We arrived late to the campsite on 13/07/2010 and was greeted my the very lovely Mohammed, the night guardian. We set up the tent and thought we had landed in paradise... nice pool, jacuzzi and lush greenness. Along with Mohammed, there is a really nice, helpful girl who was there at breakfast, ready with coffee and a smile.
We were the only people there in a tent... all the other customers had there own campervans or were staying in the permanent tents on site. As we only had a tent we relied a lot on the on-site facilities, ie. the cafe/restaurant, spending a lot of money, as just a bottle of water cost 20DH = £1.50. It was so hot in the tent, as there is no shade provided, that we had to buy everything on site, where as those with vans had there own food supply and fridges (essential in Morocco!).
There are 2 French women working in the camping who were incredibly rude. One complained whenever we went to the bar with a note rather than small change... I said that she had all my change, that we had been spending money all day... she huffed and puffed and eventually threw my change across the bar at me. Strange when I am giving her money.
On the 16th it was my birthday. It was a hot day and going to the centre of Marrakech seemed too far so we went to the restaurant there. You have to order a tagine the day before! so we ended up having turkey curry as there was very little choice. It took nearly 1 hour to arrive. I went up to the bar several times to ask where it was. The lady behind the counter seemed quite stoned/drunk and eventually emerged with the curry, giggling while apologising that she had forgot it was waiting in the kitchen... it was stone cold. I took it back, they put it in the microwave after poking it a few times with their fingers. I wait for 5 mins... it comes out... it is still cold. I give up hope... but it is my birthday and besides that I am hungry. So I try to eat half, my husband can't face any of it. Good for him as after that dreaded night I was ill for what felt like the rest of my stay (2 weeks). But maybe that was just a bad night... so we try the mixed grill of meatballs, kebab, etc the next day. My husband found electric blue pieces of stuff in his meatballs... maybe some kind of magic potion the cook had added for good measure.
On complaining we received contemptuous looks and a demand for the money... which is way over priced for the standard of food. So I paid over the odds to be given food poisoning.
The third night there was a massive storm. It went from 49 degree heat to hail stones and monsoon rain for hours. We asked the women working there if it was normal... oh yes, it's normal. So I ask the question, if this is a normal occurance why hadn't the owners thought of drainage for the site. The whole area where campervans were was flooded... you had to waid through the water to get anywhere. And, of course, there was no drainage where our tent was... and it was completely flooded, inside and out. Everything ruined. So it was the last night in Marrakech, lets treat ourselves to one of the permanent nomadic tents on the site. We had no choice anyway, so we move and the nomadic tent is so smelly it is hard to stay inside for more than a few minutes, the aroma thick with damp... the tent full of various insects... the sheets dirty... in every way unpleasant.
Next day, after very little sleep, we go to the reception, the lady has no simpathy for our flooded tent and charges us full price for the use of the horrid nomadic tent. The female owner is also in reception; no 'how was your stay' or anything... she sees the money in my husbands hand and grabs it like it is the first water she has seen in three days while lost in the sahara.
I am not sure if the mistreatment of my husband and I was slight racism or... I have no idea. The French women that worked there would drool over the french clientele, while I, as an English women and my husband as a North African, were treated with absolute contempt.
On leaving Marrakech we took a coach to Oualidia (on the coast), a good 4 hours away. The price for the journey was the same as the campsite's resident taxi driver charges for a one way ride to the centre of Marrakech (60DH = £4.50)! - supposedly 15 mins away. We found other taxi drivers to take us back and they charged 10DH.
The site looks great and the Moroccan guardian and the young lady doing breakfast are the creme de la creme... but the managment is absolutely disgusting. They are money grabbing to the exteme while having no customer service skills and no substance behind the facade. They pay their Moroccan staff pitance (£75/month) while earning massive amount of euros daily. They are lucky that they're the only campsite left in Marrakech. Such a shame, it makes you want to open your own site where customers and staff are treated with respect.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Domain” Le Relais de Marrakech “provides a total depaysment. Gilles and Joëlle welcome you and advice you, on a large park, which looks like a little piece of heaven. The domain provides comfortable rooms from 2 to 6 persons under nomad tents, African huts or Kasbahs as well as 3 suites. In the shade of olive and palm trees,” Le Relais de Marrakech” , situated at the entrance of Marrakech in the palm grove, is an original space which offers wellness and rest. Jacuzzi, swimming pool, fitness, free wifi, spa, bar ,everything is made to relax and benefit of the nature peace , a few kilometers away from the city center. A restaurant, in the typically Moroccan decoration, next to the swimming pool with a view on a magnificent flowery garden, proposes you delicious Moroccan specialities. More, “Le Relais de Marrakech” is one of the rare places in Morocco to provide an outdoor hotel space landscaped where your friends can join you , travelers and adventurers in 4x4, in motorcycle or camping cars. It allows you, if you wish to, to meet people and share the experience of their journey in Africa and the sensations of adventure which provide the Moroccan desert and the large African South . ” Le Relais “wants to be a friendly, family and typical space for persons who wish enriching holidays of discovery in a quiet, restful and pleasant place. ... more less
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