My friend and I managed to secure an exceptionally good deal including return flights and ten nights at the Dellarosa Hotel through British Airways. We don't normally stay at this type of accommodation, but thought the price was so good that we should 'give it a go' anyway. Over the rather long experience of Hotel Dellarosa, we found the service to be absurd, the facilities to be peculiar and the entire experience rather like staying in Fawlty Towers, as another guest suggested in the lift one afternoon. Here's our log, which should explain why...
We arrived on a hot morning and took a petit taxi to the hotel. The exterior is really rather unappealing -- next to a Mercedes-Benz van showroom, with an old table outside and security guard (in flip flops...) smoking continuously. We entered and the lobby was very narrow and smelt horribly of sewage. The reasonably polite receptionist (who spoke very good English) asked us to fill out the relevant forms (as we did) and make our way to the bar for some mint tea while we were waiting for our room to be ready. I have no issues with the length of time waiting in the bar (two hours), because we did arrive very early (c. 10:30) and that wasn't the hotel's fault.
The bar itself is actually one of the weirdest rooms I've ever seen in a hotel -- it's filled with windows but they are all covered by heavy black/red curtains, and the electric lighting is dim at best. The chairs and tables are remarkably uncomfortable and seem to be dropped anywhere to maximise the number of seats available, yet no one has considered how people move around. The wooden bar has seen better days and has a wonky, broken and squeaky door. The barman sits behind at such a height you'd think he was sitting on the floor (to check if anyone is actually serving at the bar you have to go up and peer over the counter) -- but no, he's sitting on a plastic Coca-Cola box. Seeing this ridiculous sight pretty much sums up the place. The range of cocktails is small and bizarre at best, and we spent many nights in the hotel bar simply because we found it so amusing to try the strange concoctions our barman made for us (in fact, the head barman was actually a very nice man and we liked him a lot, but none of the bar staff had any training and were pretty much useless). I remember asking for a 'Gin Fizz', which contained lots of tonic water and almost no gin (the bar puts hardly any alcohol into any of their drinks), and as it was 'happy hour' (which, by the way, seems to be every hour after 5pm, every day...) it was buy one drink get another free. Well, I thought my friend and I could have a drink each and take advantage of the offer. WRONG! It turns out that you have to buy one drink and pay for it, then you get the same drink again for free. So I ended up having two disgusting Gin Fizzes whilst my friend had two of his Irish Coffee. Unfortunately the bartender forgot to wash his mixer properly between our drinks, so my 'fizz' had a unique Nescafe quality! The barman offered to make me something else for free but we liked him so much and didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I just gulped my Cafe Creme(!) down... The drinks were also ridiculously expensive. We went to the nearby Sofitel, where I usually stay in Marrakech (I end up coming over 3/4 times a year) and emptied their bar for the same price as we could have done in the Dellarosa, only the Sofitel's drinks were great.
Anyway, back to the bar itself... There is a grand piano at one end, but it's out of tune and not playable. However, two staff members felt the need to play around with the thing all afternoon to have a laugh. They were clearly enjoying themselves even if no one else was. Although I must admit, most of the staff are very friendly at the Dellarosa and I don't mind them having fun. I just wish they could actually do their jobs correctly too...! Anyway, the toilets by the bar had a broken light and the other loo didn't flush, so not that great. Also, the patio door is really stiff and people keep walking into it (the door that leads from the bar to the courtyard). The odd cat also made an appearance which, whilst normal for cat-plagued Marrakech, shouldn't be the norm in a (supposedly) European-friendly hotel. Everything is just a bit ridiculous here, like they don't have a proper ice machine at the bar so the bartender runs down to the kitchen every 30 minutes with a child's lunchbox filled with ice cubes... The bar food is reasonably nice, apart from the club sandwiches which arrived burnt (trust me, I made that VERY clear!) but still pricey -- c.DH50 MAD for a tuna panini. That being said, there is a small shelf with books in different languages which you can borrow -- I certainly made good use of it (although they were just books others had left behind!).
