If you go to Marrakech you are most likely going to be collected by your chosen riad or hotel due to the majority of taxi drivers not speaking English or French, and not having a clue where the hotels are. And within seconds you will know if you've picked a good riad/ hotel or something that's going to be a major letdown. And so it was, that within seconds, we knew the Mosaic Palais Aziza was not going to offer the 5-star service it purports to offer, and that sinking feeling hit hard.
We were met at the airport - my name on a piece of paper - held by a gentleman who couldn't be bothered to open his mouth and say "hello" or "welcome"... And off he walked to the carpark with absolutely no offer of assistance with our luggage despite us already being weary after a flight delay as well as spending 50 minutes at immigration. And he raced ahead of us so fast
that we actually lost sight of him. Finally he had the sense to come back and look for us, yet once in his people carrier there was no offer of a bottle of water or any attempt to speak to us. You have no idea how odd this was to us.
Over the past 5 or 6 years we've stayed at around 10 different riads/hotels in Marrakech, and only one other has shown contempt for us and made us feel unwelcome. We checked out of that riad early ( Le Jardins de La Medina) and we did the same at the Mosaic Palais Aziza.
We had booked one of the Pavilions - one of their most expensive rooms. It was pleasant, but nothing special. One of the real reasons we constantly return to Marrakech is that so many great interior designers have created wonderful intriguing riads/hotels. Yet absolutely little effort has been put into the Mosaic Palace. In truth, I have absolutely no idea why this hotel is called as such...it certainly doesn't resemble any exotic palace and there's very little mosaic worth noting. It simply isn't a 'mosaic palace'.
Our Pavilion was supposed to have WI-FI but didn't. A member of staff had to come and install a router. The mini-bar wasn't working, everything in it was warm. And various lights, indoors and outdoors, were not working and had to be fixed and bulbs replaced. Plus the air conditioning also wasn't working properly and was much needed in the 40 degree heat. We asked for someone to look at our air conditioning system and was sharply told "I think it is working good enough for Moroccans" - what a dumb remark to tell a foreigner. And more to the point, why aren't these things checked before a guest arrives? When a guest is paying over 400 Euros a night make an effort to get their room and surroundings ready! Needless to say the mini-bar and the air-conditioning never were fixed.
The next morning, after a hot sweaty night, we both started the day with a positive attitude and set off for breakfast only to be blasted by a rag bag of opera, Arabic and western music. Hideous! I've written this before, but I will write it again. You're on the outskirts of Marrakech, surrounded by greenery and the birds singing along with the sounds of nature, clear blue sky and the sun is shining. Many are on vacation from noisy city life. Do you wanted to be blasted by someone else's choice of music and have the peace destroyed? And so it continued - music all around the swimming pool - no escape - and seemingly more for the enjoyment of the pool boys and the staff as they were the ones who kept adjusting the volume when they liked a particular tune. We began to feel like we were at a holiday camp. For this one reason alone I informed the management we would be checking out early. And to their credit they turned the music off. However, I don't want to take away what may be a pleasure for others - I believe it better to remove myself from such a situation and stay at a proper 5-star hotel which doesn't inflict its musical tastes on the guest.
I also wish i could say we had one decent meal in 48 hours, but much of it was pitiful and dire. Some completely amateurish cooked food, awful soup, over-cooked rubber chicken, over-cooked tough poor quality lamb, and the most bizarre homemade ice cream ever witnessed. All an insult when compared to so many delicious dishes we have eaten in Marrakech. The food quality at breakfast was also very mediocre. And though you make think this is snobbish, no proper 5* hotel serves butter in those horrible little white plastic sachets.
After 24 hours we'd had enough - too much was wrong and we couldn't wait to leave, and fortunately as we travel independently we can do so. But a final sting was waiting for us.
We had arranged for our next hotel to collect us ( the truly fabulous, and correctly titled, Palais Namaskar) at midday. But only after we had paid our bill and we were looking for our transfer were we informed that we were an hour early - it was only 11am. No one at the Mosaic Palais Aziza had told us the clocks had changed nearly 72 hours earlier, and no one had bothered to change the clocks in our pavilion. How unprofessional!
Fortunately, due to being on our annual two week break in Marrakech we were able to stay in fabulous hotels/riads elsewhere, with great exotic interiors, food and service. And for this reason we'll keep going back. But for certain the Mosaic Palais Aziza will remain one of our greatest disappointments - however, those first few seconds upon being met at the airport told us instantly we were not going to be enjoying a true 5-star experience. And ironically, this hotel was more expensive than anywhere else we stayed at. What a waste - and even more
shocking was to learn that its a fairly new establishment. Certainly in our humble opinion no other riad or hotel has to worry about this mediocre competition. When compared to so many other great riads and hotels in Marrakech the Mosaic Palais Aziza only deserves 3 stars.
I suppose we must try and give some balance and highlight some positives. Certainly the hotel has a very nice heated swimming pool which can be relaxing and enjoyed when not blasted with music. It also has some nice lush green grounds. And it was also incredibly nice of the management to have observed from one of our passports that we just happened to be here during a birthday - and they kindly produced a complimentary cake. Also in our pavilion was a
complimentary bottle of gin, vodka and whisky. A very nice touch. But sadly nowhere near
enough to make us want to stay here when there's so much better on offer in this exotic city.
This may well be classed as a 5* hotel for those that are used to package holidays and who travel on budget airlines to their chosen destinations. But it most certainly was not 5* in my world.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Conveniently close to the beating heart of the imperial city, Mosaic Palais Aziza & Spa, discreetly nestled away in the heart of a green oasis located in the most exclusive recess of Marrakech's palm Grove "La Palmeraie," it is an elegant and serene haven of luxury and simplicity. This five star deluxe boutique hotel offers richly appointed guest rooms, suites, pavilions and garden villas tucked away in 5 acres of lush gardens planted with fruit and palm trees and lined with flower beds tastefully laid out around patios and pools. Harmoniously blending traditional Moroccan architecture with state of the art amenities, attentive service and outstanding facilities created to seduce the discerning traveler. ... more less
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