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“this hotel is only for french speaking people”

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Le Flouka Auberge et Restaurant du Lac
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 13, 2010

I would not recommend this hotel to anyone who doesn’t speak French, although the owners Philip and his partners spoke good English, they never ever tried to greet us or a least have a small conversation with us (they did with everyone else). They gave us a feeling that they wanted us to leave, because we couldn’t communicate. There is no other places to eat so you cannot avoid their £18 dishes (more expensive that London) wine was £16 and the food was not the best (desert was nice). I felt sorry for the staff, they were all locals and we saw them all day there (24 hours), these two arrogant owners looked like Conquistadores that never left Morocco and treated people like slaves.

Staff was really friendly, but not English at all. The location was indeed really nice, amazing view and good rooms.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Emelecuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 - 48 of 173 reviews

Reviewed April 10, 2008

I stayed here with a female friend at the Auberge for three nights. We chose the Auberge on the basis of Alistair Sawday’s “Special Places to Stay” review. Confusingly, it seems to have two names – “Auberge du Lac” and “Relais du Lac”. I think the full name is actually Auberge Relais du Lac. The website is http://www.aubergedulac-marrakech.com.

I’ve got really mixed feelings about this place. Basically, the location is fabulous, but the hosting is not terribly warm (particularly towards Brits) and the accommodation is a bit grotty.

PROS
- Views of lakes and mountains behind beautiful.
- Grounds are beautifully landscaped.
- Location feels private and isolated. Little development around.
- Sunbathing OK on beach or in hotel, even for single females.
- Bar and alcoholic drinks available.
- Two swimming pools.
- Lots of space for kids to run around.
- Food tastes almost as good as it looks.
- Warm showers and plenty of hot water
- Maids make a real effort to keep the place clean
- WiFi internet available.
- Great trekking area.
- Good value

CONS
- Accommodation very basic, hostel style.
- Hosting not terribly friendly, welcoming or caring. Front of house staff all men (not threatening, but the place doesn't feel very homely)
- Location very isolated
- Little to do apart from sunbathe, eat and drink
- Not much English spoken (mostly French)
- Transport a bit of a pain. You'll be reliant on taxis without your own vehicle. They'll try and rip you off. It's quite a faff getting hold of one once you're there.

The location is stunning. The views across the lake to the High Atlas are breathtaking. It is also very isolated. The peacefulness is very welcome, especially after the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.

The Relais’ grounds are well landscaped with flower beds and areas for sitting and tables for eating. The site is on a terraced slope, consequently there are lots of steps. There are lots of little bars on the site; most notable is the life sized novelty ship bar!

There are two pools. They’re not big, but they are quite deep and don’t have child friendly shallow areas. We were visiting in April and they were not heated. We managed a swim, but as a French guest said, it was “glacé”! Both pools are attractively laid out with sun loungers situated around. As two women travelling alone, we’ve had a bit of hassle. We felt safe by the lake and pool in beachwear. In contrast, I wouldn’t have considered sunbathing on the public beach at Essaouria.

There’s plenty of space, so lots of space for kids to run around. There isn’t any specific child friendly entertainment – for instance, no games for kids, climbing frames or toys. The other guests were mostly French and a mixture of families and couples. The atmosphere was rather like a family campsite in France. The place was overrun with kids, although I got the sense that they were more tolerated than encouraged by the host!

The bedrooms are situated in attractive little adobe buildings scattered around the site. The bedrooms themselves were a bit scruffy, bare and hostel-like, albeit a good size. We had a twin room (that could easily fit four single beds). Our room was situated off a small courtyard. There was one other double room off the same coutyard, which was slightly nicer than ours and had a fireplace. For a family, this arrangement would have worked well as the courtyard can be locked and small children left to roam in safety.

