A Week in... Mazagan, Morocco
Some courses are lucky enough to fit seamlessly into their surrounds, some look uncomfortably out of place. The Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort, 90 kilometres south of Casablanca, falls easily into the first category, all the more impressive given that it only opened in October 2009.
This is a fantastic place to play golf, the 1st tee sits less than a 10-minute walk from your poolside lounger and once you have experienced the Gary Player design your first thought will be when you can… wait for it… cue lazy Casablanca pun… play it again.
Which, as I found out, is one of the most widely misquoted lines in cinematic history. The actual line, said by Ingrid Bergman, is ‘Play it, Sam’ when requesting a few bars of Herman Hupfeld’s As Time Goes By. But I digress, back to the golf course.
Any new resort will rightly come under the microscope of the environmentalists and Mazagan ticks the right boxes. The dunes and valleys which the course follows have been created from the sand found on site, the type of grass used has been chosen for its friendly growing habit of requiring less water, fertilizer and pesticides and 80 per cent of the irrigation water used for the course is recycled from the hotel effluence.
The results of which are all stunning and, being managed by the highly regarded Troon Golf, the course is immaculate. Everything is just so here, small brick turrets with layouts of each hole direct you easily around the course and the distance fairway markers offer you both metre and yardage options so there are no excuses.
And, while you might read that this is the longest course in Morocco, there are plenty of options from the tee and the fairways are more than generous. Should you stray from the short stuff there is a good chance that you will find your ball in the grasp of some ice plant.
It will look simple enough to get club on ball and advance it 100 yards, the likelihood is that your ball will travel less than 10. By the 5th green you will get your first sight of the Atlantic Ocean and, by the 8th tee, you will have worked your way out to the coastline where four stunning holes reside within a few yards of the ocean’s breakers and small groups of holidaymakers will likely be enjoying an idyllic horse ride.
What you see is what you get here and the various elevated tees, the 11th is the pick of the bunch, offer plenty of breathtaking views of both the hole that is about to be tackled and the further surrounds. But, if you were to single out a ‘get your camera out hole’ it would be the short 15th (below, taken with my camera) which takes you back to the ocean.
In character with the rest of the course the green is vast and sloping which means you will likely spend more time than you wish trying to get your ball in the hole.
But, try as we might, we can’t just play golf all day and there is plenty else to like about the resort, right from the moment you turn into the tree-lined driveway before entering the grand lobby. Incidentally, each to their own and all that, but you might think that a week might be a long time to stay at one resort but there wasn’t time to indulge in half the activities on site.
If you are of the more active mindset then there is plenty to keep you occupied, be it quad biking on the beach, jet skiing, a fitness gym with views out to the ocean or even karting inside Formula 1-standard crash barriers. On a more gentle tip there is tennis, biking, archery or even Nordic walking while those less inclined to move too far (me) will enjoy the table tennis by the pool.
Should you not want to move whatsoever there is always the exquisite spa with 19 treatment rooms, again with ocean views, as well as a steam room, authentic Moroccan hammam made from marble and an outdoor relaxation area. Each treatment begins with a private consultation and likely ends in a sleepy state of quiet contentment.
Before you then end the day by eating too well and too much which is very easy to do here. Some resorts all too easily make a mess of trying to offer a variety of cuisines, wherever you eat here it is a different experience and, in the summer months, you have a further choice of dining on the beach.
Sel de Mer, as the name and cool blue decor suggests, is a brilliant option to enjoy the local seafood while the adjacent La Cave offers a similarly comfortable experience though with a French menu.
I always assume that the continental Europeans are cannier in choosing their holiday destinations and there is a nice mix here. One of a long list of ticks in the Mazagan box.