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La Sultana Marrakech
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Reviews (1,274)
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Reviewed 5 August 2009

Just returned from Marrakech after a 3 night stay at La Sultana with my wife and her parents. Situated in the bustling Kasbah area to the south of the medina, the hotel is just up a small alley off one of the busy streets. Once you enter through the large golden doors, the noise behind disappears.

The hotel is a combination of four riads merged into one hotel - with a maze of corridors and winding stairs leading off to increasingly opulent rooms. The attention to detail in every aspect and finish is incredible - and you can really see why the hotel has been used in countless magazines. Each of the suites has it's own theme and is almost worth a tour just to see the intricate designs alone. The hotel was vast - with a number of courtyards, one for the pool, another for a water garden, and another with a jacuzzi and above the spa. When we arrived we were greeted with an array of delicious pastries and a glass of mint tea.

My wife and I stayed in the spacious Crocodile junior suite - a stunningly red room with intricate carvings and a grand king-sized bed. The bathroom was also something else - with gold finishings, a marble bath and shower area. The windows of the room looked inward to the centre of the riad courtyard on the first floor.

My parents in law were lucky to be upgraded to the Hippopotamus suite, due to a problem with the air-conditioning in their first room. Situated over two floors, and with two balconies, it was simply incredible, again with its own themes and exotic finishing. The bathroom had two levels itself - with steps up to a stunning plunge-pool style jacuzzi. Air conditioning worked very well in both rooms, which was particularly crucial as our first day was 43 degrees...

On our first night we ate at the restaurant on the spacious roof terrace. The food was wonderful - sampling an assortment of delicious salads, harrira soup (definitely try this), along with varying tagine and cous-cous dishes, all of which were to a high standard. This was accompanied by live musicians in the corner, creating an incredible atmosphere.

One thing we did notice - and something you have to get used to - was that service was fairly slow everywhere (particularly evident in bars and restaurants). It was simply just that life was so much more relaxed there. It made us realise how ridiculously fast-paced our lifestyle is back home. This is most summed up when you take a taxi ride around the city. To say driving is erratic there is an understatement - nobody knew how to drive, or in fact where to drive, and so quite often cars would end up on the opposite side of the road, face to face with another. People don't drive quickly there though, so we only once saw an accident, which was a minor bump.

Just looking over the wall of the roof terrace in the early morning let us watch life unfold down below - with stalls selling fresh fish, fruit and pastries quickly appearing. The view from here was something else - a panorama all round Marrakech and to the Atlas mountains.

The city itself was a sensory overload, with a bombardment of sights, sounds and smells! We decided to book a local guide for a day and a half, which was a very wise investment - and he took us on a tour of the city, through the Kasbah, into the Saadian tombs, through alleys across town, past the Koutobia, the Djemaa el Fna and into the labyrinth of souks. We visited stores akin to Aladdin's Cave and into a grand carpet store (where we did feet tests on an array of rugs!). He was most helpful in the souks though - fending off over-eager sellers and beggars, and keeping an eye to make sure we weren't ripped off. Frankly though, all you need to say is a simple 'Non' and people get the message - nobody went too far, we never felt threatened (as some reviewers have said) and the people were friendlier than in the majority of European cities. In fact, the banter with sellers and at the Djemaa el Fna at night was part of the fun.
Anyway - I could go on for ages, so here's a list of recommendations:
- hotel - as above, it is very expensive, but quite simply the most exotic place we have ever stayed, with service and attention to detail to match. The spa is also incredible.
- Djemaa el Fna - a chaotic frenzy of activity and sensory overload you would be crazy to miss out on. Snake charmers and monkeys by day, endless food stalls and storytellers by night.
- Le Marrakchi - a restaurant on the side of the main square, and has wonderful food at reasonable prices, with the best view on the second floor - but be warned you should sit next to a window as it got very hot in there.
- Cafe de France - sit back with a fresh orange juice on the roof terrace. You will not get a better view in the city.
- Le Riad Monceau - a small riad with a small restaurant near to the square, the food was simple but nice.
- camel trekking - in the Palmeraie to the north of the city.
- Jardin Majorelle - beautiful gardens, with vibrant blue, restored by Yves Saint Laurent.
- Saadian Tombs - definitely worth a visit.
- souks - goes without saying - go when it's busiest in the morning!!
- food and drink. Fresh orange juice. Is amazing. Also, the food was wonderful - kefta (meatballs in a tomato sauce with an egg on top) was amazing, as was harira soup and also berber breads.
- mint tea. Best. Drink. Ever. We rarely felt the need for alcohol, and it was a blessing that few places served it. Why don't they make this drink more in England?

