We spent a week in Marrakech for our anniversary, with the first 3 nights inside the medina and the next 4 nights at Dar Ayniwen. It's hard to call this hotel a "hotel" as you really feel like the most pampered guest in a rich relative's amazing home. From the moment we arrived we were greeted by Aziz and Lamia with fresh mint tea and beautiful Moroccan pastries then given a tour around the house. The entire home is filled with gorgeous vintage travel posters and antiques and collectibles from Stephane's father's travels. Again, unlike anything you'd find at even a nice five-star boutique hotel. And while there are only 8 suites here, you have all the amenities of a large luxury hotel - wonderful pool and plenty of teak chaise lounges, 24-hour room service, a beautiful hammam spa, and on-demand car service to anywhere in Marrakech.
We were traveling with our young daughter, so we needed a suite, and the Galaxy suite exceeded all expectations. We couldn't believe the entire space was ours! We had an enormous living room with a large plasma tv, dvd, sattelite channels. The master bedroom was also very spacious, with an American king-sized bed (UK super king) and a nice sized changing area and generously proportioned bathroom. The room also had two enormous terraces, one overlooking the pool and gardens - the best view in the hotel! We ate dinner from this balcony the first two nights overlooking the uplit palm trees and lantern-lit pool. I'm sure any of the hotel's suites are beautiful, but we really felt like the Galaxy suite was special, and perhaps the best!
As for the service and staff, they were extremely warm, but professional. One thing that really took us by surprise was how much Moroccans love (and I mean LOVE) children. The young women in housekeeping were a real treat for my daughter, because they loved to shower her with attention and give her hugs and kisses every time they saw her. And any wish we asked for was granted, and even anticipated. For instance, when we asked for champagne glasses (we had brought a couple of our own nice bottles from duty free and kept them in the fridge) not only did they bring chilled glasses, but also a Taittinger champagne bucket that matched our champagne, and finger nibbles (olives, cashews, pistachios) gratis. We also went back into the medina for a little shopping, and because we were with our pre-school age daughter, asked if the driver could wait for us so we wouldn't have to wait for them to come back and get us. The driver graciously waited for us for over an hour! Truly a class-act boutique hotel with 5-star staff. Sure, you pay for it, but it's worth every penny and then some.
The grounds are absolutely stunning, especially when you remind yourself that this is a private family home - a gorgeous large lawn surrounds the pool area and beyond, with walking paths along the sides of the gardens which afford a wander amongst Stephane's aviary, citrus and olive trees, and a cactus garden. The pond was filled with 100's of colorful koi and interesting statues mingled throughout the gardens.
The food was also delicious and generous. Every morning you were asked if you planned on dining with them because they went to the shops to buy fresh ingredients every day. There was a wide selection of Moroccan dishes, as well as French and continental cuisine. They were always willing to make something scrumptious for our daughter, and we were able to feed her dinner at 6pm, then eat our own elegant and romantic dinner on our balcony or on the terrace just below our room later in the evening. We did go back into the medina one night for our anniversary dinner (Lamia graciously babysat our daughter), and while it was nice to have a night out, the food at Dar Ayniwen was better. You really don't need to leave the hotel!
I could go on and on, but can't say enough good things about Dar Ayniwen. I will mention two negatives - 1) there wasn't a stand-up shower in our room (there is a hand-held shower nozzle in the very large bathtub - common for the French and some Europeans, but not Brit's or Americans), and 2) Out suite door and the one adjacent to ours was locked with padlocks, which could be quite noisy rattling against the wooden front door of the adjacent room. But neither of these issues should cause any hesitation against staying here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dar Ayniwen Villa Hotel is a sanctuary of peace and tranquillity. Built as the owner's family home, in the Oriental-Andalusian style in a 5 acres park, 28 years ago, this majestic old residence with its charming and peaceful garden stands in front of the Atlas Mountains. This Villa-riad was turn into a luxury eight en-suites guesthouse in 2000, all of the very highest quality, is now run by the owner children, Anne & Stephane. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dar Ayniwen Marrakech
- Dar Ayniwen Hotel Marrakech