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Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Islane Marrakech
Good Value and Location
Date 14-19 March 2007
Reviewer 65 and 64 year olds
Arrived at the Islane and were initially disappointed when we were shown to a top back room. The room was small, dark and overlooked a noisy back street. We complained to reception who apologised and said they would move us into a better room the next day. We asked to be put on the front overlooking the Mosque. The next day we were shown a room as requested that was large clean and very acceptable. The hotel resturant is a rooftop verander with both inside and outside sitting. The food and service was very good and we ate most meals there. Overall, the staff were friendly and helpful and the hotel is very good value in an excellent location a few mins walk from the main square and all other sights of interset are within 20 mins walk. We would recommend contacting the hotel by telephone on [--] to ask for a large room on the front.
We would recommend the Marrakesh open top bus tours which depart from the Bus Stop on the Main Road near the Square every half hour. You can get off/on at any stop and the multi lingual commentary is helpful. You can see the main sights in 3 days and if you have a spare day we would recommend a trip to the Atlas Mountains. A mini bus booked through Sahara Expeditions about 100yds up the Main road from the bus stop near the Square costs £12 per person and goes to the Ourika valley for an interesting days sightseeing.
Cheap, good location, but never again
This hotel was extremely cheap per night, so we didn't have high expectations. Our first impression of the hotel was not good, either. It was a little dark and dingy. Having booked on-line, at check-in they had no knowledge of our reservation, and then insisted on hanging on to our passports for a few hours while they took down the details. Call me paranoid, but I will not leave my passport with anyone! Check-out was just as problematic as the credit card machine wasn't "working" so we had to go and get cash from the nearest ATM.
The hotel is well located a few minutes walk to Djmena El Fna , which is the main square and the centre of life in Marrakech. On one hand, the location is good, as it means we could "escape" the chaos of Marrakech and seek a little peace and quiet in our hotel room quickly and easily. On the other hand, being located opposite Koutoubia Mosque (the largest in Marrakech) meant frequent wake up calls from the "wailing" broadcast over loudspeakers, as the locals were called to prayer. You may find this beautiful, you may not! In the early hours of the morning, we did not.
The room and en-suite bathroom were not particularly clean, and it all looked a little tired and a drab. The corridors smelt polluted and smoggy, and upon entering the room, it did too. We soon realised all of Marrakech was like this all the time.
I was also uneasy that our room was along a blind corridor, which would have made means of escape very difficult in case of a fire.
For us, breakfast was extra, and was served on the open air roof top terrace, overlooking the busy, noisy, dirty and smoggy main road at the front of the hotel. And this was January. I would not like to try to breathe in this city in summer. Breakfast was simple: coffee, croissant, an egg and yoghurt, all sitting out with the occasional birds swooping in for a nibble. Not so good.
Great location, great value
Let's put things in perspective straight away. £11 per person per night in Marrakech is a good deal by anyone's standard.
My wife and I booked the Islane as it was smack-bang in the middle of all the action and was slightly more upmarket than its equally well located sister hotel (de Foucald) which I had stayed in before.
The staff at the reception desk were very friendly and helpful all speaking excellent English and were quite happy to have a chat from time to time. Our good-sized twin room was very clean and gave an excellent view of the Koutoubia and the busy street outside; we spent several hours idling away time just watching the world go by from our room. We have stayed in dim riads and soulless Hivernage hotels but this has to be the best hotel view we've had.
Breakfast (included in our deal) was a hot buffet (the pancakes were the hot item) taken on the 2nd floor restaurant which doubled as the ever popular Pizzeria Venetia by night.
The only negative thing we could say about our stay was the noise directly above us caused by chairs being scraped across the tiled floor of the restaurant. If you are early to bed like we sometimes are in can be a bit grating if you are trying to get to sleep. If you like staying up late this won't be a problem.
Other reviews have mentioned the call of the muezzin that comes quite loudly from the Koutoubia directly opposite. To us this is an integral part of the overall experience of staying in a Muslim country and should be expected; it can also be quite beautiful to listen to.
All in all, the Islane is great value for money and we would highly recommend it.
Marrakesh was a fab place - full on - but such an experience!
Hotel Islane doesn't look great from the outside, but when you go inside it's totally different - the stairs and walls are marble, the hall way ceilings are amazing - really intricate designs carved into stone, and the view from the restaurant was great, you can see all the chaos on the road and the koutoubia mosque (which has a beautiful haunting call to prayer played loudly on speakers).
The djema al fna is a very short walk away, and the entrances to the souks are there too, along with lots of restaurants. (would reccomend la marrakechi - looks very expensive but still so cheap!) If you want to escape the madness of the square you can go up to the balconies of lots of the restaurants just to have a drink (we're hooked on their mint tea).
Would recommend the lonley planet book on marrakesh - helped us a lot!
The shop owners and snake charmers etc come accross quite persistent but if you say 'la shukran' - (no thank you (and smile too)) they leave you alone - it's the people who ignore them totally that they keep hassling.
