I stayed with my other half in a prestige suite at le Pavillon Du Golf for 7 nights in July, thinking that the position of the hotel (out of the centre of Marrakech, a 15 minute taxi-ride away from the main restaurants and sights) would be a small sacrifice given the quality of the accommodation, and an ideal base from which to explore Marrakech.
Indeed the room (suite I should say) was beautiful and HUGE, probably even better than the website pictures, with its own almost full size “bar”, gorgeous furnishings, and a long narrow balcony with comfy furniture and a lovely view out over the golfing lake (very entertaining watching frustrated golfers missing the green and ending up in the water). However, I eventually left the hotel with a feeling that I might have missed out on an experience of Marrakech that only being closer to the centre could have given me.
Although both the room and the hotel as a whole were lovely, it just had a bit of a soulless feel. We normally prefer boutique-style hotels which is what I thought the Pavillon du Golf was (a smaller, quirkier, more exclusive part of a larger hotel “village” should we decide to use it), but what it actually delivered was a bit of a polished European translation of Moroccan style, lacking any of the service and ambience normally associated with boutique hotels.
It’s difficult to explain, but while I couldn’t fault the staff or the architecture, it did have a very "stale" atmosphere. Maybe it was because the resort is in quite a manicured new area of Marrakech that doesn’t really seem to have “taken-off”, but at times it instead of feeling quiet and secluded, it just felt.... empty. In retrospect I think that this is more of a business complex and July is their low season, hence the “abandoned” feel. If we were to return when all the facilities and restaurants of the Golf Palace next door were open, maybe we would feel differently.
As regards staff and service at the hotel, everything was perfectly OK, although they did seem to go through the motions a little and the service lacked the more personnel, caring touch that an ordinary 5 star hotel would offer.
During our stay there were very few other people in the hotel, which was nice during the day by the pool and by the rooftop Jacuzzi , but again it did lead to a bit of a stagnant atmosphere – maybe because there isn’t much in the way of “views” either. It did mean we didn’t feel too guilty about turning on the built-in radio on the Jacuzzi for a short time though.
We played a round of golf one day and hired clubs and a buggy to get around, which was quite expensive and we were the only people on the course. A groundskeeper approached us and sold us a batch of lake-balls, which did come in handy as quite a few were hit into the drink during our attempts to reach the 18th! Similarly, when we ventured to the Golf Palace resort next door to try and find some life in the bar / nightclub a couple of evenings, there was disappointingly nobody there. Which was a shame, as it looked an extremely well designed and expensive looking set-up that could have been an excellent club with a few more patrons.
The restaurant at Pavillon is located by the side of the pool, and was the only place to eat (and to drink) and there was nowhere else within walking distance outside of the hotel complex (sorry “village”). The food there (French) was very good, if a little on the expensive side (lunch better value than dinner) although the wine and other drinks were a reasonable price compared to the rest of Marrakech, and considering you were a somewhat captured audience (despite appearing like a third world country, Marrakech is an expensive place to drink and eat out in).
Unfortunately the menus were all in French (which I’m rusty at at best), and the hostess didn't speak English so we did have a little trouble with ordering our meals, though we usually got there in the end! And while I can't fault the poor waitress for my own ignorance at knowing no other language than my own, surely an internationally branded hotel can sort out an English translation on their menu?
Due to the fact that there was literally nothing within walking distance of the hotel, we were unfortunately at the mercy of the taxi-drivers to get us anywhere interesting. These were situated just outside the Golf Palace next door to the Pavillion (though not affiliated with the hotel) and would quite tiresomely and repeatedly short-change, over-charge on an agreed fare, and just generally be quite rude, foul-mouthed and untrustworthy. Unfortunately we found this true of a lot of the Marrakechi people we met (outside of the hotel) and this coupled with the poor state/lack-of any real “sites” to see, did leave us with a bit of a sour impression of Marrakech as a whole sadly. (Please see my separate review of Marrakech for more info).
The consequence of this feeling of isolation at the hotel coupled with the taxi situation, did leave us feeling like we were unable to move about as freely as we would normally have liked to had we been able to either walk into town, walk around the area of the hotel or be able to catch public transport somewhere. And this probably did influence our overall luke-warm feeling towards the Pavillon du golf, although I do believe they now offer a complimentary shuttle to the centre during the day (either this has just started up or we just weren’t informed of this service). At the time of booking, we also weren’t made aware that most of the hotel “village” closes down and is practically abandoned during summer.
Of course if all you're going to do is sit in the baking sunshine by the pool staring at very little all day, eating from the same restaurant and enjoying your lovely big room, then this place might be for you. But if you prefer to be a bit more absorbed in the culture / atmosphere and / or enjoy getting about then this is not the place for you. Who knows, maybe if we'd have been situated closer to the centre of Marrakech, our views of the place would not have been so tainted by the many people ripping us off when we got there!
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- Also Known As:
- Le Pavillon Du Golf Hotel Marrakech
- Le Pavillon Du Hotel