This review is based primarily on the fact that the hotel claims to have a 5 Star rating. It is located behind a wall with a manned but mostly locked gate. It is some distance from the main road and connections with downtown Marrakesh. Realistically the only transport option is to order a taxi which the hotel controls with a single taxi proprietor – fare non-negotiable.
Despite the claim of a “24 Hour” reception it was only intermittently manned during the day and not at all at night. There was no means of calling for help when the desk was unmanned. The attitude of the female French nationality staff member who was from time to time present was stand-offish and her English was poor.
The bedroom was elegant but rather monastic and cell-like – it was very dark with only bedside and table lamps. The only mirrors were in the bathroom and these were not full length – something a lady doesn’t like. In the bathroom, and judging again by normal 5 Star standards, it is worth noting that there was just one (refilled) liquid all-purpose soap and no other soap, shampoos and bathroom items. There were neither hooks nor shelves for cosmetics etc. There was no dressing gown or slippers – again items that are commonly provided in genuine 5 Star hotels.
The room contained no printed information in a folder of the type that is commonly provided in all hotels – including information about how to use the satellite television which you had to work out for yourself. Only one (Bloomberg) of the dozens of TV channels was English language despite BBC, Sky etc. being available in Morocco. There were no tea/coffee making facilities and there was no drinks fridge. Drinking water was not provided in the room. DVDs were available but they were all French language.
The bedroom had stone floors – cool in the summer, no doubt, but chilly in November. There was limited heating in the bedroom from the a/c unit but it was difficult to keep the room at an acceptable temperature. The bathroom was unheated – it had a radiator but this was not turned on. The public rooms were unheated and very cold – except when a log fire was lit in one or other of them and this only in the evenings.
Despite the claim of “Complimentary wireless Internet access” in fact the Reception area is the only part of the hotel that had anything like satisfactory WiFi and that was unreliable and very slow. Elsewhere there was either no signal (e.g. in our bedroom) or a weak one which could not be used. There were no instructions on how to use the WiFi link.
The Hotel was described as having a “… bar/lounge, a café, restaurant…” but in fact there is just one large room with tables which has a sort of bar counter in the corner. This is mostly unmanned. There is certainly no restaurant or serviced food facility of the type that one would expect in a 5 Star hotel. There is a menu which is the same all day and every day which contains a list of snacks and light meals. There is a daily hot dish (no choice) – usually the Moroccan dish “Tangine”. For those on half-board (we were) this has to be ordered in the morning and we were asked to dine at around 7:00pm – largely for the convenience of the staff it seemed. There is no proper wine list – just “Moroccan Red” or “Moroccan White” – it was of adequate quality but sold at a very hefty mark up. There is one local beer available. My wife had a bad stomach one day and asked for a Cognac but none was available.
Breakfast consisted of Coffee, Orange Juice, toast and jam and very small pancakes or a fruit salad. There was no choice and no proper hot or cold breakfast items, no cereals, no fresh meat/cheese/fruit etc. This was the bare minimum that could be considered adequate in a basic “Bed and Breakfast” - and wholly unacceptable in a so-called 5 Star hotel.
The local (Moroccan) staff were pleasant and helpful but spoke little or no English. The French management was aloof and at times completely absent. We seemed an inconvenience to them. When my wife was ill they showed no concern and once again went to ground.
On the third morning of our stay (Thursday) there was no hot water at all in our bathroom. The Reception was unmanned, as usual, but we eventually found a staff member to report the matter to. He confirmed that they were aware of the problem and were working on it. When we returned that evening, despite assurances to the contrary, the problem had not been resolved although there was now some tepid water – but not hot enough to take a shower. The proprietor Mr Guillemjouan and his fellow manager had been absent all day and indeed did not make an appearance until the following morning (Friday) when there was still no hot water. At no point did Mr Guillemjouan make contact with us to apologise although it seemed that he was frantically making phone calls – perhaps because new guests were arriving that day? The proprietor’s lack of customer focus had been a problem all week – frankly he just didn’t give a damn! And for most of the time we were the only guests! This was the final straw so we checked out. No hot water for two days, an insouciant and uncommunicative Manager and a hotel which was self-evidently not 5 Star but was arguably not even a hotel at all but a uniquely dysfunctional establishment – and a rip-off.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An exceptional site in the full heart of the Palmeraie, and at only 10 minutes of the effervescence of the Jamaa-el-Fna Place, our property is offering a wonderful park of one hectare of olive trees, fruit trees and palm trees. Around the swimming pool, all is calm and pleasure to relax and enjoy the delicate and discreat service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Al Assala Palmeraie Hotel Marrakech
- Al Assala Palmeraie Marrakech