Went for a quick January break to avoid the snow at home and so glad we did. From the moment we arrived we knew we were in a special hotel with everything you'd expect from an all inclusive resort but with a traditional feel.
Many hotels say 'just let us know if you need anything at all' but then don't deliver but this hotel says it and means it - from sending someone when you mess up your room safe to waiters remembering you prefer cold milk with your tea or replacing a dropped fork almost before it hits the floor or moving a table into the sun on the terrace for you.
We were welcomed with a drink from the high-octane entertainments team who were always kind and friendly but left you alone if you wanted (more of them later) and reception staff were quick and efficient. We had emailed and asked for a sunny room overlooking the pool and with a mountain view and asked on arrival if we had this. We were assured we we would like our room and told if we had a problem to come back and we would be moved immediately. The room was fine with a nice outlook over the mountains so we were happy to stay. Rooms immaculate, spacious and beds firm but extremely comfortable. Some reviewers have commented they were hard but this hotel tries so hard I am sure that they would keep bringing you new mattresses until you were happy!
Our luggage was delivered to our rooms by buggy while we had a late dinner and security staff were positioned at various points to direct us to our rooms and were always in evidence at night.
Food was of a high quality and almost too much variety but the chefs and waiting staff would help you with the buffet (sometimes carrying food back to tables where needed) and chefs were happy to prepare food in a special way if asked. One waiter went to the kitchen to look for a pudding I had requested and came back with a chef pushing a 6 foot high trolley loaded with every dessert they had in the kitchen but sadly not the one I wanted that day!! I imagine it could be a bit hectic in high season due to guests wandering around.
We tried the Morrocan themed restaurant but I would suggest booking the day you arrive as we could only get in towards the end of the week. This was excellent and the food was of a better quality than the food we had on an expensive Thomsons night excursion to a Riad.
We cannot comment on the themed entertainment nights but the live music from the small band in the large central bar area was always appropriate to the time of day - from the children's entertainment slot to just before midnight when this turned to classic bluesy music which was just up our street.
The hotel was immaculate with cleaners in evidence all the time (emptying ashtrays as smoking is allowed and scrubbing public areas endlessly).
Drinks were fine - although obviously not premium brands which some people moaned about. The wine was fine and cocktails alright if you asked for your usual ones rather than the mixes offered. Coffee at the pool was excellent -premium coffee standard and waiters would bring this to your sunbed if you wanted even if you ordered at the bar. We never had to wait for a drink and pool staff would collect mattresses and pillows until you were happy. We asked for a glass of milk for tea in our room and the waiter gave us a litre carton of milk. Reception would give bottles of water too people who were leaving on trips making you feel really looked after!!
Outdoor pool was massive and freezing - quite entertaining to see a few brave souls venture in to a round of applause. Indoor pool was fine - could do with being a bit warmer and some more chairs and table and perhaps a coffee machine. Only gripe that women's showers and changing was not private enough with no door.
Entertainments team made an effort to chat to everyone - happy to use each of their 3 or 4 languages - and would then leave you alone if you didn;t want to play darts or zumba - on one oaccasion led from the roof top to Gangnam Style!! I took part in two yoga classes and was impressed by both members of the team running these.
So just how does this hotel deliver such remarkable, friendly service??? In addition to all the examples above, they look and listen and put you - the customer - first, viewing everything as their responsibility and nothing being too much trouble. We were given a feedback form in the restaurant half way through the week and I commented on this that our showerhead kept dropping and it was fixed the next day!!! That is service and that's how they get such good consistenly good reviews by addressing issues quickly and efficiently.
My only gripe (but not a big issue) is about the smoking in the bar which can get into the large main reception hall. I avoided the bar but you cannot avoid the reception hall as this area also has the only wifi access. As the bar is off to one side it could easily be partitioned off with a glass wall (as it looks like it has been in the past).
Booked a package of 3 half day trips with Thomson that seemed good value but the groups were too large and the guides were amusing if a bit opinionated. A good introduction if you want to go from the hotel rather than get a taxo or meet in Marrakech.
Thomson's is the main tour operator here (more of them later) but this is hotel is very popular with morrocan families from other cities, particularly at weekends, which provides a nice balance. The staff are really good with children - with two members of the entertainments team merrily entertaining just one small child one evening!!!
All in all an excellent holiday until our Thomson flight was delayed by 30 mins taking off -allegedly to avoid bad weather in Manchester -then we were left waiting ON THE RUNWAY for 2 HOURS while the captain 'negotiated' for gate for us to disembark due to flights being diverted from Leeds having the last gates. A 4 hour flight had became 71/2 hours with us decanted down just one set of steps into snow and slush into one bus at 2am and waiting an hour for our luggage. Not impressed with Thomson Airways who are getting steadily worse or serviceair at Manchester. Loved the Riu Tikida hotel and will definitely return for another winter break but would think about going with Thomson's again.
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