...I've stayed at in many years. Granted, there was a bit of a mismatch between the purpose of our travel (an international conference involving a number of VIPs) and the purpose for which the Village was apparently built (family getaways). Our delegation did not choose to stay at the Village; the choice was made for us by the conference organizers, and there were bound to be some drawbacks for a group in Marrakesh on business.
For example there are almost no facilities at the Village and it is far away from anything. The hotel shuttles to the affiliated Palmeraie Golf Palace are infrequent and unreliable, and when taxis do appear at the Village, their drivers are determined to gouge the hapless resident who has no other choice. The Village is vast and the layout is perplexing. Those lucky enough to be assigned to an apartment closest to the Reception (Block E) should be able to master the roads and paths they need to navigate to get to and from their apartment. Those lodged farther away can expect very long and very confusing walks between their apartment and the Reception area. (No taxis circulate inside the Village and there is no Village transportation except during checkin.) Even those among us with the best sense of direction found ourselves hopelessly lost on the Village's labyrinthine pathways. This is especially frustrating when trying to make a meeting or coming home in the dark after a long day.
In addition to the isolation and inconvenience of the location and layout, those staying in the Village are in a near-total communications blackout. Forget Wi-Fi or anything fancy: there is no internet access available at the Village, period. When I checked in the staff noted to me that their system is "broken" but wouldn't elaborate or specify when it might be fixed, if ever. (They kindly offered to let me use their front desk computer, but with dozens of delegates needing access, that was not a sustainable solution.) I have internet access through my mobile, but the mobile signal in most of the Village is very weak, and I was unable to get on line more than once or twice.
Most bizarrely, the Front Desk at the Village lacks the ability to transfer a call, whether the call is coming in from outside the Village or another room. This problem means you basically cannot receive a landline call. Each apartment at the Village has a unique telephone extension, but unlike a normal hotel, where your room number is your extension, at the Village the extensions are different. For example in my case my apartment number was 642 (not really, I changed it for the sake of anonymity) and my telephone extension was 645. That is strange, but what is even stranger is that the Front Desk does not have a list of the phone extensions for its own rooms! When I checked in, I asked the Front Desk to verify the hotel's phone number and made sure that if anyone called for me they could reach me by asking for me in my apartment number, and they said yes. Despite these assurances, when someone did call some hours later, she was told by the Front Desk that they couldn't transfer her to my apartment because they didn't know the phone number in the apartment and they didn't have a list. That is nothing short of incredible to me, and it is the first time in a lifetime of travels that I've ever heard of such disorganization.
The staff is friendly and tries to help, but is poorly led and by all appearances lacks even the most fundamental training. After discerning that the Village experience was going to be a difficult one, I decided to smooth the way for an incoming member of our delegation by checking at the Front Desk to determine which apartment she would be assigned to and making sure she would be close to the Reception. I was assured she would be in the E Block. However when she arrived just a few hours later she was assigned to a far-flung apartment. It turns out the Front Desk had her arrival date wrong. No one noticed that when I made my inquiry that morning. No one offered any apology or remedy.
It was in the ensuing confusion and mad room-switching that we realized the rooms each have their own unique "character" in that each seems to lack at least some basic feature or functionality. We went through six different rooms before we could each settle, and even then we did not have the minimum we needed. For example, in two rooms the phones were completely dead -- not even a dial-out capability. In three rooms there was no safe. In one room the sliding glass door to the living room would not lock. (This was the same door through which, in another apartment, a colleague's laptop was stolen.) Finally worn down, I elected to stay in a safe-less room. I asked the Front Desk to install a safe, and within an hour a worker arrived carrying a small electronic safe. His idea of installing it, though, was unusual; he merely set it down on a shelf, unattached to anything. Anyone who wanted to make off with the safe and all its contents needed only to tuck it under one arm (it was about as big as a briefcase) and walk away. I told him I was worried by this possibility, and he merely said "don't worry, no one would do that."
The Village failed to provide even minimum standards in many other areas. Another reviewer mentioned the bugs; that's a natural consequence of locating a hotel in desert scrub, but disconcerting to some nonetheless. I don't care so much about bathroom appointments, but there is no shower curtain in any of the apartments, and water goes everywhere.
I mentioned the staff is friendly. They are, but they are also largely unhelpful. When we reported the problems we were having, the usual response was a sort of (verbal or nonverbal) shrug. Either the staff didn't understand that such issues were genuine problems, or they didn't have any idea what to do about them and just decided to smile their way through.
I get it that the Village is supposed to be a place to go and relax, not worry about such things as safes and internet access and shower curtains, but for the price we paid (over $200/night) we should have gotten much, much better.
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- Also Known As:
- Palmeraie Village Marrakech
- Hotel Palmeraie Village