We arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon after a good flight with BA. The Es Saadi Gardens & Resort Hotel is only about 15 minutes from the airport so we were soon in our room (number 107 on the first floor.)
The room was clean and spacious. There was a small fridge/mini-bar, a safe and a furnished balcony overlooking the pool. There was complimentary fruit, flowers and bottled water in the room which was a nice touch. The bathroom had a bath with shower over and a wash hand basin. Toiletries and bathrobes are provided. There was plenty of shelf space. A sliding glass door led to a toilet and bidet. The air-conditioning was working fine and maintained the room at a pleasant 20 degrees. The daytime temperature outside was in the high 30s but this was unseasonably high and normally it would be in the mid to high 20s.
We were staying on half-board. Dinner service in the Restaurant Gastronomique does not start until 19:30 but the food was very good, particularly the fish which was an option on the table d'hôte menu every night. For those with a big appetite please note that the portions are good but not huge! There was also the facility to eat in the Palace hotel if you so desired, where there are two more restaurants. We slept well on the nights we were there and there was no external noise to disturb us, nor was there noise from other guests – it's just not that sort of hotel I am pleased to say! I noticed that some previous guests made reference to the noise from the cars and taxis leaving the Casino in the early hours. We did not experience this even though our pool-view room faced the direction of the Casino. Maybe they heard the noise because they were there earlier in the season and had their balcony doors open before the air-conditioning was put on. Other previous reports have mentioned a bad drains smell but we didn't experience this.
Breakfast was superb and was taken outside in very pleasant sylvan surroundings. We are not usually great fans of buffet breakfasts but this was, without question, really exceptional. Just about anything you could want, hot and cold. The bread deserves a mention - it was lovely and fresh-baked every day and exactly what you would expect at a French-owned hotel.
The swimming pool (heated I think) was good although not quite as clean as I would have liked. The grouting around the tiles just under the surface was growing a black mould which needs cleaning off! Having said that, we saw that every morning around 07:00 the cleaners ran the pool vacuum cleaner over the bottom and top of the pool. We did not see if or when the pool water was tested or chlorinated but the water did not have a chlorine smell. There were plenty of sunbeds and an adequate number of sun shades. Big towels were provided. The pool is a standard depth all over (1.4 metres) and has access steps. There is also a central fountain that sprays into the pool. All in all very nice.
The hotel is situated in large enclosed gardens and these are shared by the other more 'up market' hotel in the grounds called 'The Palace'. Indeed the nicest parts of the garden are around the Palace hotel. The only problem is that there are no comfortable seats provided where one could sit in the shade to enjoy them. The Es Saadi Gardens hotel is really the poor relation with its own smaller pool. Although we could use the 'facilities' of the Palace hotel we were not allowed to use their pool. I can understand this but it is irritating because their pool was three times the size of ours, far nicer (and cleaner) than ours and hardly seemed to be used the week we were there.
There are a few small shops in the hotel grounds for postcards, papers, books, and a few local crafts etc. There is also an ATM in the hotel lobby and a small bureau-de-change. I should mention that the exchange rates in Morocco are government controlled and are the same everywhere. There is no point in queuing to change money at the airport on arrival if you don't need it to pay for a taxi etc. If you are with a party then you will only be delaying everyone's departure from the airport and you won't be popular! There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, even at the pool side which is a big bonus.
So far so good. So what did we not enjoy so much? Well generally the staff were great. Spoiled only by one or two who seemed a little 'surly' but you can get them anywhere. However it would seem that to overcome this you need to tip! Once you start doing this you will see the service improve no end!
Secondly you should note that this is essentially a French hotel. I would say that 85% of the guests were French, 10% Moroccan and a 5% mixture including English. Understandably French is the language of choice in the hotel and if you speak French you do get better service. We were fortunate in that respect as we do.
That brings me to drinks. The bottom line is that they are very expensive in the hotel. For instance a very small bottle of beer, 25cl costs 55 Dihrams or approx £4.40. That is £17.60 a litre or around £8.00 a pint. Beer in the small shop, outside the hotel and about ten minutes walk away costs 16 Dihrams or approx £1.25 for 50cl which is £2.50 a litre or £1.10 a pint. That is some mark up even for a hotel and in my opinion totally unjustified.
We did attend the Morocco night during our stay in lieu of our dinner in the restaurant – what a mistake! We did not enjoy it. The entertainment was far too loud. The tables were very low making it difficult to eat without suffering from indigestion! The candlelight, whilst very atmospheric, made it too dark to see what you were eating and there was far, far too much food. A terrible waste. The food was also very bland. We expected Moroccan food to be a bit spicy but this meal was not. So I would not recommend the Moroccan evening in the hotel.
So would we stay here again? Well we would probably save up a little longer and book into the Palace hotel for that extra bit of luxury.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An historical institution which opened its door in 1966. Fully renovated in 2005, this 5 star hotel mixes a unique nostalgic style with the latest hi-tech amenities. Top-level services are overseen by a “golden keys” Chief Concierge. Full access to all resort activities: Bars and Restaurants, Spas, Morrocan Diner-Show, Casino de Marrakech, Night Clubbing.Located in the heart of Marrakech, in the “Hivernage” residential area, and surrounded by 20 acres of beautiful gardens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Es Saadi Marrakech
- Hotel Es Saadi