I wanted to experience a traditional hammam scrub and also to see and experience the design of the Royal Mansour Spa. It comes highly rated in many places. I was extremely disappointed. It was the only hammam treatment I did in Marrakech so I can only compare it to spa experiences in other countries (Japanese baths, Korean Spa scrubs, regular western high end spa experiences in the USA, UK, Australia) and this fell short in terms of my overall satisfaction.
It was by far the most expensive treatment in town. I knew that when I chose it. 1400Dirhams for a 60 minute traditonal scrub, plus I chose to tip 10% as the treatment people were nice and competent at their part of the experience. Fatema was my scrubber and she was warm, friendly & made me feel comfortable.
One thing that was annoying - at the end of my treatment I was wrapped in my wet towel, then my bathrobe wrapped on top, then my very wet hair clipped on top of my head - I was starting to get a bit cold then led upstairs to the "relaxtion room", where I could lounge and read magazines (none in English, none of any quality, all trashy - I flipped through French Glamour. I did my best to be patient & enjoy myself when all I wanted to do was take off the wet layers (ill-fitting treatment thong, wet towel, wet hair, wet robe) and put some moisturizer on my face. I waited 10 mins for my tea, then drank some, so by the time I got downstairs I was colder than I wanted to be and my face had completely dehydrated. In the scrub they scrub you face too so it was stripped clean and they apply no moisture layer to you. By the time I got downstairs to the change rooms where the Dr Haushka face moisturizer was available I had a very badly peeling nose and my body skin was drying out on the extremities. I blow dried my hair, slathered my whole body in Dr Hauskka products, then was very ready to leave.
Overall complaints. Lack of common sense in the staff. No-one shows you around the premises - you are supposed to be allowed to use the sauna, the pool, the jacuzzi before your treatment, yet when I got there 40 minutes early (they told me to arrive 30 minutes early on the phone) no-one knew who I was, why I was there & I was left sitting for 5 minutes (with a beverage which is nice). It took me a bit to realized no-one was coming to help me and I explained who I was. I was told somewhat indignantly that I was early which I thought was rude and defensive and not a professional start. Then I asked to do the sauna and was told it was not turned on, could I wait. I said fine, I will swim for 10 mins. After swimming and showering, 20 minutes later I asked to sauna and was met with some inexplicable resistance but I was insistent as I was feeling very cold. The pool is heated but not that warm. I get to the sauna and it is not turned on, I am told to sit and wait again, by a new staff member. I get angry and say I had been told the sauna was turned on 25 minutes ago, he says sorry let em go find out. I am left alone, cold and wet under my robe and after 5 minutes I go upstairs and say, you know what I think I will just leave. This is ridiculous and I am not having a good time. I am not relaxed. I am cold. This is a terrible US$200 experience so far and just not acceptable. Then a very sweet woman apologizes a lot and talks me into staying, then Karim the hairstylist smooths everything over with his EXCELLENT manner. He is an asset to them, really good sense of how to handle customers, I relaxed in his chair while he applied coconut oil to my hair.
If you like Korean style body scrub, this is not for you. This scrub experience is very very mild. You receive one mild going over with the exfoliating glove and a black soap. It's fine, but notjhing I couldn't do myself, it is not particularly thorough or vigorous (unlike a Korean scrub where you see old dead skin coming off you in gray fragments and ribbons, this is mild to the point of ineffectual). Then some "mask" (looked like scrub again) is placed all over you but not rubbed in, just left to sit on you, then washed off. Then some gelatinous moisturizing layer is added to you and you lie there some more. Then your face is scrubbed and your hair is washed. You are lying down on hard marble the entire time. My low back ached by the end. My neck ached from when I was lying face down on the marble. There is a towel folded like a pillow, but marble is hardly a comfortable surface for an entire hour.
Overall, I was shocked by how many people there are in spa uniforms, all being super sweet and sort of trying to "help you" being and friendly and warm, while everything just seems really illogical & you dont feel well served. I suspect the size and physical functioning of the space that is not helping the staff - the fact that it is divided over 2 floors and has a lot of rooms, but still, perhaps it is also the system in place by management on how to flow a guest in and out of a treatment? Perhaps it is poor training - no-one seems to have service industry common sense. Whatever it is, I had a really rocky and expensive experience only salvaged by Karim's efficiency and good service instincts and then Fatima's ability to make me comfortable (it's not her fault I think the scrub is just not a thorough treatment, I dont think it was her application, I think it is just the nature of this kind of scrub - too mild for my taste).
To top it all off, on my way out a nice receptionist was accompanying me to the main door to outside. She had just given me directions to my hotel and we were walking in comfortable silence down a long and poorly lit corridor, and it did not occur to her to point out that there are lots of shallow wide steps and I did not see them. I twisted my ankle and almost fell. It was a moderate twist, 3 hours later it still throbs a bit plus I spasmed my back from the jar/jolting action if stumbling, so at the time I just stood still on 1 leg for 2 mins waiting to be able to put weight on it agaon. She offered to get me a cab, but I really really wanted to leave. So, again - the complete lack of service common sense caused me to have a bad experience, in this case in the form of an injury. It seems obvious to me - a client new to the space who arrived in the day and leaving by night, plus relaxed post spa-treatment, it seems only common sense to say "Please be careful, there is a step here, and a few more ahead". She was perfectly nice, but nice didn't stop me from tripping. Common sense and proactiveness would. With all of the reception staff at this spa there seems to be no service instinct or common sense beyond the warm smiles.
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- Also Known As:
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