Riu Tikida Palmeraie is a large modern hotel twenty minutes outside the old walled city of Marrakech. Although just off a main road, the hotel has beautiful gardens and is bright, clean and modern. I visited with my husband and four older children for a three night break after Christmas. The rooms were large and well appointed, with separate bathrooms and toilets, a rarity these days. The mattresses were firm and comfortable and the decor plain and modern. I chose the hotel because there were six of us and I needed a reasonably priced base that would suit teenagers and allow them freedom without danger at night, i.e the possibility of remaining in the bar when their jaded parents retire to bed. All this worked out well but of course involved the usual compromises made when travelling with a large group. If you are travelling as a couple, there are many far more interesting and romantic hotels in Marrakech than this, to suit all budgets and I would say avoid the big chains.
The hotel has a very large outdoor pool, too cold for this time of year, and a good heated indoor pool although the changing rooms are unheated and unpleasantly cold. The food was rather dull, absolutely not five star and lacking in Moroccan specialities. The dining room staff are smart, charming and helpful. The hotel runs a shuttle bus into the centre, the last one leaves at 8pm so no good for nights out, and be aware that you have to book tickets for the shuttle which is often full. We spent a lot of money on taxis.
We booked with Thomson for the first time, and did not find them impressive. The camel trek we booked was not well handled and although the people at the Moroccan end were charming, the trek is not through what remains of the Palmeraie, but through a run down patch of waste ground complete with rubbish and pylons in the background to spoil any photography.Take a taxi into the palmeraie and you will find many locals offering very similar camel treks for less cash and in more attractive surroundings. On our return journey, flying with Thomson, we were seated in six different rows, a first for our well travelled family, and at the Gatwick end our baggage reclaim was delayed for 2.5 hours without explanation.
Overall, stay here if you are very insecure about staying in the city, but otherwise, be more adventurous and you will find many more interesting and beautiful hotels and can eat very cheaply at the famous night barbecue or try out more exotic restaurants. Tikida is certainly not 5 star. The public areas smell very smoky at all times, most unpleasant, and the evening entertainment is poor. The food is dull,and bathroom toiletries come in sachets. I cannot imagine staying here for longer than a few days. We had an excellent holiday but most of it was spent exploring the many fascinating sights of Marrakech, an exciting destination.
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