The hotel's courtyard is very small -- there are never enough sun loungers in the mornings, so go down late afternoon. Most people lie outside in the sun all day and never actually see any of Marrakech... Germans (as we all know) love to reserve their chairs hours before they actually use them. The loungers themselves are actually rather dirty and could use a good clean, but as with most of the things at the Dellarosa its just a question of which staff member has the intelligence to get on and do it. There are two pools, one tiny one for children (or a fat French man who floated on his back in it and occupied the entire thing himself) and a (still small but) slightly larger one for people to swim in, although it rarely gets the sun because it is surrounded by buildings. I didn't mind the courtyard -- I thought it was cosy and a nice respite from the sun, but most people begged to differ when we were there.
The restaurant is called '500', if I remember correctly, and is open for all three meals. Breakfast is (you guessed it) fun too with a range of mistakes constantly being made by staff. You'd think after years doing the same thing every morning, they'd get the hang of it -- but no. As you walk in they say good morning... wait a few seconds until you're halfway across the restaurant, then ask for your room number (so you have to walk back to them again) to make sure you aren't getting a free bowl of gruel. The selection is the same each day and gets boring VERY easily. The hot things are Moroccan pancakes, scrambled eggs (with such little flavour) and diced potato fries, alongside grilled onions. There are pastries -- croissants and pain au chocolat, although the chocolat is barely discoverable (presumably the hotel bought budget food which only has the smallest amount of chocolate in and is ridiculously hard to find -- there is like a tiny little line and that's it. Often on one side of the pastry...). They also put some fruit salad and yogurt out. The whole fruits are in fact plastic, so don't go biting them. The fresh orange juice is nice but is only ever filled to 1/4 of the machine's container, so it goes empty every few minutes. Then the waiter/ess runs downstairs to the kitchen and brings back a champagne bucket filled with jus d'orange. The same thing happens like 5 times whilst you're eating because they don't fill it to the most sensible level... Again, I asked for the fruit salad to be replenished one morning and the three waiter/ess(s) standing by the door chatting seemed surprised that it had gone empty (I don't know why they don't go round and monitor which things are about to run out and then replace them, they literally just seem to stand around and look stupid all the time) -- the manager told his junior to replace it and he ran downstairs to get more... Five minutes later he came to tell me it had been put back. For some reason they use teaspoons rather than serving spoons to scoop it out, and I ended up dropping the spoon in (by accident, although it went some way to increasing the comedy that morning having to watch them fumble around with tongs to get it out!). So generally breakfast is a pretty sorry affair. The tables often start being set for lunch at around 9:30 onwards, so some of them are closed and you can't sit where you want to, which is irritating. Some cutlery looks dirty, the tables aren't swept for crumbs between guests and they use paper napkins, but alas...
Lunch is actually rather nice, although the food is very pricey for the portion sizes and general quality. There is a full 'a-la carte' menu (or what pretends to be a-la carte) and the service is quick because the restaurant usually only has a few people inside. Dinner is similar, only the place is normally pretty busy (so busy that they have extra staff -- yay for more talking and standing around!) and there is a set menu, which I find odd considering the a-la carte is only for lunch. Surely they should use the set menu when there are fewer people dining and the a-la carte for those larger meals with more guests? Anyway, dinner is actually quite nice there and for the first time at the Dellarosa we were continually replenished with bread without having to pay extra for it! Hurrah! FYI: Later this year the hotel will be opening a new restaurant and changing the existing one. The new restaurant will be at the rear of the building, near the current bar. I think it will replace some of their conference facilities but am not sure.
