Do you ever feel that, sometimes, you just need to get away from it all?
The boss and I were completely fed up with wind, rain, sleet and the threat of snow in the post-Christmas gloom of the UK, so we decided to look for some sun. With current weather cycles that meant going rather far south than normal and the Canaries did not really appeal, so we decided upon a return to Morocco.
The decision was made to look for somewhere quiet and outside of Marrakech so the internet hunt began and we selected Tigmi.
After arriving mid-morning on EasyJet we took the no. 19 bus from the airport terminal to Jemaa al Fna (MAD50 per person "allez-retour") soaked up some sunshine and the cosmopolitan tourist-people-watching madness and enjoyed a very inexpensive lunch before the 4pm rendezvous with the free hotel shuttle.
We easily found pick-up point at Place de la Liberté and were delighted when the mini-bus arrived bang on time. The 24km journey to Tigmi transports you through time to another world. Gone are telephone land lines, until very recently electricity, tarmacadam and shops. The last few kms, after turning off the main road, were dusty, bumpy and fascinating in equal measure as we passed through the Berber village of Tagadert to the Tigmi complex, to be greeted by Rajia and Jean-Paul, the management team.
It feels wrong to describe Tigmi as an hotel. It is a wondrous collection of arches, terraces, corridors, steep steps, shady nooks and crannies and rooms with 2ft thick walls that all combine to deliver accommodation spread over two large sites with one restaurant, one bar and two swimming pools. Our room (no 25) was very comfortable and very spacious. As we travel a lot we immediately inspect two things on arrival - towels and beds (both mattresses and linen). All here came up trumps big time. The bed was large and the mattress supportive - the linen was crisp and the duvet was soft and warm. Towels were large, thick and fluffy. Bliss. The addition of an open log fire in the room, built and lit every night by the local Berber log fire specialist, was a huge treat that brought a welcoming glow to the chilly night air.
Breakfast was excellent. Ingredients including fresh juice squeezed from oranges picked in the garden, yoghurt made on site, a selection of breads, cake, fruit and preserves and an option of eggs were all superb.
At Tigmi you have the choice of doing absolutely nothing; so we did. If you want to do much off site you must be prepared to hire a taxi from Marrakech that will charge you the fare to come out and return (MAD 500) just to pick you up to take you where you want to go. There are no local cab companies as the Berbers in the village don't use taxis. When mention is made of going back in time this is no exaggeration. So a word of warning to help you manage expectations. If you want to have the option of going to restaurants in the local area, or to walk around the town in the evening window shopping, or to go camel riding or partaking of any one of a number of other recreational attractions, you will have to stay somewhere else. There is nothing like this of any description in the vicinity of Tigmi. Tigmi is a place to relax, enjoy the scenery and to recharge.
Another point to bear in mind given that this hotel is in the middle of nowhere - if you have high expectations of things being just right all the time you should also give some thought before booking. As Jean-Paul said when we were discussing life at Tigmi (and I paraphrase for effect) "to make the most out of staying in Morocco you must become Moroccan. If something in the hotel breaks, it may take four or five days to find the replacement part to fix it; and while we always do our best to make sure that a guest is not inconvenienced, sometimes stuff happens."
One criticism - we found the food in the restaurant to be a very limited selection - one starter, five main courses and one dessert - but everything we ordered was fresh and well prepared. It may be that as we were travelling in the lowest of low seasons (first week in January - there were never more than three other guests staying there throughout our four day stay) they had reduced the menu choices to reduce wastage, which seemed fair to us and we had no complaints.
As is often the case, the memories of a stay are frequently defined by the quality of the staff as well as the site and the amenities; and here Jean-Paul, a Moroccan hotel management veteran of almost 30 years service, clearly knows what he is doing. The team that waited on our every need around the pool, the bar, the restaurant and cleaning our room were, in every respect, pleasant, eager to please and professional. Some found it difficult to communicate and even a limited conversation was only possible in English with one staff member apart from Rajia and Jean-Paul, a tall waiter who was eager to practice his language skills and to leave French behind for a few minutes.
All in all, we loved this place. A perfect location, a beautiful property, stunning views, fabulous accommodation and a really good team running the place. it won't be for everybody (teenagers especially would get bored to death) but for us it was pretty much the perfect break and we have no hesitation is giving Tigmi and Jean-Paul our highest recommendation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tigmi is a place of quietude to listen to silence, slow down and rediscover that precarious sense of wellbeing. The house sits on the brow of a Berber hamlet (Tagadert) in the Haouz plain, positioned between Marrakech and the High Atlas mountains. It is just 24 kms (15 miles) from the Medieval city, yet a world apart in the peace you will discover. A true retreat from the hectic lifestyles we have all become used to. Tigmi offers guests the opportunity to unwind and relax but is close enough to the Red City that guests can pop in and shop the Souk, see the Majorelle Gardens during the day and the Djemaa el Fna square at sunset. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tigmi Hotel Marrakech