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“Not what it says on the tin! Wouldn't stay here again.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Domaine de l'Arganeraie

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Domaine de l'Arganeraie
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Imi Ntagant | El Ghazoua, Essaouira 44 000, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 76 Hotels in Essaouira
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Not what it says on the tin! Wouldn't stay here again.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2010

We spent 2 weeks in Morocco in which Essaouira and L'Arganeraie was the last stay of our trip.

This is the first time I've really felt I've needed to review a hotel, but our experience here was really not what we had expected based on other reviews and the hotel website.

Firstly when we arrived in Essaouira straight off the bus from Marrakech, we actually found it quite hard to find a taxi driver who knew where this hotel was, which naturally got us a tiny bit concerned.

With a bit of help from a friendly local we did manage to find a taxi driver who knew the area it was in if not the hotel itself and who agreed to take us. It soon became clear why none of the local petit taxi drivers knew of our hotel once we were out of town though, and that is because it is way off the main road, down about 2miles of winding, pitted, rocky, farm tracks that most petit taxis refuse to drive down for fear of destroying their already dubious state of repair cars! It is also incredibly poorly signposted, which in an area full of small winding farm tracks where it’s very easy to get lost, I think is very unimpressive.

Our taxi driver persevered, getting lost several times as and eventually we realised that the plain black double gates that we happened past in the plain white wall at the end of one stretch of road we popped out of were in fact the entrance to our hotel! A name plate/ entrance sign wouldn't have gone amiss to be honest! We had to beep the car horn and bang on the gates to get any attention as there was no-one around or any bell/knocker/buzzer of any kind, eventually getting the attention of the gardener who let us in and confirmed that we were definitely in the right place!

We had sort of expected it to be a small hotel resort type place with a main hotel reception/restaurant lounge type area of some kind, but in actual fact there is nothing. No reception, just a padlocked office from which they mainly seem to run their business selling Argan oil beauty products and the pool area which expect for breakfast time is mostly deserted. This made finding help and information when we needed it extremely difficult and would have been impossible were it not for Yousef the waiter who helped us out as much as he could, frequently tracking down the owners for us.

Whilst the resort itself is really quite pretty and the pool area lovely and big, the room we had was a bit tired, and the towels they gave us while clean enough were all stained and had seen better days. Also despite the fact that no one else was staying in our ‘Raid’ while we were there we were not allowed access to the lounge area which would have been nice and the pool itself needed a clean as it had large patches of green algae in it! This was also the only place in our trip where we were not offered bottled water for our room at night and we had to resort to buying our own toilet roll too. Despite this I think what disappointed us the most about this hotel was its location. We knew it was out of town, but not that it was down 2miles of rough farm tracks which are really quite challenging to navigate. The owners know that the road to the hotel is so bad most taxi drivers won’t come down it, so their solution has been to set up a taxi service with a company that has four wheel drive vehicles prepared to drive down these roads to take guests out if they so whish and to then pick them up and bring them all the way back. The catch is that you have to pay hugely over the odds for this service. To get a taxi to the medina in Essaouira and back again costs 200 dirhams (100 each way) which is about £15.00, not too much I suppose for most tourists, but a small fortune if you compare it to local rates, and if you are on a budget! We were so unimpressed with the taxi service the hotel provided on our first day, with the taxi driver stopping to perform his own chores and shopping on the way and the way back, that we decided to try and venture out on our own the next day. Under our own steam we walked from the resort to the main road, which took about 30mins, and then from the main road we got a grand taxi for 5 dirhams each to the medina in Essaouira, and on the way home we got a petit taxi for between 30 and 40 dirhams, a saving of roughly 150 dirhams a day and this is still at local tourist rates! The walk back to the hotel at night is not for the faint hearted, and we were just lucky that we happened to pack a torch. I think most people either stay at the resort for most of their holiday, or just pay for the taxis they provide, as the owners seemed quite shocked by us venturing out on our own.

Overall maybe this was just the wrong place for us, we went to Morocco to see Morocco, not to stay in the hotel all day by a nice pool, and although it was a very interesting experience for us to be staying amongst quite a poor farming community, I would not stay at this hotel again because of the transportation issue. I would like to thank Yousef again for all his help; he was very attentive and made our stay a lot better than it otherwise would have been.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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279 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 (3)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2010

We greatly enjoyed our stay at L'Arganeraie with our children (13,11,8). Lovely accommodation, beautiful grounds and a really friendly team running things. Great beaches near by. For the first time in ages I finished a summer holiday thinking it was good value.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
South Molton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2010

I hate to say how great this place is That I DID want it to Become Too Popular !
Goal I owe it to Jean Phillipe & the team to Say That the riads are huge and styllish and n Is the pool. the breakfaats are brilliant and nothing is Too Much Trouble for thiers guests. Which miss it.

Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
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4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2009

We really enjoyed our stay here. It is a beautiful setting and the place is very relaxed in every way. The swimming pool was a great size and the pool area in general was lovely. The staff were all very friendly and helpful and Philippe, the manager, couldn't have been more charming and genuinely interested in making sure we were enjoying ourselves. It is a little way out of Essaouira - about 8km - but it was easy to get a taxi there and back for about 9 euros each way. There are some very good restaurants in the medina, but I have to say, 2 of our best meals of the holiday were actually at L'Arganeraie - a delicious lamb tagine on our last night and an amazing fish tagine prepared for us by Jawad who managed the restaurant and bar - it was superb! In addition, Jawad also arranged a 'meshwi' (lamb cooked Berber-style in an underground oven) one evening which included Berber musicians, and a fantastic belly-dancer (who was actually one of the other hotel guests!).

We rented a ground floor half-riad. It was spacious and comfortable and pleasantly decorated, and the young lady who cleaned for us each day did a great job. We loved the breakfasts - moroccan pancakes with a selection of jams, home-made peanut butter, freshly squeezed orange juice and a choice of eggs. All of the meals were freshly prepared with excellent local produce to a very high standard. I would say that the charm of this place is in its very personal service, in the interaction with individual staff and the great ambience. We will definately be returning!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2009

Just spent a week at this place with friends and families. We were all very disappointed with the place and spent a full day trying to find another place to move to at the last moment. Unfortunately, all the other riads with pools were already booked by then so we ended up staying.
First, they told us we had 6 rooms (which we paid for) and then gave us a villa with 5 but told us there were 6 rooms when we checked in. We also found out there was also no hot water in the half the bathrooms or the kitchen.
The pictures on the internet are very misleading. The place was not a hotel or anything resembling it. More like a collection of empty houses that they are trying to rent out. No hot water, the wrong number of bedrooms, kids had to sleep on sofas in the salon, kitchen had almost nothing in it - even the stove was not connected to anything. THe only things they provided were beds, towels/linens and a sofas to sit on. We booked for a party of 13 (6 rooms) and they gave us a villa with a table with 4 chairs and 3 lounge chairs outside. It really didn't work for a group of 13.
You are also far from town and shopping or restaurants and have to prearrange transport - cost is about $20 each way to town.
It was very hot in July, so you could really only swim in the morning or late afternoon. There was nothing to do the rest of the day unless you hired a car and went in to town. THere is no AC in the houses and it's quite hot during the day, but cools off at night as long as you leave all windows open and don't mind a few flying friends coming in.

On the positive side, the pool was very nice for the kids, breakfast was fine and the bartender was good but that was about it.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2009

L'arganerie is 8km from essaouirea town, a cheap taxi ride and one you'll be glad you took!.
It's a magical place, the stunning majestic riads pepper the beautifully well kept grounds( with tortise!!), the main house with pool are in the middle of the property, it's a sight to behold. The staff here are exceptional and the food is scrumptious, i'm still dreaming about the home made peanut butter- I kid you not it's amazing!
We had a wonderful time here it's very relaxing, serene and calm- just what we needed. Our riad was very comfortable and tastefully decorated. This place is ideal for families, friends, couples.....just about everyone in fact! we met friendly donkeys, goats and cats on our way to the shop and the locals are very hospitable and friendly.
Phillipe is a true gentleman and he and his staff will do their utmost to make your sojourn a very pleasant one. You won't be dissapointed and you'll keep coming back here.
Sinéad & Denise ( Ireland)

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Domaine de l'Arganeraie

Address: Imi Ntagant | El Ghazoua, Essaouira 44 000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Essaouira
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Essaouira
#16 Family Hotel in Essaouira
#25 Romantic Hotel in Essaouira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Domaine de l'Arganeraie 3*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Couple, friends, family or groupwe would be delighted to welcome you to your home away from home at Domain d’Arganeraie. Situated one flight of the seagull from the medina and ten lengths of the driver from the Golf Mogador, this oasis of greenery (more than 3 hectares) boasting hundred year old argan trees has ten Riads with traditional Moroccan architecture that are nestled like flower petals around the pristine eternity pool. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
l Arganeraie Essaouira
l Arganeraie Hotel Essaouira

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