Review of The Royal Palm Marrakech
Posted By Julie Smith on 7 October 2014
I arrived in Marrakech just as the sun was going down, which bathed the ‘red city’ in an ethereal glow. It is incredible to think that a three and a half hour flight brings you to such an exotic location – it takes longer to fly to the Canaries! It really is like being transported to another world.
Beachcomber's Royal Palm Marrakech, built to specification in 2013, is located about 12km outside of the main city. It is set on a 231 hectare estate giving you a serene and tranquil oasis, yet within easy reach of the bustle and excitement of the medina.
The hotel is spectacular. Warm, inviting and luxurious, with rich furnishings and careful attention to detail. It is very obviously a 5 star plus property, but felt exclusive without being pretentious.
The staff are welcoming and friendly, but although English is widely spoken the second language in Morocco is French as opposed to English, so it’s worth digging deep to remember some of your school lessons! It definitely wasn’t a problem and a little effort to learn a couple of basic Moroccan words too – Marhaba (hello), Shukran (thank you) went along way.
So what makes the Royal Palm Marrakech so special…
The setting is beautiful; the grounds are verdant with trees a plenty. There are 4000 olive trees on the estate, as well as palm trees, cacti and hosts of pretty flowers. Most of the rooms look onto the golf course, and the Atlas Mountains beyond. Unfortunately, the haze meant that I couldn’t see the mountains, which gives me a good excuse to go back!
I was lucky enough to stay in a generously proportioned Palm Suite. The bed was massive with tonnes of pillows, making me feel a bit like the ‘princess and the pea’ ! With touch controls for the lighting and air con it is modern, yet with a traditional feel to the top quality furnishings. Complimentary Wi-Fi, a Nespresso machine, (and a kettle!), complimentary soft drinks in the mini bar and cakes or sweets at turn down, means that you have all the luxuries you might need! There is a lovely standalone bath, a separate rainfall shower, (both of which were big enough for two!) as well as double sinks and a large dressing area.
There were lovely views from my balcony which was furnished with a large settee and a table & chairs - spacious, comfortable and very private.
There are 3 restaurants currently open at Royal Palm with another coming shortly. The hotel has a resident chef, Philippe Jourdin, a multiple-Michelin starred French chef who presides over all the restaurants. We were lucky enough to be some of the first guests to dine in Al Ain, the signature Moroccan restaurant. The food was superb, simple dishes but with amazingly complex flavours. Not typically a lamb lover, the shank we were served was so delicious I was a quick convert!
Le Caravanne is open for breakfast and dinner, it is very spacious with indoor and out door space, and some intimate private dining booths for a special romantic dinner. My favourite restaurant was L’Olivier – (see below) which serves light lunches. Light being delicate, flavoursome and beautifully presented.
The hotel also actively encourages you to go into Marrakech to eat in local restaurants. There is a free shuttle during the day, and taxis are cheap if you want to go out in the evening. We went to Comptoir Darna, deemed to be one of the top 5 restaurants in Marrakech. The food was divine, with a choice of traditional and international dishes. There were belly dancers and shisha, which might have felt tacky, but didn’t. It was vibrant, exotic and well worth a visit.
Wow!!! I have seen a few kids clubs in my job, but was bowled over by this one! Light, airy spacious, with sheep (!) and a tree house ( I couldn’t resist), dressing up and role play areas. There are huge canopied beds for sleepy little ones too. The club is complimentary, open from 9am to midnight daily with a charge for lunch and dinner if the children eat in. Ideally for children 3-12 years old, you can pay a nanny if you have younger children. There is a roof top terrace with an outdoor cinema and observatory, gardens to play in, a pool and tennis and foot ball areas.
There is a huge Clarins Spa, covering 3500m2. With a large swimming pool, there are various spaces providing Clarins body care treatments, Moroccan beauty rituals and suites for private consultation. It is simple in style and very tranquil, particularly as there wasn’t any of the ‘musak’ typically found in spas. I tried the Signature Reflexology foot massage, which was a real treat!
In addition to the golf there are numerous other sports catered for including tennis, squash, gym, yoga etc.. There is a large sports complex with a lap pool and various rooms with specialist weights and equipment designed to help with your golf or tennis swing,
Marrakech is an incredible place to visit for kids and their parents. The history and culture are evident all around you as you stroll through the souks in the medina. It’s vibrant, busy, almost an assault on the senses and kids will love the colour and variety. At one point I felt as if I was in the middle of an Indiana Jones film. It’s worth hiring a guide to take you to the different parts of the city as it is also easy to get very lost. We visited the Prime Minister’s Palace, an apothecary and the working areas of the souks. Finishing our tour in Jemaa el Fna Square which was filled with food sellers, traders, snake charmers and a myriad of different nationalities... Covent Garden gone mad!! Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the Atlas Mountains, but that is definitely scheduled for my next visit….