Friday, August 19, 2016

Major Upgrade for the Moulay Yacoub Spa

Following agreements signed in Fez, Vichy International will provide outsourced management of the Moulay Yacoub spa from January 2018 for a period of 10 years. The investment of some 261 million dirhams will upgrade the spa to international standards and hopefully boost tourism in the area
It was time for an upgrade

The Moulay Yacoub spa, just 21 km northwest of  Fez, has been known for hundreds of years for the healing properties of its thermal waters. The origin of the spa's name is unclear. One version is that the village was named either after Sultan Moulay Yacoub Ben Mansour who was cured after his first bath.  Another version claims the name to be a corruption of Aquae Juba, the spring of a local Berber king, Juba, who was envious of Roman hot baths. Either way, the hillside village’s fame is founded on its sulphur-rich spa waters, which are pumped from some 1500m below ground and reach temperatures of around 54˚C.

The spa is visited most often by people with rheumatism and respiratory problems, or those simply wanting to indulge in relaxation. However, over the years the spa has been showing its age and it is hoped that the improvements will give it a new lease of life.

A model of the proposed hotel

Amongst the additions and improvements will be the new Vichy Thermalia Spa Hotel, being built with an investment of 169 million dirhams. Works started in March and will hopefully be completed by December 2017. The upgrade of the spa should also be completed at the same time.

With an area of 14,000 m2,  the new four star hotel will have 93 rooms and 7 suites, all supplied with thermal water. The hotel will also include three restaurants, a children's club, a fitness room, an outdoor pool and gift shops for Vichy and L'Oreal products.

One of the new pools

During the construction of the new building for the thermal baths and renovation of the traditional Hammam and thermal pools, parts of the spa will be closed until the end of 2017. Other areas will remain open to allow visitors access to the thermal pools. The new areas will include treatment baths with Jacuzzi, 1 care bath with underwater massage, 2 swimming pools with a diameter of 15 m each, 1 pool for men, 1 pool for women, a premium pool of 75 m2, and 2 steam rooms, one for women and one for men.

A subsidiary of Compagnie de Vichy (founded in 1853) has signed a management contract for the Hotel Vichy Thermalia Spa and resort of Moulay Yacoub, with the leaders of the Cothermy (Thermo-Medical Company of My Yacoub), a subsidiary of CDG Development.

Jerome Phelipeau and Karim Jennane

The agreement was initialed in Fez by Mohammed Karim Jennane, director general manager Cothermy, as hotel owner and modern baths and Jerome Phelipeau, CEO of Vichy Spa International.

With the power of Vichy International behind the venture it is expected that the enterprise will be heavily marketed in Europe as an international spa destination.

What is unclear is how much it will cost locals who have traditionally been the main clients of the spa. At present they pay around 55 dirhams to bathe at the spa.


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