Review: Le Meridien Marrakech, Morocco
Wandering the streets of Marrakech, Morocco you can’t help but be pulled by the mystery of what’s beyond each side street, corner and alleyway. Unfortunately, the Le Meridien, located within walking distance, but still quite a hike outside the main tourist square of Marrakech, leaves much to be desired, and the intrigue of what’s beyond the door vanishes the moment you set foot inside.
The older facade lends itself to a character-less mega hotel of the late 70s, early 80s. The outer complex lacks the distinctive personality associated with traditional Moroccan style, and instead leaves you to believe you may be entering an older hotel in easily comparable to those in America’s nondescript heartland cities. Luckily, the lobby offers a good dose of Moroccan style, although not in the traditional sense, rather the decor seems to equate to exactly that of a chain resort attempted to infuse the hotel with local flare while maintaining a modest amount of modern undertones.
The service, at least in our experience, was absolutely terrible. Upon checkin, the hotel was unaware of our status and asked to see proof of Starwood membership even though the room was reserved through the Starwood booking site using our membership number and points. As a result, we were not upgraded or offered any platinum amenities until the front desk was able to confirm our status, which was later that evening. Upon checkout, we were still asked to pay a city tax, despite Starwood hotels generally picking up the tab for these types of taxes in other cities around the world.
Aside from the pleasantries of any hotel it’s the rooms that often are of the utmost importance, and it’s here is where the Le Meridien Marrakech disappoints the most. The old, worn, filthy carpet in the hallways leads to old, dirty doors that, unfortunately, lead to large, but overwhelmingly outdated and slightly dirty rooms.
There is absolutely no charm, no character and no ambiance. The bathrooms are old, and while they are mostly clean (aside from a little mold and a few broken tiles), they somehow make you feel as if you’re in a substandard resort on the beach in Mexico. The linens in both the bathroom and on the bed are past their prime, but the bed remains soft and of higher quality compared to the rest of the room, the resort and others in Marrakech. In addition, despite signal strength throughout the resort, the wireless internet does NOT work; however, there are free computers in the lobby, but the specialized keyboard make them difficult to use.
If you’re at the point of turning to run, let me highlight some of the areas where the Le Meridien shines. Despite its shabby, featureless exterior, the interior grounds of the hotel are stunning. The rooms encircle a beautiful, lush garden ripe with Moroccan greenery and growth. Aside from the stunning landscaping is a full-service, first class pool. While, yes I have seen better, the pool at Le Meridien is absolutely perfect for lounging on the comfortable, padded chairs while soaking up the sun or taking a cool dip to beat the dry, desert heat. The nearby Spa is decent and the fitness center is enough to suffice.