Back in January 2014 my partner and I decided to celebrate a 50th birthday in Marrakech. After looking at, what seemed to be every hotel in Morocco we decided on Palais Namaskar which looked perfect. Stylish, modern but with Moroccan influences, quiet and secluded. Plus the reviews here on Trip Advisor were on the whole good. We managed to get a good deal through an internet agent so booked and paid for the eight days. Done and dusted!!
Six months later, (a day before we were due to leave the UK) I received an email from the hotel telling us that they could not honour the last three days of our stay and that we would be required to leave on the 13th (the day of my partners 50th birthday!). They offered to move us to the Taj Palace at no extra cost and we would be upgraded to a deluxe suite. All very nice but we had looked at the Taj and had rejected it because it looked more Indian than Moroccan. Also after checking the prices on line the ‘upgrade’ to a suite would have cost us less than the room at Palais Namaskar. More importantly we did not want to move on the 50th birthday, we did not want to move at all.
I called the hotel and spoke to the ‘reservations agent’ who told me that the royal family were taking over the whole hotel and there was nothing that could be done. He agreed to check what other options he could offer and I said I would think too.
I emailed back saying that I would accept the Taj only if we could leave on the 12th and not on the birthday plus we wanted an upgrade to a Pool Suite for the first part of our holiday. He replied that they would but only after staying two nights in our original room. This would mean packing and unpacking yet again. I counter replied with a suggestion that they offered us dinner with wine on the first two nights. To which he replied he would offer dinner on one night and no wine. By this time I was very fed up and insulted. Another email from me stating that “so far they had not managed to grant any of my wishes fully. We were the ones being grossly inconvenienced and that a Manager should have emailed us or called us in the first place with a sensible, generous compensation for our let down, and shame on Palais Namaskar”. Shortly after I received a message offering to upgrade us to a Pool Villa after the first two nights in a room plus one ‘romantic’ dinner. They would also offer ‘free’ airport transfer and we would suffer no inconvenience during our stay from packing and unpacking. Bored and tired but still looking forward to our holiday we accepted.
When we arrived at Marrakech airport we were picked up and taken to the hotel. It is stunningly beautiful, serene and tranquil. We felt very comfortable. No mention was made by any of the staff, which I thought was professional.
The room we were shown to was large, beautifully designed to our taste and we had a good first day by the pool. We booked dinner that night which was a very pleasant meal from their French menu. The next morning I asked at the reception about our move and was told that we could go to the Villa today at 4pm. This seemed to be good news so asked if they were going to arrange for our luggage to be packed again and brought across. I got a puzzled look and was told that if we wanted that could be arranged almost as if no one asks for this to be done!
I went back to the pool and enjoyed the sun. Needless to say we decided to do our own packing and at 4pm I went over to reception as was told to wait as the Villa was not ready but should be by 5pm. We returned again at 5:30 and were escorted to the Villa by one of the reception agents who retorted how lucky we were to get this upgrade. A bit rude, I thought!
The villa was beautiful, with a pool large enough to swim properly in (usually these are just plunge pools), a huge sitting room, bedroom, dressing room but smaller bathroom than the room we had moved from. Having said that we enjoyed the Villa enormously and were grateful for the upgrade.
That night we ate again in the hotel and had Thai food which we enjoyed.
The following day we decided to eat out and asked reception to book us a table at our chosen restaurant at 9pm plus a table at la Mamounia for drinks beforehand. After drinks at the Moroccan bar we had to take a taxi to the restaurant only to find it was closed on a Monday. We took a taxi back to the hotel and ate again there but plumbed for the Moroccan food, which was very nice indeed but so expensive for what we got.
The next day we were told that the agent on reception could not get through to the restaurant (probably because it was closed) but no one bothered to let us know.
We enjoyed our last couple of days at Palais Namaskar very much, breakfast was lovely, the service was good, I especially loved to see the brigade of cleaners and gardeners that came into the Villa daily to ensure everything was perfect and they did an exceptional job.
On our last day I was a little concerned as following an email I sent to the Taj asking for advice on what to do on the birthday they didn’t confirm our arrival. Twice, when I mentioned our move to the reception at Palais Namaskar we were told we were checking out on the 13th not the 12th as we had arranged. I was now worried, I did not want to leave this hotel to find that we were not booked in the Taj so asked them to confirm, more confusion.
Finally I asked to speak to a Manager and this seemed to be the first time I had communication with one. I spoke to Etienne who knew nothing of our plight and it now clicked that no-one in reception knew either. The reservation agent had dealt with it all himself and had not bothered to tell anyone….again. This hotel seemed to have a serious communications problem.
I know this is a bit of a rant but after attempting to book what was to be an unforgettable holiday for my partner’s 50th birthday it turned out to be unforgettable for some of the wrong reasons. Having said that I cannot stress how beautiful the hotel is and thought the upgrade was the right thing to do but it should have been done right at the beginning and we should not have been made to fight for it. The ‘romantic’ dinner we were offered we did not get but Etienne kindly deducted the cost of one of our meals from the final bill.
Were we inconvenienced and put out? Yes enormously!!
Did we enjoy our stay? Yes enormously!!
- 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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