11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Impressive Location but Appalling Attention to Detail.
"It was quite shocking how poor the service was compared to other hotels that aim at the same top end of the market. We had just come from 5 days at Kasbah Dar Ahlam near Ouarzazate, a similarly priced hotel (in fact slightly cheaper taking into account the all-inclusive excursions), whoâs delivery was faultless. I have compared several examples of that hotel with Tamadot simply to more easily demonstrate the faults and how a good hotel ought to act.
First some good ingredients: location & pool are beautiful (as often commented about on-line by those that rate the hotel) with some impressive interior views; our room gave an excellent first impression too. Basically the problem lies in service and poor attention to detail; for a resort that promotes itself so highly by it's price, a few dazzles of bling are not sufficient when aiming for a high quality experience.
On arrival there was no one to help with our heavy luggage from the car up the steps to reception (at Dar Ahlam we were always greeted at breakfast and at Every return, by both the Hotel manager and staff to help us). While talking to reception his mobile phone rang and he cut across me to talk to it, without even a âdo you mindâ, that is simple rudeness. On another occasion the two staff in reception were talking in Arabic. Rather than addressing us they just continued in Arabic as though we did not exist.
-Tamadot staff were generally slow often requiring an additional call from me. For example at DarAhlam everything was provided so we could make up our own log fires in the room whenever we wanted. In Tamadot we were treated like idiots and had to call someone to do this simple task. Two evenings we asked for the fire to be lit and both times had to wait over an hour, then I had to re-call and only then did they come. The whole time during our stay they did not clean the hearth so every time we entered our room we were faced with filthy ashes, some fallen on the floor and part burned logs. Does the hotel not think that cleaning the room is important?
While waiting for the room to be made ready on arrival we had lunch, we were thinking of the wonderful meals weâd had over the last week. Opening the menu the first item I saw was âHamburgerâ! It was a very down market selection compared with fresh authentic preparations of DarAhlam every one chosen by the chef for each individual guest, no menu's, just as at a private dinner party with friends. Even our DarAhlam picnics were stunning masterpieces of art and poetic presentation. The outdoor food throughout Tamadot was very average, with much use of industrial bottled sauces, drinks etc & often mediocre meat & fish quality. The indoor restaurant was better and some courses rather good.
- However service everywhere was poor. On many occasions when serving, despite having easy access, the waiters insisted on serving across one of us by passing plates, drinks, water etc right in front of the others face, not walking round the table to serve from the side, Does no-one train these staff ? Unobtrusive they were not! They reminded us of waiters who were students doing a holiday job not a properly trained team of staff who cared about giving service
. Even the drink which was supposed to taste of mint actually only had the stalk with leaves thrust on the top of the ice, not mint chopped and stirred into the drink. There was therefore no taste of mint at all. Shoddy, careless and simple route of least work.
- Richard ordered Cheese platter after the main course. It came cold and hard, obviously just taken out of a fridge, this is basic food errors, cheese should not be stored in a fridge and should be served at room temperature. Richard had his course but my dessert did not appear at all; after 10 minutes I had to ask for it âoh do you want it now?â I was told. Have the staff not been trained? Naturally you serve the course for everyone at the same time. Why did the staff not keep checking the table to see all was well as theyâd have spotted me tapping my fingers while Richard was eating?
- On clearing the next table they merely wiped the table with a dry cloth, no disinfectant, and brushed the crumbs onto the floor for all to walk over the terrace, rather than into a container or even their hand to pocket or even deposit it over the edge of the terrace into the garden.
-They then took a new party of 5 guests to this table. Though theyâd put out 5 place settings, there were only 2 chairs and not all the setting were complete leading to the frustrated group shuffling awkwardly between tables while the job was completed in a rushed unseemly manner.
- There were only around 30 covers but the staff were running round like headless chickens, where was the maitre d' to keep order?
