This was my fourth trip to Marrakech and our third together. We fly in from New York so like to spend a few nights in the Palmeraie to rest and relax before tackling the city. Because my daughter was joining us we wanted to try a hotel in the Palmeraie with large rooms, but form the website photos I was a bit apprehensive about what seemed to be the cold, stark formality of the design. With only the smallest exceptions, the hotel vastly exceeded our expectations.
First, the grounds are vast and much more beautiful and varied than the website photos. There are paths throughout with seemingly every twist and turn revealing an array of exotic trees, flowers and other plantings. You can easily lose yourself in a half hour walk or longer. The landscape architect clearly had an objective of surprise along the paths; of anything, the "water features" were overcome by the beauty of the plantings.
The review preceding this one complained of the service. We are mystified. Our experience was the opposite -- a gracious and always available staff helped at every turn. I wanted a SIM card for my iPhone and they sent someone quickly to find one in town; I brought the wrong charger for my camera and they rapidly dispatched someone to find just the right one. Room service was prompt; and we wanted to enjoy a fire in the fireplace and each day they sent someone with olive wood for a fragrant fire.
The roof top bar, a feature at a number of hotels in the area, was comfortable, beautiful and the bartender was always responsive.
The dining room is much prettier than the photos, and the seating is extremely comfortable. As someone easily bothered by the discordant music in American hotel lobbies and restaurants, I found the mix prepared for the hotel by their resident "DJs" to be a very pleasant version of Moroccan and house music. We liked it enough to request CDs to take home with us and presto - they had one for us.
We can't comment on the regular rooms or pool suites since we were fortunate to be upgraded to a pool villa, which was very large and extremely comfortable. It did however lead to our singular grievance -- which is purely a matter of personal taste -- its is very contemporary and not at all to our liking, but others may love the look. Many of the newer luxury hotels stay with a more Moroccan look, and though we would have welcome a contemporary version, the Namaksar furnishings were, to us, a bit too stark and on the "Danish modern" side of the design spectrum. Because we were moving on to Maison Arabe, which is a riad of impeccable and elegant Moroccan design, this didn't bother us, but for the one time visitor seeking a local look, Namaskar isn't that type of look.
Some have complained about the pricing -- who wouldn't -- but every hotel on this level prices in a similar manner, and a longer stay might have led to wallet fatigue. And that also underscores the problem of staying in the Palmeraie -- you are a captive of the food at any of those hotels. And that leads to one thing Namaskar could do to make us want to return and spend more time there -- provide a cost-free shuttle into the city. Otherwise, the $120 round trip in the hotel car makes dinner in the city a bothersome extravagance.
Apart from our quibbles, this is a superb property -- restful, tranquil, in beautiful surroundings with flawless and unfailingly courteous and helpful staff.
One other consideration -- we didn't use the large pool servicing the hotel guests because we have a private one, and the private ones are not heated. This is not rare in Palmeraie hotels, but it means that if you're there after a cloudy day or two, be ready for a brisk swim.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- More than a hotel, Palais Namaskar, nestled in the heart of a magnificent park of more than 5 hectares, is a real destination. Between the Atlas Mountains and the mysterious Djebilet hills, the hotel offers its guests a space and unlimited freedom for unforgettable experiences. ... more less
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