As always, I chose the Riad Dar Ilham after reading other user’s comments made on Trip Advisor, I was not disappointed. The Riad was quick to respond to my e-mail regarding airport pick up which was a great relief, our taxi driver Hamid was welcoming and had a good sense of humour. We arrived late but they organised a meal for us (I would suggest the salad only if you arrive late, the portions are very big).
They had also responded to my request of a room on the first floor in the Riad, which was a little small but stunning and full of charm. We found the fact the rooms safe was not attached to the wall and the Riad rooms didn't have locks just beautiful brass sliding locks a little disconcerting, however we realised it was us bringing our Western anxieties on holiday with us and our belongings remained safe, you can ask the receptionists to leave any money in their safe should you so wish.
The room had one of the biggest beds I have ever seen and I’ve stayed in the states. The shower room was fab although the shower was a little unpredictable but it was part of its charm. You will get to know your partner very well in the room, with quaint little wooden doors to the toilet, lol. A tip would be if you don't want little birds in your room close the shower room window, leave it open if you do, they do fly out again.
For the majority of the time we had the Riad to ourselves including the pool, however you can use the other pool attached to the Kasbah accommodation.
We decided to use the taxi service a lot (didn't use the free bus shuttle, too early) we booked a half day tour, which can be flexible if you wish to look at other sites on the itinerary (be wary of buying too many spices) This was a wise option until we got our bearings and could venture in on our own.
Just arrange things the night before and if you book things a couple of days in advance just confirm the night before.
I would recommend going to the Ensemble Artesanal on Ave Mohammed by the town hall it was beautiful with little workshops and all the goods you could wish to buy at fixed prices.
I would suggest organising a trip on a Saturday, as there is a weekly food market with loud speakers with traders selling their stock all day so if a quiet day by the pool is what you want you wont get it on Saturdays. Venture over to the market it’s an eye opening experience and better than Tesco…!
There is a trip for a camel ride, I would wait until you go on camels in a more authentic environment as this felt a bit like riding a camel in a car park with palm tree’s.
In relation to food, we quickly found out portions are huge. The food is expensive but tasty. We never ordered Lunch as it was too hot and in the evening we ordered the tagine for one, which was plenty for two. I normally don't eat meat when in Africa but I did here and no tummy problems at all.
Another suggestion if you staying in the Riad you can ask to use the seating there to eat your meal if you want a more romantic private setting.
I think there is enough documented in other travellers accounts about the food, however I would suggest that you get a taxi into town and the hotel can book a restaurant of your choice (buy a good guide) we also found out they will open early for you too.
It may be a tad more expensive but a little variety was good, and then you can wander into the city square then just call the hotel to arrange to be picked up which takes up to 30 mins.
We found a fabulous Sushi and Thai restaurant Katsura 1 Rue Oum Errabia (0524434358) and I know your thinking ‘sushi in Africa’ but trust me im a sushi snob and this was wonderful, we went twice.
The Dar Ilham staff especially Layla, Iman and Hamid the driver made our stay easier and were all very helpful, courteous yet not intrusive. I would highly recommend this Riad for lush peaceful relaxation and reflection yet an opportunity to dive into the wonderful hectic madness that is Marrakech centre is available too.
Ps look up at night ☺
Pps if you buy dh’s at the airport keep the receipt or they will not change them back (lesson learnt the hard way, or you can just sell them on e-bay) ☺
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In a stunning natural setting, facing the Atlas Mountains, the Kasbah Dar Ilham welcomes you to an unpretentious luxury that combines Moroccan knowledge with the modern comfort of the services provided. Alain and his devoted team, attentive and discreet, welcome you and will turn your stay into an unforgettable experience. Luxury and simplicity: The utmost luxury resides in life's simple things and happiness is the combination of all small pleasures, like relaxing by our wonderful swimming pool of 72 x 26 ft, heated in winter for your greater comfort, or enjoying your well-being in our Jacuzzi for up to 6 people. Enjoy a delicious breakfast under the arches or in the terrace and discover the wonderful cooking concocted by Aïcha and her team. You can also choose between a numerous range of different additional activities available, like golfing (3 courses just 15 minutes away), horse riding, SUV riding, jet skiing, quad, kart racing and many others. Marrakech's well-being: Your stay wouldn't be complete without a special moment for yourself in which Nawal, our beautician/masseuse will make you discover the advantages of a traditional Hammam and the secrets of numerous cares and Oriental massages. Everything here is made for you to have pleasant moments, to discover the traditions and the culture of Morocco, and to make you leave full of charming memories... so that you come back! ... more less
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