Have no idea about what the rooms are like in the hotel whatsoever. Didn't go there for a room, no I went there for their camel trek in the desert with a night bivouac under the stars. I picked this place for that since there is a fixed location to find and start from. Compared to others 'meet by the café in Merzouga' and so on, I liked the idea of the hotel being a base which can be found on Google Earth. It is a long way to drive from Rabat to Merzouga without realy knowing where you are going. And some of the others saying just phone on arrival, arrival where precisely and at £3 min due to being outside Europe roaming charges, err no.
So the Palais Des Dunes have website advertising a one night trek with bivouac, meal and morning trek back all in for €40. Too good to be true?
Easily programmed into the Sat Nav and a nice drive down on a good road. Eventually the Erg Chebbi dunes loom on the horizon. The hotel is almost the last building at the end of the road but is clearly signed and it is ON the main tarmac road so no having to drive off into the dust with a cheap hire car.
Welcome is nice, you are offered a room to store luggage if required, I declined as I had the car for locking stuff up but I really don't think you are charged for the room as an extra - but confirm just in case. Yes they respond to emails which helps confirm they are a real organisation.
There was a delay from the suggested set off time due to some other people splashing around in the pool.
Walk across the road and on to the camels. Led across the dunes to the other side with a stop on the way for the sunset, not that jaw dropping on that night. On arriving at the camp check out the cliffs in the distance, that's Algeria!
A nice and simple meal which is very adequate is served a bit latter and you are pretty much free to do what ever you want. The guides with you perform what could possibly be real nomadic music, or just bashing the instruments more or less in time with each other and shouting out possible obscenities at the guests, who knows, who cares, is was a bit of laugh out there in the desert.
Stars looked great, the dimmer ones come out much better such that the ones you usually see are not as easy to pick out in their constellations.
Simply bunk beds in carpet tents, pool was lovely and the sauna awesome, yeah right - look out for them in the desert!
Ride back in the morning exposes a little soreness but the rides are just the right length. Then a free breakfast, as you wish - just wander around and relax before setting off. Jump in the pool if you like, have a shower, nobody seemed interested in asking for extra cash. Seems it really was all in for the 40 Euros
Should you bother doing the desert thing? Oh yes, yes, yes.
Should you use Palais Des Dunes? Yes, very good price, little extras like buying a head scarf was very cheap if you didn't come prepared, relaxed manner and it is a definite fixed place you can find. 9/10 (would have been 10/10 but there was no swimming pool or sauna in the dunes, its back at the hotel and the sauna, just stand in the mid-day sun).