10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Didn't want to leave
"Wonderful hotel. Spotlessly clean, friendly attentive service, great food, fantastic atmosphere with trendy yet friendly fellow guests.
After haggling with the staff at the front desk we were given the tower bedroom which looks out over square Orson Welles and has the most fantastic view of a harbour. The views of the sunset from our window were the best I've ever seen in my life and this comes from someone who's travelled extensively! All this for 10% less than the price of a standard room (about Â£70 B&B for two of us). Absolute bargain in my humble opinion.
Breakfast was fantastic. Served on the roof terrace or in the atmoshpheric dining area and was usually shared the the resident sparrows. Had lunch one evening and wasn't disappointed - sat by the fire on a chilly December evening in just the most romantic setting I could imagine!
Can't recommend this place enough!"
- Travel date: Sun 7th of January 2007
Balls to the bad reviews
"We stayed in villa maroc about 2 weeks ago. We were intially booked to stay for 3 nights but stayed another 4 because we loved it so much.
The hotel itself is beautiful with a large tree growing through the central courtyard and lots of birds to feed at breakfast.
The food in the evenings was delicious, lovingly prepared (maybe a little under generous on the meat front) You dine in great litttle private alcoves by candlelight and low lighting. If you get one on your own it's very romantic.
The staff are natural, unpretentious and the smiles are genuine, warm and unslick.
I had a fantastic massage, my boyfriend was a little confused by the hammam experience.
The rooms vary. We were lucky and stayed in suites with high ceilings full of character and understated charm. As everything was pretty booked up the last room we had was a bit more cramped but still fun with a bed up in an attic type area and a window looking out to the sea.
Prices are not cheap but this has to be one of the lovliest hotels we have ever stayed in.
Also got a great recommendations for local restaurants.
Another review mentions Ferdaous where the previous chef works from Villa Maroc and raves about it. We went there and were disappointed. Full of unadventurous back packers following the lonely planet to the letter. The food was ok but nothing in comparison to villa maroc.
There is also a chameleon who comes to visit if you stay in rooms 18/19.
J and H, London October 2006
- Travel date: Sat 30th of September 2006
fantastic and very cosy
"from the moment we arrived (after a one night stay in the very over rated villa bagdad!) we fell in love with this place; very friendly staff, cosy log fires in the evening, a stunning plant filled
terrace and simple, pretty rooms. The hotel is really spacious with lots of nooks and crannies for relaxing or sunbathing. it also has an unbeatable location and great views of the beach from the roof."
- Travel date: Sat 30th of September 2006
Falling from its former glory
"I have the Hip Hotels Budget book, which admittedly is a couple of years old now, and based on the glowing review in this book, we booked 6 nights at Villa Maroc. On arrival, our room wasn't ready (as many other travellers have found), which we didn't mind too much but the room (a mini suite) was beginning to look a bit shabby around the edges and certainly didn't seem like it was going to be worth the money.
The first night's compulsory dinner was definitely the worst meal while we had away. I think this strange custom has come about as a result of Villa Maroc's star chef leaving recently (incidently, she's set up her own restaurant called Restaurant Ferdouss, which is incredibly cheap and wonderful food. Just one word of warning, it's usually full, so it's worth booking a table â especially if you don't speak French. We watched with some amusement how some English speakers walked in and got turned away and then some others, who were French, who hadn't booked a table, were miraculously presented with a free table (!) She's cheeky but good fun and the food is really fantastic â just one pitfall, there's no booze).
Anywho, the staff, overall, I found were extremely detached and bordering on rude. When we left we needed to organise a taxi to take us to the Atlas Mountains and asked the man at the desk to book it for us. He quoted 1,100 dirhams which is about Â£70. We thought this was too expensive since we travelled from Marrakech's airport to Essaouira for 800 dirhams (admittedly it is a 21/2-3 hour journey) but the man said no, he couldn't negiotate a better price. We decided to take our chance with the Grand Taxi and got a taxi for 750 dirhams!!! Wouldn't recommend this hotel to others but we didn't have a bad stay. It was just OKâ¦
Oh, and the birds do wake up at 5am but we got used to this."
