The Diwani is a 4 star hotel situated outside the medina walls in the new town. It is about a 30 minute walk or a 5 min taxi ride to the Djeema el Fna (market) It is quite hard walking in July heat and I would recommend getting a taxi (of which there are 2 types – Petit taxis & Grande taxis) The petit taxi’s are metered but the grande taxis are not. We were advised by Diwane hotel reception staff that a petit taxi should cost no more than 25 dirham (£2.20) It actually cost about 8 dirham (£0.60p). However, unfortunately one day we got in a grande taxi by mistake and didn’t notice until we had set off. The driver charged 50 dirham (£4.60). I complained it was too expensive and he pointed to a tariff on his window showing a minimum price of 50 dirham. Needless to say he didn’t get a tip but it is customary to tip taxi’s 10-20%.
The Diwane Hotel itself is quite nice, it has an impressive atrium reception area and the staff are very helpful and mostly speak good English. The restaurant however, I would avoid like the plague. Our first night we arrived at the hotel at 7pm and decided to eat in the hotel restaurant for ease. Alarm bells should have rung when we entered as there were only a few people eating there. It is a buffet and there were no prices displayed anywhere. The food was a bit grim to be honest, it was mostly cold food and not of good quality. We asked for the bill and it was 660 dirham (£58) for 3 of us. We really hadn’t had much food as it wasn’t good and I was very unhappy about paying this amount. We didn’t eat there again and also overheard others saying the same thing.
Breakfast was included in our booking but again it is the same sort of fare really. Lots of very dry pastries lacking in sugar they look appealing but don’t taste that good. There is natural yoghurt and orange segments which is probably the tastiest thing. There is one cereal of chocolate crispy things but my children said they weren’t good. There is also cheese & what looks like processed pork luncheon meat. The will cook you an omelette at the buffet table. However, this is done on what can only be described as pan warmers (the size of a small camping stove) and it takes ages because there is very little heat. The queue of people waiting extends across where the coffee & water are dispensed so it cause a real people traffic problem. You can choose what goes in the omelette, 1 egg or 2, onions, cheese, peppers etc but the omelette chef cooks 2 at a time and completely confuses what he is putting in which omelette. I didn’t get what I had asked for and it just took far too long and again wasn’t that nice really & completely lacking in seasoning. They will also cook traditional Moroccan pancake type thing. I had one the first day to try it but didn’t like it. A bit like eating a fried chapatti for breakfast. There is fresh orange juice, tea & coffee & cold water and also toast & jam. The hotel has a spa and fitness room. Both of these were good. We had a 30 min back massage for 150 dirham (£12) which was very nice. Not aggressive enough for me and my son to remove knots but perfectly pleasant & relaxing. The fitness room is good with plenty of machines, rowing , benches, running etc. This is free.
The outlook from the hotel rooms overlooks a building site in operation. The noise from it is not really noticeable as the adjacent main road is pretty noisy anyway. The pool is good and surrounding area very pleasant. They don’t appear to have enough padded covers for the sun loungers and these get moved around as people vacate them. Clean towels are provided regularly by a pool attendant. The pool has to be vacated by 7pm and you can’t go in before 10am.
Dining out is a mixed bag. Unfortunately we took the advice of an article in the Easyjet In Flight magazine promoting an authentic Moroccan café. We tried it and that night both myself and my son were violently ill. Me with diarrhoea & my son with vomiting & diarrhea. We had to call an emergency doctor to the hotel at 4am as we were on the verge of collapse due to losing all our body fluids. We were taken to a nearby hospital and remained there for 2 days on a glucose/antibiotics drip. £4000 later we managed to get out and felt much better. The café to avoid is L’Escale. The food tasted good at the time but obviously hygiene standards were somewhat lacking. I would advise taking Dioralyte sachets & plenty of Imodium tablets in case of sickness & diarrhoea which I think is quite common here. These are both available in the nearby chemist and reasonably priced.
We ate in the square one evening under the tarpaulin covered eateries. The food was good and reasonably priced. Fresh orange juice in the square is a must. It costs 4 dirham (£0.30p) and is delicious. There are many stalls selling this all competing for your patronage.
Generally I found Marrakesh fairly shabby & dirty and run down. Litter everywhere, building rubble on the pavement areas, pavements broken and dangerous to walk on. Many areas where the horses are such as the square stink of stale urine which is really unpleasant, particularly in hot July sun with temperatures of 40 degrees. You also have to avoid walking in it when around the horse and carriages. You have to keep your wits about you on the roads as the driving standards are ludicrous. There doesn't appear to be any road rules here and cars just weave about with scooters and bikes and seem to go when and wherever they want. Driving is very aggressive and a taxi ride is certainly an experience.
There is not enough to see in Marrakesh apart from the Djeema el Fna and the souks (which are fascinating & amazing) to make me want to return and the hospitalization has soured my experience somewhat anyway. Maybe Casablanca next time, who knows>?
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.