The loo and shower room are shared between the twin and double room. You have to go outside into the courtyard to get to them. This isn’t as bad as it sounds as the courtyard is private. In April the weather was warm enough for it not to be too much of a problem. The showers had plenty of hot water. Bizarrely, there was no fixing for the shower head on the wall, so you had to wash your hair one handed!

Other “comforts” like bins, curtains, heating and water glasses were also missing from the room. There was air con, but it was making a terrible noise in our room and kept waking us up! There were no drawers for your clothes and a miniscule wardrobe to hang your clothes.

The maids make a real effort to keep the place clean, despite it being run down. Our bathroom was always clean. Little touches like a vase of roses in the room were appreciated.

We did try the Berber tents one night. I suppose we were expecting camping chic and they were a little too “authentic” for us! Bizarrely, they cost more than the room. They simply contain two pallet beds (with sheets and blanket) and a low table, with candles for light. They’re not very big and we found we were cramped with two of us and two suitcases. They are permanently erected, so are very dusty. It aggravated allergies I haven’t suffered in years.

Previous reviews mention a female host, Catherine. I don’t think Catherine works at the Auberge anymore; the place is now run by a French man, Jean-Charles. Jean-Charles does not speak much English and I suspect much of his lack of friendliness stems from his lack of confidence with the language. He seemed much more affable with his French guests. Enough English is spoken for you to get by if you don’t speak any French, but it helps if you speak a little.

When you first arrive hoteliers normally greet you, give you a little introduction to their hotel and show you around. None of this happened for us and we found ourselves having to seek out staff to find the shower block etc late at night.

Given the Relais’ isolation, you have no choice but to eat at the Relais. The food was pretty good. It was very well presented and tasted almost as good as it looked. It was a mixture of French and Moroccan. There was a menu for lunch, but breakfast and dinner are set menus. Breakfast is bread, boiled eggs, coffee/tea, yoghurt and preserves. Dinner is soup, tagine, cake-like pudding or ice cream. Although there is no choice at dinner, I did notice chips and pasta appearing for the kids, so presumably they’re not totally inflexible on this point.

This is a great place for chilling out, doing a bit of sunbathing and hanging out by the pool with a cocktail. However, if this is not your thing, there is very little else to do. The nearest village is Lalla Takerkoust, 5km away. It’s pretty much a one-street village with some cafés (not geared up to Westerners) and some butchers shops. In between the Relais and Lalla Takerkoust, there is nothing except beautiful scenery.

It’s possible to arrange trekking, quadbiking, camel tours etc. Perhaps the Relais will do this for you, but it was never offered and it wasn’t obvious how to do it. We made a few calls ourselves after looking on the internet for tour guides (WiFi is available in the dining/bar area). We ended up doing a short walking trek in the foothills of the High Atlas from the nearby town of Amizmiz. Our guide Jamal was provided by www.highcountry.co.uk. We phoned them in the morning and were off on our trek by early afternoon. This was well worth doing. The walk was amazing and tailored to our requirements.

We didn’t have our own transport so used buses and taxis to get around. We got a grand taxi from Marrakech to the Relais at night. This cost 300Dhs (about £21 or €26). The Relais ordered a grand taxi for us when we left and returned to Marrakech during the day. This only cost 150Dhs (about £10.50 or €13). It took about 40 mins to get from Marrakech to the Relais (not travelling at rush hour).

The drivers often don’t know where the Relais is, so make sure that you note the directions before you go. It’s not hard to find – from Marrakesh, go through Lalla Takerkoust, then take a left towards the dam (“la barrage”). This takes you onto a single track, paved road by the lake. It’s 5km on this road to the Relais – there are occasional signs on the way telling you how many kilometres left to the Relais or Auberge.

It feels longer than 5km because the road is so narrow and windy. It’s also further than simply going to Lalla Takerkoust, so the drivers often try to scam more money from you by saying it’s “off road”.

When we went to Amizmiz for our trek, one of the Relais staff drove us to Lalla Takerkoust (after much discussion with Jean-Charles!), then we caught the bus to Amizmiz (10Dhs each). On our return, we got a grand taxi who ripped us off and we ended up paying 80Dhs.

