Like many who have commented already, I bought the Groupon, then afterwards found the negative reviews on Trip Advisor and got concerned. We considered refunding the vouchers but ultimately decided to go through with the trip and are certainly glad we did.
Particularly for the English/American traveler, this isn't be the easiest place to stay. Critical staff at Eden Andalou speak english and they have translated signs, menus, etc. Certainly enough to get by and order dinner, book a shuttle to the city, arrange a massage, etc. However life would have been much easier if I at least knew how to count in french! I had no problems with the staff, but also didn't attempt to ask too much of them, given the language barrier.
The resort itself is pretty impressive - the photo's you've seen are legit. It's surrounded by desert but several very similar resorts are under construction along its road (no construction noises, though, thankfully). The gardens are beautiful and the pools are great. A lot of time and attention was put in to certain aspects of the hotel -- The reception lounge, the conference center, the pool and all outdoor spaces -all stunning.
At check-in we were greeted with a pot of mint tea, and a tray with two towels soaked in rose-water to wash our hands with, then a gilded bowl to place the used towels! Nice touch. Our room was spacious and beautiful -perhaps one of the nicest hotel rooms I've ever had actually - however construction seemed to be completed rather hastily. Funny little details exposed the hotel's likely financial issues -- the vent over our air duct was missing. Wall-paint was splattered in some stair wells... the occasional corridor was missing a light or two (as in, construction wiring there, but no light installed yet). Nothing that would overshadow the overall good quality of the resort, but little imperfections that remind you that you only paid £90 a night or whatever it was.
Overall I would describe the hotel as "5-star-Like". It had the elements, and plenty enough to satisfy the other half and I for 3 nights, but don't set your expectations through the roof.
Location is unfortunate, but not a deal breaker. The hotel runs a free shuttle to Marrakech city centre several times a day and many people took advantage of that. FYI you need to reserve a spot in advance. There are also two public buses that stop at the hotel, but I couldn't work up the courage to use them! It's about a 20 minute drive to town, so airport transfer also requires a taxi. If you email the hotel, they arrange it for you and will charge 200Dh (£15) cash (ATM in reception) which covers one ride and also tip, I believe. It's a good service offering because otherwise an independent taxi driver would attempt to over charge.
Groupon made this a good value for us - and the whole trip worthwhile. For our 3-night/4-day stay, all our breakfasts were included (wonderful buffet) plus three vouchers for dinner (also buffet) and three vouchers for massage. ... oh and unlimited Hammam. Apparently at one point they were charging £20/25 for each buffet ticket and £40 for every massage... which would be too much. The massage was 1/2hour, full body and afterward the Spa building has its own private heated pool which is much nicer to use. Also, I recommend you google 'how to do a hammam' before you go, otherwise you'll have the same experience we did where the staff shut you in on this mud bath / sauna room and expect you to figure it out!
So for what we paid it was an absolutely lovely, comfortable, and relaxing stay at Eden Andalou, and the Arabic / North African flair to Marakech makes it a unique and fun sunshine destination for the adventurous traveler.
Have a great trip!
Here's a link to an aerial view of the resort: http://goo.gl/maps/3gtI
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- New concept in Marrakesh, the Eden Andalou Spa & Resort offers 6 magnificent riads, facing the Atlas mountains, in unforgettable Andalusia gardens, taking the mind back to the Hispanic-Moorish palaces of the 10th-century with its patios and fountains. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Eden Andalou Spa And Resort
- Eden Andalou Marrakech
- Eden Andalou Hotel Marrakech