13 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Fabulous last minute break
"We left the miserable English weather behind and have had a fantastic time at this delightful hotel, I cannot believe some of the previous moans and groans. This is a Muslim country expect to hear the calls to prayer for goodness sake. Staff have been pleasant and efficient helping with any requests , try smiling and asking in French which is their second language. The ambiance is superb warm open fires,with a fairy tale lit pool beyond. Our room was enormous with lovely bathroom ,balcony and view of the Mosque and French garden. The pools were clean and warm I swam late at night in January,Wonderful! Can't wait to come back with our children and grandchildren."
- Travel date: Wed 6th of January 2016
I went with my sister and 2 friends. Th...
"I went with my sister and 2 friends. The hotel is an absolute gem of an oasis when compared to the heat and bustle of the souks. It is so close to the main square and yet when you pass through the doors you can hear nothing.
The roof top pool is fab although it would be better if it was heated. The service was great.
The rooms were spacious and beautifully decorated. I would recommend this hotel and will definately be going back."
- Travel date: Mon 25th of August 2008
Lastminute stated it was in the top 100...
"Lastminute stated it was in the top 100 hotels in the world by Conte Nast Traveller. I have stayed at nicer hotels so do not know how it got this rating.
The rooms are average and clean and they do put petals on your bed each day.
It's a lovely looking hotel with a heated pool by the snack bar and a roof top swimming pool. It has 4 restaurants. It is within the heart of Marrakesh. Just 3 minutes walk from Jemaa El Fna the main square and souks.
The staff are not very helpful and very forget full when ordering food and drinks expect to wait 30-50 minutes. We went in the quiet season so I cannot image how hard they would find it when busy. And with 6 members of staff serving 20 people they should not get it wrong. And on a few occasions food had to be sent back as it was cold and no apology ever made.
Breakfast was good with a selection of pastries, breads and cheese, salami, and you could have an omelette made fresh each day. The orange juice was the best I ever tasted as freshly squeezed.
I would eat out at the main square and surrounding restaurant to soke in the atmosphere.
The Koutoubia minaret has calls to prayer sounded five times a day so expect to be awoken at around 5.30am.
We booked a guided tour on the first morning at just Â£10.00 for the 2 of us and with an English speaking guide for 3 hours. We went to the palace the souks.
We also hired a driver on the second day at Â£50.00 for two this was a trip to the Atlas Mountains and stopped on the way at a Berber house and had mint tea. We then bartered with a villager to take us up the mountain to the waterfall this was lovely and took about 45 minute to an hour and a cafe at the top so you can get a drink and sit looking at the waterfall.
Lunch was a disappointment as the driver took us to somewhere he wanted to go and was Â£15 a head which is way too expensive so I would get him to stop at one of the road side stalls and sit watching the world go by or have lunch after you walk down from the mountain as lots of little restaurants in this area.
The other positive point is Marrakesh airport is less that a 10 minute drive from the town. We got a taxi and again you need to barter we got it for Â£8 but It probably should have been less.
I would highly recommend Marrakesh and will be going back."
- Travel date: Wed 16th of January 2008
Great location....... poor service
"The location of the hotel simply cant be faulted. Its very close (five minutes walk) to the centre of the old town and therefore everything that is good about Marrakech.
We had asked the hotel to provide transport from the airport to the hotel - this was perfect and at only Â£6 per person each way not too expensive. The public areas of the hotel are excellent - the pool in the central couryard very picturesque, the piano bar good, the new spa facilities also excellent and well priced. The public areas all round very good, with lots of places to sit.
The breakfasts were very good, with opportuniity to eat outside around the pool which was very nice. We didnt sample any of the other food, but there is a snack bar and resturant at the hotel which both looked perfectly fine - there is too much to choose from in the old town.
The rooms are medium size, comfortable and fine, rather than particularly special. The bathrooms are average. The more expensive patio rooms have a view (only if you stand up!) but there is no verandah or access outside. The rooms are spotlessly clean. Parts of the hotel we obviously being upgraded (bit noisy) - in particular some of the rooms and the rooftop which will improve the hotel further.
The attitude of the staff lets the place down (as noted in other reviews). Service was slow, both at reception and in the bar (which is also quite expensive). rather annmoyingly my wife was refused a table to eat on her own one lunchtime at the snack bar around the pool (there were free tables). Checking out was a challenge as the receptionist was trying to do several things at once.
