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“Lovely Hotel, Great Base, Food Only Downfall” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Decameron Issil

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Royal Decameron Issil
3.5 of 5 Inn   |   Circuit De La Palmeraie, Marrakech 1572 , Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #559 of 1,071 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Hitchin, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Lovely Hotel, Great Base, Food Only Downfall”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2011

I went to Marrakech and stayed at the Issil from the 4th- 9th December – tip for those going in the winter – take lots of warm clothing for the evening I was freezing!

The hotel itself is stunning, set in large well kept grounds, with 16 accommodation blocks scattered around in traditional style Moroccan colours and design. The rooms are very large, spacious and clean. The outdoor pool is huge although far too cold for us to swim in at that time of year however they also have an indoor pool which was a must – like swimming in a warm bath. Lovely.

I had read comments before we went about it being aimed very much for the French with those outside of that being left out – yes a lot of French stay at this hotel but in no way did we feel excluded, the staff were all very friendly and their English was fine. We made the effort to greet and ask how people were in French – I think it’s only polite that you use/learn a bit of the locals language (we don’t like it when people in England can’t speak English!)

The animation team are all French / Moroccan but again we never felt bad vibes from them, we partook in the archery from 10am and they were all really helpful and funny. Even though there was a language barrier we all had a good laugh. The hotel had quite a few activities – tennis / ping pong / step / aqua aerobics so there is plenty to keep you busy if that’s what you like.

Food – this was the only let down of the holiday and felt we were hungry most of the time!! I’ve experienced all inclusive hotels before so knew what to expect – we never went without but there were a couple of nights where I had a chip butty! I am particularly fussy with my food so im sure this played a big part. Out of the 5 nights we were there there was only a couple of nights where I didn’t fancy anything on offer and resorted to chips. The Moroccan night I found was the best and would have liked to see more of – lentils, chick peas with roasted aubergine and peppers – it was delicious. Instead of going to the restaurant for lunch we had burger and chips from the pool bar which was actually very nice – the chips hot from the fryer and the burger cooked there and then with lots of fresh salad.

The weather was hot (sunbathing weather) a couple of days and we did just that – relaxed around the pool. We went into Marrakech town a couple of times and what an experience it was. Personally the people hassling put me off a lot. I loved seeing it as it’s so diverse and different to anything I have ever seen before but when I stopped to take a picture I had about 3 people grabbing on to my arms trying to get me to get henna or pay for something – someone even tried to get me to pay them for taking a picture of their snakes from 100 yards away! Personally I find it extremely off-putting and just want to get out of there – I knew to expect this but it was still annoying. The Souks (markets) are a maze, interesting to walk around but again because of the hassle we powered through glimpsing the beautiful colours around us.

The highlight of the holiday was a day trip we arrange before we went with Adil (adil.camel@gmail.com) – he picked us up at 9am and we drove towards the Atlas mountains – which are stunning. We started by stopping for a camel ride then on to a Berber market – people that live way outside the city and live a life from 100 years ago - Adil showed us all the fresh veg/ fruit and herbs on offer along with where the ‘dentist’ pull outs your teeth and the ‘doctor’ cures any ailments! We then went onwards and upwards to a place where we stopped to climb up to waterfalls – really enjoyed this part – be warned its hard work and steep so wear trainers! This took about an hour or so. Again up we went – the scenery is stunning – I think you go 2k feet up the mountains. We finished up with lunch in a lovely ladies house at the top which was the best meal of the holiday. Adil certainly knows how to make mint tea! I would definitely recommend doing this when you go. All in all I think it cost about 200€ for everything for two.

