It couldn’t be a more convenient place to stay for tourists using Marrakech as a gateway and planning to do a bit of travelling to other parts of Morocco. The Red Hotel is situated directly opposite Marrakech’s sparkling new railway station which offers services to some of Morocco’s other big cities including Casablanca, Fes and Tangier. The hotel is also just a few minutes’ walk from the Supratours bus depot which operates services to Esasaouira and Agadir.
I stayed at the Red Hotel in January 2012 when it had only been open a month. From the front and in the reception area, it looked like a clean, smart three-star business-oriented hotel.
Unfortunately, I found my guestroom (which is what really counts) much less impressive. The bed was really poor. I know I booked a single room, but it seemed to be the narrowest possible single bed; almost like trying to sleep on a plank of wood. And just as uncomfortable.
For a hotel obviously aimed at business travellers and conference delegates (since it’s situated close to the city’s Palais des Congress) you’ve got to wonder whose idea it was to penny-pinch and provide really narrow beds in single rooms rather than queen-size beds? The room was also poorly lit and noisy from the traffic outside. If you’re building a new hotel on a busy Marrakech street, wouldn’t you have considered installing really good soundproofing?
One would have assumed another thought would have been that if you’re the new kid on the block, you would want to go out of your way to try and make a good impression on guests? But I sensed there’s already a complacency among the staff. They couldn’t even deal efficiently with the most straightforward of requests. I noticed that a bulb in the bathroom wasn’t working so I asked at reception if it could be replaced? They assured me that wasn’t a problem. More than 12 hours later I returned to my room to discover the bulb hadn’t been changed. I asked again at reception, but 45 minutes later, no-one had appeared; so I asked again. Finally a guy came to change the bulb – a job which took him two minutes.
On one of the two mornings I stayed, I decided to sample the buffet breakfast which was available at a supplement of about UK£5. I must have spent nearly half an hour in the dining room – but was the only guest and it felt rather awkward as I was continually watched over by a female member of staff. It wasn’t a bad spread although the coffee was stewed and the orange juice came from a bottle or carton when there’s really no excuse for not serving fresh orange juice in Morocco. What made the experience even more depressing was that the net curtains were kept drawn making the dining room feel as gloomy as an old people’s home. I asked if the curtains could be opened, but was told: No. The management had declared they must remain drawn; though goodness knows why.
If one wanted to be kind one could say all the criticisms I’ve made are teething problems which one would expect from a newly-opened hotel. But I’ll be interested to keep an eye on reviews from other guests to see how quickly things improve. And indeed, whether they do.
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