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“A travesty of a "5 Star hotel" with rude management and inaccurate promotion” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Villa Al Assala Palmeraie

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Villa Al Assala Palmeraie
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Route de Fes, KM 4, Tamsna, Marrakech 44000, Morocco   |  
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Ranked #195 of 465 Hotels in Marrakech
Teddington, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“A travesty of a "5 Star hotel" with rude management and inaccurate promotion”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

This review is based primarily on the fact that the hotel claims to have a 5 Star rating. It is located behind a wall with a manned but mostly locked gate. It is some distance from the main road and connections with downtown Marrakesh. Realistically the only transport option is to order a taxi which the hotel controls with a single taxi proprietor – fare non-negotiable.

Despite the claim of a “24 Hour” reception it was only intermittently manned during the day and not at all at night. There was no means of calling for help when the desk was unmanned. The attitude of the female French nationality staff member who was from time to time present was stand-offish and her English was poor.

The bedroom was elegant but rather monastic and cell-like – it was very dark with only bedside and table lamps. The only mirrors were in the bathroom and these were not full length – something a lady doesn’t like. In the bathroom, and judging again by normal 5 Star standards, it is worth noting that there was just one (refilled) liquid all-purpose soap and no other soap, shampoos and bathroom items. There were neither hooks nor shelves for cosmetics etc. There was no dressing gown or slippers – again items that are commonly provided in genuine 5 Star hotels.

The room contained no printed information in a folder of the type that is commonly provided in all hotels – including information about how to use the satellite television which you had to work out for yourself. Only one (Bloomberg) of the dozens of TV channels was English language despite BBC, Sky etc. being available in Morocco. There were no tea/coffee making facilities and there was no drinks fridge. Drinking water was not provided in the room. DVDs were available but they were all French language.

The bedroom had stone floors – cool in the summer, no doubt, but chilly in November. There was limited heating in the bedroom from the a/c unit but it was difficult to keep the room at an acceptable temperature. The bathroom was unheated – it had a radiator but this was not turned on. The public rooms were unheated and very cold – except when a log fire was lit in one or other of them and this only in the evenings.

Despite the claim of “Complimentary wireless Internet access” in fact the Reception area is the only part of the hotel that had anything like satisfactory WiFi and that was unreliable and very slow. Elsewhere there was either no signal (e.g. in our bedroom) or a weak one which could not be used. There were no instructions on how to use the WiFi link.

The Hotel was described as having a “… bar/lounge, a café, restaurant…” but in fact there is just one large room with tables which has a sort of bar counter in the corner. This is mostly unmanned. There is certainly no restaurant or serviced food facility of the type that one would expect in a 5 Star hotel. There is a menu which is the same all day and every day which contains a list of snacks and light meals. There is a daily hot dish (no choice) – usually the Moroccan dish “Tangine”. For those on half-board (we were) this has to be ordered in the morning and we were asked to dine at around 7:00pm – largely for the convenience of the staff it seemed. There is no proper wine list – just “Moroccan Red” or “Moroccan White” – it was of adequate quality but sold at a very hefty mark up. There is one local beer available. My wife had a bad stomach one day and asked for a Cognac but none was available.

Breakfast consisted of Coffee, Orange Juice, toast and jam and very small pancakes or a fruit salad. There was no choice and no proper hot or cold breakfast items, no cereals, no fresh meat/cheese/fruit etc. This was the bare minimum that could be considered adequate in a basic “Bed and Breakfast” - and wholly unacceptable in a so-called 5 Star hotel.

The local (Moroccan) staff were pleasant and helpful but spoke little or no English. The French management was aloof and at times completely absent. We seemed an inconvenience to them. When my wife was ill they showed no concern and once again went to ground.

On the third morning of our stay (Thursday) there was no hot water at all in our bathroom. The Reception was unmanned, as usual, but we eventually found a staff member to report the matter to. He confirmed that they were aware of the problem and were working on it. When we returned that evening, despite assurances to the contrary, the problem had not been resolved although there was now some tepid water – but not hot enough to take a shower. The proprietor Mr Guillemjouan and his fellow manager had been absent all day and indeed did not make an appearance until the following morning (Friday) when there was still no hot water. At no point did Mr Guillemjouan make contact with us to apologise although it seemed that he was frantically making phone calls – perhaps because new guests were arriving that day? The proprietor’s lack of customer focus had been a problem all week – frankly he just didn’t give a damn! And for most of the time we were the only guests! This was the final straw so we checked out. No hot water for two days, an insouciant and uncommunicative Manager and a hotel which was self-evidently not 5 Star but was arguably not even a hotel at all but a uniquely dysfunctional establishment – and a rip-off.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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88 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2012

On arrival the villa was even better in reality than the ad. The room was spacious and private patio area was charming, the pool was lovely and the staff couldnt have been more helpful and attentive. The food was plentiful and the BBQ or traditional "sunday roast" in particular were so tasty. Breakfast was a little on the plain side but coffee orange juice and eggs were plentiful. Will definetly be re-booking

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2012

To stay near to the City in an Oasis of calm is just phenominal. Staff will serve breakfast inside or anywhere al fresco at whatever time. A real find and incredibly relaxing.

For those who dont like big hotels or "centre of it" locations then head here and lap up the calm atmosphere and swim in the beautiful pool, or just bask in the sun.

For foodies out there, ask the owners to recommend the best restauraunts in town (which they will book for you also with taxi transfers at the drop of a hat). Food at these was just incredible.

Highly recommend this accommodation, for those that appreciate a non formal relaxing environment.

