The Blazing Bobs. Medina Gardens, Marrakech. 29.09-6.10.2014

A thinly-disguised live music review, buried amongst a review of a hotel in Marrakech. I didn’t want to do it on a holiday website and have it edited or the subject of multiple comments.

Brief history lesson follows. Ever since she was 13/14, in 1968, Her Ladyship has wanted to go to Marrakech. So I booked the trip for her 60th birthday, with Thomson.  (Told you the lesson would be brief!).    I went for half board , knowing full well if it had been all inclusive , I would have been like Steve Pemberton in ‘Benidorm’!

On arrival late Monday night, a very good welcoming presentation from the hotel staff. Comments elsewhere have indicated that the first night’s top behaviour was unique and that for the rest of the week the staff were surly, especially if you were British. We found no evidence of this at all. The staff everywhere were always polite and friendly. I had brushed up on my ancient French O level just in case, and always ordered our drinks in French. (I was to have lots of practice with exactly the same sentence!). Maybe the complainants expected all the staff to be fluent in English. But it’s not hard to have a go!! Just learn to count, say ‘Hello’, ‘Goodbye’, ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’ and whatever drinks you want!  They will appreciate it.

There had been complaints about the refurb being not too good. OK, we had a bath where the surround was not quite 10 out of 10 (!), but does it matter!? Is it a major beef? Do these sad moaners watch ‘Strictly Come Decorating’!? Our room was perfectly fine. The cleaner was good and regular.

The food. Some beefs (excuse the pun) about veggie food being mislabelled . Her Ladyship is veggie and she spotted that the scrambled eggs had pieces of ham in it. Horror of horrors! It didn’t say so on the label! She didn’t make an international incident out of it, just had something else. (Fortunately she is not a blind veggie.)  The days all had a different national theme (French, Italian etc) and the choice was very good. It all tasted fine to us. Are we at fault for following Cicero’s credo that we eat to live, not live to eat? Bloody foodies!

Unfortunately, I now have to discuss the title of the posting. On Wednesday morning , I was sitting on a balcony in Marrakech, in the scorching sun, listening to a Grateful Dead concert on my mp3 player. I thought ‘ This will just do nicely, thank you’. Sadly the Dead’s ‘Deep Elem Blues’ was soon to become ‘Deep Imodium Blues’! Yes, we both got a dose of The Blazing Bobs, ie The Blazing Bob Hites, ie The Sh*tes!  Hers cleared up after a couple of days but it took until Monday morning (going home day!) for mine to subside. So I didn’t risk a Moroccan kebab, with chilli sauce, or anything other than a bit of bread and a boiled egg each day. I certainly didn’t put on any weight!  Was it just us? I overheard another couple with similar problems. However, I am inclined to give the kitchen the benefit of the doubt, as we both had a dodgy ice cream off an even  dodgier ice cream seller. We both realised it had been a bad idea.

Music. The resident duo ,Buendias,were very good. Better than the usual cheesy tosh you find at most holiday resorts (and P&O ferries!). Local musicians were included, one outfit seemed to feature a 20 minute castanet solo. (I can see why Ginger Baker decamped to Africa!).  Entertainment also included belly dancers, acrobats and a fire performer.

The staff. Thomson rep, Ahmed , was very good as was the Guest Services Manager. As I said before, no complaints here. Any suggestions for improvement?

1. Bar prices a bit steep. About £2 for a quarter litre (usually nearer a fifth).

2. Reps to give a bit more info about places being shut at certain times. Eg, we went into the ‘Square’ on Sunday, it was almost like the film ’28 Days Later’. Normally, it is mayhem. Eg, checking out on Monday when the money exchange was not open. And had I  been a few Dirhams short on my bar bill?

3. Paying £20 -odd quid for having the room for an extra few hours on check out day is not very endearing. After all, we arrived 9-ish on Monday night, so shouldn’t we have the room for exactly one week!?

But I am nitpicking. For those who like all-inclusive holidays, I would totally recommend this place. If you want sunning, sitting, scoffing, supping, swimming, splashing. it is fine. And there are no Under 16s allowed!  There is no temptation to go to a nearby bar… there aren’t any!  Before our visitation from the long-deceased lead vocalist from Canned Heat, we reckoned that all-inclusive may have been a better choice.

It all made an aging female hippy (who was too young the first time around)  very happy.After many years, she saw the’ Charming cobras in the square’ , as did Graham Nash when he wrote ‘Marrakesh Express’.

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