On my 4 night break in Marrakesh, I stayed in the lovely Medina Gardens hotel…
Lobby, indoor public areas etc
It has a nice feel to it from arrival, the outside is full of plants and flowers and as you walk into the lobby you see beautiful Moroccan details like light fittings, tiles etc.
As I arrived late in the evening, I pretty much went straight to my room when I arrived and was pleasantly surprised – again, some Moroccan detail in the lampshades. The room was lovely but if I’m being picky I don’t think they’ve been refurb’ed for a while and think they could start looking tired soon… absolutely fine at the moment though, and very clean. Looking at the Expedia page where I booked, it does look like it’s closing for refurb at the end of the year – I wonder if that’s why?
My sister had a room in the other building, although she had a balcony room she didn’t have a view – but then their room was bigger and more spacious than mine. Also, from my room I could hear the evening entertainment til it finished at around 11-1130, whereas my sister couldn’t hear it in the other block. So it’s worth doing a bit of research on the available rooms – some of them have hot tubs on their balcony – never seen that before, I was well impressed!
Grounds – swimming pools and gardens
For me, this hotel comes alive outdoors – it felt like an absolute oasis in the middle of the chaotic medina. It has acres of grounds, lots of palm trees, flowers and nice shady areas. It has a herb garden and two rose gardens. It has a family of tortoises that live on the grounds – every lunchtime I would go and feed them all some lettuce – such simple pleasures! It was an absolutely lovely place to chill out in the sun and walk around.
It has two swimming pools, we were usually found at the quieter one at the back of the grounds – the larger one has activities like aqua aerobics etc. I think you can tell a lot about a hotel based on its sun loungers – these ones were great, very sturdy and comfy – no fear of being cut in half when you stood up! I also love the fact they have day beds dotted around the place which you can use for free – I’ve known other hotels to charge a day rate for hiring these.
I was on the all-inclusive package and so had breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hotel every day. For breakfast every day I’d have a local dish of beans and veg, followed by pancakes and pastries, and usually some fruit… washed down with Moroccan mint tea. For lunch and dinner I’d always have whatever the local dishes were…. meatballs tagine, saffron carrots, apricot couscous… with a side-salad. All these meals were absolutely delicious. It was so good, it seemed pointless eating anywhere else! And we ate outdoors every time – lovely!
Location, location, location
I don’t think you could ask for a better location in Marrakesh. Turn the corner and walk straight on and you hit the main square, Jemma el Fna in about 10 minutes. Turn the corner and turn again, you hit the entrance to the souks in under 5 minutes. We were able to walk to the new part of the city within about 10-15 minutes – basically most of the attractions are within walking distance, but there are always taxis outside too.
It’s nice to be so close to all the action but as the souks and square can be so busy, hot and chaotic it was an absolute treat to come back to the calm, relaxed, pretty grounds of the hotel – it was like a world away from the busy-ness!
Also, literally next door to the hotel is the ‘Ensemble artisanal’ – this is a beautiful Moroccan building full of little shops and workshops where you can see the local crafts being made. It’s a great place to buy all the goods they sell in the souks, without having to go into the souks if you don’t want to! And if you’re like me and rubbish at haggling then the fixed prices here aren’t too bad at all!
Overall, Medina Gardens was absolutely perfect for my Moroccan mini-break. I absolutely loved the grounds and its greenery and tortoises. I couldn’t have asked for a better location. I loved the local food in the restaurant.
It has facilities I didn’t use – table tennis, tennis courts, a gym, a spa for treatments, an a la carte restaurant in the original old part of the hotel. Oh and I did use the handy book exchange in the lobby 😉
I really have to struggle to think of negatives…. you have to log in to the WIFI every time you use it, the bath towels could be bigger, the butter in the restaurant could be closer to the bread… ha, these are real first-world problems aren’t they – you really don’t worry about these trivial things here. It’s a place to relax and I certainly did that! Medina Gardens… I will be back!
Small print: I paid in full for my stay at Medina Gardens, I loved it so much I just wanted to share it with you!