Room Tip: Downstairs garden suites are slightly bigger. Building is circular and there are gaps between the ro...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2012

We stayed at Villa Al Assala for two nights. We were very impressed by the decor and beauty of the villa and the pool and poolside were very attractive. We were warmly welcomed and served mint tea on the sofas in front of the pool. Our room was spacious with a nice balcony overlooking the gardens, which were pretty and well maintained. There wasn't a bathroom door however, which was a bit awkward as we were two friends sharing and the shower went hot and cold.

The breakfast was extremely poor and basic, considering this is meant to be a nice hotel we were very disappointed. We had received a far superior breakfast in the Riad we had stayed in the previous few nights. Breakfast consisted of toast and cake or a fruit salad and a pot of tea, one morning we got juice and the other we didn't. My friend is allergic to gluten, so they made her a small omelette instead, this was OK but they offered nothing else in addition, so we asked for a fruit salad. They brought this and then had the cheek to try and charge us for it on the room bill. However when we said we weren't happy about it the manager took it off without argument, but with no apology.

Another problem we had was with the private transport they offer. The Villa is situated in the Palmerai area of Marrakech, which means you need transport to get anywhere. The transport they offer is expensive. We were told that a journey into the centre, with a fews stops and then back to the Villa would cost 200 dirhams, after a lovely night out we got back to the villa and our driver Rashid asked for 300! We told him it was meant to be 200, and he said he would settle for 250, which we ended up giving him as there were no staff around to check with. This took the edge off a very nice evening out, as no-one likes to get ripped off. We complained to the manager Lucas the following day, and he agreed that we should have been charged 200 and he would sort it out. He didn't get back to us all day until we asked him about it later. He then replied that they would knock 50 off the airport transfer! I said I wouldn't get back into a car with him, so he took the 50 off our bill. I couldn't believe that we received no apology and that the manager is happy to carry on using a company which try and rip off his guests. When we requested a normal taxi to come pick us up, they refused and said they couldn't and always use this company. So we decided to drag our cases to the road, rather than give them anymore of our money.

Overall I would say that the poor management lets this place down. The local staff (apart from the drivers) were actually very nice and friendly, and obviously worked hard. If you decide to stay here don't get in a car with Rashid, he will try rip you off and having spoken to other guests we know it's not the first time he has tried it on either.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2012

A superb place from which to explore Marrakech and the mountains. The villa lived up to hopes and exceeded expectation. A tranquil setting with a beautiful garden and lovely pool. Exceptionally friendly and helpful staff. If flying into Marrackech Airport contact the villa to arrange the transfer. They work with a very helpful and friendly taxi service. All highly recommended, including the massage.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockport, Manchester. UK
14 reviews 14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2012

Firstly this is also known as just Villa al Assala which does have its own website
we couldn't get hold of the hotel as the number had been changed so look for the above.
Taxi from airport around 300 Durams however the hotel uses a family run company who charges 150
on arrival the traffic will scare you its mad !!!!!! thankfully as we approached the villa it became all nice and peaceful
As the large wooden doors were opened when we arrived my wife and i were blown away !
its beautiful here !!
We were offered dinner and it was delicious we had Room 4 ground floor garden room
again beautiful !!
In the morning breakfast was basic but ample lunches and dinner very nice
we usually went for the chicken brochettes and large salad for lunch
The pool is cold but ok after a few strokes
Miriam in particular could not do enough for us we hope she does very well in the future she also spoke the best english as I could only do the basics in french
The Medina and city are approx 15 min away by taxi costing 200 return so not too bad
just remember to dial 00212 and drop the first digit off the local telephone numbers as we had fun and games working this one out !!
As regarding the main square you must go twice ! First time is very overwhelming and very unnervey second time is a breeze !!
you could always break your trip into two parts stay in the city a couple of nights and finish it off here in which you would get the best of both worlds
contact me if you would like any further advice or info

Also if you can do The Hot air Balloon and Quad Bike trips both Brilliant !!

Room Tip: Room 4 was Very nice on the ground floor with a terrace
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2012

This property is a tytpical walled villa in rustic style, like many others in the Palmarie area about 15 minutes drive east of Marrakech. I arrived about mid day for a 4 day stay whilst working in Marrakech. Whilst my bags were taken to the room I was treated to a relaxing drink by the pool; which I appreciated after the flight. The staff organised transport from the airport. The front of house staff spoke English, French and Arabic and were extreemly friendly. The villa is off the main N8 route and being walled is quiet and relaxing. The gardens are splendid and the scent of Jasmin and the twittering of birds was everywhere. The rooms are spacious and incluse a sitting area, shower room, WC and so on. Each room has it's own balcony. The property consits of two main buildings: the rooms themselves, on two floors with a typical (as I understand) central court with a fountain; and the main reception, dinning room and lounge. I had evening meals as well with no menu. I was asked if I would be dining that night and then given the tareen of the day. Since the choice was always tereen I haven't had one since. Breakfast for me was under a canopy by the pool. Transport to and from Marrakech propper was easily aranged. Knowing how noisey Marrakech is I was glad to be in the tranquil quiet of the villa at night.

I would recommend this for couples and those seeking relaxing acccomodation offered on a very personal basis. This is rather like staying with friends and family.

Stayed October 2011, traveled on business
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Additional Information about Villa Al Assala Palmeraie

Address: Route de Fes, KM 4, Tamsna, Marrakech 44000, Morocco
Phone Number:
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#85 Spa Hotel in Marrakech
#86 Luxury Hotel in Marrakech
#158 Romantic Hotel in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Villa Al Assala Palmeraie 5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An exceptional site in the full heart of the Palmeraie, and at only 10 minutes of the effervescence of the Jamaa-el-Fna Place, our property is offering a wonderful park of one hectare of olive trees, fruit trees and palm trees. Around the swimming pool, all is calm and pleasure to relax and enjoy the delicate and discreat service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa Al Assala Palmeraie Hotel Marrakech
Al Assala Palmeraie Marrakech

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