We read with some concern the negative reviews about the hotel- primarily concerning the lack of English spoken at this establishment, although this proved to be a boon for us as we wanted a quiet uninterupted holiday, which the Decameron delivers in spades. However if you don't mind this and/or speak a smattering of GCSE French- read on!
The hotel is some 3-4 miles from the town centre, about a 40 minute walk and a 60/70 dirham 'petit taxi' fare if you're in a rush. It's grounds are lush and well tended and the mix of small chalet type accomodation and larger 16-20 room blocks is of a decent standard, being built in 1991. We were surprised about the size of the room and the generous bath/shower/bidet/toilet room and how clean it was. The aircon worked, the beds were new and quite firm and the sheets crisp and clean. Room service were round every day with fresh towels, although pool towels had to be collected from reception as the 'card' system they operate wasn't working.
On our arrival we managed to squeeze in a dinner and were surprised at the quality and choice of foods served- an extensive salad bar and cooked meats and tagines, plus a grill and desert bar. Wine is served with lunch and dinner, with bottled water, though only hot drinks and juices are available at breakfast which mystified us somewhat. My partner, well travelled and schooled in things all inclusive said this was the best hotel food she had eaten and I couldn't agree with her more. There is a strong continental theme to the food as the hotel caters for 99% French speaking guests- during our week there we counted three other Englanders holidaying there.
Eating wasn't traumatic- with only 200 rooms we never felt like being in a cattle market and were only left looking for a seat one lunchtime toward the end of our stay, following an influx of guests.
The staff spoke a mixture of reasonable English- more so than my French, which gets worse each year. Morocco was a former French colony up until the 1950's and the influnence of it's 'mother' country is writ large throughout it's culture and French is an unofficial second language. We certainly didn't find anyone rude ( well, not the staff ) and as a whole the Moroccan people are very freindly. Also Morocco is far from a 'regular' tourist destination for the English, but so long as you bear this in mind, there's no reason not to come here.
Facilities wise, we didn't sample the nightclub/disco which we never heard from our block which was quite near, although I was treated to drunken arguments between 1-5am, following the return of some of the guests, which wasn't helped by the tiled floors and high ceilings in the hall, which didn't help my sleep on some of the nights.
The indoor pool is quite warm and spacious, the 11am waterobics aside, though we didn't try the outdoor one. Try as we might we couldn't find a sauna (as advertised) and the non inclusive massage was 430 Dh and very half hearted and not a full hour and can probably be found cheaper in town.
Drinks wise, there was a range of cocktails- some good, others less so, but Rum, Vodka, Whisky ( tastes rather aniseedy), Pernod and Gin available, plus Stork beer ( Moroccan brewed and not bad!) and juices, Tea, Coffee and the national favourite Mint Tea, which is sweet and refreshing enough to convert a cynic like me. Drinks are served 10am-2pm weekdays apparently, though we were early birds to bed.
The downsides? Well if you want to be involved in the poolside animation ( we didn't) or you have kids, then you might need a good level of French to participate- they did try to get us to dance one evening in the terrace bar, but otherwise left us alone as we sat beside the pool one afternoon.
In our room we found the shower head was fixed and thus flooded the bathroom on full power and on two separate occaisions I had to eject cockroaches from the bathroom, having come through the louvred wooden cover- a radiator cover basically- under the sink, though the only wildlife in the grounds were a few well fed cats and lots of birds- given that we were in Saharan Africa then I suppose this was to be expected.
Our toilet was continually running-easily fixed with the stop tap set to off- and there was a slight warp to the patio door which allowed winged guests into the room to bite me, despite our Mosquito killer plug in- I'd just splather yourself in Lemon oil instead- cheaper and more effective.
It might be an idea too, for the management to spend some cash on new plates, cups and machinery- some of the coffee/drinks machines looked very grubby and I noted their platewashing machine had left more than one plate dirty in the pile, having spent two whole days with a very painful stomach, this point seems quite pertinent- although no one else seemed ill and my other half was fine.
Despite this, I enjoyed my time here and can reccomend it to people wanting something a little different.
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Decameron Issil Hotel Marrakech