The short review: Book it and you’ll have one of the – if not THE – best hotel experiences ever!
I had originally reserved another newcomer to the Marrakech hotel scene, but as a Leaders Club member my attention had been drawn to one of their newest properties, Palais Namaskar.
When I made the reservation I had some trepidation about whether or not such a newly opened property’s service would be up to scratch; the hotel assured me that it would so I decided to change my reservation and spend my week with them.
From the moment I was met at the airport by one of their charming drivers (who we were fortunate enough to get to know throughout our week’s stay) I immediately sensed that it was going to be a good stay.
The resort itself is contained behind high walls so as you approach you have no sense of what lies within. The moment the car pulls into the courtyard you are greeted by long marble paths surrounded by calm pools, all set into beautiful gardens. Often hotel web-sites will have pictures taken in the best possible light, in Palais Namaskar’s case the photographs fail to do justice to what is simply the most magnificent resort.
We were immediately taken to our room - where the luggage was already waiting – and check-in was completed there. This was followed by an explanation of the various features of the room. The room itself was vast, with exceptionally generous ceiling heights, no less than two terraces, one with a Jacuzzi set in a slate pool, and another with an extra large size sun bed for two. There was a spacious entrance hall with a guest loo. The living area had a fireplace (any hotel room with a working fireplace is special in my book!), Bang & Olufsen television, and lots of Italian and French furniture. The bedroom area could be separated from the living area by a full height curtain. In the bedroom there was another B&O television, more Italian furniture and a proper king size bed. Often hotels list a room as having a king size bed, when in fact it’s nothing more than a large double; this was a king size bed. There was a generous dressing room with plenty of wardrobe space, this led on to the bathroom. As with the large room, the bathroom’s proportions were equally generous with a double shower (which occupied an area larger than many hotel bathrooms) twin vanities, separate loo, large freestanding bath, and a private outdoor shower. The whole resort exudes an atmosphere of generosity and calm, this is perfectly embodied by the rooms where it truly feels that everything is the best... even a small tray for coffee cups was made by Hermes!
The gardens with all their ponds and pools become even more magical at night when candle-lit lanterns line the paths and reflect in the pools alongside the moon and stars; truly magical.
The dining options are perfect and quality is never compromised even if you are dining in-room. Breakfast is taken either in the restaurant or in-room with the menu being the same for each. Waking up to breakfast delivered spot on the requested time, and then set up on your terrace overlooking yet more ponds and colonnades is heavenly. Even a plate of sliced fruit is beautifully presented with each item perfectly cut and decorated. Cooked items are equally well made and presented (they arrive in a hot box so are kept perfectly warm until you are ready for them), with stand-outs being a pain perdu with pear compote and caramel, and omelettes perfectly made with no colour and the perfect texture; textbook fundamental French cookery. Lunch and dinner strike the right balance between fine dining and comfort food; no dish is too challenging for the palate and as expected are all presented elegantly and with finesse in abundance. A nice touch is a Morroccan menu that sits alongside the contemporary French offerings; never have a tagine or pastilla been served with such elegance and attention to detail. A stand-out dish for me was a fillet of beef – cooked just as I had ordered – and served with a truffle macaroni au gratin; even the small herb garnish had been dressed. It is the attention to detail that makes it truly special. The pastry chef is equally talented producing faultless tarts, and other items of patisserie; the special of the day was always that, special! If one wanted to go off menu, the chef was always willing to accommodate requests.
The roof-top bar area has a fantastic view over the resort, and the Palmeraie and mountains beyond. Of course the cocktails were well made too! It was also the venue for the GM's regular cocktail party, which was attended by guests and other senior management team members. I always think events such as these are a good idea; it is a good opportunity for the guests to meet key staff members that they may not ordinarily encounter e.g. in room dining. More importantly it is a good opportunity for the staff to obtain direct feedback so that they can continually refine the guest experience; not that Palais Namaskar is in need of much refining at all!
The pool area, which sits behind the restaurant and a couple of their suites, is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon on an oversized sun bed (for three no less!) with the gardens on either side. Pool service comprises towels and chilled, scented face towels. Whilst one could always order items from the restaurant it would be nice if every so often some frozen fruit or something similarly refreshing was offered as part of the poolside experience.
The reception area contains a few cabinets with a very well curated collection of locally made accessories, and objet d'art - everything has the right "look" and quality; it is the polar opposite of the tourist tat that fills up so much of the souk!
As spectacular as this property’s physical assets are, the guest experience would not be the same without their wonderful staff. Each and every staff member – regardless of hierarchy – was warm and friendly and really wanted their guests to have the best experience possible, and at every opportunity they went out of their way to ensure that this was the case. From the waiters in the restaurant to the concierge to the drivers, everyone gave the best possible impression. A day trip with a guide to Marrakech was accompanied by one of the hotel’s drivers; after a few hours wandering around the Medina with our guide, the driver was there and waiting with iced water and scented towels. The service really takes care of all the little details that add up to create a special experience.
All in all, Palais Namaskar is a truly spectacular property both in terms of service as well as the design and decor. I always have high – but realistic – expectations of any property that I stay at, Palais Namaskar far surpassed all of these. I cannot wait to return... unfortunately I know that any other hotel I stay at will not have the magic and special qualities of Palais Namaskar; I have been truly spoilt!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- More than a hotel, Palais Namaskar, nestled in the heart of a magnificent park of more than 5 hectares, is a real destination. Between the Atlas Mountains and the mysterious Djebilet hills, the hotel offers its guests a space and unlimited freedom for unforgettable experiences. ... more less
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