Room Tip: Ask for a room by the pool - away from the disco - lovely and quiet
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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509 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oxford, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2011

I went with a fried both 23years old. Had a good time however would have been great if we had pack for cooler and wet weather so was quite cold most of the holiday. However cannot complain about the hotel. We booked with Expedia and had no problems. Yes the entertainment is in french. We spoke hardly any french but got by just fine the staff try there best at speaking english. Great service from the free bus to/from Marrakesh centre although we got a taxi back to avoid waiting at a haggled price of 40 Dirham. The food was lovely something for every one at every meal with authentic flavours. The bar was good, had all the main spirits however they didn't have Malibu or Martini. Did have a good selection of cocktails which we took full advantage off and they partied in the disco after. The songs at the disco are mainly english although they didnt have many of the songs we requested but nether the less we had a great night. We did get quite drunk but the staff were great about it. There was a great age range at the hotel, families, couples and friends. Now to the room. The rooms were spacious and beds were really comfy with clean sheets. Only 2 english channels on the TV, one running films and one american news. Unfortunately our air conditioning seem to trip the electricity in out room but this was quickly sorted with a portable heater being placed in out room. Plenty of hot water. Some of the reviews have mentioned about updating the bathrooms, and yes they are traditionally tiled and a bit chipped hear and there but I think this adds to the authenticity of the whole feel. The pool was to cold to go in but looked clean and pretty. We went in the indoor pool and it was cold although heard that is was warm when speaking to other guests. We used the spa facilities at the hotel and had a Hamman bath which was amazing, followed by royal massage, equally amazing. We took English £ and it was fine to use them in the hotel although they were reluctant to take any coinage. We changed a bit in to Moroccan Dirham for the market which I think is the best thing to do. We only had 3 full days there so didnt get to do lots of sight seeing however all the information about trips and tours were in french/german but nothing in English. this didnt actually effect us much because of the short stay but im sure reception staff would be happy to help and advise. The hotel was secure and felt safe, lovely settings and overall had a great time.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burgess Hill, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2011

After reading all the various reviews I thought i would keep an open mind about as what to expect. The hotel is in beautiful, well kept surroundings and the rooms are large, rustic and perhaps in need of a refurb especially in the bathroom. I guess i am going to be really boring here and follow suit to say the biggest whinge i have is that despite English guests all the animation is only done in French and that is what you can hear all day long. As Thomson and First choice are in this hotel you would imagine the english are catered for but sadly they are not. Saying that the staff are all very friendly and will make an effort of speaking in english even though most of them speak very little. At breakfast time if you got down after 9am you would quite often find no cups left at the drinks machines or no juice left in the machines either, certainly not of a 4 star standard. If you can get over these little niggles you wll probably have a lovely time but in my opinion i would not class this as a 4 star hotel

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the pool
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rabat, Morocco
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
189 helpful votes 189 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

After reading the nice reviews on tripadvisor, let me tell you I was surprised when I got hit with the sad reality :
Rooms : Large, yet BASIC rooms with a really tarnished furniture that looks quite old. Same goes for the bathrooms, they provide you with 2 big towels that are washed out and the bathtub looks dirty (I attached a picture) & the garbage can is of the worst I’ve seen, there should be some of the same price that look more sophisticated & less yucky!!! I must admit that the beds were quite comfy & the sheets clean. Once, my husband found a big cockroach inside the room, we assumed it was normal as we were next to the garden & the balcony was kept open, but what wasn’t normal is that when he took it outside & killed it, it stayed in the corridor during the whole stay until there were enough aunts eating from it, & you’d think some staff will pick it up.. nah, it just was a part of the picture for the rest of our stay, how sweet!
As for the sleep quality, it was fine until 9am. You’ll just hear all kinds of noise & can’t sleep over that time, people shouting of housekeepers talking out loud, even if you have ear plugs (my case) you’ll still be an early bird! Unless of course you have a room by the pool, you won't sleep before midnight & will wake up at 8am.. good morning dreamy vacation!
Food : We went for an all inclusive formula, & it was the worst idea I’ve had in years. Yes it was huge & there had been food for everyone, but it was tasteless & blunt & basic. Except maybe for the breakfast, it was ok (even if there were no fresh juices & that you had to wait for more than 20min to get an omelet). Not to mention the sandwiches in the pool area, we ended up eating only the French fries & their so called pizza. Ah, the drinks, beside the usual coke, it was a shame to serve the worst beers & wines there were in Morocco!
The service : Very slow was my first impression as it took us half an hour to check in & there were people behind yelling! & then for the rest, they were really cold & we never felt welcomed!
Hotel’s SPA : The hammam was really nice but it wasn’t warm enough. As for the massage service, the masseuse was excellent but the room TOO cold & they were using regular beds instead of the ones used for massage services!
The grounds – Other hotel’s facilities : This is why I rated the hotel as a 2 stars instead of 0.. seeing the hotel from the outside, it was beautiful, very clean & well maintained. The pool area was large & there were always enough sun beds for everyone. Also, there were tennis courses, mini golf area, excursions, shuttles to downtown & a lot of other activities going on every day. The “animation” team was really nice & the only stuff smiling during our stay.
Based on my own experience, I’ll never go back to this hotel, I think that in Marrakech there are tons of places to choose from & Descameron Issil is just not the one to pick up.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2011

