To get some thing straight first, this is not an international hotel, they cater for the French! Everything is in French and everyone speaks French so unless you have that language it can be a bit difficult. Expect all hotel trips to be in French and it has to be said they were not to keen to take Brits. We had the greatest difficulty finding a company offering English tours but we did eventually. There are loads of poolside activities but again all in French, if you have kids they will certainly feel left out of things .
The hotel covers quite a large area of ground with rooms away from the main complex in small self contained blocks. Ours was quiet and away from things but some are very close to the theatre and night club so this needs to be watched. The room was a good size and clean and quite well painted, no luxury but adequate. The bathroom was clean apart from some mould around the shower guard and fittings which were quite old. Cleaning seemed to be done at different times of the day and towels were delivered at another time, getting enough towels was not always easy. Our room had free air conditioning which worked well and a small patio area.
There is one main restaurant but you can get snacks at the inside and poolside bars. The food is plentiful and looks great but two of us had upset tummies for the whole of our stay there despite taking all the usual precautions with water , salads, ice etc. There were lots of sauces and maybe these contained things we were not used to or maybe not a lot of trouble was taken in the preparation, I say that because even the things cooked fresh like eggs or omelettes for breakfast were if you were not careful undercooked.
We paid for full board and have no complaint with that at all. You can drink and eat as much as you want and the restaurant staff are happy to help and very efficient.
Our Holiday was for ten days in April so the temperature was still not too hot, some cloud and some rain. The large, modern outdoor pool was too cold for all but the most thick skinned but the indoor heated pool was great, warm and relaxing. Plenty of sun beds but be warned some crafty guests get out early and reserve beds, not good when the pool area gets busy as despite the number of beds they soon fill up.
The grounds are extensive, attractive and well cared for, pleasant to walk in and quite safe.
The reception staff are not over helpful, they have Internet which you pay 30DR per 30 mins for but to access this you need to put money in a machine. The hotel never has any change for this and are not helpful in getting you any. It is not difficult to get the impression that the staff will be helpful to a point but would rather you weren't there. An example is that you ask how much a taxi should be from the hotel to say the market, they tell you the 100DR which you will pay if you use the large taxi outside the hotel, they do not tell you to ignore this, get a peti taxi and pay a maximum of 40DR, not helpful. While on the subject of taxis, always go for the small peti taxis, be prepared to bargain and if you don't get your price walk away, there are plenty who will take you. From the hotel to the el Koutoubia mosque is around 40DR if you bargain. This gets you to the centre of Marrakech and most places you will want are walking distance from there. Once hired we found the taxi drivers cheerful and helpful and quite good drivers in these very busy streets.
Back to the hotel, Poolside drinks promise a lot, exotic sounding cocktails with lovely ingredients, in reality some spirit of your choice sloped into a plastic cup and toped up with coloured liquid, the colour seemed to vary depending on who dispensed the drinks. Even the traditional mint tea was insipid and rarely hot. Poolside snacks were available thought the day and seemed to satisfy the kids.
In Marroco you will want to get out and about to the souks and markets, there is plenty written about this but to summarise how I see it, everyone is out there to extract as much money as possible from you, the methods may vary and range from friendly barter to downright threatening, be prepared and do not relax your guard.
Don't be fooled by the guides who take you on trips out, they get a percentage from the places they take you, they will not give you good advice.
For some reason we are told that bargaining for an article is good fun and something to be entered into with that attitude, that's one viewpoint, the other is that you are a money pit to be plundered to whatever depth you allow. Unless you really want something don't bother. The people you will be bargaining with are for the most part selling a load of tat, it is not usually genuinely made locally by the ladies you see in small collectives working away, it comes in crates from China. These people will put the onus on you to name a fair price, you will not want to offend them and will offer more than you want to pay, they will be offended anyway and you will offer more, welcome to rip off Marroco that's how it works. Assume everyone is after your hard earned cash and if your happy with that proceed.
Two things to watch with great care, first in the markets you will see the heavily tattooed or sometimes completely veiled Henna Ladies, do not let these people near to your lady party members, you do not want dirty needles stuck into your skin unbidden! It happens and they can be very persistent and will often approach you in numbers.
Next watch out for the violent thieves who dress in the red traditional costumes. You will see that if you take a picture they want money and are not above chasing you and your party surrounding you and threatening, once again especially the ladies.
You may think the descriptions a little extreme but I prefer to say they are realistic. That is not to say that you can't have a great time and soak up the atmosphere, the noise and the colour but always be on guard, lots of those around you live in poverty and they make their living out of you. This is a hard country, there is no safety net for the poor or homeless, they are on the streets and you are on their streets. It's a great country to visit, our hotel was for the most part pretty good and we had an enjoyable stay, if you are happy in a French speaking environment and if the rather sloppy attitude of the staff does not bother you then you will enjoy the hotel.
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Decameron Issil Hotel Marrakech