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Widiane Suites & Spa
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Reviewed 13 February 2012

I've read a few differing reviews and having just returned I thought it was fair to give a detailed summary for anyone thinking of booking from a very well travelled and experienced visitor:

Food - large and varied menu starting from £6 for pasta to £22 for three course set meal. Lots of tagines, fish, lamb rack and even burgers. All the dishes we tasted were very good although the pesto pasta needed more pesto for my tastes. Breakfast was full menu some days or buffet to suit every taste. Portions varied but mostly large with lots of delicious bread included. They don’t serve small snacks such as cake or crisps but a full lunch/early dinner menu.

Drinks – wine starts at around £16 a bottle. Soft drinks are around £2.50 and beer around £3.50 (served with crisps and nuts) but drinks served with breakfast, complimentary water every day in room plus village shack store 10-15min walk along lake.

Rooms – standard rooms can be fairly small and dimly lit with a side view but we to were kindly upgraded after the weekend to a lake facing bigger room with own patio area with sun beds and outside sofas. Don’t worry too much as sofas around the hotel on all levels and one even had an outside TV plus sockets for your laptop.

Location – beautiful! The large lake is stunning and the hotel is on the lake with only a about sixty steps to the highest level of rooms (buggy is often there to take guests/luggage up and down but we didn’t feel the need). There is construction going on next to the hotel however the view is blocked out by climbing flower covered walls. We didn’t see virtually any work going on or noise so wasn’t an issue for us. There is no other hotel or restaurant really walkable so you get to know the other residents and we had great fun in the Buda Bar after dinner.

Treatments and activities – excellent massages and a basic hamman scrub. The cooking lesson was really prepping lesson but we learnt a great deal from a professional kitchen chef. Small gym with perfect view of lake and Atlas mountains.

Service – all the members of the staff were friendly and helpful. I wanted to practice my French but many of the staff had great basic English (do make sure you have been understood though or you may get a coke instead of diet coke etc).

Drive – fascinating view of mountains, lakes, different villages and towns along the way. Taking in the sights of the locals in traditional Moroccan robes on donkeys and the teenage boys in their leather jackets and mopeds. Morocco is hectic and the locals do a great job avoiding each other. The rest of the twisting mountain drive was peaceful and great scenery (without sheer drops).

The people – the people of Morocco are very friendly to tourists and will say hello, welcome and then leave you to enjoy your day. Only in the city souks or shops will you find people trying to sell to you.

I would recommend this resort for a peaceful spa getaway in a lovely country with great food and fun evenings at a great price. Well I put on five pounds in 6 days so maybe if I go back I'll try to visit the gym! Enjoy. D

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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14  Thank Debra D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2012

We have just returned from a wonderful 3 night stay at Widiane booked through Groupon.

Where to start…we arrived at Marrakesh airport and had a short wait for our shuttle to the hotel. We did have to phone the hotel to check that the shuttle was coming as it was a little late but it wasn’t really a problem and reception were very helpful, calling me back immediately to say that our car would be with us in 5 minutes. The car was big and comfortable, though a little squashed once there were 4 passengers! Although the drive was 3 hours long the approach to the hotel is breathtaking by car and you get an interesting snapshot of rural Morocco along the way. We stopped half way for a break. Once we arrived we were transferred to reception by golf buggy to check in! We were given a welcome shot of milk (I think) which was rather interesting (!) before being taken up to our room. We had paid extra for a poolside room- worth it because the views are beautiful. The room itself was comfortable and clean with a lovely big bed. The bottle of wine and fruit basket were a nice addition. We were grateful for the heating in the room as the weather was a little chilly during our stay (start of February): we would advise packing some warm clothes unless you go in mid summer!! Although it’s warm when sitting in the sun, it can be very chilly in the shade. The bath robes in the bathroom were very much enjoyed but I would have loved some matching slippers to go with it as the stone floor is cold underfoot. The slippers are given to you when you have spa treatments so why not put them in the bedrooms as well? The room could also have benefited from an information pack giving more details about the hotel and its surroundings/ facilities. Our only real quibble was that we requested extra coat hangers on the first day and never received them (the room only had 4). However this was hardly going to provoke fits of rage.