What you really need to know about this hotel is that it is more than competent in providing everything you need for a short break or week-long holiday.

It is clean, friendly, the rooms are big and spacious, and the food and drink plentiful and of a decent quality.

Yes, if you're English and you love joining in English-speaking animation events then, well, the Decameron Issil may not be the hotel for you.

It is clearly very much geared towards a French audience, and certainly while we were there - Oct 30-Nov 3 - it must have been 90 to 95 per cent French-speaking visitors. But this has absolutely NO adverse impact on your holiday.

The staff remain friendly and helpful. The bar staff know enough English to serve you whatever you like, and everyone is keen to be friendly.

But then you are in a country where Arabic and French are the main languages - so if you don't like the French or French language I suggest a Blackpool guestroom for you.

This is Morocco. This is Marrakech. And the hotel is a great base for exploring it.

Getting there:
Brace yourself for a bit of a culture shock after getting out of the modern looking Marrakech airport. If you don't have a transfer booked then a taxi will be your chariot...and there are plenty lining up to take your cash.

There is a poster with the tariffs up outside the airport (about 50dh to get into the old city - around 100dh for Palmeraie I think it was). The reality, is that while there may be agreed prices, brace yourself for price hikes. We probably could have negotiated it down a tad more but we paid 200dh to get to the hotel...about £20. It was worth every penny when you hit the incredible mish-mash of ages and cultures on the roads of the city. Camels, donkeys, mules, carts, bicycles, mopeds, coaches and cars all converge on the roads and expect equal respect from other road users. Or perhaps lack of respect would be better.
The taxi ride is a good 20 minutes or so, wrapping tightly around the old city walls and out towards the Palmeraie area.

You pass the Riu hotel just a few hundred yards away and then...behind locked gates is your little oasis of calm...

The hotel:
Everything is a shade of pink or red in Marrakesh and so it proves at the hotel too.
It's not got enormous communal areas, but the bar - half inside, half out - was modern, spotlessly clean, and offered a range of cocktails, spirits and beers (mojitos are recommended courtesy of the use of one of the natural treats in these parts - namely mint).

There's also fruit juices and decent coffee too. Plus they have mint tea (local delicacy) should you wish to get into the swing of things.

The choice of food is not enormous, but it is adequate and tasty. There were several meat dishes every night, always a fish dish, and the tangines were delicious. Pasta and salads were in abundance and the deserts - normally a range of cakes or fresh fruit - were tasty. It wasn't gourmet, but then it never pretended to be. What it was was tasty and the dining area was pleasant enough.

The swimming pool in the centre of the complex was not enormous but big enough to keep the handful of kids - and big kids - on the park happy. Plenty of sun loungers too, plus a bar which did snacks (chips, pizza, crepes depending on the time of day) plus a coffee machine.

