11 December 2016

 
The luxurious Four Seasons Marrakech
A Formula 1 practice lap in Marrakech
TV motor racing presenter Natalie Pinkham gets her new son ready for a world tour with a trip to Morocco
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t was our first holiday with our 12-week-old baby Wilfred. We wanted a break with guaranteed sun and in the same time zone as the UK because we'd worked hard to get Wilfred into a sleeping routine and we didn't want to disrupt things. Our solution? A week in Marrakech. My husband Owain and I were quite anxious because we didn't know how the baby would be on the plane.

But as I am taking him with me to the F1 races I will be reporting on, I needed to have a trial run. We were all on a practice lap! It's likely that in his first year he will have visited more places than some of my friends have been to in a lifetime. I had packed a week in advance, which I never normally do. Because I've travelled so much for work, I've got into the habit of hurling things into a bag 40 minutes before I leave.
I
An oasis of calm in the heart of the city
The cool andelegant interior of the Four Seasons
There was such a family-friendly atmosphere at our hotel, the Four Seasons, in the heart of the city and just a 15-minute transfer from the airport. Wherever we went, people were so helpful and seemed to love having a baby around. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Wilfred got into his normal daily routine straight away. Food, for example, wasn't a problem because he was still breastfeeding. I'm a vegetarian, and the vegetarian food at the hotel was amazing. I just had to be a bit careful to avoid spicy stuff - because what I eat is what he eats.
But now I was thrown into a frenzy of forward planning. Goodness, a baby needs an awful lot of stuff for a short holiday. Wilfred had more luggage than Owain and me combined. But on the flight to Marrakech he slept the whole way. As soon as we arrived in Marrakech, I relaxed.
"Those who want to visit without infants will be glad to hear that the hotel also has a childfree zone."
From the start, everything was easy and fun. If I'd known how enjoyable it would be before I went, I wouldn't have been so stressed beforehand. We hardly ventured outside the hotel as we had everything we needed. There were three restaurants and two lounges, including Bleu d'Orange, with its rooftop Zest bar. We went out for only one meal - to another hotel, the Mamounia, which was lovely.

We took Wilfred with us and he was fine, sleeping in his buggy. It would have been great to venture into the famous souk, looking at the snakes and all the incredible sights there, but we agreed it might be a bit much for a three-month-old baby - and for me, considering my phobia of snakes!
"If I'd known how enjoyable it would be before I went, I wouldn't have been so stressed."
Wandering through the old souk in Marrakech
One of my major concerns about Morocco was the heat: I know all new mums worry about temperature because you don't want your baby to overheat. In Marrakech there is a dry heat, which I don't find is as bad as high humidity. I needn't have worried. When we were by the pool, we were under cover in a cabana where we had an electric fan to keep Wilfred cool. However, we didn't stay out long - when you have a baby, you realise that sitting out for hours is no longer a practical option. I was surprised there were so many people staying at the Four Seasons who had babies with them.

Those who want to visit without infants will be glad to hear that the hotel also has a childfree zone guaranteeing peace and quiet. Lots of people had made it plain they thought we were bonkers wanting to take a newborn on holiday: 'You're going to Morocco? With a baby?' But those who had been before were generally encouraging: 'No, the Moroccans love children - they will go out of their way to help.' They were right. The hotel was incredibly clean and the resort had mature gardens, so it was nice to be able to take Wilfred for walks around the resort. There were shaded areas everywhere and a lovely breeze, so he kept cool.

I think he appreciated the change, as there was a look on his face sometimes that said: 'Oh, this isn't Brentford, is it?' We needed the holiday because the birth had been tough and I'd been in hospital for a long time - we actually moved house while I was in hospital. When I was discharged with Wilfred, we headed straight to our new home. Wilfred has now already joined me at the Barcelona Grand Prix - with plenty more jet-setting to come. I'm not sure how well set up all the Grand Prix circuits are for babies - I guess I'm going to find out.


Original article published in Nov 2015. All info and prices correct at time of publication.
Relax at the Four Seasons
 
 
 
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