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“Cheap and simple place to stay in the medina” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Dar Rbab

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Dar Rbab
3 Derb el Kateb | Zkak Roumane, Fes 30110, Morocco   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #89 of 176 Fes B&B and Inns
Antibes
Level Contributor
28 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Cheap and simple place to stay in the medina”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

We stayed in the red room of the riad, which we booked for 4 nights. Unfortunately we decided to leave after two nights for the following reasons:
- Despite it being a small riad and not a hotel, we were not given any advice at arrival or visit of the riad, or a welcome tea to discuss the history of the place and the must sees of fes. Nothing, just brought to our room and that's it...during the walk from the gate to the riad, the manager almost did not speak to us to give us some hints to find the riad ourselves for the next days etc...
- the room itself was nice, big and quite charming but the bathroom was definitely not good: bad smell and the shower was not practical at all as you had to clean the whole bathroom to evacuate the water after a shower. Also, what a pity that despite all the amazing handicraft from fes, that there are no reading lights:(
- we had to pay 25€ for the airport transfer and for the guide from the gate to the riad. In reality the true price is 14€ which we paid in another riad and they even came to pick us at the gate! So for me this is more a hotel behavior than a small riad:(
- there is no access at all to the terrace for fresh air:( I should have seen this when booking but in other riads you can have a nice rooftop terrace to relax from the buzz of the medina.

I think value for money is good with a good breakfast, 35€ is the maximum I would say, but we will not return. For 15-20€ more you can stay in a nicer riad, with panoramic view and nicer decoration and bathroom.

Mohammed and mark were nice and easy to contact and answered all our questions.

If you are looking for a cheap and simple place, this is a good solution but If you are looking for something with more charm and character, we think there are better places in the medina.

Note: I allow myself to give such feedback as all these points can easily be improved for the future. For example, put some candles with perfume in the bathroom, add a couple of reading lights, and a warmer welcome with advice and recommendations for the area. And charge the true price for the shuttle 120-150 dh instead of taking 10€ commission! As for the terrace, I guess if it has not been opened there must be a good reason, at least I hope. But it would be so much nicer to relax than in the darker patio...

Room Tip: Ask to be on the top floor, as there is one room in the ground floor, very dark and noisy as close t...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark_Willenbrock, Owner at Dar Rbab, responded to this review, November 6, 2013
We do normally offer guests tea on arrival. Equally, we do our best to orientate our guests within the medina. But, we are a very small business and it is possible that in this instance it didn't happen. To be fair to us, it is a free service.

We've covered the subject of our bathrooms before here. They were designed, by me, as traditional hammams - so effectively a wet room. I absolutely detest plastic shower cabinets and the like. Neither the bathrooms nor the house is particularly easy or practical. I note that no one ever mentions the magnificent cedar woodwork, the gilding on the doors, the carved stucco.

We are working on the drains. Traditionally, in Fes the drains were constructed with hand made bricks forming the base and side of the drains, with the top formed by a plank of wood. Vertical drains are made of interlocking terracotta pipes - rather like a plant pot without a base. Obviously this isn't the most leak proof construction. We are working to replace this with plastic pipes, but, I stress that Dar Rbab has been restored, and, due to the fragile and complex nature of these houses, we will never be finished.

Most 'riads' have been demolished; destroyed and rebuilt. It's much easier. You can fit in all the modern amenities you want, accurately quantify the cost, and nothing leaks. However, the houses just don't feel the same. I adore the patina and character of these old mini palaces. Complain as much as you want; I'm not knocking my house down to pander to people's desire for perfect plumbing. You can get that at home.

We charge 25 euros for an airport transfer. This includes our fee for organising the transfer and an additional payment for the driver, who will park his car and walk with you through the medina to our door. If you wish, you can take a taxi from the airport, who will charge you 130dhs (around 11 euros). Find one yourself. You will be left at the gate and have to find your own way to us. It's a straightforward choice and we are not forcing anyone into paying our fee for the transfer. The bus is even cheaper. Walking is cheaper still.

Whilst the house has a roof terrace it isn't (yet) open to the public. We are working on it. Other riads frequently do have terraces, and if the courtyard (open to the sky except in cold or bad weather) isn't enough fresh air for you, I'd recommend choosing a riad with a terrace.

Finally, please remember that depending on who you book through, our creaky old riad costs from just 25 euros a night. TWENTY FIVE EUROS. With private bathrooms and air conditioning. So, all you amateur travel writers and critics, please remember to keep things in context. We are CHEAP, and I hope, charming and interesting. Perfection is available elsewhere.
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60 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    29
    23
    5
    2
    1
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3
25
8
2
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

We spent 3 nights at Dar Rbab, and due to my gluten free diet, felt it wise to eat breakfast and dinner here, especially as I was particular about not only eating traditional Moroccan cuisine, but not having to worry about dietary difficulties.
There is a very relaxed feel about this Riad, and a freedom to move around which was required at this stage of our trip in Morocco, and any individual requests about anything, were well catered for.
Dar Rbab became our base; Mark, our host, arranged a guide (although the day we set off with her was a public holiday so many places had been closed or shut down early), to orientate us with the medina, its culture and history.
A real treat for me was the afternoon of cooking with Mohammad and Aisha. Firstly, after our typical leisurely breakfast, Mark, Mohammad (the house manager), my husband and I set off to the local souk to purchase the goodies required for the dinner to be prepared. This has been one of the absolute highlights of my trip to Morocco! The hustling and bustling of everyday life, the haggling, tantalising scents of coriander and mint fill the air as we wind our way around the labyrinth of streets purchasing ingredients which are stored 'at home' until later in the day.
My lesson begins with Farah and Mohammad as we prepare the traditional Fes salads and our piece de resistance 'Atlas Chicken Tagine'. I have learnt how to stuff beautiful, juicy dates with fried, peeled almonds (there is an art to peeling these), figs that have been reduced to beautiful rich syrup containing cinnamon and sugar, after caramelising onions (that I have to admit Aisha peeled and diced) before assembling the whole dish, which looked and tasted stunning. Being an ESL teacher, I used this time to avail Mohammad of english lessons as he was very eager to improve his repertoire of vocabulary, which was a complementary exchange of skills sets!
We thoroughly enjoyed the time spent at Dar Rbab.

