Magic of Morocco, April 2023 review
We just returned from this tour two weeks ago and I wanted to post some thoughts. Mike Henderson did a great and detailed review of this trip on his site (https://www.mikeandjudytravel.com/), which has remained largely the same, so I will just add a few comments and observations. I would definitely recommend this tour – it is in my top tier of Tauck tours. Morocco is a fascinating place and Tauck does it in it's usual fabulous fashion.
1. AirTravel: We traveled Royal Air Maroc business class. Since they do not fly out of DC every day, we flew up to Kennedy airport and caught a direct flight to Casablanca there. We flew direct from Casablanca back to DC. The planes were comfortable and the food was good. The business class lounges in Kennedy and in Casablanca were pretty lousy. The price was decent ($3100) and you cannot beat direct flights, particularly with regards to luggage retention. Some people flew AirFrance and were less than thrilled about changing in Paris. The Casablanca airport is fairly large and modern, but they have a different way of approaching security there than we do here. In addition - VERY IMPORTANT – if you go this route, make sure you adhere to the weight restrictions. If you are over 23kg/50lbs, you will have to wait on a different line and pay additional fees. This happened with several of our friends. The website is confusing and does not clearly state that. You can have more than one bag, but each one cannot weigh over 23kg.
2. Atmosphere: This is a very religious country. Well over 95% of the women on the street are wearing hijabs and abayas (I am pretty sure this is what this outer garment is called). You will witness the call to prayer multiple times a day. There are western tourists around, but you will see many more westerners in Marrakesh and Casablanca than other places.
3. Food: Everyone universally agreed the food was fabulous.
4. Service: The service was very variable. They are odd about liquids – the servers never really fill up your glass. They seem to specifically fill to a 2 – 3 oz mark, so you are constantly asking for refills, and they may or may not ignore you. It is odd. This was absolutely not the case in the Four Seasons properties, but was particularly noticeable in Rabat and Fes.
5. Hotels: The Four Seasons in Marrakesh is a beautiful property. Just relaxing there is worth adding an extra day to the end of your tour. The Hotels in Rabat and Casablanca are also lovely, but not quite as special. The Hotel in Fes, The Palais Faraj is a conundrum. We all agreed our rooms were really beautiful, yet dysfunctional. The hotel is modern and is absolutely gorgeous. The layout of the rooms is ridiculous. In addition, the hotel is next to a housing construction site. Probably by the time the tours begin again in the fall, the construction will be further along and the road to the hotel will be paved. hah.
6. Water: brush your teeth with bottled water. Several people on our tour did not and had the diarrhea to prove it, requiring antibiotics.
7. Shopping: The tour will bring you to a rug store and demonstration in the medina in Fes. The prices are good. The rugs are gorgeous, and the delivery to the US is speedy. Many people bought rugs. We did not, and I wish we did. The leather goods are inexpensive and beautiful. You will also go to several shops that sell Argan oil, facial cremes and honey and food products. They are ridiculously expensive. Buy the soap and forget the rest. Our friends all felt the same way, but somehow we were all suckered in. The prickly pear crème ($100) will not prevent aging, although people were involved in frenzied buying. Do yourself a favor and buy a rug instead. Trader Joe’s has Moroccan argan oil. There is definitely enough time to shop, but I will not say that it is at a particularly leisurely pace.
8. Essouria (last day excursion) was loved by all that went there. It is a beautiful seaside town and was a truly lovely place to walk around.