Like most people, we checked out a number of properties in Marrakech online before deciding to book Palais Namaskar for three nights at the end of our stay in Morocco. In reality, we spent an additional night at the beginning of our stay due to an earlier change of plans. Always in search of superlative hospitality experiences, we studied various reviews of the property on this site and elsewhere but, according to trip advisor rules, we are not allowed to quote, refer or even allude to these. However, the title of our review, written entirely in our own words, should provided you with a clue.
Six short words but a compelling promise because who would wish to arrive at 5pm to their hotel to check into the second most expensive category of room only to find that it's not ready?
Who would wish to wait two hours to gain access to the Pool Villa only to find that the luggage still hadn't made it or that that special bed ordered for our son hadn't been placed either and that there wasn't one within the entire property?
Who would wish to take a shower only to discover that the entire shower enclosure floods. One of the two lights is also blown - evidently not checked during the last servicing. An outside bath is a nice idea but not if it's the only tub - it should be an additional option. As it is, the stone is both too cold and too sharp to lie against. We report the flooding and the light at 1.30pm to the front desk but on returning to our Euro 1,000 per night villa nearly four hours later, nobody has been to fix either the flood or the light. The whole bathroom is still under water. Eventually maintenance comes but the workman's boots only make the bathroom floor more filthy and nobody from housekeeping thinks to come and clean the floors yet alone refresh the towels that we've used to stem the flow of water.
The next morning, we head to the pool for breakfast. We order French Toast with maple syrup. "What's that?" barks an arrogant waiter as if we're asking to put tomato ketchup on smoked salmon. It take 20 mins to find some syrup by which time the French Toast is long gone. Numerous errors with breakfast orders ensue on successive mornings. One poached egg ordered. Two arrive. Two French Toasts. One came. No offer to replenish the juices or coffees on three of the four mornings of our stay. Two cappuccinos brought instead of the two hot chocolates ordered. Our son orders rice krispies from the brand new menus and is served bran corn flakes instead and without consultation because there are no rice krispies. His replacement pancakes with a side order of strawberries fails to arrive at all. We order them again this time via room service and on arrival are told that the strawberries will be complimentary. The cheek of it! Honestly, it was a comedy or errors or Fawlty Towers without the humour.
One restaurant is barely adequate especially when it doubles as a lounge bar at night. The food at Le Namaskar was a passable attempt at fine dining although the strong smell of paint from the area where you are working to the side of the restaurant completely overpowers the flavours of crab and even the fillet. The pricing of the wine list that accompanies it is also outrageous. Come on, in any restaurant even of the highest stature, you need to offer good quality wines across a spectrum of prices. Your price for a glass of NV champagne at the bar (£25) is also mad.
Light bulbs seem to be a weak spot for the engineering department. Your property is filled with expensive Murano chandeliers. Why don't you take the care therefore to ensure that the bulbs within each light are functioning? Take a look early evening around the main pool and you'll see that several bulbs are dark within each of the many fittings.
It's not that they don't like to clean at this awful property. It's more that they like to clean at the wrong times. We are walking to breakfast from our Villa at approximately 8.30 am and they are cleaning the sandstone path that leads to the main restaurant. Mops, buckets and water turn the surface into a dangerous ice rink. Sure that stone needs to be kept pristine but why oh why do it at the main breakfast arrival time? Surely, this is a duty to be performed at first light well before guests make their way to the outlets? The same applies to housekeeping. You've only got 41 keys so why can't the restaurant team inform housekeeping that the party are at breakfast and at least for the Villas ensure that the room is serviced while they are away? Instead, we return to the suite only for it to be immediately invaded by the cleaning team: poor planning and something that surely the best hotel in the world would have cracked? Oh and now here's a team of gardeners clearing flower beds, which surely should have formed part of prepping our room in the first place the day before? Room servicing was poor. The minibar was not restocked and nor were fresh, clean glasses supplied to replace the used ones removed. We were brought an additional hair dryer despite having one already and not requesting it. I guess it was meant for another room. Did they ever get thetis? On another night, the housekeeping trolley was simply left outside the inner door to the Villa.
Another light problem. This one hanging out from the wall of the swimming pool and into the water. It's unlikely to be dangerous but perhaps too tempting for the little fingers of a curious eight year old. It's reported too and surprise surprise, the following morning, just as we throw aside the huge curtains in the main bedroom, a jolly maintenance man saunters by our window towards the pool taking a long hard look into our bedroom. This despite the red sash on the door AND the electronic DND sign being illuminated. We could have been naked and up to all sorts. Outrageous that he should enter unannounced. And it wasn't the only time that housekeeping just barged into the room without either ringing the bell or knocking at the doors. There seems to be no respect at all for the guests' privacy.