The hotel did not disappoint in terms of setting- the views are stunning and the website pictures are a true reflection of the hotel. The reception and other staff could not have been friendlier. We thoroughly enjoyed our cooking class with Omar & co. and attracted quite an audience in the kitchen- lots of laughing from both us and the kitchen staff! We made a great 3 course meal which we then ate for lunch. We were very concerned about the food given past Tripadvisor reviews. We thought the food was GREAT! Breakfast consisted of about 4 courses and was huge, though the breakfast menu needs to be a bit clearer! The ‘American breakfast’ appears to offer everything the Continental or Moroccan breakfast offers (bread, pastries, fruit etc.) plus an omelette, plus eggs of your choice, plus a bowl of cereal. This caused much amusement and we were most disappointed to receive just the omelette; the menu could use a smattering of the word ‘or’!

We never ordered any lunches as the breakfasts were so huge and the evening meals so delicious. The lamb tagine was fantastic (I ordered it not once but twice) and the other dishes we tried were also good- the avocado salad is a winner, as is the chocolate mousse. The hotel’s delicious homemade bread was utterly addictive. The wine was mostly Moroccan but we were pleasantly surprised. Both the food and wine were fairly pricey but of good quality. The Buddha bar was great fun…yummy cocktails and a good place to relax and chat to other guests. We had a couple of fun evenings talking to others. You do need to ask them to open the bar on very quiet nights but they quick to accommodate (it's below the main reception).

The boat trip was fun but FREEZING! I would strongly recommend that the hotel provides extra blankets or coats for boat passengers- it would make the experience much more comfortable. We enjoyed our Thai massages- the ladies clearly knew what they were doing. Better than any massages I had in Thailand, even if I did alternate between giggling and screwing my face up in pain (luckily the room was dark!). For the Thai massages they provide clothes for you to put over your underwear. For the Hammam we couldn’t work out whether underwear/ swimsuit was required as the lady didn’t speak English, though decided that it’s probably up to you. On the one hand you get wet, on the other it’s quite intimate so it depend on what you feel comfortable with! The pool was beautiful but freezing cold (my heroic boyfriend ventured in, I did not). The Jacuzzi next to the spa is amazing! I wish we had got round to going in- amazing views of the lake. A poolside safety sign was installed during our stay and made for amusing reading (a couple of typos). They are perhaps a little overeager on the depth markers of the pool as well, which we saw being painstakingly painted on and mark the depth every half metre or so!

Overall we had a fantastic time. The Groupon deal offers great value for money and keeps you entertained. We probably would have struggled to stay much longer without getting a bit bored, particularly since the weather was quite cold. Knowing French was not needed as almost all had a basic understanding of English (the reception staff speak fluently).The jet ski-ing and other water sports would be a lot of fun in the summer. However, a big thumbs up for Widiane! By our analysis, it’s a 3-4 star with 5 star ambitions (though a 3-4 star with lots of positives and heaps more character than some 3 stars). It’s clearly on the ascendant and it would be interesting to return in a couple of years to chart progress! And perhaps by then it will be easier to find the gift shop!

Thank you very much for a wonderful time!

Room Tip: Paying extra for a poolside room is probably worth it, particularly in the summer.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank SKY543
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2012

