La Sultana Oualidia: Hideaway in Heaven.

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I usually avoid saying ‘oh! we took the off beaten path’ cause we don’t. We stick to safe and sound, time-tested, well loved places quite unlike my toddler,  yet to make acquaintance with fear, on a perpetual mission to explore. But while in Morocco we did dare take the off beaten track and instead of the popular stops beyond Marrakech like Fez, Rabat, Essouria, Agadir or even Chefchouen, we went to Oualidia – a small village near the Atlantic coast. By no means was this a trade off between the said places rather, I should add for good measure, as soon as our youngling is old enough to tote the luggage, we’ll be embarking on a grand tour of Morocco.

Now stop wondering how this predictable, unadventurous, safe-playing duo chanced upon a hidden gem like Oualidia! It was nothing but serendipity. While looking up options to stay in Marrakech (where we were planning to stay longer if not for Oualidia) we narrowed on La Sultana Marrakech and that’s where we stumbled upon this stunning sister property of La Sultana’s tucked in an untouched unspoilt little hamlet along the ravashing Atlantic coast.

The following post is more of a photo diary of our idyllic stay at La Sultana Oualidia and some picture perfect real-life postcards from Morocco.

 

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We left Marrakech in the early hours thanking our hosts and telling them how we’d love to stay longer next time we’re here and how we look forward to spending time in Oualidia.

 

As we said our good byes, we were greeted with ‘Marhaba’ (which means Welcome in Arabic) by the chauffeur of the car we hired for Oualidia. As the wheels were set in motion we found ourselves warming up to the conversation with our very polite and soft spoken companion for next couple of hours. We were pointed to some other landmarks of Marrakech that I was taking note of in my head for our next trip and solving the mystery of ‘holes’ in walls of some old structures in Marrakech – which were left to hold a scaffolding for restorative purposes. When he learnt we were from India he spoke of his wife as a crazy Shah Rukh Khan fan and Hindi cinema in general!

 

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As we moved out of the city boundaries the conversation trailed off and we were completely absorbed in the stunning Moroccan country side.

 

 

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These portraits that we saw through the car window were nothing short of a painting.
Work of a master artist at that!

 

 

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And I may well be underselling it by saying that!
It was nothing like I’ve seen before in its raw, austere, unspoilt beauty.

 

 

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As the car glided on fairly smooth roads, we passed many a small towns and hamlets and people going about their chores many of which were centred around birds and beasts.

 

 

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And there he was! One that I spoke about in last post – the water sellers of Morocco but missed seeing him there.
With their wide Berber headgear shielding from Sun and goat skin bag hanging low at waist carrying water and shiny brass cups on his chest, who once upon a time sold water to thirsty travellers who came crossing the arid desert but not any more. They are a lost species now, a tradition fading fast to bottled water leaving them a mere muse to photographers at the main square of Marrakech.

 

 

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We thought we’d snooze through the drive having woken early but the outside was too gorgeously distractive to shut eyes.

 

 

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However apologetic I feel about this blurry photo I had to share it. I have no idea of hows and whys of it either. As far as I remember we did not (and were silly enough not to) ask our driver about it.
But makes me realise how a pair of foreign eyes sees my homeland, India, with all its queers and quirks! May be like how I gawked and wondered at this rider.

 

 

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And then there were some sights that I felt connected us at a very basic level – root level. I mean, when I saw this I thought ‘what really separates us?’
Something about the dust laden leaves, the apples in a blue polyethylene bag and a child with a yellow pokemon backpack and shoes to match made me swallow a couple of times. I don’t know what I was trying to keep down – a bout of nostalgia perhaps?

 

 

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Mirages on road fooled us aplenty but the two and a half hour journey to Oualidia was well worth it we would soon find out.

 

 

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La Sultana, Oualidia.

Oualidia (Pronounced: WAA-LI-DEE-Ah) is a coastal village facing a natural blue lagoon and is one of the most perfect places for watching  the setting sun. The golden yellow sands around the lagoon are practically a clean slate for your footprints and there’s a small secluded beach devoid of humans altogether! Its the hideaway of the hideaways!! And all the pampering at La Sultana makes for a truly unique experiential holiday.

 

 

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Oyster farming is done in this sapphire lagoon (which earns Oualidia the title of ‘oyster capital of Morocco) and anyone who loves sea food would be happy as a ‘clam’ here. 😀

 

 

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And therefore shortly upon our arrival we waited no time and hopped on to the fishing boat that took us to the other side of the lagoon.

 

The only people we encountered here were a bunch of young men at a game of football close to the crescent spread of the town, that we saw bobbing on this dinky fishing boat.

 

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The fisherman spoke French and asked if we’d like to see the clam farming up close and we did but all the seesawing doesn’t make for a great shot.

 

 

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And we crossed the lagoon looking for the hidden beach.

 

 

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Et Voila!
What. A. Treasure.

 

 

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It was a clean beach, devoid of any human foot falls other than ours.
The waves were wild and crashing noisily on the rocks.
To be honest, nature in its untamed force was a bit intimidating at first. This wild ocean roared in stark contrast to the quiet lagoon we had just crossed and that was striking.

 

 

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Perfect setting for a recluse.
A hidden gem of a beach with sun pouring generously enough through a blanket of clouds and air thick with mist from the waves that swept the sand clean.
One of the best ones we’ve been to!

