Last Christmas we stayed with four adults and four children in Villa Abalya, the self catering part of Riad Musk. Villa Abalya is misleadingly the name of a group of villas on the estate, not the name of one villa. When you book Villa Abalya you do not book the villa shown on the website, but more than likely one of the other villas on the estate. If you wish to book the villa on the picture (and the only one with a heated pool), you should ask for Villa Abalya number 24.
We looked really forward to this nine day break, but it ended up being our most disappointing holiday ever. I was in Morocco before and had had a really good time. As a result of this trip my wife, who was in Morocco never before, is adament not to visit the country ever again.
The problems started two days before we were supposed to take off. We received an email that the private pool of our villa was broken and that for the first night we would have to stay in the hotel (Riad Musk) instead. When we arrived nothing proved wrong with the pool. We were told that previous guests had asked to stay longer.
The location of the hotel was a bit of a dispappointment. It was advertised as '10 minutes from the Medina'. Unfortunately this was 15 to 20 minutes by car. Riad Musk and the houses called 'Villa Abalya' are located in a secluded estate away from town. You would need your own transport or taxis to get around.
The website stated that the pool would be 27C (81F) 'even at Christmas', which was confirmed to us by email. For the children this was very important. When we arrived the pool was 16C (measured by manager) and too cold to swim. Only one of the villas had a heated private pool. All of the other pools were cold. The one villa with a heated pool was rented to friends of the owners. Jalal, the manager, wanted to compensate us for the inconvenience by inviting us to his house for dinner and bringing us to horse shows, etc. We said we were not interested and that we demanded a heated pool or, in case that would not be possible, a serious refund. Jalal offered us a refund of 50% of accomodation cost (which we never received), referring to a famous Arab saying that money is not important.
We rented staffed self catering accomodation, so that we had more freedom. This was important with children. Unfortunately we were not allowed in the kitchen and Jalal allowed us to consume in the house drinks which we had bought in the supermarket, only 'because of the inconvenience of the cold pool'. Normally you are not allowed to bring in any food or drinks. Everything, including water, must be purchased from the manager.
The villa was supposed to have a dining room, drawing room and television room. This was not the case. There was one big open plan room with a television corner.
We never asked for laundry to be done, but the staff did so anyway. On departure we were charged €60 for the laundry plus €80 for ironing. The amazing thing was that no ironing whatsoever had been done, which was admitted by the staff. All clothes were wrinkled. We were also charged for the complimentary lunch Jalal offered us at arrival, for fruit yoghurts eaten at breakfast (not incuded in breakfast price), for drinks we had bought ourselves and for four dinners we had not even had. We were only presented with the bill an hour before departure, so we were in a rush trying to correct the bill. Credit cards were not accepted, so on the way to the airport we were rushed along a local bank to withdraw Dh 13000 (€1180) in cash.
Finally there was supposed to be a Hammam, a fitness centre and a massage facility on site. When we asked Jalal he acted surprised and told us to go to the Medina in stead.
We travel quite a lot and never before had any seriuosly bad experience. When we were back home we complained with the French travel agent, through whom we had booked Villa Abalya. They seem to be the main letting agent of the accomodation. After numerous letters we were given a refund of 25% of the cost of the accomodation (excluding flights), but this did not in any way make good for our bad experience.
We tried to enjoy the town of Marrakesh and the Atlas mountains, but all the problems with Villa Abalya made it very hard.