We approached the Reception Desk at Le Medina and were greeted by a young Lady while we were still some yards away from her, by name and with the comment, 'We have been waiting for you'.
With hindsight, we think the Receptionist had been required to stay on duty, beyond the end of her shift just to check us in and wanted to 'process' us as quickly as possible.
We were not offered any refreshing hot towels or welcoming drink. This is an extra service we accept, but in line with Arab welcomes we usually receive and we saw it given to other arrivals on subsequent days.
We went straight into form filling. The form was detailed and in several languages and was in small print. The light was dim - as is my eyesight and hearing as I get older (!) - and the young Lady only wanted certain information. Whilst we were writing on the form we were being battered with unrelated verbal information - little of which I understood at the time - and still am none the wiser.
Still talking, the Receptionist was tapping areas of the form which needed completing ( many areas didn't) She obviously knew the forms well, but it was the first time we had seen them and so did need to read what was required. Having being handed back the forms, the young Lady said our bags would be taken up and that she would tell us the full details of our introduction to the premises, 'tomorrow' (which never came).
I was then asked for my credit card. Just having been the victim of a fraudulent withdrawal of several thousand pounds from my credit card account, I am particularly careful about using it. Occasionally I have had it 'swiped' even at relatively good hotels and I am not too worried about that. I have never had money taken up front, however, and that is what happened at Le Medina. They requested I put my PIN in to authorise 4,000 dirhams - just short of £400.00 before we could proceed.
I challenged it and they said in answer, 'We don't actually take any money". We 'discussed' it for a short while and in the end, with language difficulties not helping, I withdrew my arguments. We were tired anyway.
I have never been asked for money up front in a higher grade hotel and I expect to do business in any case, with a mutual level of trust. They obviously didn't trust me.
We said we would really like to have a meal and were told the the Restaurants had closed at 10.00. We were left to our own devices.
Very bad start to our stay.
We ordered and had a room service meal. We did not get what we ordered. It was an 'uninspiring' meal and not worth the £65 price tag.
The next morning we had a look round the hotel and prepared for our customary day's 'switch off' by the pool.
We were soon very aware of suited managerial types prowling round the pool area and the hotel in general. They often carried clip boards, were unsmiling and uncommunicative with the guests throughout our stay. They were plainly looking for fault and this carried on all the time we were there. It was quite uncomfortable and indiscreet. Skilfully done the guests should be unaware of this checking.
Often when fault appeared to have been found, one of the 'workers' was spoken to and often scuttled off to put right, we assume, what they had, had pointed out. Assumption I know but it was very oppressive, whatever they were doing. This sort of thing again, should not happen in front of guests.
The staff appeared to be on tenter hooks and always seemed to have one eye on the Prowling Managers' , half an eye on what they were doing and only half an eye on the guests and their requirements.
A frequent 'victim' was the Pool Boy who was I presume at the bottom of the pile. Many criticisms seemed to filter down to him from the whole tiers above. I felt quite sorry for him as he had always been polite, cheerful and helpful to us.
I saw him physically gripped on the upper arm and marched to a preparation table by one of the managers. I saw him apparently instructed to clean the stainless steel fountain and shower fittings at the pool whilst the guests were taking breakfast alongside the pool.
He did the task and went to the manager asking him, I presume, to inspect his work. The manager went over to the shower and after looking, kicked a stainless screen floor mounting, obviously not satisfied. The Pool Attendant dropped to his knees and polished.
Having done that the Pool Attendant was roped in to wait at, lay out and move tables for the guests. He seemed to have an awful lot of responsibilities.
He often struggled with heavy, awkward loads watched by scowling managers too proud to give a hand.
All this led to what appeared to be an unhappy staff and a 'heavy atmosphere' at the hotel. It had no soul.
Our room was on one occasion, not supplied water as promised in the Guests Manual of services and rules.
Another evening the advertised turn down service did not happen and we were left with wet towels for the following morning.
We only had one meal at the hotel after the room service meal (excepting breakfasts), and that was the Sunday evening, to indulge our passion for seafood. The meal in their Seafood Restaurant was expensive, lacked any sort of inspiration and was very mediocre - not something an 'Award Winning Chef 'would be proud of by any means.
