As I work in the travel industry my brother set me the task of finding him somewhere special in Marrakech for his honeymoon at the beginning of September 2012 for 7 nights. I did my research and found the Riad Lotus Privilege and decided to upgrade them to a Suite as a surprise as these looked beautiful. Since their return I have learned the valuable lesson of “looks are not everything” as my brother reported that there is nothing special about staying here. Based on my brother’s experience here are the reasons why we would not recommend this riad:
1) THEY HAVE A OVER-BOOKING PROBLEM
As a surprise I had upgraded my brother room to a suite, which was very expensive but I wanted to make his honeymoon special, this was done 3 months in advance. When he arrived he was shown to his room by the manager, who he then asked “is this a suite?”. The manager told him that “all their rooms are suite’s, so yes this is”. This is a blatant lie to start with because having done my homework I know that they have 2 standard rooms and 3 suite’s each individually named and the suites are named suite’s eg suite verte or suite marron and the standard rooms are not eg crème or rouge. He was in crème and so therefore emailed me to query this. He then went downstairs to show them his booking details which says ‘suite’ and was then told that by another staff member that he had only booked a standard room regardless of what his confirmation invoice said. Mean while back home I am franticly trying to sort this out for my brother having paid a small fortune for something that we had not received.
A day it turned out that the riad acknowledged that we had paid for a suite but still had put him and his new wife in a standard room. They explained that they had over booked and that all 3 suites were taken by one family. In this day and age this disgusts me but it seems that it is a common occurrence within the Lotus group of riads as I was reading a review for Riad Lotus Pearl of a man who booked Riad Pearl and was dumped in the Riad Lotus Ambre their cheaper riad. At the time I thought this was a one off.
What I think happened was after I had booked 3 months beforehand they had a potential booking for a family that needed all 3 suites and instead of turning down this big booking they turfed my brother out of the suite instead to accommodate them. This theory can be backed up by another review I read about the Privilege where a man was thrown out of his suite on the last night to accommodate for some other guests with no apology. This disgusting service in obviously common practice but again as I had paid did not think this would happen to us.
The funniest thing was I had even emailed the riad days before my brother arrived informing them that they were on their honeymoon. They did not reply which was fare enough but in that email I stated that they had already booked a ‘suite’.
2) THE STANDARD ROOMS ARE JUST THAT, BUT AT AN EXPENSIVE PRICE!
Having booked this on behalf of my brother and sister-in-law I am aware of how much the standard rooms cost and these are definitely still not cheap compared to other riads. He was dumped unwilling in the ‘crème’ room which on their website they describe as a ‘deluxe room’, but it is far from this.
The air conditioning never worked and it took 3 days until they finally fixed it but my brother had to complain about it on several occasions before they did so. The funny thing is my friend stayed at this riad also in 2009 in a standard room and one of her complaints was about the lack of air con. This is obviously ongoing problem, but before booking did not think this would be a problem as we were having a suite anyway (or so I thought).
The shower in this room is only a hose which is not connected to the wall and so you need to hold the hose up yourself to take a shower. Why? When they charge so much for the room. I myself have been to Marrakech in a very cheap riad and had a shower that was attached to the wall, so it’s not a big ask.
The water is also very intermittent in this room and at some points in the day nothing would come out of the taps. I accept that this is a developing country and so this may be a general problem, however you cannot then charge the high price they do for their rooms when they cannot guarantee the basics like running hot water.
The dvd player did not work so my brother had to also badger them to fix this.
When I went to Marrakech I realised how important location was and so sort to find a Riad that would be easy to get to at night especially. This one is ok in that it is within walking distance to the famous square and near a main road on the outskirts of the medina. However if you were venturing out eg to the north part of the medina or the new town and wanted to get a taxi back to the road near the riad, NO taxi’s were able to find it. This was even with a business card from the riad and therefore you ended up paying extra.
4) HIT AND MISS SERVICE
My brother reported that the service is just OK, however he did feel that if you had a suite they paid a lot more attention to you, which is preferential treatment and not good customer service. He felt that he was constantly asking them to fix things, and when he asked them for example for a drink from the bar, they often forgot, so you need extreme patience.
The Lotus group have a few riads and the manager goes between them all, so my brother thought the service is was less personal than he had imagined. This is because I had told him about my experience which was of a personal service where the owners are always on site to help and talk to you and so you feel like you are sharing THEIR HOME.
Don’t get me wrong there are some positive’s about this riad such as the beautiful communal areas, the food in the restaurant and the décor of the 3 suite’s. But it seems they are lacking in so many areas that does not warrant the expensive price that they are charging. I must admit that if you read the other reviews generally they are all excellent and I have since noticed that all the bad ones are based on the standard rooms. But can you really risk it when you MAY book a suite and still only get a standard room. And yes they did refund us the price of the suite and tried to compensate with a free massage and dinner… but we paid all that money to upgrade for a reason and what with having to harass them all the time to get anything done, my brother felt like his honeymoon was hard work rather than special.
In conclusion I would say why risk staying here when there are hundreds of riads in the medina where the experience will be more personal, more special, cheaper, and they will honour what you pay for. You will have high expectations which are not guaranteed to be met so no, don’t risk it.
As I work in travel I will personally spend the rest of my career steering people away from this place. Thanks for nothing Riad Privilege you have taught me some valuable lessons.
Choose a room in another riad as they will probably over book anyway and not have what you have paid...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.