The most awful travel experience I have ever had. I stayed at the Hotel over Christmas 2011 and will NEVER go back to this Hotel. I do agree with other reviewers that the setting is beautiful and the hotel (rooms) are good but that is where is ends. The food , just awful, inedible, very restricted menu and if a lump of bone in a casserole dish is your thing then you will be happy because that is exactly what you will get if you order the Lamb Tagine and don't even think about complaining because you will just annoy the very rude male receptionist and the management. Well to be fair the management did agree not to charge us for that part of the meal and when we checked out a few days later we had been charged and the management then said we were nothing but free loaders !! Nice !. The food was so dreadful that the next night we dicided to eat out, now the Hotel is pretty isolated so the hotel staff are expecting you to eat at the Hotel but we had a car and had found another restaurant further along the road past the Hotel, so we were all ready to set off to this other restaurant when the hotel staff blocked our car from getting out by driving a golf cart to the back of our car and abandoning it there. Then suddenly all staff seemed to disappear thus leaving us unable to move our car !!! eventually we managed to drag the golf cart out of the way and went out for dinner (food at last) The Hotel management were not happy that we did not eat in the Hotel restaurant and we were made to feel very uncomfortable for the rest of our stay. When we did check out the receptionist was just dreadful, he was abusive, rude and arrogant he called us names (freeloaders) being one if the milder comments he used and he locked our cases away until we paid the bill in full even though we had disputed the food bill and the management had agreed not to charge us. Amazingly the manager who had agreed to not charge us could not be found when we checked out i suspect he was hiding in his office !! To cut a very long story short we were made to pay the bill in full under threat of them calling the police to have us arrested and they refused to give us our luggage until we paid in full. Seriously be very careful if you stay here. We were a party of four and I just worry if it had been just me i think it would have put me off travelling. The location is beautiful but there are other Hotels on the lake do yourself a favour and book somewhere else. I got the deal on a groupon which the reception clerk at the hotel mentioned to us when we checked out calling us cheap and freeloaders. To be quite honest if I was offered a week there at NO CHARGE wild horses would not drag me back. Oh and if you don't speak French beware of the guided trek the guide only speaks French and he does not understand ANY English not ever please can we stop for a break !! I have travelled a lot over the years far and wide and I am not a complainer i am pretty laid back especially in a country like Morocco. I was not expecting too much but what i got was insults and abuse. Defo a christmas to forget hopefully !

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
    • Service
38  Thank Joanna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2012

Widiane suites and spa is amazing. From our free cocktail on arrival to our takeaway breakfast on departure, everything about widiane was perfect.

The location is beautiful and very peaceful. The hotel is fabulous with a garden with stunning views at the front, the spa, restaurant and bar in the middle and the wonderful pool area at the back.

Our room was excellent with a huge and comfy bed. Our balcony was huge with sunbeds, loungers, tables and chairs with amazing views.

The boat, trek and cooking excursions were all fun and the staff were very friendly, the spa treatments made for a very relaxing break.

Food and drink was good and reasonably priced.

Overall 10/10. We love widiane.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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10  Thank stehall87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2012

If you are thinking of staying at this hotel DON'T! This is quite simply the worst Hotel I have EVER stayed in. If you are due to go to this hotel I encourage you to try and change your plans and if you have booked via Groupon can I suggest you contact them and look to understand what options you have to cancel your visit. As you will see from my review the reasons will become abundantly clear!

Yes it's in a beautiful location, yes the waiters and waitresses are lovely. Yes the rooms are clean and well presented, but that's where any praise from me will end.

On arrival we were then taken to the lakeside rooms, but given this was in December and the hotel had few guest it seemed crazy to be placed so far from the hotels reception and amenities. There was no security at the gates from the road to this area of the hotel and anyone could wonder in off the street, the website tells guests that there is “private parking” our car sat on the side of the road for the three days not what I would call private at all. This part of the hotel seemed deserted and so we asked to be moved to the rooms closer to the pool. The hotel agreed to this and we suggested that we go to the bar and wait for our two room keys (travelled as a party of four) so that they could ready the new rooms. The receptionist agreed to drop the room keys down to us once the rooms were ready. Over an hour and a half later one of our party went back to reception to understand if the rooms were indeed ready. They were, the male receptionist had phoned the bar understood we were having a drink and so decided not to bother letting the bar staff know they were ready. At this point we had been in the car for three hours, we were all in need of a shower and fresh cloths for dinner and so not the best of starts.

