This is an excellent choice if you want to see more of Marrakech and broaden your understanding not just of Morocco but also of rural life in a developing nation.
The Mirage has a beautiful lobby with fine detail in the mosaics and tiles, a refreshingly cool pool of water in the centre and perfectly well sized rooms with traditionally tiled bathrooms. It combines the charm and lay-out of a Riad with the features of a good quality hotel - and no knocking on the door to be let in, there is a 24 hour concierge. Location wise, the hotel's website as well as reviewers on this website make it perfectly clear; this is not in the middle of the city, but in a poor village a commutable distance out (by either taxi or the excellent free shuttle car operated by the hotel). But this is one reason why you should come! Let's be clear, the village is incredibly poor and the hotel is not in its own gated compound but right in the middle of the community. But there is something good about this in that the community helped build the hotel in the first place and are getting some benefits from it. But if you are easily shocked or upset by poverty as you relax in a hot-tub... well, this is not the place for you. The villagers live in little more than sheds and all around are (very sleepy) dogs, geese, chickens, mules, donkeys etc. So be prepared for some rural smells and noises and don't moan on here about them when they happen. It's all part of the charm and arguably no better or worse than the pollution and police sirens we put up with in city hotels the world over.
The evening meal was arranged as a buffet and was very good. Ingredients were fresh and well cooked and well presented. As a veggie, I even got a special dish made up on the spot, though there were plenty of other options. Breakfast was also excellent and substantial: pancakes, breads, coffee, juice, yogurt, fruits, cereals, jams, croissant (of course!) etc.
The service was friendly and efficient. I had no problem whatsoever communicating to the main staff members, so don't be put off by the language problem as there wasn't really one. One receptionist in particular had a very good comprehension of English, as did one of the porters. The woman in the bar didn't speak a word of English, but she sure as hell knew what I meant when I asked for beer and frankly, that was all that mattered. Talking of which, yes it does serve booze, and at fairly reasonable (for Morocco) prices which was a surprise considering there was no local competition because of its rural location.
There were several areas for sitting in the sun, including poolside loungers and a large roof terrace which was clean and comfortable and pretty cool looking, too.
During the day, you can hire a bike for free or take a quad or camel tour. The hotel does offer entertainment some nights or you can get the 30 minute free shuttle into town. I was also pleased to see there was no TV.
All in all, a great place to relax and get away from everything - a real detox from the pressures of working and living - the sort of hotel where you wish there was no blackberry signal, even though there is. But it is also a place which, due to its location, will have you thinking about how lucky 'we' in the West are and how the pressures we face - though real and important in our own lives - are nonetheless comparative.
The owners and staff should be proud of what they have achieved here.
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- Also Known As:
- Kasbah Le Mirage Marrakech