We’ve just returned form a fab half term break at the Iberostar, Founty Beach hotel in Agadir, Morocco. It was the best winter-sun, all-inclusive, short-haul holiday we have ever taken and we are already planning to go back next year!
Why choose Agadir?
We really struggled to find a short-haul destination in February with a decent average temperature (above 20C), even the Canaries average around 18C which just isn’t warm enough for me! We have had a few holidays during the Christmas break and were surprised to find out that temperatures drop further and don’t start to rise again until March/April. So with Egypt being a firm ‘no’ and Dubai being just a bit too far, we decided on Agadir, Morocco. Flight time 3 hours 20 mins.
The Iberostar Founty Beach met all our needs. Everything was so clean, the rooms, the communal areas, the pools, the dining areas, everything was kept clean throughout the day. The staff were friendly and obviously enjoyed their jobs. Though the main language spoken was french, the only serving staff who did not speak english were in the Spa- luckily my GCSE french got me through! They had a kids club (that we didn’t use) with staff who came over to chat with the kids and always waved or high-fived when they saw them in the hotel. The rooms were spacious, the shower was powerful and the hair-dryer actually worked well (I usually find the ones attached to the wall to be useless!!).
The food was great. For an all-inclusive buffet it was fabulous, with 4-5 cooking stations at every mealtime where chefs prepared meat, fish, paella, pizza, eggs, pancakes and donuts. There were tagines, soups, fresh salads and various fresh breads, a great selection of fruit and the usual awful deserts expected abroad (no one can do deserts like the uk)!! As well as the standard three-meals-a-day, they also cooked pancakes at 4pm every afternoon. The kids were always hungry after playing in the pool all day and the pancakes enabled them to survive until dinner at 8ish (much later than their usual 5pm tea-time at home) without us having to endure the constant ‘I’m hungry’ throughout getting-ready-for-dinner time. To be honest, the children survived on pizza, pancakes and fruit the whole time!
They served proper coffee!! Though you had to ask for it and it was only available at the pool bar, if you didn’t specify, you got the powdered variety from the other machine. We only realised this towards the end of our holiday when they started using the ‘proper’ coffee machine while the other was being cleaned.
The house wine was good. At lunch and dinner in the buffet restaurant, wine, beer and soft drinks were served. There are options to purchase bottles of wine but there really is no need. The white wasn’t amazing but quite drinkable, I’m not a rose fan but was told it was good and the red was really nice. With J’s motto of ‘Life’s too short to drink crap wine!’ you can be assured that the red was good!!
The heated pool was actually heated!! We only choose hotels with a heated pool during the winter months and while you can normally tell the difference (it’s the one without ice floating on the top!), I really wouldn’t call them heated. Well, this one really is! Even my mum went in for a swim every day! The kids spent hours in the pool and not once did I have to drag them out, fearing hypothermia- they have literally turned blue in pools before!! As there were six of us, we did put our towels out before breakfast in order to have them together, however, when my brother rocked up with his girlfriend around lunchtime (they joined us a few days into the holiday), the pool staff were always able to find them another couple of loungers and happily maneuvered them around for us.
The hotel had its own private beach. There was a section of beach roped off with loungers and parasols for hotel guests only. The beach itself was golden sand and went on for miles, the water was also shallow for quite a way out, so great for little ones to paddle. It was however, really wavy and looked dangerous to swim further out, great for surfing though! The Moroccan ‘Looky, looky’ men (as we called them!) were always on the path between the hotel and the beach trying to sell something, but they didn’t hassle us when we said ‘no thank you’ and never followed us onto the beach. There was always security stationed at every entrance to the hotel.
The evening entertainment faired well. We are giving this the benefit of the doubt, as we only managed to stay up for it once and when I say we, it was just my bro, his girlfriend and the girls! Grandma, J and I stayed in the room with the Boy! The kids were generally shattered by 9.30pm, so we took some drinks back to the room so they could chill out watching a film or sleep. The one show they watched however, was amazing. There was various dancing and a snake charmer with a King Cobra (and other smaller snakes). The kids disco at 8.30pm every evening was pretty similar to every other hotel we’ve visited and though the Boy (4) was keen, K (10) and Lou (7) were just too cool for it!!
J, Grandma and my bro played golf. Apparently it was good! There is a free courtesy bus and a few courses to choose from, blah blah blah…………
I had a few hours in the Spa instead which was fantastic! Just being in a darkened room without the kids is a treat but this really was worth it. I had 20 minutes in the hammam (cross between a sauna and a steam room), a skin scrub and mud treatment, followed by a 30 minute massage which was heavenly and fantastic value for money (around £30).
- Choose ‘basic’ rooms- they are spacious and I’m not really sure why they are called ‘basic’ as they have all you would expect.
- Take hair conditioner and body cream as they do not provide these unlike some all-inclusive hotels (they provide body wash, shampoo, soap)
- Take towel-dressing gowns for the kids- it can be a bit chilly when wet at this time of year, so these were a god-send and were worn most of the time they were out of the pool. You can only change towels once a day, so these also gave their towels a chance to dry.
- Take some currency – we didn’t as we usually put everything on a card but they will only take cash for the Spa, towel hire and the safe deposit and rent. You need 100 dirham/ towel, 100 dirham deposit for a safe (which you get back), then it’s 30 dirham/day for the hire of the safe. You could only change cash into currency at the hotel but there is a cash machine at a neighbouring hotel. The bank has a better exchange rate if you don’t mind taking a walk.
Where have you been in February half term to get some winter sun?