There's also an indoor pool situated in a different park of the complex which looked lovely, but you did have to run the risk of the massage girls who spent their days trying to sign customers up for treatments (pleasant enough - they're only trying to drum up a bit of business, and they take no for an answer...eventually).

Our room was one of those which surrounded the pool - set back amid the palm trees and grass. We had a little patio area with table and chairs, and despite the pool being visible you felt well protected with enough privacy to be able to sit back and relax.

There was a maid service every day and the room was always spotless with fresh towels each day.

As for the entertainment...well, this, in truth, is where the hotel will come up a little short for the English speakers, But then only if you actually need the hotel to generate entertainment for you. We personally don't much care for it so it didn't bother us in the least. But as the crowd is predominantly French-speaking so the entertainment is too.

We read much about the noise from the pool/bar area before we went - and on one day, the Monday, the music was very loud but that was it...all over by 9.30pm-10pm-ish and for the rest of the week the music was audible if you sat outside but not a pain.

There is music around the pool from around 2.30pm every afternoon - seemed to be the same songs on a loop - but harmless enough. Nothing that would spoil your stay unless you crave silence.

There's a small shop on the site - offered lots of fixed price stuff all a few quid above prices you'd expect to pay in the town, but handy to have.

Getting into the city centre:
There is a very handy shuttle bus which operates hourly in the morning, breaking between noon - 3ish and returning hourly from the city centre. We used it every morning to get into the Medina (old city). Yes, it drops you off 20 minutes walk away, but it's not the biggest deal in the world. It puts you down close to the Place d'Liberte near a crossroads....simply take the first left then stroll right on the next main road and you will come to the main square - Jemma el Fina.

A remarkable place, a real onslaught on your senses and difficult to do any justice to with words or pictures - a place you need to experience for yourself.

Conclusion:
Don't fall for the 'fine only if you're French' silliness of other reviews - this is a perfectly nice hotel with some classy touches. And given the cost of some last minute deals to be had (cost us £200 each for four nights all inclusive and flights via Ryan Air) it really is an exceptional bargain. Safe and secure and a great place from which to dive into the centre of Marrakech.

Oh, and the wather was beautiful for all but the final day - mid 20s like a beautiful English summer's day...

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2011 via mobile

The hotel itself is nice, the restaurant is nice and the food is really good. A mix between Moroccan and French mainly, but with pasta and salads a plenty each day. The beer wine and spirits are all good.

The hotel is 90% French customer, which was fine with me, and probably accounted for the good food and wine. Armed only with my GCSE French I managed to muddle through with those that didn't speak too much English.

There is a free bus that takes you to Marrakech, although it doesn't drop you off in an ideal location, so we got a taxi back

Make sure you read up elsewhere about bartering and tipping, and dressing respectfully, but following a few simple rules you will find everyone perfectly nice.

The rooms are the worst bit. They are basic and a bit shabby, not as clean as they could be, but acceptable. The towels looked worn, and the tv was very poor (2 channels in black and White). Having said that, the bed was comfy and clean and the air con worked just fine so we were ok. I thought it was stingy that they made you pay extra for a safety deposit box.

The animation team were also excellent. They mainly focus on the French guests as they don't all speak great English, but if you take the trouble to get involved yourself, then they will continue to involve you in waterpolo, archery, table tennis etc.

We had a great time, and would recommend it, provided you don't expect luxury rooms.

  • Stayed September 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2011

really good hotel if you dont mind the french and some of the entertainment team are okay best person to see and talk to is kaleial he is really nice and welcoming and so are all the staff will definitly going back loved it to bits

Room Tip: all rooms are good but the best are the ones with a pool veiw
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royal Decameron Issil

Address: Circuit De La Palmeraie, Marrakech 1572 , Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #559 of 1,071 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Royal Decameron Issil 3.5*
Number of rooms: 104
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Also Known As:
Royal Decameron Issil Hotel Marrakech

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