Room Tip: Choose an upstairs room, the downstairs room is adjacent to the living area.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

The room was comfortable and the aircon was a lifesaver for us during August, the hottest month of the year! Mohammad was always there to assist us with anything and everything during our stay. He also arranged a guide, Abdul, to bring us around the medina. Abdul was really engaging and protective of us as we walked around the medina. The breakfast was always good, and we had a chance to have lunch at a nearby restaurant which served really tasty dishes as well.

Room Tip: If you have bulky baggage you should probably choose the room on the ground floor if possible. Luggi...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Torino, Italia
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

7 friends, last stage of our Morocco's tour.
This riad is great, we really enjoy the hours here, especially thanks to the advices of Mohamed, the housekeeper, who has been always at our disposal.
The position is good, all the highlights of the Medina are easily reachable by walking.
The only negative things are the bathrooms: really simple and severe, in contrast with the elegance of the rest of the riad. The breakfast is traditional but a little scanty.
Before the arrival we have exchanged some emails with the owner, Mark, who has been really thoughtful to answer at all our questions, not only about the riad but also about our Morocco's life.
I really suggest to book a guide for visit the Medina, it is very easy to get lost.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013 via mobile

We stayed 2 nights in Dar Rbab and it felt immediately like home. Mohammed was really friendly and helped us with a guide. The breakfast made by Aisha was fine and the room is really authentic. It were our first days in Morocco and we will never forget them.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

Booked at Riad Dar Rbab on short notice after original place cancelled- what a blessing in disguise!

The room was beautiful, we had the downstairs room which even though it was 40 degrees outside it was cool all day and night long.

The bed was extremely comfortable - proper spring mattress!

The breakfast was traditional and delicious, they even catered for my girlfriend who can't eat wheat.

Mohammed who looks after the house was the perfect host. We were greeted with mint tea, he escorted me to an ATM and even came with us to the shopping centre.

If I could give 10 out of 5 I would!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Fes, Morocco
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

We got a very good room at a good price for three days. Some mention that the hotel is hidden in the Medina, but Mark gave us three different descriptions of getting there and in the end we asked Mohammed, a nice employee and friend of the hotel, to bring us from one of the 14 gates of the Medina (Bab el Guissa) to our rooms. The area is a bit sketchy for newcomers but it is also how it is everywhere in the real Fez. We had an English guide one day that the hotel had set up (Abdul) and he brought us on a full day tour which was filled with excellent information. Abdul also brought us to a very nice family restaurant at a good price, called Zohra. Ask for Abdul perhaps as he is an old gentleman and seems to know his way around quite well.

We went on a day trip with Mark in his SUV through a number of places including Ifrane, the Cedar Forests and Barbary Apes, Azrou, Meknes and Volubilis. It was great getting information from a person who had moved there, since it lent an interesting perspective. I would suggest perhaps not doing all of those things, as it was described as fitting "comfortably" in a one day, a large part was sitting in the air conditioned car, driving by the sites. Best would be to ask for specific places and stop along the road with Mark telling some history about the place.

There is a restaurant around the corner from the hotel showed to us on our first night, but the prices were outrageously high (they did have multiple "menus" (120, 150, 200, 300) for a chicken tajine depending on the costumer). This is not a reflection on the hotel, but for future tourists and venturers this is a warning.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mark_Willenbrock, Owner at Dar Rbab, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
Thank you for your review.

The bathrooms for both the Indian Room and the Red Room were designed as traditional hammans - something close to a wet room. They aren't designed to drain efficiently, but were built when I was planning a family home rather than a guest house. One day we'll get around to knocking off all the traditional tadelekt plaster (an ancient traditional finish using raw lime plaster mixed with coloured pigment and egg white, then polished with a flat stone from the river) and put in shower cubicles... but maybe not.

There is a restaurant in our street but as the reviewer says, it is poor. In all our reservation confirmations we recommend guests eat with us on the first night, before they have their bearings, as the medina is difficult to find your way around.

I would normally break up a day trip with a lot more interaction, but it's extremely challenging to do so in Ramadan, when most people are either shut or asleep. Two shorter trips were offered, and the guests chose the longer one. Incidentally, before the transport touristique industry jumps on me, I should point out that I'm a director of a societe transport touristique Marocaine, and licensed for toutes destination...
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Additional Information about Dar Rbab

Address: 3 Derb el Kateb | Zkak Roumane, Fes 30110, Morocco
Phone Number:
Location: Morocco > Fes-Boulemane Region > Fes
Hotel Style:
Ranked #89 of 176 B&Bs / Inns in Fes
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dar Rbab is a charming, 300 year old house in the Fès Medina. It has been lightly restored to provide spacious, en suite bedrooms with air conditioning, within the framework of the existing house. All the original features remain - access to your room is by huge, gilded cedar wood doors - and the house is a warren of small staircases and interesting corners. There's an informal atmosphere - the house was originally our family home - and great food available to order. ... more   less 
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