the TD. I said I would ask... the person that I know if he is taking any group in Nov. which by the way his answer was:
    DRUMS PLEASE!!!! DRUMSSSSS DRUMS
    Due to Covid even though he gets date in advance , this year everything is all up in the air , they will hear with short notice is it is go or not. no promises at this time. They are waiting to go back to work as much as we want to travel.
    Now, I'm going to get myself a glass of Amarula!
    Cheers everyone!

  • I just founded these photos of my leather bag. -Made in Morocco


  • Austin Gal here...
    Really cute leather bag Mil. I wish to be so lucky? Maybe a magic lantern with a genie also? In response to the above questions. We are leaving on the November 14 Magic of Morocco Tour. But since reading all of your encouragement, we’ve decided to go into Rabat 4 days early and I scrapped the Canary island idea. One day to recuperate, and 3 to get in all that Tauck does not cover. Very excited. This is our 14 Tauck Tour.

    Why was Spain our worse trip? We took the Paradors of Spain tour that they no longer offer. First off our TG was a mumbler, that spoke VERY FAST in high squeaky voice. I think English was his second language, which was fine, we were in Spain after all. But my ears never got accustomed to his mumbling. We only understood 20% of what he said, so all of us had to get together after and decide what he really meant. While my idea of staying in the romantic paradors was mostly built up in my mind, (Castles, Aristocrats homes and Monasteries) in actuality did not live up to the trip. The bus rides were very long stopping each night at a different parador, I think we stayed at 5, but it felt like 20. We got in so late, and immediately left the next day not there long enough to snoop around on our own. Most of the paradors were Monasteries and while it was interesting I can assure you NONE of them were Tauck level that we are use to. How elegant can you make a 100 year old monastery that smelled like old rotted wood and dust? I’m not a prima donna mind you, I’m a Texas girl that can hang with the best of them. To top it off, one of the sites San Sebastian was rerouted for some reason that I now can’t recall, and we missed that city, one of the ones I was really hoping to see. The only redeeming part of the trip was Portugal. We stayed in Tauck level hotels, cruised on Douro, museums, learned all about Port and did some fantastic shopping there. I’ll always think of Portugal fondly.

    I never worry about landing a trip with boring people. We always find common ground somewhere. Laughter is the common ground. We look at it as, We ARE the party, and you can join in with our respectful merriment or not. The only time we had an issue with another passenger was in Africa with the “10 foot tall large gentleman” who was so concerned about getting the best shot he’d run to the front of the attraction (jeep, boat, animal, lecture )and just camp out hogging the whole shot. All of my pictures in African have him somewhere in the shot. When we asked to not be put in his jeep rotation, the TG said, yeah, you’re the 5 person to request. The TG was very sweet and accommodating. At dinner we would search out where he was sitting and go the opposite direction. He did not ruin our trip, that one was fantastic.

  • milmil
    edited January 20

    Austin Gal
    Well ..sad to hear about the Paradors of Northern Spain , it looks like some changes were made indeed. My experience was totally different. Yes ,we visited 4 Monasteries total but we stay 2 nights in each.. so never felt rushed , I did not smelled anything rotten and they were all clean. Only 1 Monast. needed a change of carpets and Yes! the rooms super small & bathrooms were not at Tauck standards.. and I know Tauck no longer visits that Monastery and also the parador at Fuente De was a little off standart, they were having staff issues..
    The bus drive for us wasn't so tedious because our TD - was amazing! he is all about entertaining and integrating the group, that's one of his many shinning skills & greatest moments , he makes all his tours a delight to be in... the guy is so talented.. great skills as a TD. you can tell he loves his job.... I know because we have become friends and he was my TD in Morocco - you have to meet him to agreed with me.
    About San Sebastian... beautiful city, great people ... but the funny part is that my only complain & worst experience during that tour was in non other then San Sebastian... The Maria Cristina hotel, beautiful but our bathtub was clogged and no one to fix it .. not even an offer to change rooms.. so we ended taking a shower outside in the toilet area next to the bathroom with the hose.. But the final
    insult was... (and Mr.TD never find out about this .) .. from the Chef , when I requested if I could have something different from the set menu .. which main course was fish ( I'm allergic ) . I told waiter that any pasta or chicken dish would be okay.. I wasn't going to be picky,
    WELL!!!!!! Drums again please..... oh surprise the jerk sent out after 20min. a boiled chicken breast , plain no vegg.-etc... an empty plate and a side pasta dish, no salt, butter or any sauce ... my dog eats better then that!
    I was so in shock! it never occur to me to complain to the manager or the TD... one of this days I will tell T.
    I did wrote a review about the hotel everywhere I could and told the story, sadly bad experiences like this one , contribute to the bad rep. Spain has.. and I love Spain. Rest of the trip was superb and Portugal amazing.
    Austin Gal you will love Morocco, to be honest 2 extra days + the day Tauck starts the tour will be enough. if you travel through Paris-Rabat you will arrive about 3:00 pm ,that will give you 1/2 and a full night to rest. and 2 days to look around unless you want to visit the museums.

