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Av. Abdelkrim El Khettab, Marrakesh, Morocco
(0) 5 24-43-63-76
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Make Mine Amine
London, United Kingdom
July 29, 2009
Best of IgoUgo
One of my favourite holidays was a lovely sun-soaked week in Marrakesh in Morocco. I had a fabulous time and also found a hotel that I would really recommend which is the Hotel Amine. I had initially set my heart on a small riad (traditional ...
One of my favourite holidays was a lovely sun-soaked week in Marrakesh in Morocco. I had a fabulous time and also found a hotel that I would really recommend which is the Hotel Amine.
I had initially set my heart on a small riad (traditional courtyard style house) in the middle of the medina (the old town). We ended up at the Amine in Marrakesh's new town because I was holidaying with a female friend and we wanted a twin room. The Amine was the only one where we could definitely book a twin room rather than just request it. My friend is a lovely person but I did not fancy sharing a double bed with her so the Amine was booked for £100 for a week's bed and breakfast.
We arrived at the hotel after a 20 minute transfer from the airport by taxi. The standard rate for this is 150 Dirum (£10). It is located on the main thoroughfare in the new town Boulevard Mohamed VI. We liked the location as it was outside the madness of the Medina but was not too far away. We could walk there comfortably within half an hour. We also liked the fact we were near a lot of nice little restaurants and cafes where we could eat very reasonably.
Our very first impressions of the hotel were excellent- we pulled up by a beautiful archway made out of the typical Marrakesh red clay. Within the arch was a car park flanked by lots of trees, palms and plants. A short flight of steps lead up to a nice looking building. It is a largish hotel with 200 bedrooms but it is only four storeys high (and there were lifts but we did not use them). I was glad we were in a hotel which was not just a concrete high rise block!
This initial first impression was ruined by the very slow check in. We had to fill in forms that were not that easy to understand than were asked to take a seat in the comfortable and spotless reception area. We waited for about ten minutes before we received our room key. We were tired after leaving the house eight hours ago and just wanted to get to our room and relax a bit. Luckily this was just a temporary blip as we found the staff to range from functional to charming, cheery and helpful.
Our room was on the first floor and very near to the entrance so we did not have to traipse miles each morning. We had a nice view over the restaurant and patio area and were also next to a lovely open courtyard with all sorts of trees and plants including some orange tress loaded with juicy ripe fruit. Our room itself was fairly small but spotlessly clean. You could not fault the cleaners as the room was always lovely and tidy and we often saw them scrubbing the floors and steps in the public areas. Our room was fairly basic. There were two very comfortable beds with blankets and sheets. The pillows were long and sausage shaped but I liked them as I do not like flat pillows There was a small bedside table between the beds and a dressing table with mirror. The wardrobe space was quite small and would not suit a couple of girls with extensive combinations of clothes! There was a phone in the room which was useful for wake-up calls and an untuned television. I was not bothered by this as I do not go on holiday to watch television. The decor was basic with plain white walls and white floor tiles. Outside there was a nice little balcony with a table and a couple of chairs. We often sat out there in the evening with a glass of juice just chatting.
The bathroom had bright blue tiles that looked like they came from the '80s. There was a bidet alongside the toilet, sink and bath with a shower above it. Towels were plentiful an were changed when you wanted them. You simply had to leave them in the bath if they were dirty. The only other things supplied were little guest soaps. However apart from a slightly rusty plug hole, I found the bathroom clean and hygienic. There was plenty of hot water to bathe in.
I am not sure it would be up to some people's standards if they were looking for a four star hotel with the same standards in Britain or America . I would say it is more like a three. However we were not looking for luxury, just something comfortable and clean as we had planned to use it as a base rather than spend all our time in the hotel.
If we did want to spend a bit of time relaxing after a long hard day's sightseeing there were plenty of areas to sit and watch the world go by. There is a lovely lounge with comfortable sofas and art deco style furnishings near the reception. Just down form this was a bar which I can not comment on as we never used it.
One of the best features of the hotel is the lovely big, clean pool surrounded by palm trees. Although the weather was fantastic with temperatures up to 25 degrees the pool was still freezing cold so I never managed to put more than my legs in the pool. However there were plenty of sun loungers poolside and we spent a couple of lazy hours just soaking up the rays. Sunbathing in your swimsuit in the middle of November is just pure bliss! Just watch out for the naff music they play. We were subjected to instrument versions of MOR, Whitney Houston and the odd classical number in a loop. It did not help that the CD often jumped! So remember your earplugs! There was a snack bar by the pool but again we did not use it. Other facilities included a hamman, beauty treatments, a gym, hairdressers and a shop.
For me the breakfast is an important aspect of a hotel stay, ans the Amine passed the test. The selection was not quite as wide as at other hotels I've stayed in but what was there was good. Breakfast took place in the ground floor dining room which had views of the gardens. There were lots of lovely croissant style pastries. I got fond of the apricot jam filled snail like ones. I enjoyed these a lot alongside the more salad style ingredients such as tomato, cucumber and a soft cheese. The bits of fresh fruit and freshly squeezed orange juice also went down very well. One morning we got French toast, another we had boiled eggs and there was one morning where we had lovely freshly made pancakes. It's not one for someone who wants an English breakfast but why go to Morocco if that is what you want?
The Amine is part of the med hotel group (now owned by Lastminute.com) and through them was a hotel rep who offered organised tours. We did most things ourselves but did have a lovely trip to the Atlas foothill which we could not have done by ourselves. There was organised entertainment of traditional music on about half the nights we were there. It seemed there was some kind of fee so we did not bother actually going into the dining room as we could hear most of it clearly from our balcony.
As I have said I found the service fairly good. The staff did get to know us and by the end of it we were sort of joking with them. However a little French and a tiny bit of Arabic goes a long way with the staff as some of them had little English. I found reception to be fairly efficient at organising things like wake-up calls and a taxi to the airport although the wake-up calls could be out by as much as ten minutes!
Our fellow travelers seemed to be mixed but I would say the hotel appeals to a slightly older customer as apart from a few families we were some of the younger guests. The Amine suited us as it was a clean, comfortable place to use as a base for exploring and it was great to get back to after the hustle and bustle of the medina..
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