This place is a gem. I say this reluctantly because, selfishly, I'd hate it to be overrun... Initially, we were struck by the unexpected oasis that opens up immediately you enter its gates: little paths and arbours with water features run around the sides of the old house, while you enter through magnificent, ancient-looking main doors into an elegant, almost country-house-with-a-Moroccan-twist style, elegant domed hallway.
We were exceptionally lucky to be upgraded to the Pavillion suite for the first 4 nights of our stay. This is in the garden, opposite the pool but reached through a curtain of fig trees along a private brick path and across a curtained terrace for additional privacy. Utterly stunning! The suite has its own private hot tub under a pemanent and substantial awning, in a private garden to the side of the suite, although as we stayed in August, it was a little too hot to want to make use of it. The suite itself is big enough to be a permanent home for two people really - and offered a real and unexpected taste of luxury. With two bathrooms, its own entrance hall, large sitting/dining room across the front and reasonable bedroom space with ample fitted cupboards, I'm sure any run of the mill estate agent here would have a simple task selling it!
For me, being able to breakfast in semi privacy behind curtains yet still outside, was a total joy. Breakfast was always delicious, a mixture of continental and Morrocan - and arrives at your choice of time, complete with fresh white linen every time. I particularly love the orange juice there: somehow softer, fuller and less acidically attacking than juice you get anywhere else.
The gardens are gorgeous and beautifully maintained - lots of little paths to follow and exotic birds in big aviaries. The only thing that made me uncomfortable (probably a 'soft' European reaction to a normal Moroccan food source), were the rabbits kept in very small cages with no room to move in the outside heat of the day.. Apart from that, there was also the joy of coming across roaming tortoises wherever we went!
The welcome we received was personal, thoughtful and sincere. Guests are given a tour of the house and grounds on arrival, together with a taste of Morocco in the form of apple tea and some local pastries. The owner, manager and staff are all delightful and cannot do enough to help, inform and make each guest feel individual and comfortable. The whole place seems infused with scent of rich, warm, musky spices that just adds to the sense of relaxation.
We stayed during the Muslim month of Ramadan - and according to some other guests who were return visitors, the discipline of fasting on some of the staff and locals in the markets, did take its toll on the level of service. However, as novices, we didn't notice it in dar Ayniwen, although in Marrakesh itself near sundown, which was really the only comfortable time to go into the city as far as heat was concerned, the stallholders did tend to be more aggressive and surly. Despite this though, we enjoyed some lovely meals eaten at balcony restaurants watching as the main square came to life after evening prayers. Still though, coming back afterwards to dar Ayniwen was perfect antidote to the city madness.
The shuttlebusses were convenient, free (except for tips!) and the drivers without exception, friendly and helpful.
We did tip a lot. Not to high values, but more to acknowledge the wonderful level of service - and although not necessarily expected at the hotel, definitely appreciated and the right thing to do. Make sure you have lots of 20 dirham bills to hand..
Overall, a proper break in a beautiful setting with proper, fantastic value service and welcome. Will we go back? Definitely!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.