There's a little bit of everything going on at the all-inclusive, five-pearl Pullman Marrakech Palmeraie Resort and Spa. The resort shines in its activities for children, while adults can chill out in the spa and traditional hammam. Spacious and contemporary rooms include furnished patios or balconies. Large grounds are family-friendly with a big pool, but quiet and relaxing enough for couples or business travelers attending on-site conferences. The food is surprisingly good, though service can be slow and inattentive. Guests can opt for room-only rates, but high food and drink prices make the all-inclusive rates a better deal, especially since there's not many places to eat in the area, and the resort is about a 20-minute ride into town.
Surrounded by acres of olive and palm trees, the hotel sits on an isolated plot of green space dominated by a huge fountain pool. The interiors are modern, with copious arches indicative of Moroccan design, but they lack authenticity.The gray and off-white lobby includes lounge areas with purple chevron rugs and plush red and white leather couches along the tall arched windows. Shiny silver sculptures, which look like giant blobs of gravity-defying mercury, adorn the ceilings.
The hotel is located in the Palmeraie, a vast palm grove area to the east of Marrakech filled with other hotels, and there's very little within walking distance of the resort grounds. The city center is about a 20-minute drive away. The hotel's free shuttle can drop guests within a short walk of the medina's main square -- Jemaa El-Fina -- but shuttle service ends in the early evening. The hotel is a 25- to 30-minute drive from Marrakech Menara International Airport. Parking at the resort is free.
Private balconies, rainfall showers, and (some) Nespresso machines
For all their modernity, the rooms are surprisingly lacking in distinctive Moroccan character. A gray palette prevails with cream walls and white, molded ceilings that add some brightness. The beds have integrated nightstands with reading lights and headboards emblazoned with Arabic script -- one of the few decorative elements to be found. Most have small desks that come with stylish chairs, and the flat-screen TVs can be awkwardly placed for viewing. Each room has a private balcony or patio overlooking the gardens (though patios may be right next to public paths). All rooms include mini-fridges, while Deluxe Rooms and Suites also come with Nespresso machines and iPod docks. Tiled bathrooms have large walk-in rainfall showers.
Great children's activities, outdoor pool, spa, meeting facilities, Moroccan restaurant
The spa has a traditional hammam (steam bath), multiple treatment rooms, and a small fitness room, but the hotel's real strength is its kid-friendly features. The kids' club has an indoor playroom and outdoor playground with mini-golf and staffed activities to keep little ones busy all day. There's also an animal farm with an aviary and free-roaming peacocks, along with other docile animals. Kids can jump on pedal powered Go-Karts and large trampolines, and an outdoor sports area has tennis courts, volleyball, and a small soccer field. The outdoor pool is dwarfed by some of the huge fountains on the grounds, but it has a nice sun deck with plenty of lounge chairs to go around. Modern event facilities consist of 10 different rooms and halls totaling more than 10,000 square feet, with a large theater that can seat up to 400 people. Catering and IT staff are available, and the business lounge has computers and printers. Wi-Fi is free throughout. For dining, a high-quality buffet restaurant with international fare and a pool bar/cafe are available, and there's also a Moroccan restaurant that serves local specialties (though not all may be included in the all-inclusive packages).
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