All in all a really nice visit, fantastic location, fantastic public areas, but let down rather by the service - but would stay again"
- Travel date: Fri 23rd of March 2007
Great hotel in the BEST location in Marrakech
"We stayed here for 5 nights in February and were delighted with everything. To start with, our room on the first floor was HUGE - I think perhaps it was a 'mini suite' although we had only paid for a standar room. It had 2 toilets and 2 bathrooms and a large lounge area with big plasma TV (which actually spoiled the look somewhat). It overlooked the small street outside but that didn't matter - the rooms that overlooked the pool would not have been worth the upgrade.The best thing about it was the location - 3 minute easy walk from all the action in the Djemma el Fna square. It was such a nice place to come back to after all the hustle and bustle. The inner courtyard with huge swimming pool and surrounding open lounges was beautiful and fairly quiet. We met other people who were staying in Riyads/Dars in the medina but they did not have the pool and other facilities that we had (2 restaurants, piano bar for cocktails before eating out in the vening/brandies and coffee on our return, hamman/spa) We also met a couple who were staying in a modern hotel in the new town and spent all their time going backwards and forwards in petit taxi to the square - what a waste of time (and money). We ate in the hotel one night and the food was excellent. We had lunch there, in the courtyard, almost every day. I think it was good value for money and would stay there again - the photos you see of the small boutique riyads look inviting but I think we made the best choice."
- Travel date: Tue 20th of February 2007
what were Conde Naste thinking of?
"Let's get one thing straight: this is not a 5-star hotel. The walls are too thin for a 5-star and the whole place generally too clattery and noisy. If the telly is on in the next room you can hear it clearly; likewise if someone has a hacking cough in the room above, - as was the case during our stay. So goodness knows what Conde Nast Traveller were doing when they put it in their 100 best hotels of all time. I wonder about CN, I really do. They claim their reviewers never accept freebies, but it baffles me how some of their "top" hotels get onto their list.
The Koutoubia is a good 4-star. The common parts (except for the gloomy, dusty lobbty) are lovely. The pool area is most chic and there's a lovely, shady sitting out area at the end with huge sofas and rugs. All very Moroccan. Also, the downstairs Moroccan restaurant was great. Food nothing special but fantastic ambiance as one lounged away on cushions feeling like a vizier or whatever they are in Morocco.
The place falls down with the rooms. Ours was distinctly faded and past its best with scuffed basic G-plan style furniture that probably wasn't that great when it was new. The bed was comfortable but the walls were marked and the plaster chipped. You get the feeling that the management are getting enough package tourists and that they couldn't care if it's all a bit rundown. Sad really."
- Travel date: Thu 8th of February 2007
Overall, a very plesant stay
"We had an excellent experience with this hotel.
Firstly, we were upgraded to a superb first-floor room, which was rather spacious for a riad-style room, with sliding doors opening out to face the pool and sun streaming in all afternoon.
We found the hotel staff to be friendly, professional, and very helpful. We had none of the poor service mentioned by other review writers.
The facilities were very good - there is an excellent indoor pool and spa area, lovely large heated outdoor pool (which you could lie next to on the loungers in the sun all day, as people were doing - in January!) , and two good restaurants (both quite well rated by the boutique travel guide we were using).
The breakfast was fine, fairly typical for a hotel of this level, but nothing special.
The hotel is located right next to the bustling Medina, but within the hotels walls is a tranquil oasis - we were even woken in the morning by birds singing within the large hotel courtyard, which was a delight! And also by the wailing of the Muslim prayers from the nearby Koutoubia mosque, but we found this to be a positive feature rather than a problem.
Overall, we thought this hotel was great - you could enjoy several days here without even leaving, as the hotel is so well-equipped, but partly also because, quite frankly, there isn't that much decent sight-seeing to do within Marrakech itself."
- Travel date: Mon 29th of January 2007
"I'll start by saying we didn't stay there - but we did go there for lunch based.
The hotel itself is very lavish, with a pool around which the hotel is centred. The reception is very spacious, but there seemed to be no staff around to point you in the direction of the restaurant and no one on reception seemed to acknowledge our presence. As a result we wandered around until we found it ourselves - and then stood there at the entrance waiting for a staff member to seat us - we were studiously ignored until we started to make for a table ourselves. At that point we were placed behind a tree - so we had the pleasure of watching staff take the orders and serve people who arrived well after us
The food itself was nothing to write home about - the lunchtime snack menu of any European hotel would not be very much different. Burgers with fries, salad, steak - that sort of thing. When it did turn up it was passable - but by that point we just wanted to leave - two and a half hours to serve a salad starter and two mains, with beer and water...