We return to reception for dinner. Both dining rooms sit either side of the main reception and are reasonably cozy. We order food and like many others who have reviewed this restaurant find it to have good points and bad. The bad unfortunately eclipse the good! At this point it's worth saying that as a group of four adults we are all well travelled professionals with a balanced and fun outlook on life, but at this venue I do two things I have never before done and trust I won't have to again. The first is to be presented with what I am told is a Lamb Tagine, which turns out to be three large bones with fat and cartilage still in tact accompanied by some prunes and apricots. Whilst attempting to find any sign of anything edible besides two mouthfuls of meat we are assaulted by the alleged entertainment. This being three Moroccan entertainers playing a sort of guitar through an amplifier and two of them brandishing metal castanets, which they played as loud as possible whilst wailing at the top of their lungs! Whilst culturally sensitive I don't expect to have to scream at my three fellow diners to be heard, we went to reception after 15 minutes of this and asked if they could be asked to perform more quietly and we were told that we could be moved out onto the terrace. In December in the mountains the temperature drops like a stone, not an alternative we welcomed. I have pressed the table buzzer and asked the waiter to return the Inedible Tagine to the kitchen, I'm offered a replacement but at this point I am past it. The young waiter looks into the Tagine dish and even he seems shocked at its contents. On his way out of the small dining room I ask him if he can shut the doors to reception where the “entertainment” has reached even louder decibels, he closes one but this has little impact on the deafening racket. By now fed up and with my ears ringing I take the presented bill to the receptionist and refuse to pay for the carcass presented as a main course, but we pay for the other three meals. He is incapable of making this decision and tells me he needs to speak to his general manager who is summoned, in the meantime we escape the deafening wailing and percussion and head to the bar, as we retreat we realise that we are the only dinners in either dining room. Poor newly arriving guests are sat at reception seemingly stunned by this deafening greeting whilst yelling at the now engaged receptionist.

The general manager arrives in the bar; I explain our experience of check- in, dinner and the so-called entertainment. Gobsmackingly he asks if the “Tagine tasted good”, even though I have explained to him that I've basically been presented with bones, fat and cartilage I have to confess the two mouthfuls of meat we're indeed tender and very nice but the feedback goes unheard and unregistered. We are offered a complimentary drink. We leave him suggesting that it's not been a great start but tomorrow is a new day. How wrong could we be!

Christmas Eve we go to the bar for a pre- dinner drinks and we are greeted by the previous evenings entertainers in surprisingly good voice and playing their instruments with similar gusto. Surprising as this may be they are at one end of the room and the mixed nationality guests seem to all be huddled at the opposite, the only incentive for staying is the opportunity to have an alcoholic drink in a dry country. Once again the now six of us literally have to scream at each other to be heard, and once again conversation dries up as we all realise we just can't compete with the so called entertainment!

We move back upstairs to reception and the much-awaited Christmas dinner, we are seated and the nightmare unravels once again. The first two courses arrive and are well received, as the Turkey course is laid before us a troop of six new screaming and wailing entertainers burst into life in reception and are soon stood in the doorway of the dinning room and to the deafening beat of drums we are forced into stunned silence. Ears ringing and my brain close to exploding over the dry Turkey I make my way to reception and collar the general manager yet again. He receives yet more feedback, as I recount the prior nights experience and having complained once about excessive noise I am having a repeat déjà vu moment, unsurprisingly at this point I lose the plot and once again tell him I am refusing to pay for the meal as its been utterly ruined. One of the party is sat behind me with both fingers in her ears as its beyond obvious we aren't enjoying the “entertainment” that is apparently being offered for our benefit. A female manager tells her we can be moved but the sound is so deafening we can't even agree to move as we can't hold the conversation among the six of us to ensure everyone is happy to go, it would be insane to want to stay but this is after all Christmas Eve and we don’t want to offend our new friends. In the end, having returned to the table and no sign of abatement from the performers after another five minutes of inaction from this general manager I walk out followed by the remaining five in the party and we regroup in the bar to find the original trio of entertainers still in situ. After some pleading from us they agree to play at a reasonable level, without the athletic jumping and high kicks and monotonous percussion.