- On the first night, we had been asked to book a table in the restaurant so as to give the staff a rough idea of when we might be eating so booked one for 8pm. At 7.45 we walked over in the rain (under hotel provided umbrellas in which some of the spokes were missing or damaged - so no-one is checking quality) and had a drink in the Library. At 8.02pm one of the staff came over and brusquely reminded us that 'did we know we had a table booked at 8pm in the restaurant and it was now past 8pm'. He was firmly and politely told we knew perfectly well, and we would go when we had finished our drinks.
- The farce then continued as when we sat down for dinner the waiter brought bread, butter and olive oil and rather pointedly told us which was the olive oil and which was the butter.
- At breakfast we were given a menu & were assessing what to order but while reading it, the first half of breakfast was presented fait accompli, so why were we given a menu for these items?
- At one point after some items had been cleared, our next course was brought but we were now missing a plate and two knives. The staff disappeared not having noticed, eventually not finding anyone we had to walk over and get them ourselves. This sort of basic issue should not happen in a good hotel and never did in DarAhlam .
It's was quite a shock after DarAhlam where at every meal we ate in a new private location only seeing other guests passing by or in the communal garden lounge, to be surrounded by noisy hordes and kids. There were children at DarAhlam of course, fun-loving but well behaved saying something about the atmosphere the place had created.
Elsewhere the same inattention to detail was observed with the staff:
- There was orange peel in the garden outside our room. Throughout the whole of our stay no one cleared it up.
- Repairs had been made to the tessellated stairway to the upper courtyard, but two of the inserted tiles were the wrong colors so disruption the rhythm of the patterning.
- When the sun shone on the windows, even at breakfast they were full of finger marks so one could not view the sunrise with clarity. At DarAhlam every morning the staff were checking windows and cleaning them before people came to breakfast.
- DarAhlam they removed the pool cover and prepared all the surrounding furniture before sunrise so that any guests coming down to view the sunrise were not distracted by cleaning staff and unprepared surfaces. At Tamadot we still saw them preparing the pool at 11am!
The staff everywhere seemed demotivated and inattentive, rushing madly or leaning on their brooms chatting. At DarAhlam the staff were always gracious, elegant and friendly. I often saw the head supervisory manager, very friendly girl, always exchanging pleasantries about the weather etc with the staff, but not asking questions like is everything running smoothly, is there anything she needs to do or can help them with. When we met on leaving she never asked if we had enjoyed our stay.
But these are the sort of Questions that continuously must be asked to keep on top of things. Control must be kept with continuous attention to detail.
Physical Characteristics: Having just returned from seeing the hundreds of Kasbahs around the DrÃ¢a & DadÃ©s when seeing the Branson Tamadot it immediately looked wrong, a sort of Disneyfied pastiche. It lacked the characteristic monumentality and had a mere sprawling silhouette. So many details were wrong just one example: the parapet merlons on kasbahs are 3 stepped, representing the 3 fingers of Fatima and the embrasures wide-spaced, but at Tamadot the merlons were stubby 2-stepped, round and sometimes square and the whole narrated in the vocabulary of a Norman castle, not Moroccan. Inside one saw Indian, Chinese, Thai, Turkish, Hindu & European artefacts - fine if it's marketed as Richard Branson quirky home, as is Hurst Castle in California, but not if promoted as a Moroccan experience.
Also many items looked just shoved in rather than thoughtfully designed eg the pool cafe pastiche columns did not fit naturally onto the 'B&Q' attempt of a Moroccan reed & poplar ceiling, which itself had nasty cheap screwed on electric bar heating! Attached was an ugly plastic wind protector like a workman' cafe. The wrapped up gas heaters were just left on the side of the restaurant rather than stored out of site making the place look tacky.
As mentioned our room gave an excellent first impression & was well appointed, but again attention to detail was lacking.
