If you have not already guessed, I have become a huge fan of last minute holidays. As I am currently at home most of the time, I take full advantage of last minute deals. Not only does this avoid hiked up prices for popular holiday duration’s. It also means that resorts are relatively calm and quiet. As well as adding huge excitement not knowing where we are going and at what times. It adds a air if spontaneity. We were looking for somewhere hot and exotic, and yes all inclusive. I do like all inclusive when money can be tight and you want a stress free holiday. We have had two different experiences with First Choice. One terrible at Club Julian in Turkey and one great at Binimar apartments in Menorca. So we decided to give them another shot. Wanting some late Winter sun at the end of January, my eagle eye spotted an amazing deal at the Riu Tikida Palmeraie in Morocco at a steal price of £188 per person. After getting our money back from a flight delay claim, we had some money to play with and though another holiday was in order.
Why Riu Tikida Palmeraie?
As I said last minute bookings sometimes do not give you an array of choices. So we had Benidorm or Morocco. Well of course Morocco was the winner. I wanted somewhere with heat and somewhere with culture. That left us with a choice of two hotels, by the same company. Just looking at the images of the lush tranquil tropical gardens, my mind was pretty made up. The hotel also also consisted of a stunning vast outdoor pool, along with an indoor one. This was needed as the weather had not reached optimum temperature to heat the vast pool. There was also a gym, a spa, 2 on site restaurants, a basketball court, tennis courts and nightly entertainment. The hotel itself was probably about a 40 minute walk into the centre of Marrakesh, however a shuttle bus ran regularly to and from the hotel. Just make sure to book at least the day before.
As it was run by Tui, the transfers were all arranged by the company to and from the airport, which was only about a half hour journey. This meant you had all the time to take in the sites of the suburbs of the city. The main thing I noticed was the vast amounts of land. However it seemed they would soon be snapped up as development was happening all over the spot. The hotel itself was heavily guarded and surrounded by a giant wall. I guess with all that is going on in the world. This gave guests a huge sense of security and safety. Something which Tui have recently faced huge backlash for in the media, very understandably. However it seemed all on point here and security worked around the clock. The surroundings of the resort itself were just breath taking. You were encapsulated by this lush tropical greenery all around. With added ponds and bridges and you could even do some fish spotting. I found it so relaxing in a day, after a heavy tagine to be able to gently stroll around the gardens, watch the birds flutter by and admire their herb patches. As mentioned you could walk into the city, and they were residents and local neighbourhoods near by that you could go and explore.
Our room itself was huge! It was just stunning. As we walked in we were welcomed with the typical towel swan. It was clean and modern. We would have loved an upstairs room so we could have had a balcony, however we did not really spend much time in our room anyhow. The only other benefit of having a balcony would have been sleeping with the door open. Although the rooms had air conditioning, we barely felt the effects and most nights were stuffy, sweaty and hot. The ceiling fan looked rather unstable which was not comfortable to sleep under so we had to turn it off at night. Plus it was very noisy. There were no plug points by your bed which was rather frustrating, but it meant you were up int he morning to turn your alarm off. Ha. The only thing that gets the other half out of bed. My only other issue with the room was the beds. It was a double but that meant two twins pushed together. This is super un comfy as a couple and we ended up pulling out the sofa bed in the end. The bonus is the wifi reached to our room! Yey for wifi #firstworldproblems.
Without a doubt the food was on point. It was absolutely mouthwatering. If anyone had a complaint, I must say they are uber fussy. Breakfast and dinner was in this huge grand hall with chandeliers dangling down. It felt I was dining in a 5★. Breakfast choice was anything you could wish for. Pastries, Cereal, Fruits, Yogurts, Omelettes, Fry ups and toast. Along with fresh juices and an array of teas. Only problem is teas strainers do not seem to exist. So if you wanted loose tea you were getting a mouthful. At times dinner had a themed night, we witness European, Italian and classic Moroccan. Once again there was a choice for everyone. Always available was pasta, pizza and chip along with a tagine and cous cous. Depending on the night there would be fresh grills, whether it be steak, fish or chicken. They was Chinese, Indian, a vast choice of made up salads. The table of desserts was also insane and it was difficult not to put on weight. The only thing I got bored with was lunch. It was very samey and a bit dull for my liking. The boyo went for a tagine with cous cous every time. I did love the tuna steak though. The one thing I would recommend is the Moroccan restaurant. It is just such a beautiful atmosphere, the staff are super attentive and smiley and its more table serviced. The food is obvs Moroccan orientated so you get more choice than if dining at the buffet. What we did not know is that this restaurant was only open certain nights. Therefore we only got to eat there twice. If we had our way we would ave eaten there every evening. Want some tips of the best Moroccan foods to try.. then check my article here.
This without a doubt was a 5★ service hotel although only being rated at 4. The staff were kind, friendly and smiley and would be at your beck and call. They would bend over backwards and would deal with your every whim. They worked tirelessly and effortlessly around the clock, to make sure the guests had everything they needed. The bar and restaurant service was quick and the maids and cleaners made sure the hotel was constantly looking spotless.
I must admit this was the one area that lacked slightly. I thought the animation shows were rather boring.. kinda like watching paint dry. It was difficult to understand what was going on most of the time. However one night a week there is a cocktail party with unlimited champagne which is AH-mazing. Not only this but in the lobby at dinner time there was always a singer and pianist which made for lovely relaxation whilst digesting. The daily entertainment team did not have much to do as it was pretty quiet. The daily bingo was fun and we managed to win champagne on our last night. If we needed tennis rackets, or balls for the sports court they were easily available.
As I said this was an all inclusive deal. I think its an all inclusive hotel. At the mere price of £188 pp I thought it was incredible value for money. Everything was so on point. You did not want or need for anything. The food was spectacular and delicious – it was a good job there was a gym available. The staff were pleasant and there for anything you needed. The grounds of the resort were just stunning and the rest of the hotel design was breathtaking. There were nooks and crannies everywhere that were just so pretty. There was a huge lobby with seats, water fountains, open fires the lot. It could get chilly at night so if you head over in January bring jumpers. Otherwise with this hotel there were no qualms and nothing to complain about.
If I were wanting to head back to Marrakech I would definitely stay here. However not liking to experience the same city I am unsure as to whether we be back. Yet that is not due to the hotel. There is a sister hotel that some would recommend, especially if you are wanting a small more intimate resort. I found this just perfect all round. You can check out any last minute deals to this hotel here.
Have you ever been to Marrakech or stayed in a RIU hotel? Let me know in the comments below 🙂