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REVIEW – FAIRMONT ROYAL PALM, MARRAKECH

Luxury under the royal palms

1. Intro

Ever since we played a round of golf here on an early morning 3 years ago followed by a lunch at the pool, we knew one day we wanted to stay at the Fairmont Royal Palm. If the hotel experience was on the same level as the golf course, we’d be in for a treat!

2. Transfer

As usual, we did different hotels on this trip, and with the Fairmont being in between two other hotel stays, we didn’t request a transfer and just took the other hotels’ car service as it came out cheaper. The riad we stayed in before our stay at the Fairmont charged us 150 MAD (+- €15) for a trip from the city centre to the hotel, while hotel Les Deux Tours we stayed in after our stay at the Fairmont charged us 200 MAD (+- €20) to pick us up at the Fairmont. Knowing that the Fairmont charges 350 MAD (+- €35) for a trip to the city centre, the choice was easily made. Even though the car service provided by the Fairmont would have probably been more luxurious and comfortable, for us it wasn’t worth the premium for such a short ride.

3. Check-in

Check-in was done the conventional way in the impressive hotel lobby and after handing over our passports and credit card, we were told that our room wasn’t ready yet (no surprise as we checked in at around 11am and the official check-in time is 3pm). We were offered to have a seat at Le Bar and have a drink on the house which was a nice touch. After less than 15 minutes, our room was ready and we were escorted to our room in a golf buggy. We received a little tour of the room and less than 2 minutes later our luggage arrived to the room. An easy and hassle-free check-in, just like we like it!

4. Design

Everything about the hotel is grand and impressive, but the design of the place makes it feel quite homey as well. Beautiful materials are used all around the property and while the resort is quite contemporary and modern, there’s still a Moroccan vibe to it, which we really like. The style is very eclectic and while some particular spaces are quite dark (like the Al Aïn restaurant – read more about our favourite restaurants in Marrakech here), most of the hotel is has lots of natural light thanks to the high ceilings and big windows!

5. Rooms

With the smallest room in the hotel being over 75 sq. meters large, you can’t do much wrong when booking a room here. We stayed in a junior suite, which is the 2nd smallest room category, and it was more than large enough for the two of us! It featured a large bed that was beyond comfortable, a seating area, a desk, a decent-sized outdoor terrace and a huge bathroom with a 1,5 bath, a big walk-in shower and a dressing large enough even for Laura and all her outfits! Hard product wise, the Fairmont has it all figured out!

We had an amazing view on the golfcourse and sometimes even on the Atlas Mountains, depending on the visibility that day. Even though the resort and the rooms are quite spread out, we sometimes had some noise-issues, mainly from the housekeeping/staff’s room just next to our suite.

We also had the pleasure of visiting the Penthouse Suite located on the top floor of the main building which has its own little plunge pool and solarium overlooking the golf course. We’d definitely recommend staying in the Penthouse Suite if you want even more place and don’t want to walk or request a buggy to go to your room after every restaurant or main pool visit!

6. Common areas

Even without taking into account the 18 hole golf course, the resort is very spacious, and while it mustn’t be easy to keep a large property like that in pristine shape, the Fairmont manages to do just that. The main pool is so large you’ll never have the feeling it’s crowded, and for those who want even more privacy, there’s also a large outdoor pool at the sports centre that guests can use which is even quieter.

Talking about the sports centre, it has everything you can possibly imagine: state of the art machines and weights, a semi-Olympic lap pool, multiple tennis courts and squash courts, a pilates & yoga studio, and much much more. And if that’s not enough, there’s always one of Morocco’s finest golf courses just short buggy ride away.

Every evening, hundreds and hundreds of candles are lit up by hand which gives the resort a sort of magical feel everywhere you walk. It reminded us a lot of the One&Only The Palm (the names of both resorts are quite similar too now we think of it!), which we wrote about in our blogpost about our favourite places to stay around the world.

7. Spa / Wellness

One of, if not the most spectacular spa we’ve ever been to. Not only does everything look great here, the treatments are next level too! While we didn’t try the hair salon, the barber shop or the manicure and pedicure area, we did have a couple treatment and it was close to perfection. Both our therapists were very professional and knew what they were doing and we left our massage cabin perfectly relaxed.