- Some were small malfunctioning physical items like doors not quite closing, lights not working, candles without wicks, the marble coffee table was not attached to its base so as you lift to move the item itâs base remains and one nearly falls over with the unexpected weight, sink plug badly fitting so would not close properly, shower so badly blocked that on showering the water quickly rose above the marble shower tray and flowed into the room, even the bathâs fez-hatted rubber duck fell over when placed in water as it was not weighted correctly, both electric blankets provided did not work, iPod attachment was not functioning, electric sockets half falling out of the wall with exposed wires, cobwebs on the lamp fitting etc etc
- At DarAhlam we only encountered one problem, an almost unnoticeable small LED strip which we mentioned in response to being asked at dinner if everything was working ok in the room at dinner. Going back to the room after dinner it had already be repaired. At Tamadot no one ever even bothered to ask if things were working!
- It was obvious that the management had not slept in the rooms to check they functioned properly or many items would have been immediately seen.
Other issues were more service than physical, showing fundamental management failings. For example the bathroom had a dozen bottles of shampoo, gel, conditioner etc but 80% were labelled "For Her", but we were booked in as a couple, housekeeping entered our room while we were both there so the hotel knew two men were staying. Similarly there were 2 sets of babouche slippers, but one was for a woman! We spotted at least half a dozen other gay couples at the hotel who presumably suffered the same insult. This sort of detail was fully addressed by DarAhlam as by most quality hotels. Where was the initiative? Does Tamadot have no diversity training? The first impression should have been 'we care' rather than 'we donât care'. It shouldn't be down to the guests to complain and made to look picky. Is this how they wish to treat communities than can bring so much needed income to the country?
We were looking forward to using the Hamman. When I explored the fascilities I discovered they had no male staff to service the guests, nor any male masseurs in the spa. No authentic Hamman in Morocco has female staff working on men, they usually lack the strength amongst other issues. Of course many tourist men enjoy being rubbed over by a woman so it's fine to provide that, but not at the exclusion of others that don't or prefer a strong authentic massage. The spa therefore came over as false and phoney so we did not use it at all.
On our last day we spoke with the general manager on these issues and he seemed to not particularly care saying âwell weâll try and do better next timeâ! Yes he assumed weâd happily be coming back, we had to spell it out that we would never be returning, no any other Branson hotel but simply got from him a blank expressionless face of 'I don't really care, I have 19 rooms changing over today and there are plenty of punters who will come here', and that, I am afraid, was the overall impression of the staff throughout.
I would not recommend this hotel to friends, it has some high spots - mainly due to its location - but it was the total lack of attention to detail that was so evident. We spend probably Â£75,000+ a year on holidays and restaurants so are experienced and pretty good consumers. Tamadot seemed to be trading on its name but had a total lack of direction from the General Manager downwards, and certainly among departmental heads. There were plenty of staff but they seemed directionless, poorly trained, and just not providing anything other than average service. It gives the impression that it aims more at unsophisticated pseudo-riche the type interested in designer labels rather than the quality it should represent, bling and surface not depth and quality, those type who selfie their meal with a whoo-whoo! onto Facebook, as we saw. Perhaps Tamadot would be a great location for an episode of TOWIE?
To be honest, if we had flown back to London direct from Dar Ahlam and cancelled our final two days at Kasbah Tamadot we would have been left with a far superior opinion of Morocco than having stayed there.
- Travel date: Wed 1st of January 2014
Kasbah Tamadot was wonderful
"Kasbah Tamadot was WONDERFUL. We stayed there for 6 nights and loved every minute of it. The staff are absolutely lovely - so warm and friendly, the food was delicious - especially the evening menu (ate far too much) and the setting is just stunning. Most of the time we were there, the weather was perfect - very warm and cloudless with fabulous views of the mountains. There were a couple of cloudy days but it really didn't matter - we just had a few more massages and hammams in the spa where the masseurs are all brilliant. We will definitely go back again!"
