Review: The Pearl Lounge, Marrakech International Airport, Marrakech, Morocco

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Review: The Pearl Lounge, Marrakech International Airport, Marrakech, Morocco

I had heard lots of horror stories about the Marrakesh airport. Most of the reports online recommended arriving at least 3 hours in advance of the flight. The issue appeared to be long queues and bureaucratic checks.

At about T-180, we departed the hotel. A taxi was only 70 Moroccan Dirhams and we were dropped off in less than 10 minutes. The Le Meridien Marrakech is well situated close to the airport and on the correct side of town.

Arriving to the airport and check in:

We arrived up at the Marrakech airport. The airport itself is a beautifully designed and looking building. We had a departure experience filled with bureaucracy; likely the most that I’ve ever had leaving an airport. It started with an X Ray scan of all bags entering the building.

We went over to check in where we had no waits at the check in for the BA flight to “Londres”. We were given lounge invitations and a verbal explanation for the fast track queue to depart the airport.

We got rid of all our Moroccan Dirhams and had them changed into Euro’s at a nearby money changer on the public side. The country appears to be exceptionally strict about taking Moroccan Dirham out of the country.

Getting out of the check in hall was another matter. We headed for the newer departure area of the building. We located the Fast Track line, where a guard checked our eligibility. We then proceeded to an inspection station where the only purpose seemed to be on questioning us on how much cash we were carrying with us and taking out of the country. We then had a security inspection, where our passport and ticket details were manually recorded in a log book by hand. We then proceeded to the exit immigration customs, where I had a friendly chat with the border police who asked a whole host of questions on my employment and career. Leaving the exit immigration area, there was a fifth inspection to ensure that we had received the “exit stamp” just around the corner from the last inspection. We would later have a sixth inspection and questioning of our bags prior to entering the holding lounge for the departure flight. If you happen to have travels through here, make sure you allow lots of time for these assorted inspections; none of them really enjoyable or useful.

We travelled up the escalators to the departure level and were met European styled duty free shopping by Dufry and a whole host of other luxury brands. MrsWT73 picked up on some Moroccan Rose wine as a souvenir for 7 €.

There also happened to be a Starbucks Coffee in the airport, and MrsWT73 was able to collect another Marrakech city mug.

Accessing the Lounge:

We were given vouchers at British Airways check in for the Pearl Lounge, also a member of Priority Pass. We were given access courtesy of our Business Class level of service on British Airways.

Inside the Lounge:

The Pearl Lounge was a bright new facility with several sleeping areas. Everything was new and fresh looking. Although there was daylight windows, the windows were covered with wainscoting to keep out the bright sun.

Food and Beverage:

There was a small food area but the food didn’t look all to appealing to me. Small, packaged and delicate appeared to be the order of the day. This wasn’t a strong suit of this particular lounge.

There was wine by the glass that was available over the counter on request (and surprisingly not on display). Like everything else in Morocco, the wine was warm as well and not super appealing after the first couple of sips. I suspect it had heat shock. I stuck with water which was lightly refrigerated. At least the wifi was good and strong throughout the airport.

In Conclusion:

Ultimately, this place was nicer than the terminal to visit but I probably won’t expect to much in the way of food and beverage when passing through here. Given the bureaucracy leaving Marrakech, it could be a convenient place to hang out if you happen to find yourself with extra time, thanks to light security checks.

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