Fawakay Villas

Marrakech, Morocco Book from

Reviewed by Abigail Blasi
Private villas for 2-8, with the luxurious benefits of a hotel, set in bucolic gardens just 10km from Marrakech
Fawakay Villas is a lush complex of 4 large sand-coloured houses, built in unobtrusively modern style and surrounded by a verdant 3.5 acres of garden, which are patrolled by guinea fowl, peacocks, tortoises, dogs, cats, turkey and Doris the mischievous donkey - the family pets. The setting is about 10km from Marrakech in a remote location next to a small, dusty village - and the complex is a surprise after the where-are-we-headed journey; a lovely tangle of rose gardens, bougainvillea, vegetable patches and well-tended green space.

The terrifically welcoming English owners - Dawn and Francis plus their four children - live on-site in one house. The other 3 villas are for guests, and private - each with a plunge pool and dining table outside - but people tend to mingle with the family and other guests around the pool with its loungers and honesty bar. The pièce de resistance for frazzled families, friends and couples is the privacy and amount of space provided for each carefully curated villa. Order delicious local and continental food and it’ll be served whenever and wherever you like. A well-thought-out choice for a relaxing yet exotic break.

Highs

  • Wonderfully spacious villas, with dramatic large rooms. Rent a suite or an entire house
  • Kids will love the pool, clay tennis court, family pets and tearing around the lovely grounds
  • The peace of the countryside, yet Marrakech is easily accessible for day trips
  • The choice between privacy or being more sociable - perfect for couples or groups of friends - stipulate your preferences when booking
  • When we revisited in 2014 we found the gardens to be wonderfully lush and blooming, and the main pool is now heated

Lows

  • Nigh-on impossible to find in a taxi - make sure you ask for a transfer from the airport, see Rates
  • No local restaurants, should you want a change of scene; you're 15 minutes from the medina
  • Note that peacocks can be very loud early in the morning…
  • During school holidays there may be a few families visiting, so those seeking a tranquil stay may prefer other times

Best time to go

Fawakay Villas is open all year. The sizzling May to August period will be fun for frolicking by the pool, but the cooler months between November and March will suit those who want to focus on exploring the region.

Our top tips

Be sure to book an airport transfer. We got very lost trying to find this place independently, and our taxi driver only spoke Arabic.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villas + Suites
  • 9
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Cookery lessons
Room: Villa Taos

Rooms

There are 3 villas, set well apart from one another to ensure peace and privacy. All have ground-floor dining and sitting rooms with open wood-burning fireplaces, antique doors, separate pantries with tea and coffee facilities and an honesty drinks fridge, and a private garden with a dining table and plunge pool to cool off in. Villas Laklak and Sannor also have a Berber tent set in the garden, perfect for relaxing in the shade with a glass of mint tea.

Villa Laklak is decorated in dramatic red, black and white, and it can be rented by the floor or in its entirety. There are 2 suites: 1 upstairs with a double bedroom, and a Family Suite downstairs with 1 double and 1 twin bedroom. Both master bedrooms have lavish bathrooms with sunken baths and tadelakt walk-in showers. The Suite (upstairs) has a four-poster bed, a living area and private roof terrace with sunloungers and a shaded seating area.

The larger Villa Sannor also sleeps 6, and its decor is pared-down and contemporary, but cleverly combined with Berber designs. There are 2 spacious ground-floor double bedrooms which contain large baths, framed by handpainted Berber tent posts. Upstairs the master suite, with a grand four-poster bed, adjoins an enormous tadelakt bathroom and gives onto roof terraces.

Largest of all is Villa Taos, which sleeps 8 - this is considered the most private option as it is at the end of the property. With a similar layout to Sannor, it's decorated in rich earthy tones, with more of an African feel. It also has a large, secluded garden. There are 2 ground-floor bedrooms, and 2 first-floor bedrooms - a suite and adjacent twin room. All are ensuite with both a bath and shower on the ground floor, a shower only on the first floor. There's the option to connect the first-floor bedrooms, with their own separate entrance. If you book it for 6 people, the fourth bedroom will be locked.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • Tv

Eating

The staff will serve meals wherever you’d like them: in your room, at your dining table, in your summerhouse, on your villa terrace, in the salon or in the dining room by the pool. A snack menu is available all day, including hummus and crudités, curried pea and apple soup, watermelon salad with feta, or sesame and vermicelli salad, plus children’s choices such as pizza, spaghetti bolognese and fruit salad.

