With the global growth of the luxury travel market, hoteliers are constantly searching for emerging locations that will potentially yield a high return of visitors to the region in the coming decade. One of our resident travel writers, Eulanda Osagiede jetted off to Fnideq, Morocco, to review the new Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay to and see what the hype was all about.
Touted as the up and coming Cap d’Azur of Africa, Fnideq is located in Northern Morocco, 32 kilometres north of Tetouan. The city is experiencing a surge in tourism, and Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay’s prime beachfront location is an attractive property to luxury travellers.
From the series X Mercedes that whisks you away from Tangier airport to grounds covered in 93 villas with 20ft high ceilings in each of their rooms, Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay is dedicated to impressing your every need.
The Crème de la Crème of Luxury
Banyan Tree’s 93 villa-only property offers guests 8 villa styles to choose from. Starting at £415 per night during shoulder season, villa options range from the entry level bliss pool villa to a two bedroom beach villa. All two bedroom villas can comfortably sleep five guests.
Sumptuous details greet you at the grand entrance to your villa — 15ft tall white columns flank an ornately tiled pathway, lined with intricate iron lanterns, surrounded by carefully planted fauna on both sides. Contemporary Moroccan, Andalusian, and traditional Moorish architecture meet for a stunning dance of the finest. Every detail has been considered, down to the carefully placed bedside light dimmers.
The Garden Pool villas feature four separate spaces, including a living area and private pool. The crowning glory of the villa is the oversize round granite bath tub. As you open the French doors to your bathroom, it majestically sits in front of a classic floor to ceiling Moroccan tile backsplash.
Dining like Royalty
With four on-site dining venues offering a range of global cuisines, guests can taste the world. Morning breakfasts at Tingitana offer guests the perfect fusion of Eastern Mediterranean and contemporary Western options. Every consideration is made for any guest’s dietary concerns, with beautifully baked gluten free bread and sweets prepared by their property’s pâtissier.
With its origins in East Asia, the Banyan Tree brand is renowned for its Asian cuisine offerings. Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay is no exception to this accolade. Saffron, the on-site signature restaurant offers a contemporary twist on Thai cuisine. Book in advance to enjoy a beautifully crafted menu featuring creative sharing platters and traditional Thai ala carte items.
The Epitome of Relaxation
Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay’s Spa is a must experience. The building is bathed in natural light which gives the walkway areas a refreshingly modern feel, sometimes atypical of spa interiors. The private treatment rooms offer the moodier, sensual nuances needed for complete relaxtion.
The award-winning spa is replete with six deluxe treatment rooms, two royal treatment Rooms, hydro, vitality pool, yoga room and the spa gallery.
One stunning feature of the spa is its rainforest walk; where gentle bursts of warm mist surround you as you slowly walk along a cobbled walkway framing a beautiful bamboo-like light installation.
Extra Details Not to Miss
The property has a fleet of golf carts to get you to and from any point on the property. Wandering around the property is akin to having a small city all to yourself. It is also when you realise what the sheer magnitude of 26 hectares looks like.
Head to the library in the impressive central reception building to explore the artwork and books available to guests. Along with its beautiful, grandiose style, it also provides a chic range of lounge furniture and nooks to curl up in and dive into your book of choice.
With the fitness facilities only a short walk away, Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay offers the standard range of gym equipment for holiday goers, as well as an immaculate space typically dedicated to yoga or other fitness activities. Management mentioned that there are future plans to build tennis courts on site.
The only amenity disappointment was the lack of heating in the public property pool. The reasoning behind this might be attributed to each villa being equipped with private heated pools. However, for those that prefer to swim in a public area, Nothern Morocco has cooler weather compared to the rest of the country. Guests may struggle with the pool temperature outside of hot weather months.
Take to the Water
Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay’s strategic beachfront location provides ease of access to beach and water excursions. With a recently completed jetty at the property, the choice of water activities are endless. Guests can book sailing day trips to nearby Spanish cities like Marbella and Ceuta, as well as luxury yacht experiences that take guests along the Northern coastline during the day, and at sunset.
The property’s range of water activities is quite extensive. Dolphin watching, snorkelling, scuba diving, jet skiing, fly jetting, and banana boating are just a few of the selections available. For water lovers who prefer the local town experience, Marina Smir is a five-minute drive away.
Explore the North
It’s not difficult to get absorbed into passing your days lounging around every scenic property locale, taking in the glistening views of the Mediterranean. However, Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay really shines in their off site excursions as well. Explore cities like Tangier, Chefchaouen, Tetouan, Asilah, and several others under the expert guidance of an approved Banyan Tree tour leader. Bespoke tours can also be easily arranged.
Explore cities like Tangier, Chefchaouen, Tetouan, Asilah, and several others under the expert guidance of an approved Banyan Tree tour leader. Bespoke tours can also be easily arranged.
A visit to Chefchaouen, the blue pearl of Morocco, is a popular day trip with guests. Spend the day exploring the winding blue corridors, and capturing the photos that Instagrammers dream of.
The vivid blue colour in Chefchaouen almost seems to trigger a response in the brain that makes all those who traverse its streets relaxed. Your guide will end your day trip with a local visit to a picturesque restaurant; where you can enjoy a traditional Moroccan lunch.
Despite the growing trend of luxury properties (with international clientele) to hire the majority of their staff outside of their country of residence, Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay strives to employ qualified local Moroccans for on-site staff positions. This attributes to the high level of cultural authenticity that guests will experience.
Guests interested in eco initiatives can participate in tree planting, beach cleaning, and can visit local cooperatives. Guests are able to join in the development of the region through supporting the local economy as they purchase local artisanal products like honey, cheeses, olive oil, fruits and vegetables.
What’s in Store for the Future?
The growth of the region is inevitable. With over £800 billion invested into the North Moroccan region by way of the King Mohammed VI, the city of Fnideq is poised for exponential growth in the upcoming years. In Tamouda Bay, luxury brands like Sofitel recently opened their exclusive property. Additionally, the Ritz Carlton Reserve Tamouda Bay is scheduled to open in late 2017.
Visitors exploring Fnideq will experience a charming coastal city with a burgeoning growth of 5-star properties. Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay has positioned itself at the forefront of Fnideq’s luxury hotel and resort market. Only time will tell if Fnideq will become the Cap d’Azur of Africa. In so many ways, Fnideq does not need to become anything else other than the best version of itself.
Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay. Route Nationale 13, POB 526, 93100 Fnideq, Morocco. Tel: 00 212 539 669 999
Fly into Tangier, and book an airport pickup with Banyan Tree Tamouda Bay. The transfer is a one-hour drive southeast.
Photos © Eulanda Shead Osagiede