The souks are a little daunting and I can see how people get totally lost in them, but don't be scared into getting a guide - you don't need one, you can just ask someone for directions, and people don't hassle you as much as you think they would - (la shukran works wonders!) We had a man offering to take us around the souks as a guide and we were tempted - until we realised he'd set up a friend just around the coner to 'hassle' us in arabic - so that he could come and 'save' us from him! People are so friendly there really is nothing to worry about - we got totally lost in the back streets trying to find a particular hammam, and were given directions from several different extremely friendly people.
Also make sure you stop to take everything in, the sounds, the smells, the sights (the atlas mountains looked like they were painted in - stunning!) Also remember to haggle for everything - the shop owners often suggest quite expensive prices to start but you can offer what you like and get the perfect bargain.
Très bien situé
J'ai séjourné à l'Isalane du 3 au 7 février et nous avons passé un excellent séjour. Nous étions un peu inquiets à propos de l'hôtel car nous n'avions payé qu'environ 30 € la nuit petit déj compris (sur la terrasse, surplombant la mosquée de Koutoubia !) !
L'hôtel était vraiment super bien situé, à 2 minutes de marche environ de la place centrale et juste en face de la mosquée de Koutoubia !
Il était propre, et les chambres étaient nettoyées chaque jour. Le personnel était extrêmement gentil.
Nous avons mangé dans la pizzeria Venezia (là où ils servaient le petit déjeuner) et au Porto Fino (adjacent à l'hôtel). Ces deux restaurants étaient vraiment excellents !
Je recommande cet hôtel sans hésitation !
Stayed at the Islane from 3rd to 7th Feb and had a great time. We were a bit apprehensive about the hotel as we got it for such a good price £22 per room per night which included breakfast! (on the terrace overlooking the koutoubia mosque!)
It was in such a great location, about 2 minutes walk from the main square and right opposite the koutoubia mosque!
The hotel was clean, and the rooms were cleaned every day, and the staff were always friendly.
We ate at the pizzeria venezia (same place where breakfast is served) and at Porto Fino (which is attached to the hotel) and both were really good!
I would definately reccommend this hotel!
Good location a short walk from Djmena El Fna and across from the Koutoubia Mosque.
The 'wailing' sound, which one reviewer complains of, disturbing him so much, did not disturb me at all and actually i find something very beautiful in these sounds.
If the person who complains of things like this had a little common sense and awareness, he would understand the mosque is across the road, how can you miss it and.
Rooms, a little drab.
Great terrace and reasonable food.
Not a bad price for Marakech - which is generally over-priced, especially in the summer - and all hotels are full.
The airconditioning whihc is so essential at this timeof year, worked ok.
And i was very happoy to have a wi-fi connection from my room - which was free, although im not sure if this from the hotel - it was'nt advertised, so i guess it was just an unsecure network.
Great value for money and perfect location
We thought this hotel was definetely good value, it is in such a perfect location. Just opposite the Koutoubia and around the corner from the main square and just slap bang in the middle of the medina. It is true that it is above a main road but the noise did not annoy either of us.
We stayed here for two nights at the beginning of the holiday, then went to other places in Morocco, and then came back for two nights at the end.
The views from the breakfast room/restaurant are amazing. It was a good room, with basic ensuite and good hot shower and heater. For £12 each for the double, we thought it was definetely exellent value!
Well located ?
the hotel is close to the main square where a lot of the tourist attraction is, but its also on a busy road which was very smoggy in january. many of the cars/trucks/motorcycles put out a lot of smoke which hangs about unless there is a wind. you should avoid this busy road if you have any breathing problems, ALSO the main mosque is right across the road and an awful wailing noise is broadcast at high volume from its megaphones, starting at 5.30am then stops for a few minutes so you can nearly get back to sleep, then starts up again. on friday its particularly bad, it sounded like the whole service was being broadcast! im for religous tolerence but this felt extremely faciistic and actually a little scary in the dark of the night. it is so loud that you can not block it out of your ears. hotel rooms just adequate, the tv didnt work and the staff were not interested to fix it. food poor and no alcohol on the premises. ok it was cheap, but we would rather have spent twice the money and avoided the problems described.
Clean, central, good breakfast
I've stayed at the Islane a couple of times, it's quite a big hotel (bit of quirky rabbit warren, not a modern monolith but not a traditional riad either), the staff are friendly & welcoming & the reception staff have good english.
All the rooms are clean, have ensuite facilities, & there's always hot water. Breakfast is a fill your boots buffet & the restaurant & terrace afford lovely views of the Koutobia with the Atlas shimmering in the distance.
Some rooms can be a little noisy as it's on a main road & the dawn call to prayer is a pretty good alarm clock as you're right underneath the Koutobia! Which is actually one of the best things about this hotel - it's so central - 2 minutes walk & you're in the djemaa el fna, or you can flag down a petit taxi right outside to get you further afield. Easy to get to if you've got a lot of luggage, which does mean it is used by tour groups in peak season.
Overall, good value.
TripAdvisor Reviews Hotel Islane Marrakech
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