Breakfast on our last day was a poor show. They had a conference there and guests were obviously placed second in line of priority. ' No there is not a table outside by the pool - they are all full' I was told. We ate breakfast inside for the first time .
Breakfast was a farce.
At various stages there were as many as four managerial types watching the breakfast display at once. Standing back from it, some sheltered by drapes so they were 'not in play' as far as the guests were concerned.
Two were watching and another suit appeared. He walked along the display looking critically, located and enlisted the help of a Sous Chef to adjust the direction of the fan (only a small table top fan - I could have done it with one hand and poured a cup of tea at the same time), which stood over the fruit (to keep the flies at bay?). Thus adjusted, they stood back, admired their work and then walked off.
None of the other supervisors spoke to each other or any one else. They just stood there looking very superior and aware of their rank.
Another suit came along a few minutes later and re-adjusted the direction of the air flow from the fan for the third time.
A guest took a cake and the plate it was taken from was snatched by a Sous Chef who disappeared with it and a few minuted later returned with the same plate with the missing cake replaced (the same as the remaining four). He had obviously been instructed to keep the displays topped up - but how daft was that?
Someone else came along and adjusted the direction of the fan again. The fourth time in about 15 minutes.
All this within a 3 yard distance from the food display and Chris and I sitting at our table which was about 12 feet from the display, with empty tea pot needing refills. They weren't worried about or observing the guests. There were around 5 or 6 other tables occupied in the room. For the fourth time that week, I left the table, carrying my empty Moroccan teapot so search for one of the waiters to fill it. I 'cheekily' gave it to a manager one morning and he went and found a waiter and gave it to him to fill! Not his job!
There was often only one waiter serving breakfasts, watched by one or two static non assisting managers. That was when the Pool Boy was often roped in to help serve - taken off cleaning the bottom of the pool with the suction hose.
Saturday at 11 30 hrs, we went to settle our account.
We were presented with a bill which was very brief, because I had resolved not to spend any money at the hotel in view of our reception and treatment. The bill however itemised a meal and cigarettes, neither of which we had bought. We had as I said, refused to eat at, or drink at the hotel, in view of their opening gambit of taking money from me up front in case we ran off, so we knew full well that the meal was not ours and as fanatical non- smokers the cigarettes were certainly not ours. We demanded the signed receipts. They couldn't produce them. It was interesting that all the other receipts for the items on our bill were there, so I suspect that they were 'Trying it on".
There was an interlude, when they presented the guest next to us also checking out, with the wrong bill and when he did get his bill, having seen our experiences, carefully checked his bill and queried a number of entries. I don't know what the resolution of that was.
However, back to our bill. The slips could not be produced, but the manager of the bar / restaurant was. He said we had, had the meal and cigarettes and that we were sitting with other people (named Pickering) at the time. I challenged him quite aggressively and demanded that he proved it. He was plainly lying. The receptionist intervened and he skulked away when she assured us we would not be charged. I was asked to sign to the effect that I had not had the items, but had to ask for a fresh, corrected invoice before it was settled out of the money they had originally secured from me.
Amazingly, I was asked if I had enjoyed my stay at the hotel and she appeared quite put out when I replied that I had not.
I asked for my suitcases to remain in my view while we waited for our transfer, but they disappeared several minutes later and I had to enlist the help of the receptionist to recover them. ( I was concerned that they may be tampered with as some sort of revenge for the complaints I had, had to make).
The culmination was that as we sat guarding our cases, reading and waiting for our transfer, we were served two colourful glasses of fruit cocktail - the sort of thing a new arrival would have been given. 'Thank You', I said, thinking that perhaps they were trying to console us. But no, after about 5 minutes the same waiter came over and without a word removed the two untouched drinks, put them on his tray and went off to serve them to some other lucky people (New arrivals, perhaps?).
We have looked at their website again and have to say that their images of their private beach, bear little resemblance to what we saw.
That hotel is an absolute shambles. They seem to be in some trouble. They were going round switching things off - i.e. the pool fountains, periodically - it can only to have been to save money.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.