My most recent holiday was not the kind of holiday I’m used to. For the longest time, while I love travelling and exploring new places, a true holiday to me was specifically your typical European package deal. This time we went with something different though… It of course had the usual offerings – sunshine, pool, rum on tap and soooooo much food, but I wasn’t 100% convinced when Dan suggested we head to Morocco and stay in Hotel Riu Tikida Palmeraie, a hotel he had visited before on a previous trip. It wasn’t that I had anything against Morocco – it was, in fact, the Instagrammer’s destination of choice at the time – it’s just that I’m a bit of a creature of habit and there were certain things I had come to expect from a holiday that I knew we wouldn’t get. The sea, being one! If I was forced to choose I would normally choose a pool to lie by, simply for the fact they normally come equipped with a bar and toilets and you don’t have to worry about rubbing sand in with your suncream! But I still like to see the sea and feel that pesky sand between my toes at least once! I’ve also become very used to having a lovely afternoon stroll to walk off a big lunch, exploring the local area, popping into the shops, taking in the stunning scenery and maybe stopping for the odd ice cream. These were not things we’d be likely to get in Marrakech. I was also very aware that this was a huge, brand named hotel, and again that’s just not what I’m used to – which are normally smaller, family run affairs or self catering apartments. Still, Dan was adamant I would love it here, and when he found us an amazingly priced bargain I was all out of excuses. t the end of the day, we were both very much overdue a holiday, and I knew with him there with me we’d have an amazing time wherever we went.
Dan, as it turns out, was right – I DID love the place, and here is why!
Decor aside, which was a touch on the dated side (this is no problem to me – I pay for a clean and comfortable room, if it happens to be done up exactly to my tastes hen that is simply a bonus in my book) the rooms were fab. Very spacious, great air conditioning and, to my surprise, generous wardrobe space! We had a lovely balcony overlooking some of the gardens and a fridge which was stocked daily with water – not good enough for some Tripadvisor Dicks apparently, who were expecting a plethora of other drinks, but this was sheer luxury to me! The bathroom was more than adequate for our needs, and the beds – which were two singles pushed together much like many hotels abroad – were very comfortable. My only very, very tiny gripe was that there were limited plug sockets and they weren’t very well placed, but if you know me well you know this is a gripe I have about pretty much all hotels ever so not something that concerned me too much! Our towels and sheets were regularly replaced and it was kept beautifully clean, and really, that’s all I ask for! Oh we also had a TV which was a little fuzzy – but who comes on holiday to watch TV really??`
Wow. The grounds here are absolutely stunning! Firstly, they are sprawling, which meant that while it wasn’t quite the same as a leisurely stroll along the beach, I still was able to get plenty of post-meal walks in! Aside from the beautifully kept gardens full of blooming flowers and huge Bougainvillea walls (perfect for outfit shots!) there were several lakes full of frogs, turtles and ducklings to coo over. Some people over on Tripadvisor have had a moan (shock) about the noise of the frogs at night but I honestly loved the sound of their chorus singing me to sleep at night! Given that strolling around outside the hotel grounds wouldn’t be the most fun (it’s pretty remote) everyone is well catered for – there are tennis courts, table tennis a boules pitch and a gym complete with indoor pool. There was a separate play area for little ones and a store in the hotel lobby in case you got REALLY bored, along with oodles of space to sit and chill in the cool away from the hot sun. There was even a spa, though we didn’t visit. When boredom did set in we found there was a free shuttle bus into Marrakech that runs a few times a day – you just need to reserve a spot at reception. We used it to head into the city and visit the souks which is a must do! The most bizarre thing was probably the herd of camels at the entrance, but then I guess it is Morocco!
This hotel boasts one of the biggest pools in Marrakech and it’s pretty impressive. One of the things that annoys me on holiday is other people who can’t seem to appreciate that some people might just want a relaxing swim rather than get caught up in their play fights or antics – no fear of that here as it is absolutely huge! There are also plenty of sun loungers and the hotel provides pool towels which you can exchange for clean ones as often as you want – I’ve seen some claim it was impossible to get a lounger if you didn’t reserve it early but I can honestly say that wasn’t an issue for us even once. We never bothered to reserve one and even on the days we had a bit of a lie in we were able to find a nice spot even on the sunny, busy days. The staff were always on hand with a bit of entertainment, whether that was aqua aerobics, water polo, bingo or the fun little dance they did twice a day. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – it’s not mine either – but it was a bit of fun and created a nice buzz. The area is more than big enough for you to keep out of their way and while they will go round asking if you want to join in they were never pushy if you said no. The best part for us was how attentive the bar staff were – if you are friendly and polite they will remember you, and after the first day we found they were automatically bringing us top ups to save us having to come over. On the days we declined because of sore heads they insisted on bringing us bottles of water and plenty of ice to stay hydrated – it’s been a long time since I had service like that! The Tripadvisor Dicks have also had their dig at the pool however – because of the wasps! WHAT KIND OF ESTABLISHMENT ALLOWS WASPS ON THEIR PREMISES I ASK YOU! ONE STAR!! Massive eye rolls going on over here. What numpties…!
The Food & Drink
Always the most contentious of subjects of course! The standard all inclusive offerings were served for most of the day (I was particularly impressed that even after breakfast finishes at 10.30 you can still get continental for another hour if you sleep in!) and the dining halls are very well set up. There was a crazy amount of choice as far as I’m concerned, with soup and a salad cart for starters, and then a pasta station, Moroccan station and then a choice of several meat dishes and oodles of veggies to choose from, not to mention a large selection of rather tasty puddings. Breakfast was my favourite though with all that lovely fresh bread and pastries, pancakes and a rather delicious Moroccan style ratatouille which I ate most days with fried potatoes. The chefs were on hand at all times and were more than happy to answer questions or whip up something specific if you wanted something different, and as we found in all areas there, the staff just couldn’t do enough to help you. Everyone we spoke to was just so helpful and lovely and you could really tell they wanted you to have a good time. Drinks wise you could pretty much have whatever you wanted, and unlike lots of other places I’ve been it was all included up until the bars closed at midnight.
There are probably a million things I haven’t even mentioned, but I’ve prattled on for a while now and I think you get the impression – I LOVED IT HERE! It was probably the staff and the service that really made it, but either way we will most definitely be back and have already compiled a list of things we’d like to do next time! I won’t ever want to replace my traditional beach holidays but if you are looking for somewhere you’ll get treated like royalty and do nothing but relaxed without sending a fortune, this is the place for you!
Have you ever stayed in Marrakech? What were your thoughts?