We have just returned from the Sofitel Mogador. The only justification for the isolated location of this hotel is that it sits on a golf course; and what a bizarre location for a golf course! I don't play, but I imagine that it would be easier to achieve a low score using a snooker cue rather than clubs, as the fierce winds did not abate once during our week's stay.
The uninspiring exterior looks out over beautifully kept grounds, and two large, stunning swimming pools, the quieter of which gives on to a pretty, natural water feature. Our upgraded room was well designed, comfortable and kept clean. It had the same view from the balcony facing the distant shore. However, the beach could not be included as one of the amenities of the hotel. It may be reached by a 25 minute walk through the golf course, then a rough track, and finally across the dunes. This brings one on to a bare, empty, windswept stretch of natural coastline.
We travel widely, and I can't remember the last time that I was ill on holiday. However, after just one breakfast and dinner, I suffered 24 hours of vomiting and diarrhoea. Disorganised would be a polite description of mealtimes: be prepared to share the buffet with a flock of sparrows. Unfortunately, it was not until the last day that I discovered that, because the drinks station was only equipped with one kettle that took forever to boil, my morning tea was being made with water direct from the hot tap, which may be the reason by stomach didn't settle all week. I don't imagine it's too hygienic to be drinking straight out of the hot water system.
Our personalised welcome letter indicated that we could also choose a three course meal at the "So Good" restaurant with our half-board package, but this proved difficult because, as half the staff were unaware, they only served tapas. Not So Good, then. This limited the guests' choice to the overpriced a la carte restaurant or the buffet, which, consequently, often had a queue of people waiting for a table.
Great improvement could be made if they looked after the hotel guests as well as they look after the links. There was no shortage of staff, most of whom, with one or two rude exceptions, seemed willing enough, but not too sure about what they were supposed to be doing. There were also plenty of suits wandering aimlessly around. Two dirty plates and cutlery from our first evening were still on the ground outside our room up to the day before we left.
Essaouira itself was a 10minute drive away. The hotel provides an hourly shuttle from 10am to 6pm. The old walled Medina was fascinating to visit, with narrow side streets and small shops, boutiques, stalls, cafés and restaurants enough to suit every taste. But what contrast: turn the next corner and the wrecked and fallen buildings gave the impressed that you'd been transported to a war zone. The beggars were persistent, but not threatening. In fact, there was a very relaxed and safe atmosphere, and the widely heard spoken French gave it a very cosmopolitan feel.
Don't be misled by the Sofitel label: this place is an insult to the brand. It is in serious need of some professional executive management guidance. As things stand, to be blunt, I can't imagine why anyone would want to go there.
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- Also Known As:
- Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf Hotel Essaouira
- Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf And Spa