There is a bus from Marrakech to Lalla Takerkoust, which is no doubt much cheaper than the taxi. However, once you get to Lalla Takerkoust, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a petit taxi to get the rest of the way to the Relais. This would leave you with a 5km/6km walk.

It was very good value. We ended up staying three nights and had three breakfasts, three evening meals, one lunch and a couple of drinks. It cost about 3800Dhs for two of us (about £265 or €330).

So, to sum up – it was good for a bit of sunbathing, trekking and having a glass of wine while watching the sunset over the lake. I did enjoy it, but it’s let down by the unfriendly hosting and the scruffy accommodation. It was almost amazing, but not quite!

  • Stayed: April 2008
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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5  Thank Travelling-Hope
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2006

I agree with the previous review. Catherine was very sweet and extremely helpful, and the other staff were polite and attentive.

We stayed in a bedouin tent and although it wasn't the height of luxury, it was probably the best night's sleep we had in Morocco, and is very pleasant.

Canoeing across the lake is lovely and good for wildlife spotting.

The food was excellent. We had quail tagine and chocolate cake. Breakfast delish - nice fresh bread good coffee and conserves.

The views are lovely, the pool is clean and pretty. All in all, this was a good value and very comfortable and relaxing place to stay. I would particularly recommend it to couples or honeymooners - very romantic. Thumbs up!

  • Stayed: June 2006
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2  Thank ChloeSplus3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2005

Well, we weren't sure before we left - it could've gone either way, not least because we'd been warned by several incredulous people in Marrakech that the drought meant this lake (a dam) was somewhat parched and we should scrap all thoughts of staying there. But the chance to stay in one of their Nomadic style Bivouac tents was an unforgettable experience... for all the right reasons!!!

Incredible value, accommodation comes on a half board basis and the meals really are very good indeed. If it's a special occasion see if you can bagsy the table under the hut for some candelit romance! Good selection of wine on offer at reasonable prices and a little bar / cafe just 100m away operated by the same people for a delicious light lunch during the day.

The setting itself was amazing and the chance to watch the moon rise over the mountains across the lake unbelievable. We were also able to enjoy kayaking on the water for free (go across to the other side's little lagoon inlets and look out for turtles!!!) when we weren't enjoying having the lovely pool to ourselves. But there are lots of other activities on offer too.

And the shower unit was perfectly clean and nicely laid out, with endless hot water too, while Catherine - the English speaking owner - proved a highly amiable french host and her staff equally helpful.

All in all, this was an unexpected highlight of our trip - not least because neither of the 2 hotels on the lake are featured in any guide books we came across so weren't entirely sure where on earth we were actually headed!!! As it was, it proved just 30mins back to Marrakech.

Perfectly lovely.

  • Stayed: September 2005
    • Value
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2  Thank Curlysuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2017 via mobile
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Stayed: August 2017, traveled with family
Thank Yann F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2017
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  • Stayed: August 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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Thank Khadija A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2017 via mobile
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Stayed: April 2017, traveled with friends
Thank Thibault G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Le Flouka Auberge et Restaurant du Lac

Address: Le Flouka, BP 45, Lalla Takerkoust 42200, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Lalla Takerkoust
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Lalla Takerkoust
Price Range: $57 - $101 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Le Flouka Auberge et Restaurant du Lac 3.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Inn is located about 30 kms from Marrakech in Lalla Takerkoust. It is isolated but yet not too far away from the village and is right on the lake shore. Built using traditional Berber materials, it offers all the comfort and facilities in the rooms. A corner of paradise on earth ! Welcome to the quiet and calmness of a breathtaking environment looking out on the Atlas mountains all white in winter, and so colourful in the summer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Le Flouka Auberge Et Restaurant Du Lac Lalla Takerkoust, Morocco

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