We have just returned from a wonderful week at the Palmeraie, and can highly recommend it!
Upon arrival, which was quite late at night, around 11.30pm, we were all given a welcome non-alcoholic cocktail, and the hotel had kept the restaurant open for people to eat, a nice touch. After you check in, you are given stickers for your cases, and the porters bring your bags to your room 15 or so mins later. (So grab a bite to eat first, then check in, or wait until after you eat to put the stickers on your bags!) As our return flight was also a late one, we paid a little extra to have a late check out, 6pm instead of 11am. Well worth the £50 / €50 / 500 Dirhams in our opinion!
The hotel is beautiful, and the rooms very large and comfortable. (Beds are a little on the hard side, especially for me, as I like a super soft bed, but they gave us a small mattress topper which did the job. Anyone who likes a bed on the firmer side would love them!) We had ground floor room, with a small, relatively secluded patio area outside. The toilet was separate to the bathroom, and had a bidet in it, which is always a nice novelty!
The grounds are very well maintained, and very well watered, so looked stunning for such a hot country. Very pretty plants and flowers everywhere, many of them lovely and fragrant too.
Everywhere gets cleaned down every day, so all the walkways are spotless, windows bright and sparkly in reception.
Everyone who works there is very friendly, and plenty of staff too, so you never really have to wait at all before someone clears up any plates at the tables in the restaurant, or cups / glasses from the bar or reception.
Food was very good, always a good choice, and very tasty. We didn't use the Italian restaurant, as we can get plenty of that here in the UK, but we did use the Moroccan one. It is quite similar to the Morrocan food in the main restaurant, but on a much smaller scale, so it felt much more intimate, and somehow the food, although basically the same, did seem to taste even better. Drinks were good too, all the soft drinks were Coca Cola branded ones, the alcohol was the usual locally branded generic stuff, but just fine, all the same. The Mojitos were especially good, with fresh mint and limes, they were delicious and refreshing during the day by the pool, and nice at night too! Top tip, if you excuse the pun, is that if you tip the bar staff quite well during your first or second night, and then just one or two small tips on subsequent nights, they really do look after you! Plus having a good laugh and a joke with them goes a long way too! Not saying without tips you get bad service, far from it, as all the staff do a great job, no matter whether they got tips or not, just that the two or three that we did tip quite well, definitely remembered us for the rest of the week, and made sure we were kept well watered! Table service quite often, especially when nearing closing time, to ensure we had enough drinks to keep us going for another hour or so after last orders! But as we say, they are perfectly friendly and efficient even the ones we hadn't tipped. (We tipped the ones who served us the most, as we used 2 of the bars more than the other 2 you see)
Entertainment staff, along with all the staff to be honest, seem to work all the time! Obviously they get breaks, but everyone at the hotel puts in long hours to keep the guests happy! Night time entertainment was pretty good, apart from the karaoke night, which we didn't care much for, as the guests are roughly 45% British, 45% French, plus a few others as well, so half the karaoke singers were singing in French. Karaoke is one of those things where you have to kinda get into to have fun, and know the songs the singers are trying to sing, so when it is a song you don't know at all, in a language that we don't speak, it takes that aspect of it away. Plus having had a really good night the night before, and a really late one at that, didn't help either, as we weren't really up to another late night anyway!
The hotel is almost all non-smoking inside, it used to be fully smoking, but I think due to complaints and comments they have changed it, so people could smoke in the lobby bar, but no-where else. Although the lobby bar is open onto the reception area, we never really smelled any smoke coming through.
You can exchange your money at a reasonable rate at the hotel, without charge, so often people change just small amounts as and when they need it.
There are quite a few cats going around the hotel, but they are very well looked after, food and water is provided for them, and the hotel vaccinates and spays/neuters them as well. Some must get missed in the Spaying/neutering though, as there were a couple of really cute kittens there too, unless they get brought in.
We did a couple excursions there, one to the Waterfalls of Ouzoud in the Atlas Mountains, which was very spectacular. It's a long way, about 200km in the bus, but we are definitely glad we went, as it was beautiful. You stop on the way for the toilet etc, and get lunch included on the way back, plus another natural beauty spot to see afterwards as well on the way home. We also had a night time horse carriage ride through Marrakech too which was nice. Add to that a trip to the Souk one morning using the free hotel shuttle bus (need to book it at reception) and that was all our days out. The rest of the time we chilled out by the pool! Loads of loungers to use, and plenty of shaded areas too, which we needed as the weather was brilliant, one day was overcast all day, but that was the day we went to the Souk, so it was perfect! Another day was half cloud half sun, the other 5 days, brilliant sunshine! Basically 29'C - 30'C (84F - 86F) every day in the shade, nice! Would not like to be there in summer, I think it would be WAY to hot for us! But late September early October, just right for us! Not really anywhere to walk as such, there is a small shop inside the petrol station, and also a Pharmacy and large cash and carry type supermarket about a 10 - 15 minute walk outside the hotel.
Because we live in Scotland, but flew from Manchester, the English school holidays hadn't started when we went, so not many kids around at all, some, but very few, which we liked! HeHe!
A minor point, not that we go on holiday to get on the internet, but in this modern age, everyone seems to expect it. You can get free WiFi in the reception area, but unless you go first thing in the morning, before 8am, or last thing at night, after 11pm, it is practically impossible to connect to the internet. I would prefer to pay a small amount for an hour at a time, but get a good connection, rather than have it free, but never get on.
Morocco itself seems to be quite a poor country, lots of donkeys, and mopeds going around, but Marrakech itself seems quite an expensive place, probably because of the tourists? Although we got a lovely lunch for a very reasonable price in one of the terrace cafes on our day out to the Souk. (On the night time carriage ride, you get taken to a roof terrace cafe for a quick drink, so we actually used that one to eat in)
All in all, a fabulous relaxing holiday, in a wonderful hotel, with wonderful service, and wonderful weather. 2 thumbs up!!
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