3 nights at the end of February with a friend, weather was great and a slight gentle breeze to prevent dehydration, however sunburn is still a distinct possibility.
I stayed with a female friend in a Riad suite - sharing a double bed, so it's a good job we know each other well. In fairness it was the biggest bed I've ever stayed in(and very comfortable) so you barely knew you were sharing. In fact everything was oversized, the bed, the room, the wardrobes the shower room, the bathroom and the balcony/terrace, so nothing to complain about there. Beautifully decorated and very lovely.
The rest of the hotel was also lovely to look at and staff were very attentive. Being low season and therefore expecting it to be quiet and under occupied, we were not disappointed, however this does mean that the restaurants and bar were for the most part empty which means there was no atmosphere at all. We did go to the bar every night for a cocktail. Limited selection, and to be honest I don't think the cocktails were particularly nice(we tried different ones ) and found them to be mostly on the tart side, sending one back as it was just not drinkable. However the bar itself was beautiful and service great. If there had been more choice we may have stayed in the bar longer but when you are the only ones there, it's not quite as comfortable as you'd like, this is likely not the case during high season
There were only two restaurants(an indian/japanese and a Moroccan/italian). Certainly found the mix unusual. Both were in the main, empty whenever we walked past(low season) but we ate there once for dinner, in the morocan/italian, my friend having the beef tajine and I, being a vego had the mushroom pasta. Beef Tajin was by all accounts lovely as was her tiramisu dessert. Mine however was not cooked with the rice being crunchy and was therefore inedible. They took it away and I got another but really it was pointless as my friend had finished hers by then. The second one was only just cooked enough but there was absolutely no flavour to it at all so I didn't eat it. Disappointing, and I was still charged for it. As the restaurant was actually empty except for us I can think of no reason that food would be served uncooked and unflavoured. Service was good, but the food let it down. Limited variation on both restaurant menus means you wouldn't really want to eat there for two nights in a row, so you need to go 20 mins to the medina for variety, a free shuttle bus takes you there and brings you back if you are prepared to leave the medina by 8pm. If you want to stay later a taxi is about 20 dirhams. The week before the last free shuttle return from the medina would have been 6pm.
Breakfast has a nice variety of self serve items and you can request things too. First days service was a bit ropey but after that each morning was smooth enough. It would be good to have the same person deal with your table though as you sometimes have 3 or 4 different people at different times who then don't come back so whatever request you've made isn't met. The last morning we did have the same person throughout and it made a big difference. Everyone was very friendly.
The outdoor pool was absolutely huge, shame it is not heated though as it certainly takes your breath away and does not warm at all during the day despite the heat. Pool service is really excellent and low season there is certainly no shortage of beds.
There is a lovely spa with a heated indoor pool but it is small. My friend had a disastrous experience there, being abandoned by her therapist in a baking hamam pre treatment, until she felt so ill due to the length of time left wondering what was going on in the most intense heat. She eventually left it looking for her therapist. By this time she was in tears and feeling queazy. The manager was very nice, and offered another therapist(as her original one could not be found), who then did a fair job, however by then the whole experience had been spoiled. She was still charged.
Checkout was super smooth and service was really very good in general.
The medina (20 mins by free shuttle)is a must and as two women alone it felt perfectly safe. The square is big and market like with a maze of streets leading off. We went during the day to get the feel for it and shop and then on another day we went in the evening to eat. At night there is more music and atmosphere and the main square becomes a street food market. Both times it felt comfortable enough and a little haggling feels fine. We did not take a guide and we were glad we didn't as it would have felt like a very long day (although the guide would have given a historical overview of the streets). We did not go to the Majorelle gardens(though we had planned to) as those that went told us it took only half hour to go round and it was not the best season to go, so we chilled round the lovely pool instead. If we had stayed longer no doubt we would have visited though.
In summary. What I liked : the buildings, the rooms, the cleanliness, the service, the weather, the free shuttle, the pool and the out of season peacefulness. What I didn't like: the hotel restaurant food, the spa treatment and being charged for them when they were not up to scratch. Would I go there again? Absolutely on the deal I got via Fleetway, but I would have felt disappointed if I had paid full price I think. I would go for longer next time (planning for October), giving more time to experience things outside of the hotel but with only two full days we were limited.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Serenely nestled between the soothing Palmeraie landscape of palm and olive trees and the awe-inspiring Atlas Mountains, Sahara Palace Marrakech has been meticulously crafted with a vivid blend of Moroccan, Indian and Moorish themes that unfold from a magnificent Palace block to the four exclusive and expansive Riads. With its five glorious alabaster-white domes resting atop the luxuriant main building, the Sahara Palace Marrakech is regal and resplendent in this breathtaking Moroccan landscape. The hotel unfolds like a beautiful painting from galleries of hand painted frescoed wood ceilings and ornaments, restaurants of rich colours and texture, to the serenity and calmness of the Marie Iod Spa. The high vaulted lobby, highlighted by a sparkling 22 meter chandelier centerpiece and three kilometers of gold leaf adorning various ceilings, cornices, furniture and ornaments, makes this a truly royal experience. This palatial desert oasis features 161 well-appointed, spacious guest rooms, including 25 luxurious suites, spread between the magnificent main Palace and four exclusive Riads. All rooms and suites enjoy stunning views over the Atlas Mountains, the Palmeraie desert landscape or the calming pool and gardens. Our celebrated chefs have gathered the finest ingredients that span the Moroccan, Mediterranean and Indian in one unique destination. Our guests can wine and dine in some of the most stylish and charismatic restaurants and bars in Marrakech, whilst the warm and welcoming service makes every moment memorable. The hotel houses the renowned Marie Iod Spa spread across 3,800 square meters with 14 treatment rooms & two extensive hammams in line with the Moroccan tradition. The spa experience includes dedicated massage therapies, signature Moroccan experiences, personalized coaching services and a full range of esthetic treatments. The Yoga Temple further enhances the overall experience. ... more less
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