- Travel date: Thu 21st of September 2006
We enjoyed it very much
"We have been to Essaouira a number of times. The first time was in 1979 when we went overland in a beat-up combi and stayed on the camp site. Spent just one night at the Beau Rivage hotel which was very basic at that time (I don't know what it's like now). We went back again in 2004 and stayed at the very stylish Dar Liouba. When we decided to go back last year we first considered the Riad Al Madina. I remembered that from '79 as a hippy hang out but it is now very changed. We were put of though after having seen it in package tour brochures and reading reviews of itâs small and dingy rooms, though the oneâs around the court seemed to be quit pleasant. Our searching kept coming up with the Villa Maroc as one of the most recommended options. Even having been before we didnât know it. We did book for 4 nights at the end of our visit to Morocco. From the moment we arrived we were welcomed warmly. We had booked a standard room which turned out to be up three flights of narrow stairs on the roof level. Without question our two heavy cases were carried up the winding staircases for us. At first we were a bit disappointed as we had imagined saying within the house overlooking the inner courtyard but as soon as we saw the room we loved it. Bright, airy and very clean. Tastefully decorated in a simple eclectic style. We were on the roof terrace where we could watch the spectacular sunsets, and share breakfast with the gulls whilst overlooking the hustle and bustle in the harbour below. We atmosphere was relaxed and efficient. I do agree with other contributors that the requirement to have an evening meal was annoying though we were aware this condition when booking and it was on compulsory for the first night. Although each evening it is a set meal there was not trouble or problem when we requested vegetarian although we had no idea what it would be until it arrived. Dinning was very relaxed with candle-lit tables set in small rooms so even though we werenât cut of from other guests we werenât all eating together, though Iâm sure that that would easily have been arranged if we wanted to dine with a group. However the cost of the food, though very good was not very good value, we thought it very overpriced, especially when there are so many other restaurants in Essaouira. It would be a shame if you were only spending one night in Essaouira, but who would do that.
Going in and out was never a problem and there was always someone at the desk or in the office and when we checked out our luggage was brought down for us, again without any problem. If you donât want or need a pool or identikit surroundings, but somewhere relaxed, comfortable and stylish then Iâd recommend Villa Maroc, in fact we will be going back again later this year."
- Travel date: Wed 3rd of May 2006
"After a trawl of the guide books I came across Villa Maroc in an exclusive travel guide. From the look of the pictures and the wonderful flowery description I decided to book the hotel, two rooms, one for me and my wife and another for my parents who were travelling with us through Morocco. We had to take two mini suites as the hotel was almost full and the mention of a Moroccan gastronomic experience left us quite excited about our forthcoming stay. Dinner is compulsory, I am not quite sure why they quote the room price excluding dinner, why not make it Dinner Bed & Breakfast? Anyway, when we arrived, my parents' room was still being cleaned, which is quite normal, but not at 2pm. The rooms were average, hardly the "mini suite" I was expecting and all the furniture had a fairly thick layer of dust. I decided to take a bath but alas the water was barely warm. Dinner was another average affair, a tepid tuna tart, bony fish tagine & two pathetic profitta rolls, possibly the worst and most expensive meal of our trip. As I am a keen photographer I decided I would get up at the crack of dawn to capture the wonderful Essaouira sunrise. You can imagine my surprise when I found the front door locked! At 5:30am! I looked around for a key, or someone to open the door but nothing. What if there was a fire? Apparently the âGuardianâ of the hotel was asleep in the bar and I should have woken him up, how on earth was I to know this? I though he was a guest who had one too many and passed out on the couch. So no pictures. On returning to my room my wife informed me that she had gone to the toilet in the night and been greeted by a large cockroach and could not get to sleep afterwards. This was beginning to sound like an episode of Fawlty Towers. On checkout I had a word with the manager / owner to explain my frustrations. What followed only served to aggravate me further. First she called me a liar, claiming the door is always open, which it most certainly was not, then she proceeded to shrug her shoulders and say, wellâ¦basicallyâ¦tough. The whole experience left me with a rather bad taste in the mouth (probably that fish tagine) and I would definitely not recommend the hotel to anyone. We checked out and found an absolutely stunning hotel right around the corner for half the price. Do yourself a favour, stay somewhere else but pop in and read their guest book, I think the comments speak for themselves."
- Travel date: Sun 30th of April 2006
"Thank god that we - for once - did not go by the trip advisor, but relied on recommendations by friends: we spent 3 days/nights at the Villa Maroc and thoroughly enjoyed it: very discreet & warm service, great local food and a very romantic location! On top, we got great advice for touring the country. If international hotel standard is a must for you, then give Villa Maroc a miss. But if you want to feel at home in a Maroccan town house in the middle of Essaouira, where seagulls are louder than street noise, we highly recommend the Villa Maroc!"