Bear in mind...
- it can be expensive in town, and try to remember the exchange rate when you are bartering (think how much you'd value the purchase back home). We had to bring someone down from 9000 dirhams to 1500 in one store for a some antiques. The same applies to taxis - agree the rate before you get in. Most times they will ask you for the price first, so go in way below your ideal amount.
- take sterling or Euros. You can change at La Sultana, and there are loads of ATMs around town, which we had to use. Many places didn't take card (despite guidebooks saying that most did...).
- be sensible. Although we had a guide, when we didn't, we just used common sense around town. In the souks and Djemaa el Fna, most people will try to stop you to engage in conversation before getting you to buy something. Watch for the Henna tattoo artists too - dont let them grab your hand!! A simple 'Non' does the trick. If you take a photo of a snake charmer expect to pay them.

If you want an oasis of calm to return to in the city, then I'd definitely recommend La Sultana. The location was perfect and we could not fault it. Ignore previous reviews - I cannot understand why this hotel is not nestled at the top of the list. Marrakech is a wonderful place with incredible people, and we will be going back.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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Thank swempo80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2009

My husband and I stayed in La Sultana for 4 days having stayed at the Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas mountains for the first part of our trip. Unfortunatly for La Sultana, I doubt any hotel could easily follow Tamadot... that said for the prices they charged the hotel was just not up to scratch.

First the good stuff... The hotel itself was very nicely present - a new-ish hotel done in a Riad style. The maze of corridors around 3 courtyards, with beautful moroccan lanterns, tiles and stonework certainly gave an interesting and authentic feel. The swimming pool in the largest coutyard was very nice (and one of the better Riad pools or so I have read) but it was a shame there were only a couple of loungers around it. There were mainly tables as this was one of the places breakfast and lunch was serviced.

The roof terrace was great - spacious with plenty of loungers, good views and pretty lanterns and plants. You could get breakfast and lunch on the roof and there was also a small plunge pool up here to cool off.

I was a little disappointed in our room. It was quite cool in its own way with funky lights and OTT bathroom, but it was also quite small and dark (painted all dark blues and greens) with no natural light. It was set on one of the smaller riad courtyards and from peering into the other rooms, I'd say there were better rooms than ours. Rooms are named and ours was called "Poun" so if you end up in this room and have checked in early enough (we got there early evening) ask to look at some other rooms in case there are any you like better.

Areas where I thought the hotel wasn't up to scratch are the service, the spa and the general attention to detail. Whilst the staff were friendly, the service was patchy and slow, particularly at breakfast. Breakfast was meant to start at 8am and on our last day we were leaving for the airport at 8.30 so wanted to eat before we went. Tables were still being set at 8.15, half the buffet was empty and I had to go and look for someone in the kitchen to order coffee.

The spa was the worst though. The spa staff were unfriendly and incompetent - it took 3 visits and a complaint to the hotel manager before we could get treatments booked at times we wanted (having actualy made an appointment already that was flatly denied when we popped back to confirm). Our treatments were also not great - my back massage done by a surly unsmiling theraprist was almost as aggressive as it was ineffectual. My husband had the hammam which he desribed as "brutal" and again, following by a pointless massage. Whilst the spa is extremely good looking, the large show- piece jacuzzi was on the cold side and not very vigourous.

Overall attention to detail also showed me the hotel cuts corners - e.g. thin, stained scratchy towels in the bathrooms, poor quality toilettries, the stale welcome pastries brought on our first day then left for the duration. This may sound picky but for nearly £400 a night I expected more.

Finally - make sure you use the safe in your room and keep it locked at all times as we both had cash taken from our wallets (which were in the safe, although unlocked) around the time of the evening turn down service. It was GBP that was taken, and not all the cash we had so we did not notice until back in the UK. I have complained to the hotel but after 5 days have still not heard from them.

Overall, La Sultana is a good looking, interesting hotel with a good location (only 10-15 mins walk from the main square) but ultimately the spa, service and prices let it down.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Intrepid_Monkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2009

A magical hotel, with lush decor exquisitely attentive to the finest detail ... a feast for the eyes. This hotel and riad right in the Medina of Marrakech is one of the most stunningly beautiful to behold, with an outstanding staff. The spa was outstanding, as was the staff and hammam. Probably the most romantic hotel in all of Morocco.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank cadamsesq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago
Google Translation

Room Tip: toutes différentes, donc il y en a pour tous les gouts
  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 days ago
Google Translation

Room Tip: Unbedingt Erdgeschoss vermeiden.
  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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