The staff love to remind you that this is the only 5* Holiday Inn. I would beg to contest the credibility of the 5* rating.
The staff are hit-and-miss. Luckily I speak French and a tiny amount of Arabic so there was no language barrier, but you will find that some staff are lovely and others apparently couldn't care less!
Check-in was painfully slow. Initially my reservation could not be found. I had to show a physical copy of my confirmation and then return one hour later. Then there was a copious amount of bureaucratic form-filling to be done; more than other Moroccan hotels that I had stayed in. I was sat down to work through the questionnaire. On completion, my room key had still not been issued so there was a further wait.
The pool is very nice; the water had patently been cleaned on our last morning as it was crystal clear. The pool bar is convenient though expensive by local standards.
We lost all the electricity in our room. Despite calling through to reception twice, nobody was despatched to assist us and it was only when I went along the corridor and into another room, where I found a housekeeper, was I able to find assistance.
Next to the hotel is a facility called "Nikki Beach". Here, every day, incredibly loud music is played from the afternoon into the evening. Unable to rest in the late afternoon, I contacted reception to complain about the unreasonable noise and request a room change. I was told "The noise is Nikki Beach, which plays music every day". Is that an excuse?! Nobody called me back with notice of a room change, even when I called reception thirty minutes later to again request.
A feature that does lend itself to the purported 5* rating is that you are led to your room by a bellhop, although I would rather that this were an optional feature, as I find it embarrassing when I have just arrived and have not yet procured and local currency that the bellhop is hovering, expecting a tip.
At checkout, I was issued a bill for the remaining unpaid taxes. I offered my credit card, but was told that I could not pay the taxes (MAD equivalent of around GBP 8) because the amount was too little. I asked the hotel to simply charge the card, without using my PIN number: apparently not an option. Nor would they waive the charge or allow me to pay it on arrival on my next confirmed stay. Not carrying any cash, I had to physically make a trip to a local bank, withdraw a note, return to the reception, and pay the lady!! This delayed my departure by one hour, causing me to miss my lunchtime tour bus into the Atlas Mountains, which was rescheduled for the next day. At what "upscale/5*" hotel are you ever forced to pay using cash?! I was also overcharged for taxes on a Priority Club Reward Night -- and charged twice for one night.
Finally, on my last night I had booked a Terrace Suite, but was placed in the lowest-category Standard Room. No partial refund or goodwill gesture was offered.
I have since contacted IHG Guest Relations to try and rectify the billing issue. My query was forwarded to the hotel management and I was promised a response within 48 hours, however one month later and alack nothing has been received.
I surmise that the hotel wants as little to do as possible with the IHG/Holiday Inn brands, as nobody wears any kind of Holiday Inn uniform or badge, there are massive issues with Reward Nights and Priority Club bookings, all my bills are printed on "Hotel du Golf" headed paper, the majority of the signage regards "Hotel du Golf"; and all their email addresses are hosted on a Moroccan website. Perhaps they are using IHG just for funding, or to get a good flow of guests from an international company. Either way, It seems that the hotel is complying with the absolute minimum of the terms in its franchise agreement!
It is desperately unfortunate that this is the way things are as this hotel has the potential to be excellent.
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