The young woman serving in the bar over hears our conversation as Joanna (fingers in here ears) recounts the conversation as they leave the table shortly after me in the restaurant when she is told, " we'll we offered to move you and we can't cancel entertainment when faced with complaints from a small number of guests, other guests were enjoying it (who were Moroccan and regular visitors to the Widiane) and that's it! Just so we are clear the hotel is like a morgue, spotting the guest becomes a pastime all of it's own. If there are 20 people in the hotel on any one-day it's as many. You will understand this little gem does nothing to appease us all as we all discuss the feedback that is going to the managing director and to any travel website that will accept our feedback! The couple we have met are as appalled as we are and all of us have walked out of our Christmas meal having eaten roughly half of it so still hungry to boot!

It's interesting to note that the entertainment is soon stopped after we have left the restaurant, despite the fact that we are told other guests are up dancing and enjoying this mind numbing drone.

Then another female manager appears wanting to understand why we are unhappy, at this point I can't help but explain that her general manager is a complete idiot and it's clear he's understood nothing that we've said to him. Others join in and she receives feedback from all. We once again tell her it's not personal and actually it is he that should be down here with us rather than sending her down to face the music. She apologies and leaves. We make the best of the evening and then at near midnight she returns. This time with printed bills for us to sign for each couple. I tell her straight that we aren't paying for the meal, end of story. She explains that the receipts are for the wine that accompanied dinner but on closer inspection it's a bill for dinner and the wine. I hand it back to her and she checks it again, her face flushes and she makes a hasty exit. You have to admire the sheer front of them.

If we could have checked out on Christmas day we would have and found alternative accommodation. There was no further contact with anyone in the management team that day but of course the hotel couldn’t possibly let the day pass without incident. As a group of six we had agreed not to attempt to eat at the hotel again and so earlier in the day we had gone to the local family run hotel on the lake and booked dinner. We had a drink in the bar and then headed down to the car, which was parked on the main road. As we got to the car and as we assembled the two additional seats in the boot to accommodate the six of us a golf buggy is parked at the back of the car. The driver gets out and taking the keys but leaving the headlights on and runs up the road away from the hotel to speak to another driver. We start to get into the car and then realize the hotel employee has now returned to the guardhouse leaving the golf buggy parked behind the car blocking us in. Having sounded the horn, one of us gets out and walks up to the guardhouse. This is clearly an attempt to antagonize us as guests. With no sign of life we physically lift the buggy’s rear wheels off the ground and drag it from the rear of the car and head out to dinner.

And so on Boxing day we go down for breakfast, bags packed and greatly looking forward to a final bland breakfast and the chance to checkout. Its Joanna’s birthday, of which the hotel was aware and so all we wanted to do was get back in the car and head off once again on our Moroccan road trip.

Two of us went to reception and asked for the respective bills. Our luggage had been taken down to the car and having heard nothing more from the management team we expected not to be paying for my first meal and none of the food from Christmas Eve with the exception of the dinner wine and drinks. Well we needed to think again. The male receptionist who’s attitude had nose dived over the days presented our bills and upon inspection we found full charges for the meal on our night of arrival and of course the disastrous Christmas Eve Dinner and once again we refused to pay for these elements of the bill. He was insistent that we had to pay; he told us that the general manager was not in the hotel, despite the fact that he had been seen by one of our party twenty minutes before. Whilst having what I would call a terse conversation with the receptionist regarding the service at this allegedly five star hotel he had the audacity to pick up the phone and take an incoming call in the middle of a conversation with me. Now furious I explain to him that he is in fact the rudest person I have ever encountered in a hotel and that we had no intention of paying the bills. He is then joined by a female manager who’s attitude is surly and aggressive and she also declares we must pay. He then turns to her and says “we have encountered freeloaders like this before if they don’t pay we will call the police”. I don’t think I need comment on that I think it speaks volumes of this hotel! Having reached a standoff they then call the police. As a group we agree reluctantly to pay the bills on our credit cards. None of our party if fluent in French or Arabic and lets face facts in a foreign country we know we aren’t going to be able to represent ourselves well given the language barrier and not being able to understand exactly what the hotel staff are telling the police officers.

As the male receptionist is processing the payments I say to him “I intend to give you the worst feedback possible on Trip Adviser, this isn’t a five star resort and your behavior has been disgraceful”. He turns to me and says “we don’t care about Trip adviser, and we welcome your comments, let me get you the ipad and you can fill it in here and now, we don’t need people like you we have lots of satisfied customers” The sheer arrogance of these people is staggering.

