Stayed at Les Borjs for a long weekend in August 2008 with my best friend and my 18 year old daughter. What a fab hotel and fab city!!
We arrived in Marrakech quite early, and when we got to the hotel the room wasn't yet ready. We were given a cool drink and seated in a shady outdoor lounge area with some big comfy cushions to wait. They said it wouldn't be long - but in fact it did take quite a while. When we did get into our rooms they were lovely. Deep colours, lovely tiled shower room and nice and cool.
As in all of Marrakech, alcohol is difficult to find except in the hotels, as it is obviously a Muslim country. The hotel did some nice cocktails, limited choice of wine, all quite pricey. We only had breakfast in the hotel, which was a bit ropey - and worst of all - swarming with wasps! For someone who is allergic to these pests, not ideal.
The actual hotel is delightful. All built inside a high wall, like an oasis of calm in the midst of this mad city! The weather was hot and sunny, so it was lovely to sit in the courtyard gardens, or relax on a lounger by the pool. Everywhere clean and all the staff very nice and helpful.
Marrakech itself total madness 24/7. We tried to walk to the main square the first day - big mistake! It's such a maze of streets outside the hotel we got completely lost in five minutes even with the map! After that we jumped in a scarey taxi each time. All about 100 years old, probably no mot's or even driving licences! Still, cheap and fun - so who cares?!!
The square is great fun, especially at night time when the food sellers come out. Where else can you see people queueing up to eat sheeps brains? Not in Oxford I can tell you. The whole place is filled with hundeds of people, locals and tourists alike, and apparently like that every day of every year. Beware getting caught taking photo's during the day, the snake charmers and 'dentists' - don't even go there - try to get you to pay for the priviledge. The souk all around the square is extensive and you can get some great bargains. We bought leather bags and slippers, glass lanterns, the usual fake watches etc - all cheap as chips.
The Moroccans seem to be quite friendly - obviously haggling is the done thing - but if you do decide not to buy some of them can turn nasty. We didn't feel threatened at all, even as three women on their own, although my blonde daughter did get a lot of attention from the men, some even asking for her photo with their children! Mostly it was harmless banter and did not feel pervy or threatening.
One day we took a taxi to Nicci Beach Resort, which is out of town, about 45 minutes in a cab. This is a fabulous place - very boutique, hip and trendy, an oasis in the desert almost. We got there at 12 noon opening time, having called ahead in advance to ensure entrance. It was very quiet then, with chilled out background music playing. There is a huge pool area with swim up bars and beach areas, all surrounded with big wooden sun loungers with thick white mattresses, or four poster beds with white canopies over - heaven! Mind you - you have to pay a minimum spend to sit in some areas, so you can only sit where theyput you if you don't want to shell out a fortune.
As the day wore on, the place filled up with all the beautiful people. The background music was replaced by a DJ playing the funkiest tunes, and everyone was dancing - some out of the water, some in. The drinks and food were very expensive - but it was all about the experience, and that was great. They shut up around 6pm for an hour or two, then re-open as an outdoor club in the evening. We left around 5pm, and the road outside was filled with lots of very large shiney black sports cars and 4WDs.
If you get a chance to go to Marrakech you should definitely go, it is a true culture shock. The only downside was the food - everything was grim. People rave about the cous cous and tagine stews. Well - maybe if you are truly starving. A big pile of tastless cous cous with a load of soggy vedg on top is not my idea of fun. Consider Marrakech if you're on a diet.
All in all a great weekend and Les Borjs a great place to stay. We noticed on our drive out to Nicci Beach a lot of the big hotels are way out of town, so you would be in a scarey yellow taxi for most of your stay if you wanted to come to the square and the souks. Les Borjs in right in the old city amongst the dusty narrow streets and the real people.