- Travel date: Thu 13th of April 2006
Kasbah Tamadot is pure Decadence
"We just returned from Marrakech where we spent time at Jnane Tamsna, Dar Les Cigognes, and finally, 4 days at the Kasbah Tamadot. All the hotels were very unique and quite different from each other, with the Kasbah being a heavenly retreat for relaxation. While the Kasbah did not have the same influence of the Moroccan culture as staying in Marrakech at Dar Les Cigognes, it provided 1) stunning views of the Atlas Mountains, 2) absolutely amazing food, some of the best we've ever had, and we travel frequently and 3) an oasis for truly relaxing by enjoying the gorgeous pool, scenery, and numerous areas for resting.
I did not find the rooms to be extremely luxurious, although they were very comfortable, and offered many of the little extras that we did not have at the other 2 hotels, such as Bose CD players in the rooms, electric warming blankets, a towel warmer, as well as adorable little leather slippers that were gifts to the guests.
The staff was very friendly, and extremely attentive, although we did not have a chance to really meet the General Managers, the way we did at the other 2 hotels.
Overall, we had an exceptional stay. While this hotel was quite expensive, in fact double the cost of both Jnane Tamsna and Dar Les Cigognes, we thoroughly enjoyed the privacy, stunning scenery, and fabulous food."
- Travel date: Fri 7th of April 2006
Great change from Marrakech
"Stayed at the Kasbah for 3 nights in Feb. 2006. It was a lovely setting and everything was done well. Aesthetically it was not quite up to par with some other places we have stayed in Bora Bora and S. Africa, but for Morocco it was great. One thing that I do expect from luxury/botique hotels is great service and Kasbah did not disappoint. On our first night we arrived on a late flight and did not reach the Kasbah until 9 or so. We had been traveling for 20 hours and did not feel like dressing up for dinner and asked if they chef could just send something up. They were having a "Berber" dinner night and sent us a plate of each item on the menu...it was great especially after a very long day of traveling. We really appreciate when people do little extra things like that. We did some excursions during the days which while pricey were definitely worth it. The property was full when we were there but you couldn't notice, very private. Overall the staff were great and we were very glad we spent some time here, as we subsequently spent 4 days in Marrakech and were very ready to get home after the constant noise and general craziness of the city. If you are going to Morocco, consider some time here maybe at the expense of an extra day in one of the cities."
- Travel date: Tue 21st of March 2006
Nice espape from the hustle & bustle of Marrakech
"Having spent one night in Marrakech, my husband and I were relieved to head out to this resort out near the mountains. It's about 45 mins drive from the city and a real breath of fresh air (literally, as it was really dusty in the city). The views of snow cap mountains were stunning and the resort beautiful. The rooms are comfortable (not outrageously luxurious), but cosy. The service was impeccable - always with a smile. The food was great too, amazing selection for breakfast. The grounds are lovely, there are two camels and 2 donkeys there. The weather was rather cold and wet when we went, but otherwise they have a fantastic roof terrace which you can dine at during fine weather. Apart from the spa, tennis and pool there's really not much to do but relax. There are day trips but we just took it easy."
- Travel date: Thu 16th of March 2006
"My husband and I stayed at this gorgeous mountain hotel for 3 days after spending some time in central Marrakech. It was pure luxury.
The mountain setting is stunning and the rooms incredibly comfortable and cosy. Having read previous reviews, I would say that the quirks in running a new hotel have all been worked out. The staff were extremely helpful and efficient as well as being incredibly friendly.
Highly recommended is a trip to the hotel's hammam for a spa experience unlike any other you will ever encounter. The therapists are also excellent. My husband claims his massage was one of the best he's ever had.
We were not as impressed by the food as some others, mainly finding the portions too large. But the local wines are wonderful and very reasonably priced.
We also enjoyed a trek into the mountains with a local guide, but be aware that the "moderate" trek means 6-7 hours of steady walking in a mountainous terrain -- they do send a mule with you if you need to hitch a ride for a portion of the trek!"