After our massage we took a dip in the beautiful indoor pool and had a traditional Moroccan mint tea at the juice bar. Hotel guests also have access to the hammam area, which feature multiple single and couple hammams as well as some saunas, but unfortunately we didn’t try them out (who needs a sauna when it’s 40 degrees outside anyway?!)

8. Food & Beverage

We had breakfast every single morning at the hotel, and felt the buffet had plenty of options even when staying for a longer period of time. The only thing missing for us were bananas and peanut butter, until we found out about ‘amlou’, which is almond butter made with argan oil – mmmm…! Everything was tasty and fresh at the breakfast, but we weren’t too fond of the coffee, which looked like it came from one of those 1-press-of-a-button cappucino machines.

Food in general was really good, but the main highlight of our stay was our dinner at Al Aïn, their Moroccan restaurant, the first night! You can read more about it by clicking here.

You should also definitely try some of the signature cocktails at Le Bar. Highly recommend their ‘Esprit de Chai Bil N’ana’, which is a perfect pre-dinner cocktail.

9. Service

Service in Morocco… It’s always hit or miss! We found the service here to be more hit than miss, but there definitely were some misses! One night at Le Bar while having drinks with friends we wanted to order another round and after more than 10 minutes without seeing a waiter, I decided to head to the bar and order there, only to find nobody behind the bar. Two other guests that had also been waiting for quite a while where so fed up with waiting that they went into the kitchen to find somebody who could take their order, which they eventually did. But to have nobody at the bar for more than 15 minutes while at least 20 people were having drinks at that moment is just inexcusable. So while service at the bar could definitely improve, we felt that the service at the restaurants and at breakfast were always immaculate! The same should be said for front desk and the concierge! Every member of staff we passed always greeted us with a big smile and a ‘bonjour/bonsoir Monsieur/Madame’.

Probably our biggest gripe was with housekeeping! Twice we took the 9am complimentary shuttle (which is absolutely awesome by the way!) to the city centre and booked the return shuttle at 2pm. Both times we got back to the hotel at 2.30pm and found our room hadn’t been made up yet. So naturally when we were in the room, there was housekeeping, ready to make our room up. Surely a hotel with less than 150 rooms should be able to arrange this better. The cleaning itself was also less than desirable. On arrival we noticed the little bottle of shower gel was less than half-full, meaning it hadn’t been swapped from the previous guest. After our first dinner at the restaurant we came back to the room to find a bottle of red wine and two wine glasses in our room. A very nice gift and we decided to have half a glass before going to bed. The next evening we wanted to have another glass before heading out for dinner, but housekeeping had left the almost full bottle but taken away the wine glasses.

10. Value for Money

With Junior Suites available from 6000 MAD (+- €600) in peak season (book here!), you’ll get a lot of value for your money, especially considering the many complimentary services such as the shuttle to the city centre, the hammam, the sports centre and the golf driving range. Food and beverage prices are a little on the high side, but with so many incredible places to eat in Marrakech that’s hardly a bad thing. The spa treatments are incredible value for money!

The Fairmont Royal Palm is without a doubt at the very top of its price category in Marrakech, at a similar level as the Four Seasons Marrakech or La Sultana and definitely better than Le Palais Namaskar.

Are there better hotels in Marrakech? Yes! For the same price as the Fairmont? Probably not! If money isn’t an issue, we would definitely recommend having a look at Amanjena, The Royal Mansour or the Mandarin Oriental.

11. Summary

The Fairmont Royal Palm is a golfer’s paradise. With it’s fabulous 18 hole golf-course, very strong hard product and proximity to the city centre without constantly being in the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, it’s one of our favourite places in town. The food and beverage are great, but like everywhere in Marrakech, service can be an issue from time to time.

We’d come back in a heartbeat for a relaxing stay with multiple spa treatments and rounds of golf and the occasional visits to one of Marrakech’s many beautiful places to visit. Even though it’s a big property, we heard from many returning guests that they feel right at home when coming back and are treated by the staff as family.

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