We recently concluded a tour with Collette seeing their highlights of Morocco. The itinerary that appeared on paper seemed to be great. The food described sounded incredible and places used for accommodations as well seemed terrific.
First and foremost, I'm a practicing physician. I know how to avoid situations where hygiene and safety pose potential problems. I deal daily with children experiencing diarrhea and vomiting, as well as other infectious childhood illnesses.
This trip made it impossible unless you brought your own food in sealed packages to prevent acute gastroenteritis disease. The restaurants chosen (one exception) and the hotels/riad (one exception) were breeding grounds for disease.
We were a group of 24 guests, and 20-21 were acutely ill with acute GI symptoms. This was in no small part due to lack of hygiene at the establishments we ate in, including where we had our breakfasts daily. The 3 worse offenders were at the 2 Xaluca Hotels we were using and their buffets for dinner.
However, in my opinion, by far the biggest offender was at the Opera Plaza Resort in Marrakech. I was wittiness to the person preparing our omelets doing so without any gloves while also handling raw eggs. This same person, having the same raw egg on the hand, while then picking up just cooked crepes to then give to a guest. The raw egg then dripped onto the prepared crepes as well. It was then given to this unsuspecting hotel guest. As I then walked past this station, another person was at the buffet area touching almost every roll on the table with his bare fingers checking to see if they were soft (no gloves).
No wonder we all had illnesses, if this were in any other country, I believe the health department would have shut them down.
What we paid for was purported to be a "trip of a lifetime," it was as far from that as possible. No one expects to get sick when away on vacation, precautions are definitely made by oneself to prevent such occurrences, but in the case of this tour, whoever or whomever is responsible for quality control of the establishments chosen for their guests to use, is at fault. They missed the mark.
My wife and I are definitely world travelers, we have been to 6 of the 7 continents, used everything from very basic tour companies to truly 5-star super luxury. Never have we been so disappointed, nor experienced so many persons ill while on tours. I can absolutely pinpoint by the onset of symptoms when and where these illnesses began.
It is the responsibility of Collette to ensure that this doesn't happen ever again. Until I can be guaranteed this, Collette is not an option for us for travel, and I would advise others to do their homework before they plan this vacation.
Morocco should have been as described, "a trip of a lifetime,"until fixed, AVOID Collette as the vehicle to get you there.
P.S. Kudos to Rick's Cafe in Casablanca for a fine welcoming dinner and the Riad Yacout in Fez; exceptional food, cleanliness and accommodations fit for royalty. You were the only true shining stars on this trip.
Also disappointed that Collette does not offer a forum on their website to post a current review by a guest who has used their company. Shame on them.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend