On my recent trip to Morocco I had the opportunity to stay at some truly special and unique places, and I’m excited to share those places and experiences. Today’s review/share is of the Villa Mandarine, in Rabat Morocco.
Before I cover the Villa itself, let’s get some geography information. Rabat is the capitol of Morocco. It is located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, about one hour northeast of Casablanca.
The city’s population is roughly 580,000. I’ll cover nearby attractions and activities later.
Villa Mandarine Overview
Villa Mandarine is a small, secluded oasis minutes from all the action in Rabat. It’s practically in a residential area, hidden behind a wall around the edge of the property, which is traditional in much Moroccan architecture.
Inside the grounds is a practical rain forest of vegetation, immaculately maintained. The three-acre estate features 700 orange trees and tons of flowers.
Small trails wind around and lead to sitting areas, sculptures, activities, and of course the villas themselves.
There are 31 villas and 5 suites at Villa Mandarine. Each villa has a large main room, entry, large bathroom and fantastic terrace overlooking the grounds.
The quarters are very warm and welcoming, as are the hotel lobby, restaurants, and bar. The luxury rooms are so inviting and relaxing, it’s hard to decide whether to stay in or venture out to the terrace, or the grounds to soak in the mellow vibe.
If you can’t relax here, there’s probably no hope for you.
Along with the beautiful and serene gardens, guests can lounge at the swimming pool and hot tub.
If you fancy a game of ping pong, you’re covered. I had a great match with fellow golf blogger and golf buddy John Duval, from IntoTheGrain.com.
Food & Beverage
The restaurant at Villa Mandarine is fantastic. I enjoyed several meals there, featuring traditional moroccan dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are selections for every possible palette, including a kids menu. Lunch out on the terrace was particularly great, between the excellent food and the fabulous environment.
Villa Mandarine’s bar/lounge is great. Every possible drink is served and the atmosphere is very warm and inviting. I could kick myself… well I have actually been kicking myself, for not enjoying some of the Cuban cigars there.
Nearby Attractions and Activities
There is some fantastic golf nearby, at Dar Es Salaam Golf Club. Dar Es Salaam is an award winning Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design, lined with mature trees and featuring some tremendous golf holes.
In the city of Rabat one can find fantastic shopping and dining at the Medina. Be sure to rock the Kasbah. For sightseeing I recommend visiting the historic Hasaan Tower, and the Mausoleum of Mohammad V. Don’t forget to visit the Royal Palace.
Mausoleum of Mohammad V, Rabat Morocco
Last but not least, Rabat is on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Visit the beaches and you’ll see why Morocco is a well known secret haven for surfing huge waves.
A visit to Morocco should be on everyone’s bucket list. The sights, tastes, sounds, golf, and experiences will be remembered and cherished for a lifetime. Villa Mandarine fits right into that formula, providing a tremendous, welcoming, and comfortable home base.
Even before I received a box of Salted Nut Rolls for review, the product has been one of my go-to snacks on the course and elsewhere. I don’t like peanuts either. Though I can’t stand peanuts somehow when they’re in a Salted Nut Roll I like them. The only other time that happens is with my aunt’s greek honey-nut triangles. This is but one of the many bizarre culinary facts about this golf blogger I’m sure people are dying to read about.
So fine. I have a box of Salted Nut Rolls to review. Hard work. Golf and eat one. Golf and eat one. They provide a great boost on the course and some needed salt. I’ve been saved several times by having one in the bag when my energy is lacking and I need a pick-me-up.
But perhaps the best save by a SNR happened not on the golf course, but skiing a couple of weeks ago. My cousin came into town in the morning on a Friday and we headed up to the resort, about 30 min from HOG World Headquarters. My cuz wanted to get a ski lesson and the timing of our arrival and the lesson meant we were going to miss lunch. The problem is that skiing all day, and having a lesson in some very tough terrain, was a calorie burner. Fortunately I threw a couple of Salted Nut Rolls in my pockets, just in case. Boy was that a good choice.
