Just returned from this hotel on 17th August and whilst everybody has a right to their own opinion I find some post comments incredible when reading them.
We have stayed at many 5 star hotels such as the Hilton and Marriott resorts which were better than this but this Hotel doesn't advertise itself as a 5*. It has a 4* sign up at the door and we felt it very much lived up to its grade.
How on Earth people can tag it as a 3* is beyond belief.
Room: huge and spotless - it has been decorated in Morrocan style not 80's style as a previous comment. We e-mailed in advance and recieved two rooms next door to each other - thank you.
Pool: large and we never had to go down before 8.30am to claim beds and parrasols though I must add that the hotel had previously been booked solid and had gone down to 2/3 full, so previous posts may have had a different experience. The German charter planes are starting up this October so things will change next Summer. There is a small but well equiped Gym which has wonderfull air conditioning.
Restaurants: I have two of the fussiest eaters in the world and apart from no bacon in the morning which my son would have liked, there were no complaints. Once I explained that we were in a Muslim country and close to the largest mosque in Morroco he understood that some hotels may not provide pork. You can try the Morrocan restaurant several times during your stay and I would recommend it, the sea bass is really tasty as are the tangines. I just wonder whether some people should stick to Spain/Greece as North Africa may be a little too adventerous for them.
Staff: We wondered whether the close proximity to the largest market in North Africa and the affability of the staff was the reason why Thomson gave this the + to the 4* grade. We found the staff really friendly and efficient and nothing was too much for them. A little tip of a couple of Dirhams occasionaly worked wonders with some of them as did a little try at Arabic. The latter It got me a late check out room 3 days before leaving instead of the mandatory 24hrs request. I must also point out that unlike last year at Tunisia my 18yr old daughter was never afforded any unwanted attention by the staff!!!
Marrakech: This is the jewel in the crown for this hotel as it is just far enough outside the City with regular shuttle buses as has been pointed out previously. Please try it on an evening when the sun has gone down as the atmosphere is electric. If you get the last shuttle bus in at 7pm there are plenty of cabs to bring you back. If there are more than three of you, as in my case, you will have to go for a grande taxi, try for between 100 - 150 Dirhams but pay no more and settle on the price before getting in. We had only one problem in town and we were not alone - that was with the snake charmers - if you take a photograph anywhere near them they will be at you for money. Please beware of them as they snatched our camera and pulled us all in at the snakes for photographs. Whilst the head guy took about 16 great snaps of us, at the end he wrapped a snake around my kneck and pulled me towards him by its head and tail and demanded 500 dirhams (£38) for the service - a favourite trick. Some people found this intimidating and paid up, having worked in the Middle East I have found the best thing to do is to smile and refuse using "La" as the no word. Reach for your wallett and complain the snake is in the way, when he takes it off you give him a few dirhams and walk away, they wont follow you as there are tourist police in plain clothes all over the place!! That was the only problem we had and shouldn't put anybody off, the City is quite safe unless you are irresponsible.
Would I go back, no because I like to visit new places. A better question would be - would I go knowing what I know now - yes definately. One thing let the hotel down and that was the dress code for the restaurants, woman were really making the effort in the evening but some men were turning up in flip flops and shorts which went against notices outside the Morrocan restaurant forbidding this. Apparently Riu Clubhotels will not be enforcing this in the future unlike the other Riu brands.
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