A delicious breakfast (included in the rates) typically consists of freshly squeezed orange juice, bread with homemade jams, Moroccan pastries, fresh fruit salad, local eggs and tea or coffee (cafetiere).

In the evening, a set menu is provided that changes each day of the week - it includes vegetarian options. Expect dishes such as white bean salad with orange blossom carrot salad, chicken or fish tagine with rosemary potatoes and vegetables, and to finish, delicious ricotta with honey and sesame or poached pears in cinnamon.

Unfortunately there are no other eateries within easy striking distance should you fancy a change of scene, but it you want to head into Marrakech for the evening, Francis and Dawn can recommend good restaurants there.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Laze by the swimming pool or on a cushioned clay lounger, play tennis on the clay court, take a dip in your private plunge pool, or have a table-tennis tournament (you can borrow all the kit)

  • Have a hamman or massage in the onsite hamman, or a private cookery lesson with Bouchera, Fawakay Villas’s masterful cook

  • There are 3 18-hole golf courses within 15 minutes' drive of the villas, with golf clubs available for hire at the clubhouses

  • Horse riding or trekking in the Atlas mountains can be arranged

  • Head into Marrakech. Dawn can arrange a cultural tour, or an English-speaking personal shopper to help you navigate the labyrinthine maze of the souks, and help you find exactly what you want, for a reasonable price (an hourly fee, no commissions, so you get the best price). If you'd prefer to be independent, taxis can be arranged at any time; just ask

  • There's a range of day trips on offer: to the Ourika Valley, the charming coastal town of Essaouria, the Barrage Lake, or the Atlas mountains. Drivers usually speak English and picnics can be prepared on request

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being

Kids


i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2013
Winner: Best for Families Large and Small

Fawakay Villas is a brilliant place to stay with children: it’s a way of visiting Marrakech without being constantly in the thick of the hustle and bustle, and the pool, tennis courts and table tennis are a great way to entertain and relax in-between trips to the centre. There are plenty of exciting activities on offer such as princess spa treatments from the local henna lady. Dawn and Francis have 4 children of their own and are exceptionally well set up to cater for families, for example all kids receive Moroccan pyjamas on arrival as a gift.

Bear in mind is that you are a long way from shops selling nappies, baby food and toys. Parents of younger guests can request specifics to be stocked in your room so you don't incur extra baggage charges if flying with budget airlines into Marrakech. Special food requests also catered for.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The Family Suite is ideal as it has 1 double and 1 twin room, and can accommodate an extra bed and baby cot. We'd plump for one of the villas: the largest sleeps up to 8 people and Villa Taos’ 2 upstairs rooms can be connected to make a family suite as can two rooms in Villa Laklak - useful for parents with small children. Kids can spend the night in the traditional Moroccan tents in the garden if staying in Laklak or Sannor. All the bathrooms have a bathtub.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available, see rates. The price increases after midnight.

Baby listening:

Baby monitors available to borrow; they work everywhere on the grounds here.

Baby equipment:

  • Cots
  • Baby bedding
  • High chair
  • Potty
  • Baby bath
  • Bottle warming
  • Sterilising equipment available

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

There's an all-day snack menu; kids can have an early tea and there's a kids menu with the likes of spaghetti bolognese, plus a picnic menu for day trips. Francis can devise mocktails for kids for dinner.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Animals including donkey (amenable to being sat on but not suited for riding lessons), peacocks, small dogs
  • Swimming pools, plunge pools, fountain
  • Small playground with slide and swings
  • Clay modelling
  • Princess mini spa treatments given by the local henna lady
  • Children's DVDs & toys
  • Ping pong, darts and tennis court
  • Books for all ages
  • Minichef classes for children aged 6+ run by chef Bouchera

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Camel and horse riding (20 minutes)
  • Water park (30 minutes)
  • Dune buggy riding and quad biking
  • Day trips to Marrakech Medina
  • Day trekking in the Atlas Mountains

Families Should Know:

The plunge pools and the pools are not fenced or supervised.

Distances:

  • Airport: 20 minutes
  • Hospital: 30 minutes
  • Shops: 10 minutes walk or 1-2 minutes by car
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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