We stayed in the hotel in the last week of August and we could not fault it. After reading some reviews on here I was quite worried about certain aspects of the hotel but these were all laid to rest when we arrived.
On our arrival we were served a cocktail and the staff took your luggage to your room whilst we tooked into dinner. The food throughout the stay was really good and there was a wide variety of food served every night. One of the highlights of the holiday was the Morrocan restaurant, the food was fantastic and as always the service excellent. However long trousers are required, my boyfriend and I didn't realise (even though we were told!) so just make sure you wear trousers!
The room was lovely, we were very surprised by the size as it was massive! The cleaners also made a real effort as they seemed to love making sculptures from towels! This also goes for the rest of the staff, who would really go out of their way to help you and serve you with a smile. My boyfriend messed up the code to the safe and after riinging reception someone immediately came to fix it. The staff also really appreciate it when you get to them too. Some of our friends we met were there for two weeks and got to know a lot fo the staff by name and this was rewarded by them giving them complimentary champagne when they went to the moroccan restuarant and one couple even had a carafe of beer and bottle of wine sent to the room.
The pool was also lovely, it had a gradual decline into it so you could lie and sunbathe in the pool. In addition to this there were almost seated areas in the pool where you could get a drink from the bar and sit in the pool and drink it, which is definately needed in 40 degree heat! Some review on here said that there were wasps round the bar area during the day, although this is true it is surely to be expected in a North African country. One thing that did get to me a little bit was the parasol situation, as to be expected with most hotels you did need to reserve your sunbeds, but parasols were not always available. We were up most mornings before 9 and that wasn't a problem but our last day we got up at 10 and although we got beds we couldn't get a parasol. I'm not one for lying out in the sun all day and after taking a walk round the pool area we realised a lot of people didn't only have a canapy (these are fixed above actual beds) they also had a parasol. There were also some people that had a parasol each, and wherever I have been before you normally share a parasol between two people. Therefore I do think the hotel does have enough parasols for beds but because some people were clearly hogging them it meant that we had to beg to get one!! I was quite brown before the holiday but I still wore factor 30 and I still burnt in the sun so a parasol is a must, I think the hotel needs to have some kind of rule on the parasols to sort this out!
Me and my boyfriend had two trips out whilst we were there although we didnt take these with Thompson. We were lucky enough to know people who lived in the area and they took up us the Atlas mountains which was amazing, so if you get the opportunity you must go. We also went to a restaurant on the way up the mountain called Serge's, unfortunately I have no idea where this is, all I know is that it was near a lake or a reservoir. The restuarant was very rustic and I don't think we wouldnt have gone there unless taken there as you can't always be sure about how safe the food in Marrakech is, however it was amazing, I had traditional lamb, apricot and almond tagine and my boyfriend had beef and prune tagine, it was lovely! The other day out we had was into Marrakech where we really saw the sights! We visited the Spana Donkey Sanctuary which was lovely. In Morocco there are many working animals, in particular donkeys, mules and horses and this place educates owners on how to look after the animals, the sanctuary has also paid for water troughs to be put across the centre of the city so the working animals have access to fresh water at all times. This sanctuary isnt something tourists usually see but it was lovely to see the work they were doing. After this we visited a Rhiad in the centre of the Medina, this was probably the highlight of our trip. After what looked like a door in a wall it opened up into an amazing courtyard that had a pool and a water feature. This rhiad is also a boutique hotel but for the life of me can't remember the name! It is definately worth a check out if you can get into a rhiad though!
We went into the Souks in the day time also, although it was just too hot! During our visit it was Ramadam so a lot of the Morrocans had these water sprays in order to keep themselves cool as they couldn't eat or drink during the day. We heard some tourists complain that they got sprayed with the water and they didn't like it but this was not our experience, the Morrocans are lovely, friendly people and we got sprayed with the water you end up getting into a conversation with them and they were just being friendly. If you are visiting Morrocco at the height of summer I wouldn't recommend going into the city during the day as it can reach temperatures of 50 degrees and your time is much better spent by the pool!
A must do is a visit to the square in the evening when it really comes alive! There are snake charmers but beware of the monkeys on chains (not a fan!) In order to take photos of the snake charmers you will have to tip. This must be the Moroccan way of life, and again a lot of the reviews on here said they didn't like the Moroccan people or the fact they felt they were always after money. We felt that this is just their culture and it is simply different to the way we work. There aren't fixed prices on anything and they will of course will do anything to make money; it is just their way of life and it is ignorant to think that people all over the world are the same!
Speaking of fixed prices, they expect you to haggle and you have quite a lot of fun when doing it! We were advised by our rep to go in at 30% of the price and work from there so if something is 100 you say 30 and you work towards a meeting point. For example we bought some amazing hand made dominos and their starting point was 350dirhams and we laughed and said no 80 dirhams, threat to walk away and they will reduce their price instantly and we ended up getting them for 120 dirhams which is about £10 - a bargain, especially as we had seen people making these deeper into the souks so you know they are handmade!
I would definately go back again, but probably not longer than 10 days, a combination of the heat in August and you are in a complex and the shuttle bus is needed to get into the centre. Some of the friends we made said they missed a walk along the beach in the evening, but you have to treat it I suppose as a city break.
The holiday in total was fantastic and I would definately go back again, I really hope my review was informative about Marrakech as well as the hotel. I have never done one before and I hope that what I have said will help some people have just as a fantastic holiday as me and my boyfriend did!
- 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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