There was one tough thing about that day and the Nut Rolls. It was about 1 degree outside. When they’re cold Salted Nut Rolls are VERY hard to chew!
The SNR’s saved the day and helped me keep my energy level up on a high energy day when I missed lunch.
Realistically a Salted Nut Roll could save a golfer strokes. Hear me out! No energy, no lunch, ran to the tee from the parking lot, bla bla bla. A few rolls in the bag could help a golfer keep the energy level up and help prevent some weak golf, physically and mentally.
A new golf bag and golf accessory company you will be hearing more and more about is OUUL. They are out to bring to the market golf bags that are high quality, classy, well made, and not plastered with logos and branding like most bags from the big manufacturers these days. I’ve been quite impressed with my new cart bag, the OUUL Super Light Python Cart Bag. Let’s take a look.
OUUL Python Super Light Cart Bag Overview
First, with the phrase “super light” in the name, you’d expect this bag to be light. It weighs only five pounds. This is great, even for a carry bag, but this is a cart bag!
The top of the bag is 10 inches wide and has a 15-way design. This design helps keeps clubs safe and separated, even your USGA rule-breaking 15th club. Around the top are three great handles which come in very handy. Sure they’re great for carrying, moving and loading the bag. They also help protect the clubs. But I also use the handles to hang stuff on, like golf towels or carabiners for accessories like GPS’s or club brushes.
There are eight massive pockets in the OUUL Python Cart Bag. Massive. The side pockets could carry several outfits, including jackets. The ball pocket is gigantic. I’ll tell you this. If you start a round with the ball pocket full and run out of golf balls? Quit. Seriously. Maybe try bowling.
The bag features a very large accessory loop for towels, brushes, GPS’s, or whatever other golf accessories you have to hang. Plenty of room.
The umbrella clip, which I’ve used extensively in the fall rains, is spring loaded. Nice.
As mentioned, this bag is not a billboard for some big name-brand golf company. Instead, the Python design looks like the skin of a python. It’s subtle and attractive. The lines are sharp and clean.
The design is perfectly functional, making access to all pockets and clubs easy. The handle design is very, ahem, handy. The 15-way club opening with putter well makes taking out and putting back clubs super easy.
I have to mention the materials in this bag. If you get a chance to do this, reach inside the pockets of one of these bags. The material is smooth as silk. It’s unbelievable.
They really spared no expense on the inner-lining.
On The Course
I’ve used my OUUL Python in conditions ranging from 90+F to rain and practically hail. No issues.
Accessing all the pockets and the clubs is super convenient and there is an absolute ton of room on all fronts.
This isn’t the cheapest cart bag a golfer can find, at between $230-$280. If you’re a cheapo and are satisfied with crap quality, this bag isn’t for you.
If you love quality products with great materials, design, functionality and a classy look, the OUUL Python Cart Bag is the ticket.
Welcome to the golf business OUUL! Glad to have you.
I’ll admit this review is a stretch in relation to golf. It’s almost better for skiing, so maybe I should post it on my ski blog as well. Yes, I have a ski blog. It’s winter here in northern Utah, so we aren’t golfing much. We are skiing. But some crazies (like I used to be) will still play golf if the course is open, no matter what the temperature. I’ve played in single digit temps before, back in the crazy days. Even played in snow and hail storms. The first problem I would have in those conditions would be cold hands. One thin long iron shot with cold hands and it’s over.
These Volt Resistance Heated Gloves would be a great solution for keeping the hands warm between cold golf shots, or using them for more practical winter activities which we are deep in right now here, shoveling snow and skiing. Let’s take a look.
The Volt Fleece Heated Gloves are battery powered. Each glove has its own 7.4-volt 2200mAh battery which slides into a zippered compartment to shield it from the elements. On the top of the glove, over the wrist area, you can see a clear bit of plastic (photo). Through that clear part the wearer can see the battery lights, which indicate what heat level the gloves are operating at. There are four heat levels.
Heating is distributed through the hand and fingers.