Anyway, back to the hotel itself... The lift is really tiny and has no fan, so it always smells of body odour. Why? because (for the first time in a European-friendly hotel) staff use the guest lift too. A small issue you might say, but I have never ever encountered this and hotel staff should certainly not be using guest facilities during peak hours. Especially when the maintenance crew seem to lack a little deodorant! Anyway, the lift is actually new and shiny, but it doesn't stop on floors it passes, so if you're on 6 and want to go to 0, it will take you straight there, but if someone calls the lift on 3, it won't stop on the way. What that translates to it massively long waits for the lift as it only does one job at a time. The stairs are alright, but there are lots of them, and a few windows are broken (fixed with tape) as you walk past. The chairs opposite the lifts on each floor are very dusty too and as soon as you sit down, your trousers/shorts are covered in dust particles.
So, we had a Junior Suite and it wasn't actually that bad. The bathroom should have been cleaned better (specifically the mouldy grouting) and they need to have a divider between the shower/bath combo and the rest of the bathroom, as otherwise you end up soaking everything (well, my shower-loving friend did anyway). Everything else was pretty good in that department. There is a kitchenette, which (oddly enough) has name-brand gear in it, like appliances from Frankie and a Lavazza Blue coffee machine (be warned, you need to pay for the capsules to go it in -- DH20 MAD from housekeeping -- although the ability to have a coffee in the hotel and not have it taste like dishwater (because you can make it yourself!) is certainly worth the charge). My only (rather major) issue with this is that there are no pots/pans/cutlery, and you aren't (technically) allowed to bring food/drink into the hotel -- so what on earth can you use the kitchenette for?! Although, to be fair, we brought in loads of food and drink from the dirt cheap newsagents next door to the hotel (10 second walk) and were fine for the two-week stay, so don't let their silly sign put you off. There were two sofas, both stained and could have used a clean, in the room, and two TVs (the only English channel was Euronews 24). Air conditioning was effective, but strange smells continued to come in throughout our stay -- although we were offered the option to change rooms (thanks housekeeping manager!) but it was quite late in our trip so we stayed put. The bedroom was quite good -- practical, lots of space etc. although the bed sheets were stained on one of the beds (mine, unfortunately) so perhaps they could add in some bleach to their bedding wash -- not that nice having to sleep with other peoples' stains around you! The bedside light was also broken, and the lampshade was permanently hanging off. That being said, our maids were delightful to talk to and always very willing to help/pleasant -- they got a large tip and our grateful thanks.
The hotel also books excursions through a third-party -- we did two, one of which dumped us in the palmeraie as my friend wanted to ride a camel (...) and didn't really seem to care about picking us up on time. The second was a trip to Ourika, where we had to pay extra for drinks at lunch (even though on other Moroccan trips I've been on, they come as standard) and we actually had to pay extra for the guide at Ourika (DH50 MAD each), so I guess the 'trip to ourika' tour really was the trip, rather than the cost of the whole experience. The hotel took a nice commission, no doubt. They also offered an airport shuttle service on the return which was DH150 MAD, but we were promised a luxury hotel vehicle with air condition... ha! We got a Daewoo (or something similar) with the window open). But I appreciated the driver's service, carrying bags etc.
My general summary of this place is a hotel run by an owner who is happy to pump in money, but who doesn't employ the right senior managers to give training to the staff. As a result, the hotel's facilities fall behind in maintenance and the service really suffers. It seems to be all about the money, rather than the quality. That being said, the low-ranking staff like maids, waiters and barmen are very nice and cheerful, even if they aren't all that great at doing their job.
I actually emailed the hotel when we returned to try and share my feedback with them but got no reply. I followed up a week later and still haven't got a response. Will someone from the Dellarosa read this? If so, please check your info@... inbox and reply to my mail. Let's see if this place can change for the better...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The dellarosa is located in the heart of the city, close to the shopping area and only five minutes walk from the ancient walls, the famous main square Jemma El Fna and the bustling souks. Blending the renowned Moroccan hospitality with international design and comfort,this luxury hotel is a haven in the city centre, the perfect residence to fully enjoy the Red City assets. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dellarosa Hotel Suites & Spa Hotel Marrakech
- Dellarosa Hotel Suites And Spa