- Travel date: Thu 12th of January 2006
A lovely hotel
"We had a wonderful stay at Villa Maroc. The room was simple but very tasteful, and opened out onto a lovely flower filled terrace that overlooked the sea. Breakfast was included in the price and was delicious! Although you have to have an evening meal the food was once again outstanding. Evening meals are taken in one of the many candlelit rooms. Indeed, they were turning away people who wanted to eat there.
This is one of the most stylish hotels we have ever stayed in."
- Travel date: Mon 5th of December 2005
Give this place a miss!
"We originally booked into Villa Maroc for 2 nights as part of a 3 day trip to Essaouira. We booked a mini-suite as thought it might be worth the extra as I had heard the rooms were small. We were in room 21 which we were really disappointed with. The rooms were very basic and our bathroom had a seriously foisty/damp smell and wasn't very clean. We mentioned this to the staff who showed us a suite that was available which wasn't much better to be honest and we were going to have to pay an even higher rate (1200 dirhams) so we checked out after 1 night. The staff weren't very keen on this but in the end agreed to let us checkout without paying for the second night (due to the fact that people were enquiring about rooms quite regularly). Also, prepare to be woken by the sound of lots of very loud birds as there is a tree in the outside middle area of the villa maroc, consequently the balcony areas are covered in you know what.
We transferred to the Sofitel for a slightly higher rate. It has a lovely pool and we just wanted some comfort, we were past caring about whether it was traditionally Moroccan or not.
Also, the fact that dinner is obligatory at the Villa Maroc is another disadvantage. Food wasn't great! Overall, pick somewhere else to stay as it is overpriced and the rooms really need a refurbishment."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of October 2005
"After reading many positive articles on Villa Maroc, but no tripadvisor reviews, my fiancee and I were quite excited to be staying there for a portion of our honeymoon.
Unfortunately, it ranks as one of the worst lodging experiences that I have had. Mick Jagger and other celebrities have stayed there, and I can only hope that their experiences were more positive. From the minute we arrived, the staff was extremely unfriendly and unhelpful. They bedgrudingly agreed to help us cart the luggage from our taxi, as cars are not allowed close to the entrance of the building. The staff acted as if they were doing us a favor by taking care of this. In addition, or room was not ready by the time we got there. We arrived after the suggested check in time. When they finally allowed us in, the room was still being made up. After we started to settle in, the manager arrived and asked if he could show our room to someone who was interested in staying there! Unbelievable! Before we could answer, a woman was ushered in and proceeded to spend 10 minutes inspecting every nook and cranny of the room while we tried to relax.
The building itself is charming as is the town. However, as many of the reviews are more than 5 years old, it seems that villa maroc is resting on its laurels.
In addition, the room that we booked was located at the top of 3 flights of a very windy staricase. The room had an open balcony square that looked down to two other rooms. The bath was separated into a toilet by the bedroom, but in order to use the shower one had to walk by the open square to a separate room. Therefore there was no privacy at all. People could look up into our room, and we could look down to the two below. It was one of the strangest layouts I have ever been in. At no point were any of these "features" indicated on the website.
The staff continued to be rude and abrupt throughout our stay, refusing to restock bath products after they had been used, and not responding to simple requests in a timely fashion or at all.
The food was ok, nothing more.
One positive note were the massages. They are inexpensive and one of the women who gives massages is quite good.
There was no one available when we attempted to check out in the morning. Someone had to be called to give us our bill. When we checked out, the manager took my credit card, and didnt thank us for coming, or inqure about our stay. He didnt so much as say goodbye!
I am quite familiar with guest houses, and therefore was not expecting hotel services, just competent and professional interactions. Villa Maroc is not a 6 room building, they have a lot of rooms and therefore should be equipped to handle normal requests.
Upon our return to Marrakech, we were told by locals that the service at Villa Maroc is known to be unprofessional, and that it had gone downhill. I wish we would have known this before going.
We had an incredible time travelling throughout Morocco. This was the only blight on an otherwise outstanding trip.
I would not recommend villa Maroc to anyone."
- Travel date: Thu 6th of October 2005