We travelled as a couple in February 2014. Our idea was to have a little sunshine after christmas without breaking the bank.
We booked with Travel republic and got a 5 night deal (inc flights and transfers) for around £420pp.
A few bits to mention before we got to the hotel. Passport control in Morocco is dreadfully slow, so be prepared for a long delay when entering and leaving Morocco. Moroccan Dirham can only be purchased whilst in Morocco, prices at the airport were virtually the same as elsewhere, and service was very quick within the airport, so I had no hesitation in purchasing mine there. Our transfer was smooth, but be prepared for a journey that seems like the whacky races, road rules are very odd! It’s a very good idea to brush up on your French as many people speak it here as a second language.
We arrived around 9:30pm and were met by a friendly receptionist who ordered us a complimentary, and very welcome, Moroccan tea. We were given instruction on where to find things before our luggage was taken up to our room for us.
The room was excellent, it was spacious and very well presented. Over the course of our holiday the room was cleaned immaculately every day. The separate shower was fantastic, water pressure and temperature were excellent. All in all we were very impressed with our accommodation.
The Hotel definitely emanates a Moroccan theme, and has spectacular views over the Atlas Mountains (snow covered in Feb). Rooms are set around Riads (internal gardens) and over two floors. The hotel itself is pretty isolated, although we found the free shuttle bus to Marrakesh to be an excellent service, just be sure to take note of where he drops you off (it can be confusing the first time as guides pester you for business). Last bus back was around 9pm, although a taxi back was only around 100 dirham (£7 ish).
Food at the restaurant was excellent, not as much choice as other A/I holidays we’ve had, but the quality was very good. There seemed to be a shortage of glasses, however that was our only criticism really. Bottled water was given freely, and alcoholic drinks were available (I was surprised that you could even get a bottle of wine with your meal. The staff were attentive and extremely polite. Guests actually made an effort and dressed for Dinner, I don’t mean black tie, but also I don’t mean the latest football top either. People were smart, and it set a lovely atmosphere that we enjoyed.
The hotel has two swimming pools and a large terrace. Usual safety rules apply with drinks around the pool being served in plastic cups, no one really wants to see broken glass around a pool. Proper glasses were used everywhere else. One pool is heated and was cool but comfortable (26 degrees) in February, the other was much colder (although I did swim in it, I was the one of the only two that did).
Overall we found the Hotel to be excellent, it was quiet during our stay (only 120 guests) and every member of staff was friendly, polite and helpful. We had lots of sunshine and even managed a tan.
We found Marrakesh to be less intimidating at night, and even less if females in your group wear a head scarf. Women- be prepared for the odd bum pinch when in crowds, if you spot the perpetrator then shouting shooma will soon make them dart away, it is not acceptable behaviour in Morocco. Get used to saying No or La, shop keepers spot a tourist from miles away and harassment is part of the culture. Overall we felt safe in Morocco, although you have to treat it like any big city, you must use your common sense. For us it was a place to visit, after a few hours each day we’d had enough, and we welcomed the sanctuary of the hotel. Night-time was better, as there seemed to be more of a carnival atmosphere as hundreds dine in the main square. Just remember, if someone lets on to you and you see them again later, they’re not being friendly in our sense, they’re probably lining you up for one of the many scams (leather auction that turns out to be an adhoc and unwanted tour of nothing, charge 30 dirhams etc). Have your wits about you, remain calm and polite and don’t treat it as hostility. We found 99% of Moroccans we met to be very friendly, it’s just a game.
Would we go back? Yes, I think we would. Probably around the same and for the same reason.
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