 

 

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There were some big surfer waves, one after another though a spectacle to watch probably not one to bathe in and so we kept our bathing suits stay put and simply enjoyed watching it. The resort can arrange surf lessons for the adventurous souls and even for the little ones!

 

 

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However it is perfectly safe to lounge on the soft sand, to dig your feet in the coolness and watch the play of waves in the shadow of these dramatic eroding rocks perfectly bracketting you.
A perfect moment in time at a perfect spot on earth – you can’t help but be a happy sunny bunny!

 

La Sutlana arranges private picnics at this spot for lunch with a tiny canopy waving and fluttering in the wind only adding more romance to the air!

 

 

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Okay time for a confession.
As much as the words ‘sand under/over/in the feet’ sound, it actually starts to feel really gritty and to be blatantly honest not-so-pleasant after a while and it is quite hard to get rid of too with its traces following you everywhere.
But that is not to say the sparkling sand beckons you any less!

 

 

 

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We even climbed up to the rugged cliffs and watched the ocean glide forwards covering almost the entire span of beach where we sat sometime ago.

 

 

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Completely in awe and smitten!

 

 

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Playing assistant is not easy. It is handwork.
Especially when the (nominal) boss keeps buying new equipment as soon as you figure out the old one!

 

 

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Closer to the lagoon the sand is more set and such a delight to walk on.

 

 

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Out of our fair share of breathtaking sunsets La Sultana offered us some of the most unique, so spectacular, they were almost theatrical! And they kept coming better throughout the stay.

 

 

 

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With the ebb and flow of tide, the lagoon offers ever changing changing scenery and literally paints a new picture each day.

 

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While most nights we spent there came with thunder clap, mornings were clear and crisp.

 

 

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Though not expansive La Sultana property is big enough for a small walk post meals, all with small wooden bridges and a vegetable patch and some farm animals free to be explored and benches and sun loungers are placed throughout its ocean -facing length.

 

 

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Now, who wouldn’t want them for company?

 

 

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Walking up the jetty to the lagoon that fills up by noon to reflect the sky beautifully blue and by evening a riot of orange and pink is a sight to behold and a transformation truly astounding. During spring and autumn months a flock of pink flamingos comes to the lagoon making it even more captivating.

 

 

 

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Most of us crave and crib for a ‘idyllic’ holiday and ‘doing nothing’ – if only doing nothing was that easy!
No wonder Italians call it an ‘art’ – dolce far niente. But for those who truly know to live it – Oualidia is the place. Every suite here comes with sun loungers and a jacuzzi, so gazing at the clear blue sky and bird spotting should just what one must do!

 

But if after few hours of doing nothing that feeling of ‘we should be doing something’ comes back as it often happens to, again, most of us, always being in the cycle of working, La Sultana has plenty to rescue – a library with books and DVDs, Billiards room, Bird watching safari, horse riding, surf lessons and then some. If you wish to go exploring outside of the resort a Saturday souk at the village would give you a true blue souk experience, where, as I read, everything from a horse to perfume is sold!

We weren’t lucky enough but those who are often catch a flock of pink flamingos in this very lagoon. I could only imagine what that sight might have been!

 

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However, one of most beautiful, relaxing things to do is  to look at the unending clean blue sky, to watch a flock of birds fly past and a breeze blowing wisps of cloud over!
Truly being off and away.

 

 

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And then again, as I said, its the prettiest place to watch the sun go down.
If this does not sail your boat…

 

 

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The spa at La Sultana with its moorish columns and a sapphire blue pool is nothing short of regal as well and their Argan oil and rose oil treatments are something to vouch for. So, I guess, there’s something for everyone here.

 

 

 

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As is the case with most of our travels, it rained almost everyday of our stay. While that may have amounted to missing out on few things but we were duly rewarded with a bounty of glorious sunsets and many much needed rejuvenating siestas.

 

 

 

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And when you are better rested, it shows 🙂

 

 

 

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Using the new age adjectives and calling this sunset ‘Instagram worthy’ would make more sense, perhaps. On a different note, the resort arranges for private wining and dinning at the culmination of jetty to the more romantically inclined.

 

 

 

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The food at La Sultana, although, at a setting hard to match, was not too varied for vegetarian/vegans. We tried most of the available options and they were lovingly dished out and relished needless to mention the desserts for the incorrigible sweet tooth were heavenly.

 

 

 

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Phenomenal sunset on our last evening at La Sultana.

 

 

 

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The sky is set aflame by the setting sun as if it was letting off steam having kept locked under by a layer of clouds all these days.
And, ‘no more’! said the sun breaking its silence, stretching its limbs and setting himself free once again.

 

While I was doing a bit of reading on Oualidia (God knows where my husband was taking us this time!! :O ) I read that, ‘Flamingos, surfers and Royalty have a discerning taste in beaches’. You find all three in Oualidia. Make of it what you may. Add to that academy winning actor (Mais oui, Lupita Nyong’o stayed here!!) and et voila! you have a well rubber stamped destination.

While the heat, dust and hustle of Marrakech rendered a sweet tiredness to our feet, the clear air and tranquility of Oualidia soothed our souls and rejuvenated our selves.

It’s a perfect perfect escape, as prefect as they come.

Comments

  1. Awesome!!! Beautiful!!! Beyond words!!! Pics says it all. Keep it up dear, waiting for the next —

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