As we are leaving the receptionist is grinning from ear to ear and laughing at us as if he’s won the days encounter. I trust that this mans conduct and that of his management team result in lots of unsuspecting travellers lured in by the beautiful pictures on the website and the opulence of the hotel to take pause and ask the question we should have asked at the outset. Why is this hotel part of a groupon sale and why is it so heavily discounted? The answer is because this hotel has clearly struggled to attract guests via any other means, it isn’t five star and its claims on its website and others are entirely inaccurate.

It suggests that it is disabled friendly offering “handicapped parking”; I would have to say the car park would be the only place a disabled person would be able to navigate. The lift from the lake rooms is accessible via a flight of stairs and the topography of the landscape ensures that anyone walking around the site has to do so taking the numerous tiers of steps, which would be entirely unsuitable for anyone with any walking difficulties.

The Hotel boasts the Canyon Thai Widiane restaurant, which we were greatly looking forward to trying, we were told on arrival this was closed as it was not high season but staff members told us it has indeed closed!

At night the steps around the pool area are very badly lit with many bulbs having blown and not been replaced ensuring that anyone walking to and from reception from the pool area has to have full concentration on where they place their feet.

In our room we had an electrical socket by the bed hanging off the wall and on the second night our shower flooded the bathroom floor as the drains are so poor watering flowing from the shower head isn’t drained quickly enough from the shower tray.

There is also building work underway immediately adjacent to hotel with a massive crane rising from the landscape.

Once you are there you will find the pool is freezing cold and unheated, great in the summer not so great in December, and any other five star resort I have stayed in has a heated pool.


The management is simply arrogant, intransigent and perform rather like Teflon, feedback simply glides off. This is pure and simple a money making machine. I am not naive enough not to understand that hotels are there to make a profit, this one puts coin way ahead of service and customer satisfaction. I would go as far as to say were I a French speaker things might have been different, but the general managers English is as good as mine and there was no room for misunderstanding in any of our encounters. I have no idea where he learnt his craft but it wasn't in any internationally renowned establishment I've stayed in! I've never refused to pay for a meal ever, but to do so twice in 48 hours tells me something and neither have I encountered such ineffectual and indecisive management. I have now read a great deal of the reviews written in English and whilst others have rated this venue highly there are distinctive themes that reoccur time and time again. The websites sell an idyllic resort and it is, but the very thought that you are here as a paying guest and that your enjoyment is the end goal is simply lost with this general manager and his team. Honestly don't bother it's just not worth the grief. We booked via groupon and they too will be receiving some strong feedback on this debacle. If this venue wants to attract global guests it needs to understand that you don't just cater for your local clientele and any entertainment has a time and a place and being subjected to deafening drums, shouting and yelling over a dinner with friends isn't the time or the place! To do it once is forgivable to do it twice is just beyond ignorant! I see that Groupon has sold 323 holidays to this hotel and the reason Widiane doesn’t care is that they have a captive audience, you’ve paid for your accommodation in advance, the deal ensures that lots of people want that all important bargain and frankly if they treat you badly and they serve you terrible food they know that tomorrow, next week, next month more bargain hunters will be breaking down the door to stay with them.

The behavior of these people isn’t typical of Moroccans who we found to be warm and friendly people and the remainder of our stay in the country was fantastic, but it was overshadowed by this experience and its one I hope to save anyone else looking to stay at this venue. My best advise to you is to drive through the Atlas mountains and up to the damn, take in the stunning scenery and pass this dreadful hotel by and stay elsewhere!

On arrival in Fes we spoke with our respective credit card providers and placed blocks on the processing of the payment to this hotel. Whilst this will be a laborious process of form filling to allow the credit card company to pursue a claim it will be more than worth it as the lasting impression I have of this hotel is the laughing receptionist and I trust my feedback here will greatly reduce the number of people who have to endure his shocking behaviour and arrogance!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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85  Thank Dave D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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