This was my first experience staying at all enculive hotel, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect after reading a few mixed reviews on the food, drink and animation staff.
We arrived on a rather warm day for the end of November; we were greeted by many of the staff trays of a nice cooling drink, where also there after travelling and it being a warm day this was a nice touch. After checking in we were given the option of going straight to are room or going for lunch. There were plenty of staff around to ensure you were headed in the right direction. The hotel grounds are quite large, with some accommodation closer to the restaurants and pool areas than others, some areas are quitter than others, I would agree with several other reviewers in recommending an upstairs room, we also asked for a view of the pool, which also gave us views of the mountains.
All meals are buffet style, there’s plenty of choice with meat and vegetarian options. During are stay there were two theme nights, the general food choices were also available. I haven’t stayed anywhere with some much choice for breakfast food before. Wine is available with lunch and evening meals, enjoyed a few glasses of both the red and rosé both very pleasant. At lunch time there were a few flies around on are first day, it was rather warm this is one of only 2 small things I think the hotel could work on to make it perfect. The other would be smoking in the bars and lobby area. As a non smoker I found the levels in smoke in the main lobby bar at times overwhelming, this is a beautifully decorated bar and would have been nice to soak up more of the atmosphere. It would be nice if this bar was made non-smoking. There are plenty of areas, to sit and relax in the lobby, board games were available and most evenings there was some kind of entertainment on in the sunken area before the shows started in the other bar. The hotel has 2 computers and you can use their wifi, many people sat around on their I-pads in the evening.
I tried several of the cocktails, yes they varied in strengths this depended on which bar/server they were poured by. The sprits considering they are not named brands were very good, if you like extra strong spirits I would suggest asking for the spirits and mixer separately then you can make them as strong as you like. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and accommodating, if you want stronger they will make them for you.
The hotel is very clean, staff and constantly seen cleaning the floors and toilets, the level of cleanliness would put many hospitals to shame.
Whether this is typical of an all inclusive hotel, the way Riu as a chain works or the management of this particular hotel I’m not sure.
We booked are stay through Thomson, we found are rep Rashid very helpful, he spent time discussing the various optional extra trips with us. We went on the 4x3 trip through the mountains and visit to a Berber village. We were lucky enough to be in the car with the guide. The guide asked members of our party not to give the children sweets to given them to their parents and any pens to the teachers, as this was the wish of the parents. This caused some minor problems between the children. I would defenetly recommend this trip but would adviser giving any gifts to the parents.
We also took the trip to Essaouira a small sea side town complete with Souk, prices here where somewhat cheaper than Marrakesh and bartering is more laid back. We were given the option of stopping at a wood coop, this was worthwhile to see how local craftsmen have opened up their own business, and create the most beautiful things out of wood. We went to an argon oil coop earlier in the day. This would of been ok if we hadn’t stopped at one the day before. I’m not sure whether Thomson themselves or the company they sublet to decide the itinerary of trips, visiting one Oil coop was interesting and informative, visiting a 2nd was for me a waste of time. I would have either spent the time at the wood coop or more time looking round Essaouira. The guide also said he would give us a 40 minute guide tour, we got shown the battlements and then offered to shown us a restaurant.
Before heading into the Medina and souks I would recommend visiting Ensemble Artisanal this is a fixed price and government run. It will give you an idea on prices if you are unsure of what price to pay. I did find the souks varied at the time of day you visited and preferred going later in the day after lunch. Venturing further into the souks also seemed to produce better bargains. It’s hard but look around before you decide what you want, it’s a shoppers paradise I came home with a few scarf’s and bags if it wasn’t for the limited space in my case and weight I’m sure I would have bought more.
If I ever go back to Marrakesh I would definitely stay in this hotel again, and before I’d even left I used the hotel computers to see where else the chain has hotels. Marrakesh is a vibrant city and this hotel was one of the most relaxing I’ve stayed in. We went out of season so there weren’t many children around. Only thing I wish it had been warmer to take advantage of the amazing outdoor poor.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Opening winter 2009/10 * Located in Marrakech * Main building and 2-storey annexes * 65,000 m2 gardens * 5 km from Marrakech’s old quarter * 800 m from various shops * 13 km from the airport * 900 m from a bus stop * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Visa ... more less
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