The Hotel - Terre Resort and Spa

Find Your Perfect Escape../Sitemap/Find_Your_Perfect_Escape_-_Search.html
Guide to Treatments../Guide_To_Treatments/Guide_To_Treatments.html
Zumba(R) Fitness../Zumba/What_Is_A_Zumba_Fitness_Class.html
Books And DVDs../Basics/Books_And_DVDs.html

The main choice you need to make when choosing a hotel in Marrakech is whether you stay inside the Medina or outside.  Many people love the idea of staying in a traditional, central riad and when I stayed in the Medina on my first trip to Marrakech I really couldn’t have asked for more of Riad Amira where I stayed.  As I was only staying for two nights it was a wonderful way to experience this city, from my first arrival at the dusty, unpromising door in a back street, to walking into an oasis of calm, to seeing dusk fall over the city, to walking through the dimly lit streets to the main square, and being woken by the call to prayer through the night.  It was magical, mystical and intoxicating.  But... one thing most guidebooks won’t tell you is that the air in the Medina isn’t very nice, because of the Tanneries which are very close to the city.  So, on my second visit to Marrakech I chose this hotel, mainly because I fell in love with the pictures of a blue swimming pool, and rooftop terrace but also because I wanted to enjoy a little bit of fresh air.

The hotel is quite a way from the centre of town and the airport - around 7 miles, so we did spend a lot more money on taxis (about 100-150dh £8-£12 each way, depending on the time of day and how hard you want to barter) and it really is in the middle of nowhere although listed as La Palmeraie.  Well not quite in the middle of nowhere - there’s a massive theme restaurant next door, which incidentally plays loud music and then sends up fireworks pretty late at night, so you need to be either a night owl, heavy sleeper or wear good ear plugs to stay here.

We arrived late afternoon so decided to just relax and enjoy the hotel, before heading to the Medina the next morning.  Our stay began with a complimentary mint tea in the foyer, before we were shown to our suite (we’d been upgraded from our Junior Suite to a Princess Suite).  The whole resort is made up of individual villas, the Princess Suites each take up half a villa, with a shared lounge and terrace, as do the Romance Suites.  The Junior and standard Suites are smaller, but are in larger villas.  The large villas can also be rented and have their own kitchen and dining areas.

Although our suite was beautiful the downside was that it had a queen rather than twin beds.  I did ask if the beds could be separated and there was smiling and nodding, but nothing happened.  I eventually discovered that they can’t be separated but no one wanted to lose face. At this point I asked if I could have a separate camp bed set up - smiles and nods, but no camp bed (my sister is a very agitated sleeper and likes to kick in her sleep!)  It’s this kind of thing that is such a shame - when you want one simple thing from a hotel but by upgrading they actually downgrade you - if you know what I mean.

The bathroom was stunning - with an oversize bath, massive vanity area with two sinks, plus a separate toilet and shower inside the bathroom.  The shower was beautiful, I actually later painted my own bathroom with the same orange colour I loved it so much, but the controls were very fiddly - there was a sweet spot of about a millimetre where the temperature was great - either side it was scalding or cold, so it required a little extra work.

My sister and I don’t always get along, and as this was our first trip away together it was wonderful to have so much space to relax in; apart from the bed, we also had a sofa and coffee table in the room - our adjoining lounge had sofas, extremely comfy floor cushions, and then this gave out onto a terrace with so much space... from which you could wander out and enjoy the gardens.

The gardens were something I fell in love with.  While most riads have beautiful little courtyards with dipping pools, our hotel had acres of garden full of local plants, cacti, palms, many I have no idea about, plus fountains, tents, and shaded cabanas to sit and read, as well as the loungers by the pool.  Our first stop was the Jacuzzi where we had a quick dip and watched the sun go down before retiring to our suite to get ready for dinner.

Sadly dinner was a little bit disappointing (especially considering the price - about £50 for two including lots of soft drinks).  The truth is that the rooms were very reasonable, but staying somewhere out of town you can get stung, not just because there are fewer options with regard to eating out, (we weren’t keen on the theme restaurant), but also because they have to buy enough food to cater for guests every day so there’s always going to be a lot of wastage (and let’s face it, with room prices like these, they must make their money on the extras).  Our dinner was more eventful than expected with a power cut in the middle, but the staff handled it admirably, lighting candles - which I think made the dining room look nicer (I wasn’t too keen on some of the art) and managing our expectations of when we might actually eat.  I ordered a seafood pastilla which was honestly not very nice and seem to be made of noodles, my sister’s loup bar poche fish sister was much tastier, and our mains; a royal couscous which was enormous and full of flavours with sausages, beef and vegetables and my sister had some slightly less enjoyable lemon chicken (but there are no photos because the lights had gone out by then!)  We were too stuffed for pudding, and it was wonderful to roll home to our suite, taking only a few wrong turns on the way.

Breakfast was very good with stacks of pastries, fabulous Moroccan and English tea, but slightly cold coffee and a disappointing “Moroccan specialty” - eggs.  (They offer a Moroccan specialty every day in addition to the continental breakfast.)

My favourite part of this hotel was being able to wake up at the crack of dawn (I always wake up early on holiday) and wander in my pyjamas through the grounds.  You’ll see many photos of the sun rising, I couldn’t stop taking photos I was so entranced.  The tennis court, much advertised on their website, was a bare earth court, so please don’t get too excited about this!

There is a complimentary shuttle bus into town, but it goes fairly seldom so we ordered a cab - and they are very good about organising taxis quickly.

After a day in the Medina we were more than happy to come back and relax with mint tea and dessert, even though this was slightly overpriced (about £20) and disappointing after Medina prices and pastries, but we were getting used to it.

The next morning we relaxed - me by the pool and my sister in shady cabanas, of which there were so many to choose she never got bored.  The main pool however is not heated, and in March I was only prepared to dip a toe in - it was freezing.  But there were several very brave English guys jumping in!

I have very fond memories of the hotel despite a few issues, not least their forgetting our early wake up call the next morning, but luckily my sister also set her alarm.

They also forgot to order our taxi to the airport, but luckily we were so early that they had time to call and get someone out of bed. 

Another good thing was that we had sorted out the bill the night before, which considering this is the most complicated bill I’ve ever received from a hotel was a good thing. 

A great hotel if you want to be able to relax and breathe freely in Marrakech, far from the smell of the Tanneries, and feel that you are really in Africa, but please don’t think that their cuisine is the best Marrakech has to offer, or rely on them for an early morning wake up call.


Terre Resort and Spa, Palmeraie, Marrakech, Morocco

Personal Holiday Shopper - Marrakech ../Personal_Holiday_Shopper/Marrakech_Hotel_and_Information.html

£80 per room per night or £120 per person for three nights at Terre Resort & Spa including breakfast (this is for the standard room - we were complimentarily upgraded to the Princess Suite)

Information as at March 2011

Terre Resort & Spa

Jacuzzi, Terre Resort and Spa, Palmeraie, Marrakech, Morocco