- Travel date: Tue 7th of March 2006
"Having just returned from a week's stay at the Kasbah, we cannot speak too highly about it. The setting is absolutely stunning, the food wonderful and our room was extremely comfortable. But what impressed most of all was the excellence of the staff - there are so many of them! - and the way in which the managers Guy and Dagmar unobtrusively ensure that the service is of the highest calibre. As a result the atmosphere is one of a peaceful retreat rather than a conventional hotel, although there are plenty of activities for those who want them."
- Travel date: Thu 2nd of March 2006
A perfect Christmas
"We have just returned from a Christmas "special" at Tamadot and had a WONDERFUL time.
First the issues which were not of the Tamadot's making; if you purchase your vacation via Virgin Special Edition make SURE you know what is and is not included. We had to make sure that what we thought was included actually was. The staff at the hotel really DID help to make this process as unpainful as possible.
Other than that it was great. We stayed in "The Castle" (three rooms in a private part of the hotel with pool) and so we could party all night long!
1. You MUST go to the Hamman - never before have I had such a good scrub. The women who work are very good.
2. Take the trip up to Ilmli - fantastic views and great mint tea at the top.
3. The market at Asni is fun, but make sure you dont get ripped off by the "bergers" from the mountains.
4. The food is to die for; in fact eat too much of it and you could die. Try the beef and prunes - fantastic.
The new managers (Guy and Dagma) had only been there for 10 days but were already making their mark. They have the objective to make Tamadot as good as Ulusaba in South Africa. They have a long way to go, but they might just make it.
We would love to go back when the weather is warmer, but even in late December we could spend 2 or 3 hours per day bathed in sunshine. But when it rained, it rained!
All in all another fantastic Virgin location and well worth a visit if you are in Morocco. Would suggest that you go to Marrakesh first and then relax in the hills."
- Travel date: Thu 5th of January 2006
Good Xmas but needs tweeking!
"Having stayed at Ulusaba, another of Branson's resorts in SA, we decided that for Xmas we would visit Morocco and see what his newest hotel was like. I would have to say that overall we were happy with the Kasbah although I would not stay for 7 nights again as I did get a touch bored (unless your into sitting beside a pool). Some other points:
1) New Management is in place and I think they will up the quality in the next few months
2) Bulbs blown all over the place - small point but you do notice especially when paying Â£500 per night
3) Service in restaurant good but they insist in holding your bottle of wine and seem never to notice you need topping up about 5 minutes ago!
4) Turning down can happen at 9.30pm when you are in bed - needs to be closer to 6-7pm.
5) Tours offered into the mountains are good with different levels of difficulty offered.
6) Pumpkin and Pickle (the camels) and pudding and plum (the donkeys) are really sweet and have the easiest lives in Morocco of any camel and donkey (i.e. eat, be patted and eat some more!)
7) Tennis courts a touch rough on the surface but I think they are working on this.
Good place but not at the standard of, lets say, an Oberoi hotel - but not far off and I think they will get there soon.
- Travel date: Tue 3rd of January 2006
"Every Detail of Richard Branson's Kasbah was tended to. I've never stayed at such a beautiful place, from it's location in the the High Atlas to the perfectly decorated rooms. I couldn't stop taking pictures. The pool was amazing, the rooms, the views, the service. Very peaceful and relaxing...only wish we could have stayed longer"
- Travel date: Mon 19th of December 2005
"Have just returned from the Kasbah Tamadot after staying for three nights and cannot recommend this hotel enough.
What a fantastic place and more importantly fantastic people. Owned by Richard Branson, you get the sense that he really loves this place and that "making money" is secondary. With over 70 staff and only 18 rooms the service is superb.
The views are out of this world. The Atlas mountains in the near are truly magnificent.
If you want to really relax and get away from it all this is the perfect place"
- Travel date: Thu 1st of December 2005
Hotels near Kasbah Tamadot
Domaine de la R... Distance: 10867 meters