The set comes with a battery charger which plugs into the way and has a “Y” connector to charge both batteries. I’m not sure how long the charge lasts. The amount of time the batteries last depends on how high the level you set. I took them skiing last weekend in brutally cold temperatures. Even without the heating the gloves were great. As the day wore on I turned on the heaters and had a whole afternoon of warm hands.
According to Volt here are the rough times the batteries will last based on heat level:
100% High – 2 hours
75% Med/High – 3 hours
50% Medium – 5 hours
25% Low – 8 hours
Their website says low is 8 hours but the packaging says they will last over 10 hours.
Check out the conditions I was in last week in the video below. Unbelievably my hands were never cold!
The gloves are very comfortable. I’m a big fleece fan so they’re great for me. They fit well and with the wrist coverage they help keep the pow pow out when I’m carving fresh tracks, or shoveling the driveway.
At a retail of $149, these gloves aren’t cheap. But warm hands can make the difference between enjoying your time outside doing whatever activity you may be doing, and being miserable. Whether walking the dog, skiing, or playing golf in the winter, warm hands are essential!
The 2017 PGA Merchandise Show is coming up in a couple of weeks. One new company which will be showing there for the first time is OUUL. OUUL is a maker of “fashion forward, technically superior bags & accessories.” I have been testing out a couple of great bags from OUUL this summer and fall. Today’s review is the extremely light and easy to carry Super Light Stand Bag, part of the Python Series. Let’s take a test drive.
OUUL Super Light Stand Bag Overview
The goal of this bag is to provide the golfer with a light, easy to carry, convenient, and stylish stand bag. Goal achieved. The Super Light clocks in at only 2.7 pounds. Of course that is a starting weight. Many more pounds may be necessary depending on how many golf balls one must carry to “have enough” to finish a round.
The opening (photo below) of the bag is 9.5 inches, not huge, but the engineering and design of the 5-way top makes club removal and insertion super-easy. The 5-way top also helps with club organization. I have my long clubs like driver and fairway in the top, long irons middle left, mid-irons middle right, wedges and putter on the bottom.
One of the best features of the bag is on top of the bag’s opening. There’s a plastic handle which goes around 3/4 of the bag, with some pretty good clearance to the top. That clearance allows for easy grabbing, carrying, controlling the bag. It also helps protect the clubs inside as well as giving the golfer a good place to hang a towel.
The Super Light features three pockets. First is a large, bag-height pocket for clothes and larger items. Then there’s a smaller bag toward the bottom, about 1/4-1/3 the height of the bag, and then there’s the ball pocket. The ball pocket could hold several dozen balls. I never carry that many but it could. Inside the ball pocket is a 4th “pocket” they don’t mention which can hold some small items like maybe a GPS watch. One critique, the missing soft and fuzzy valuables pocket for a camera or phone. There’s also an insulated beverage sleeve.
I like the large ring on the side. It has plenty of space for hanging various golf accessories like towels, GPS units, golf lasers, and club brushes. Just below the handle is a place for a sharpie type pen. Nice touch.
The dual shoulder strap attaches to the bag in four places and adjusts well. It should result in a comfortable and balanced carry when set correctly.
The base of the bag is flexible and adjusts when the bag is on the ground. Hard to explain this, but it’s a popular design of late in carry/stand bags. The legs are very solid and the base of the bag when set down is very broad and sturdy.
The rain cover is nice and big, with easy velcro straps and four buttons to attach it. See the “snow” photo below.
On The Course
I’ve traveled extensively with this bag in play, even all the way to Morocco. The bag is easy to carry, light, and provides a sharp and classy look. The pockets have plenty of space for all my rain gear and accessories. I really like the top section’s fantastic design and especially the protective handle.
This bag has been a joy to use in many different conditions and environments, even the Christmas Classic (photo below).
The OUUL Super Light Python Series delivers solid quality, very sharp looks, and super smart design.
One last thing to mention is the lack of branding. Notice how the big brand names these days are plastering their logos all over the place on their golf bags? No obnoxious branding on OUUL bags. I dig that.