The rooms are dripping with B&O technology - TVs and phones. But this, rather like the place itself, is a triumph of hardware over software. We're British. Sorry about that but we're informed that quite a large proportion of your clientele is and we'd like to watch some TV in English. Sure there are very many channels on offer but most of them are German or French. Russian and various Middle Eastern tastes are catered for but if you're English, it's BBC News, Bloomberg and CNN. Just news and nothing else. So we turn to the DVD "library" that our GRO had spoken of. You have to go to reception to view that and it turns out to be a box containing merely 20 titles and the vast majority of those are for kids e.g. "Happy Feet". What on earth is the point in investing needlessly so much money into expensive hardware if you're not going to supply the content to go with it?
Well the sunset is free and doesn't have to be provided by the hotel so let's go up to the famous roof bar and enjoy a drink there. No, it's under maintenance but will be open either tomorrow or the day after. It never opened throughout our stay.
To add injury to insult, two weeks after our departure, I am now suffering from whiplash as a result of a head injury sustained at the careless hands of one of the hotel's drivers. Returning from our courtesy transfer to the Medina on the evening of 24 October, he drove at such speed over one of the large and prominent speed bumps on the approach road to the hotel that my head was sent at great force into the roof of the vehicle.
There are, however, some good things about this resort: the spa, the design, outside furniture and hammocks. The villa pool when it finally got up to a swimmable temperature.
However, the hospitality offered by this hotel is three star at best despite the evident fortune that has been spent of the material fabric of the place. The property is managed and marketed by the Oetker Collection but one senses that they are as yet inexperienced in the management contract business. Sure they own and operate the stellar Bristol in Paris but there is little evidence at Palais Namaskar of the ability to document these standards and transfer them to a new property in a very different operating environment.
In summary, this place is a triumph of style over substance. I'm sorry to report that the owner and operators have failed singularly to create even a credible five star resort yet alone the "best hotel in the world". Until you take a long hard look at the quality and consistency of the standards to which you are operating, you'd be best advised to cut down on the puffed up propaganda and focus on truly learning the business that by your own admission you have no experience of.
The Taj Palace next door may lack in glamour by comparison but you can be sure they know and deliver the basics of good hotel keeping.
What a disappointment and total waste of money, a point only exacerbated by the attempt at over-charging on departure. Half Board means dinner is included but thank you for trying to charge for it, anyway.
Was this property amazing? Sadly, for the wrong reasons. Try a weekend at La Sultana in Oualidia. The GM there and his team really know what they are doing. Perhaps you could learn a thing or two about the game you've got yourself into.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
As discussed on the phone we take your remarks extremely seriously and listen to all our guests very closely to make sure feedback is acted upon quickly.
We are committed improving our service delivery, in line with the standards set by the company.
Although we already discussed most points over the phone please allow me to clarify a couple of the issues raised:
Regarding your arrival, we both know that you arrived one day before your actual booking date at the hotel, the 23rd instead of the 24th of October, which is the reason why the pool villa was not ready when you checked in. We were pleased to grant you a special rate as a gesture.
And since our thoughtful staff noticed you were seemingly under the weather they prepared a herbal/medicinal tea during the check in process. You seemed to appreciate the gesture at that time from what my team has reported to me.
Concerning the flooding in the bathroom and the fused light bulb issues, the maintenance department fixed both of them as soon as we received the information, which means immediately.
As I stated, we take your comments seriously and I have discussed and addressed all points raised by yourself in no uncertain terms internally with all concerned and all corrective actions have been taken. I can only offer you our most sincere apologies which I hope you will accept in regards to the unfortunate experience you had. These are not the standards we pride ourselves to work with, quite the opposite, and I hope you will appreciate that the vast majority of our guests have written positive reviews/testimonies about Palais Namaskar online.
Please note that we have won 11 quality of service awards, including from travelers agencies, and your expectations regarding Palais Namaskar were rightly really high. Just occasionally, sadly, things can go wrong whether you are staying in the plushest Palace or the smallest boutique hotel around the world. These things do happen but we always strive to correct it immediately.
Once again I am terribly sorry and can only offer you our most sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused and I believe this was an unfortunate set of events and an isolated one.
I sincerely hope that you will give us a future opportunity to redeem ourselves and that you will enjoy our hospitality to its best.
I look forward to welcoming you and your family back in our Oetker Collection.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.