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“Maracesh not for the faint hearted” 3 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 #606 of 1,113 Marrakech B&B and Inns
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Maracesh not for the faint hearted”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013 via mobile

To get some thing straight first, this is not an international hotel, they cater for the French! Everything is in French and everyone speaks French so unless you have that language it can be a bit difficult. Expect all hotel trips to be in French and it has to be said they were not to keen to take Brits. We had the greatest difficulty finding a company offering English tours but we did eventually. There are loads of poolside activities but again all in French, if you have kids they will certainly feel left out of things .

The hotel covers quite a large area of ground with rooms away from the main complex in small self contained blocks. Ours was quiet and away from things but some are very close to the theatre and night club so this needs to be watched. The room was a good size and clean and quite well painted, no luxury but adequate. The bathroom was clean apart from some mould around the shower guard and fittings which were quite old. Cleaning seemed to be done at different times of the day and towels were delivered at another time, getting enough towels was not always easy. Our room had free air conditioning which worked well and a small patio area.

There is one main restaurant but you can get snacks at the inside and poolside bars. The food is plentiful and looks great but two of us had upset tummies for the whole of our stay there despite taking all the usual precautions with water , salads, ice etc. There were lots of sauces and maybe these contained things we were not used to or maybe not a lot of trouble was taken in the preparation, I say that because even the things cooked fresh like eggs or omelettes for breakfast were if you were not careful undercooked.

We paid for full board and have no complaint with that at all. You can drink and eat as much as you want and the restaurant staff are happy to help and very efficient.

Our Holiday was for ten days in April so the temperature was still not too hot, some cloud and some rain. The large, modern outdoor pool was too cold for all but the most thick skinned but the indoor heated pool was great, warm and relaxing. Plenty of sun beds but be warned some crafty guests get out early and reserve beds, not good when the pool area gets busy as despite the number of beds they soon fill up.

The grounds are extensive, attractive and well cared for, pleasant to walk in and quite safe.
The reception staff are not over helpful, they have Internet which you pay 30DR per 30 mins for but to access this you need to put money in a machine. The hotel never has any change for this and are not helpful in getting you any. It is not difficult to get the impression that the staff will be helpful to a point but would rather you weren't there. An example is that you ask how much a taxi should be from the hotel to say the market, they tell you the 100DR which you will pay if you use the large taxi outside the hotel, they do not tell you to ignore this, get a peti taxi and pay a maximum of 40DR, not helpful. While on the subject of taxis, always go for the small peti taxis, be prepared to bargain and if you don't get your price walk away, there are plenty who will take you. From the hotel to the el Koutoubia mosque is around 40DR if you bargain. This gets you to the centre of Marrakech and most places you will want are walking distance from there. Once hired we found the taxi drivers cheerful and helpful and quite good drivers in these very busy streets.

Back to the hotel, Poolside drinks promise a lot, exotic sounding cocktails with lovely ingredients, in reality some spirit of your choice sloped into a plastic cup and toped up with coloured liquid, the colour seemed to vary depending on who dispensed the drinks. Even the traditional mint tea was insipid and rarely hot. Poolside snacks were available thought the day and seemed to satisfy the kids.

In Marroco you will want to get out and about to the souks and markets, there is plenty written about this but to summarise how I see it, everyone is out there to extract as much money as possible from you, the methods may vary and range from friendly barter to downright threatening, be prepared and do not relax your guard.
Don't be fooled by the guides who take you on trips out, they get a percentage from the places they take you, they will not give you good advice.

For some reason we are told that bargaining for an article is good fun and something to be entered into with that attitude, that's one viewpoint, the other is that you are a money pit to be plundered to whatever depth you allow. Unless you really want something don't bother. The people you will be bargaining with are for the most part selling a load of tat, it is not usually genuinely made locally by the ladies you see in small collectives working away, it comes in crates from China. These people will put the onus on you to name a fair price, you will not want to offend them and will offer more than you want to pay, they will be offended anyway and you will offer more, welcome to rip off Marroco that's how it works. Assume everyone is after your hard earned cash and if your happy with that proceed.

Two things to watch with great care, first in the markets you will see the heavily tattooed or sometimes completely veiled Henna Ladies, do not let these people near to your lady party members, you do not want dirty needles stuck into your skin unbidden! It happens and they can be very persistent and will often approach you in numbers.
Next watch out for the violent thieves who dress in the red traditional costumes. You will see that if you take a picture they want money and are not above chasing you and your party surrounding you and threatening, once again especially the ladies.

You may think the descriptions a little extreme but I prefer to say they are realistic. That is not to say that you can't have a great time and soak up the atmosphere, the noise and the colour but always be on guard, lots of those around you live in poverty and they make their living out of you. This is a hard country, there is no safety net for the poor or homeless, they are on the streets and you are on their streets. It's a great country to visit, our hotel was for the most part pretty good and we had an enjoyable stay, if you are happy in a French speaking environment and if the rather sloppy attitude of the staff does not bother you then you will enjoy the hotel.

Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
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534 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 (26)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

We're back from a short stay in this hotel.
The hotel is located in "La Palmeraie", a short taxi ride (100 MAD) to Place Djema El Fna.
There are buses that take you for free from the hotel to Place de la liberté a 20 min walk to downtown.
The gardens are well tended. The rooms are large and clean (an extra chair in the room would be useful though). Don't forget to bring your own shampoo/conditionner (only soap is provided)..
The outside pool is not heated but the kids went in easily. The inside pool is big and heated.
The food is good (meat/fish/local specialties), the drinks are "original" brands (real coke, fanta, sprite..).
The entertainement is in French but the staff is very welcoming to all kids and adults.
Overall , we had a nice stay and would gladly go back.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shifnal, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

This was our first time in Marrakech and were impressed by the reviews. The hotel is a short distance by taxi from the busy city and offers a welcome relief in its tranquility. The hotel sits in in wonderfully tended gardens (more gardeners than Kew!). All of the staff were fantastic and friendly, language was no barrier, although our French is limited. Great variety and quality of food, and plenty of it. Rooms are large and comfortable and are clean and well kept. Reception were helpful in booking a guide and taxi to get into the city, which was worth the money. If you want an amazing day trip to the Atlas Mountains we can recommend Legendes Evasions, which we booked in England. Just one tip make sure you have several 10 dirhams coins if you need access to the wi-fi. It costs 30d for half an hour and change was almost impossible to get from the hotel. This was a great short break in a very good hotel.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

I read with some concern some of the other reviews but my concerns were completely unfounded.

Yes the hotel is largely occupied by a French tour company - however there were other English people there during our stay. And yes the staff speak French-as is the case with the country as a whole. We found the staff to always be friendly and helpful and we were able to get by with a few words of French and some gesticulating! To be honest I was more embarrassed at my inability to speak any language other than English rather than irritated by them speaking to me French. In Morocco generally French is spoken-there is limited English spoken so if you're not going to like that don't go!

The hotel is very nice and in lovely grounds-a welcome retreat from the madness that awaits beyond the gates! The rooms are quite basic but very clean and the beds were very comfortable! The pool area was lovely but I imagine the pool feels small in the height of the summer. The food was great-usually always some traditional Moroccan fare along with the usual chips etc. My husband is vegetarian and always managed to eat well-if you're a fussy eater you may struggle a bit. I've never been anywhere where the all inclusive soft drinks are Coca Cola, Sprite, Fanta etc (by which i mean branded soft drinks) and the servings of spirits are generous to say the least (and not watered down!).

The entertainment is in French-we're not that bothered about the entertainment when we go away-but the tour reps are happy to include you if you want to be included. They are also more than happy for you to use the ping pong, mini golf, tennis etc.

Overall I'd highly recommend it. It's close enough to the centre to not have to pay a massive taxi fare to get in, but is far enough out to have lovely grounds and feel relaxing. Go with an open mind and a few words of French and you'll be fine!

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Bristol, United Kingdom
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

On entering the grounds of this hotel I was amazed at how beautiful it was and reception was very nice with comfy seats to the side. As I had just arrived I was in need of the loo so used the facilities in reception. The flush was broken so you had to hold it in place to flush the loo and when I was washing my hands I found the tap was not connected to the base?!
We were then taken to our room along a long corridor and, on entering, first impressions were ok until I went into the bathroom. The bath had a large chip in the enamel and the glass shower panel was glued to the bath so you had to climb into the bath to turn bath taps/shower on so you got soaked with cold water before getting out of the way. Also the hair dryer didn't work and a 4 star hotel should really provide a bar of soap at the very least!
The bed was like sleeping on bricks, very uncomfortable and the noisy corridors at night will keep you awake until quite late.
I can't fault the food; it was fantastic. And the staff in the restaurant were really lovely.
This hotel's grounds were beautiful and the facilities were really nice.The pool area and bar were comfortable and the seating around the grounds were great.
The hotel mainly caters for the French and find the English really hard to understand.
This is a very money-orientated holiday and locals will try to charge you 3 times the worth of any item, so don't pay it.
So to sum up food fantastic, grounds fantastic, restaurant staff helpful but the room a major let-down.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Slough, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
164 reviews 164 reviews
71 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

Having read the comments and speaking only pigeon French I was a little nervous about our short stay here, however found the staff to be so sweeet and accommodating that it really wasn't a problem at all. Yes, we couldn't fully get involved in the entertainment, but Butlins for the French is not my cup of tea at all so nothing lost! In fact one of the entetainment staff joined us for dinner one night to make us feel more at welcome and practice his already excellent English.

The room are OK - the bathrooms very tired and not somewhere you want to spend much time being honest. An urgent refurbishment would be needed in my opinion.

Good location and the food was excellent for the standard with good choice. The bar also made excellent coffee and mint tea (better than the machines in the restaurant).

I would rate this hotel as a 3 star UK standard due to the rooms.

Room Tip: Away from the main hotel area as noise from the guests travels
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2012

We have just come back from a week here and though most of the staff were very friendly and the food was ok it was not a great experience. Reception staff were never particularly friendly or helpfull when we had problems
Our main complaint is with the animation team, on the first day when they realised we were English they ignored us then in the evening we were enjoying a drink in the lounge and watching TV a member of the animation team switched off the tv and told us to move as they were having a French quiz we politely declined. On complaining to the manager he said the team are bought in by the tour company and not his responsibility.
Things did improve slightly but if you want a holiday with good entertainment and conversation with guests and staff DONT GO HERE
The one saving grace was Assil who gave out the towels he was always friendly/polite and willing to help

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #606 of 1,113 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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