Our latest visit to Caravanserai proved to be so very disappointing. When we finished our trek from Ighil Mgoun through Tassaout Valley last summer and needed somewhere to rest for a few days, we agreed that we wanted to return to this unique hotel, remembering fondly its peaceful, isolated location and its sheer beauty from our previous visit. After an enthusiastic welcome, however, we were sadly left to the mercy of its indifferent staff.
Although our room was beautiful, the bathroom was soon seen to be staggeringly filthy. I will save the management's blushes by omitting some of the details of things we found there. However, so appalled were we that we truthfully considered leaving on the spot. Instead we decided to give the benefit of the doubt and duly reported the problem to the management. Around two hours later, after a further reminder, our bathroom was eventually cleaned.
The service throughout our stay at the hotel was incredibly slow even though for the most part we were its only guests. Our simplest request seemed to take an eternity to be delivered.
I should perhaps make it clear that we are well used to visiting Morocco - I have visited around 25 times - and we love the country. We have stayed in some of its most wonderful hotels and equally have stayed in some of its simplest and most basic. We have a good understanding of its cultural differences including the pace at which life sometimes revolves. It would be no exaggeration to say, however, that for most of our stay at Caravanserai we truly felt that we were nothing more than an inconvenience to the staff.
We were quite staggered, for example, that so little thought could have been put in to the preparation of our meals. Even on the third evening, we found that we were offered the same limited choices as we had been on the first. It is a sad irony that we had encountered a much higher standard of cooking on a simple gas stove and even a greater variety of food during our trek in remote parts of the Atlas Mountains in the previous days.
Anxious to give every chance for things to be put right, as early as on the second morning I had taken a quiet moment to politely explain to the management our growing sense of disappointment. The response that I gained gave me hope that things would improve. Shortcomings were openly acknowledged, I received an apology and was promised that there would be changes. However, things continued much unaltered throughout and by the end of our stay we felt that we had been treated with scant respect, perhaps regarded as a captive audience unable to affect the outcome.
Our feelings were reinforced when we were presented with our bill at the point of our departure. Although my wife, who had been feeling unwell, had eaten only selected dishes for her evening meals - and often very simple food at that, such as a bowl of soup or a piece of fruit - she was charged almost the full, rather expensive, regular menu price. Only a very small reduction was eventually negotiated, and even that only after protracted and painful negotiations.
I began by writing that our latest visit to Caravanserai proved so very disappointing and this was the case. Our greatest disappointment of all was that the fine traditions of Moroccan hospitality, so much at the heart of Arab and Berber culture, could have been so neglected that even the setting of such a stunningly beautiful hotel failed to compensate.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Evoking the ancient stopping places of the travelling merchants, the CaravanSerai is symbolic of the other face of Morocco. The interior courtyards and secret corners are inspired by the traditional Berber villages. In luxurious simplicity the 16 bedrooms and suites are decorated in a refined ethnic style. The Hammam, with its tadelakt plaster columns and its great pool subtly lit by shafts of light, is considered to be one of the finest in Marrakech. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Caravanserai Hotel Marrakech
- Caravanserai Marrakech