  • Mil. Did you tell Tauck that you were allergic to fish? If you did, your TD can’t have been that wonderful. I’ve always noticed that people who have special dietary requirements are looked after very well, and this is usually supervised by the TD. You should not have been the one to talk to the chef, if it was a set menu, you should have been offered a choice well before the meal occurring.
    Tauck hotels do not have a standard, they clearly state they find the best available. That means different things to different people...for me, it means convenient for the obvious tourist attractions. Lately, there has been too much attention to staying in luxury hotels that one doesn’t have time to enjoy. One of our most recent hotels was a half hour ride from the town, it was the end hotel and we had stayed on for a couple of days, it was a half hour ride to town. We went into the hotel that Tauck had originally stayed in and it looked fine. Our main reason to stay on was to be in the town as we had been there many years ago and wanted more.

  • Mil it sounds you had Todd who is in our top 5 of TD after 13 trips (we have had some nightmares.) We took Paradors in 2019 and it was a wonderful trip. Most hotels were top notch and the one that was not was a one night stop over was fine. Clean but in need of updating. Being in an out of the way area that is to be expected. We have had trouble in the US that respect. While the stop in Santiago was the old historic Parador, it was an opportunity to experience history. Portugal stops were a nice change after Spain. I think it is too bad they deleted that from the Paradors.

  • British , Yes Tauck knows... and I have never had problems with food in any of my other tours.. or in any of the other hotels during this trip...
    Noooothing!, it just happens, BUT! the chef attitude was unacceptable and
    I do agree with you on how Tauck always ensures that any dietary issues will taken care. I just don't give myself a bad time.. but I have and will make sure to let every know about the INFAMOUS CHEF! specially that San Sebastian is considered a top Gourmet city and their culinary school one of the best ..
    I wish I knew his name... :(
    About Tauck hotel Standards I'm referring to the quality of service, location, overall hotel presentation etc.. they don't have to be from a luxury chain but they are always great ones... and I haven't had any complains about them.. but service offered by the MC was not of a 5
    star deluxe.

    Bucketlist Hi !
    Yes!!! it was Todd. a superb TD, amazing guy and very professional. He was my TD also in Morocco. He is always on top of everything, very friendly and kind with everyone.

  • Are any youtraveling November going Nov 4 or 11? I am switching from Scotland to Morocco as I think the UK will still be covis issues in August. Also thoughts about the Scotland Tauck trip welcome.
    Thank you

  • Just an FYI, here are the current restrictions (projected to November as of today) for traveling from the US to Morocco as obtained on the American Airlines website. The return to the states requirements are also available, I just didn't capture them. I've found the AA website interface very useful in seeing what restrictions are in place for travel.

  • GerimaeBassichis- I’m signed up for the November 11th trip. You can send a message
    Nancy

  • Austin Gal here;
    Thanks Smiling Sam. I like these restrictions here. This is all doable for us thirsty travelers. We all want to do our part to move this along. We will be on the November 14 Morocco trip, but going in 1 day early. Very excited.

  • Are you still going to Morocco November 2021?? I was all set for 11/21 but I was going on a road trip for 2 weeks prior from Portugal thru Spain. This didn’t seem feasible. And the October 2022 trips were filling up (we needed space for 5 people - 3 rooms). So I cancelled my 11/21 trip and rescheduled for 10/22. I cancelled my outgoing flight but kept the returning flight (I can cancel without penalty until 10/21). Currently the November 2021 is wide open so if things change, I may go to 2021. I am so up in the air with indecision!

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