We weren't dressed like backpackers (not that that should diminish the service received), in fact we were better dressed than some of the residents - but from the off the staff's attitude was wrong and everything they did for us was a inconvenience to them.
For a place for lunch I would suggest the newly opened (in the past 4 months) Villa Flore off Rue Sidi Al Yamani for laid back chic and fine dining - along with the best and coldest bottle of Heineken one could ever want â I donât think it touched the sides!
At the metal workers market, near the Badii Palace â try Kozybar â a Moroccan fusion bar/restaurant. During the day it does slightly Moroccan food â if you call Kebab and Fries traditional! With modern Arabic dance music belting out - during the day itâs a place to sit back and soak up the sun in summer â or huddle round the fires inside in winter as we did on this visit. With wine at about 130Dh a bottle itâs cheaper than 3 beers. In the evening the menu changes to Moroccan/French cuisine with the added bonus that the chef is Japanese and does massive sushi platters. The music comes from a live band sat around the baby grand on the ground floor. A good range of cigars too.
Also try Kechmara in the Gueliz â a retro style bar that does a good set menu of the day for 150Dh (about 10GBP). Hang out and watch ex-pat fashionistas socialise â all very interesting!"
- Travel date: Wed 27th of December 2006
Oasis in the middle of Marrakech
"Hotel is in a great location but close to the central mosque so expect an early wake up call!
We had a patio room overlooking the pool which we thought was 5* quality and nicely furnished. Ziad on reception was also particularly friendly and helpful in booking restaurants.etc
On the down side the breakfast in the morning was a bun fight and the hotel is a little impersonal in a city known for it's boutique hotels"
- Travel date: Mon 6th of November 2006
Overrated Les Jardins de la Koutoubia
"This hotel is 5 star and is quoted from Conde Naste traveller as one of the top 100 hotels in the world - don't know when they visited but the coffee and breakfast are terrible, the rooms scruffy, the menu lists rather limited and the staff forgetful."
- Travel date: Tue 31st of October 2006
"It is the first impressions that can leave a nasty tast in your mouth. We were not collected from the airport and had to pay around Â£12.00 When I told the receptionist she couldn't care less. Then we we out in a room with a small double bed and I had specifically requested 2 beds. The rest of our stay was ok. Bathrooms tiny and aircon not very good. A few things not working in the room, but they did sort them out. Generall the staff were very pleasant except the chef in the morning, who thought she was terribly important. I could have left feeling it was ok, but then we were overcharged by one night when we checked out and they would not let us leave until we paid it even though I had confirmation that I had paid the travel agency. I left with a very unhappy feeling about my trip and it was all down to the Manager and receptions attitude. Would never return there"
- Travel date: Tue 10th of October 2006
Very glad we stayed there.
"I read all the tripadvisor reviews before choosing this hotel. Knowing that I was travelling to a Moslem country, I was expecting to hear the call to prayer and cannot understand why other travellers should be surprised or disturbed by it. I think I heard it twice at night in our whole stay, and only because I was wakeful.
I found the hotel to be an oasis within the heat and noise of Marrakech. We actually booked a medina room but were upgraded to a poolside room on arrival. Friends with a medina room were equally content and enjoyed having a view of the Koutoubia mosque. Looking at the floor plans, we discovered that all the rooms are different sizes because of the shape of the building. Some pool view rooms are the same size as those facing the medina
We enjoyed eating at the hotel on several occasions during our 10 night stay. The poolside Imlil snack bar was good value and the salads were superb. Koutoubia restaurant and Les Terrasses were both good but prices are more at UK levels and therefore not cheap by Moroccan standards.
Service was exemplary both on poolside and in the hotel. We built up an excellent relationship with staff and learned a lot about them. They worked exceptionally hard to keep the hotel immaculate.
I have some minor criticisms I think the management need to address. The maitres d'hotel need to keep a more vigilant eye on the breakfast buffet and think ahead. Things quite often run out and guests are left waiting for the plates/bowls to be replenished, especially if they arrive towards the end of breakfast.
My other criticism is that there is no inventory in the minibar. Keep a very close eye on what is in there and what you have or ask the hotel staff to provide an inventory at the start of your stay. They need to be more organised about this.
Pool, decor. lighting and food were great, with relaxed but professional service. Air conditioning and ceiling fan combined to cope well with 40+ degrees. Nobody could have expected more.
I would definitely stay again."
- Travel date: Mon 7th of August 2006