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“A delightful riad, simple yet stylish” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Dar al Sultan

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Dar al Sultan
26 Derb El Arsa | Riad Zitoun Jdid, Médina, Marrakech 4000, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #632 of 1,040 Marrakech B&B and Inns
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“A delightful riad, simple yet stylish”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2008

Tucked away within a myriad of narrow alleyways, the Dar al Sultan is a joyful surprise. This is a clean, simple yet stylish riad. Neutrally decorated in whites, silvers, and bleached wood work, the atmosphere is calm and tranquil. The staff are delightful and very helpful although with little if any English. The best meal of our entire stay was at the Dar al Sultan on our first night. Do make sure you eat there during your stay. We would ceraianly recommend the Dar al Sultan, but you will need a good sense of direction and a slight taste of adventure to find the place. We were met from the airport by a taxi that Dar al Sultan arranged and were greeted and taken from the taxt to the riad. We did meet a couple there who had spent two hours trying to find the place on their own! Once found, the riad is very well located. A fasinating 10 min walk to the Jemma al Fna and a couple of minutes from the Bahia Place. As for Marrakech itself, well I couldn't think of a more exciting, cultrually rewarding place to visit for a short break. From extreme poverty to extreme sophistication this place has it all and punches your every sense.

  • Liked — simple style
  • Disliked — not meeting the italian owner
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
toronto
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2008

Saw this Riad listed as a hidden gem in my travel guide. I did NOT check it in trip advisor or I would have stayed away...never again.

First the positives:
- tastefully decorated
- Jamilla is very sweet and she is a great cook. Her eggplant is superb.
- The place is impeccably clean, and the location isn't bad at all.

Now the negatives:
- There is no ONSITE manager. Giuseppe lives and works in Italy and he runs the place in his spare time. He has a couple of staff that work for him in Morocco but he does not empower them to solve issues.
- Jamilla is 8 months pregnant and probably wont be there when you get there.
- Jamilla does not reside at the riad, but is there from 10am-6pm or so. Jamilla is not allowed to problem solve esp around the rooms, rate, or your booking. So you will no doubt spend (as we did) much time waiting for Giuseppe to answer his Italian phone so that he can tell Jamilla what to do.
- Jamilla is a gem but (understandably) only speaks a bit of english, but great french and arabic
- No one else on the staff speaks anything other than Arabic.
- Hammering that was described in someone elses January review is still going on in mid-March. It went until at least 4am. But with no-
one on site past 6pm except for a tiny wisp of a girl that acts as cleaner and waiter - there was no one available that could solve the problem...oh and she only speaks arabic - which is fine as long as you do too.
- No light bulbs in the bathroom for our 3 day stay.
- No water for much of the time either.
- The bed in the Chambre Superior could not have been more hard if it was poured from concrete.
- We too had an issue with having to dispute the room charges. Finally we left - a day early. And of course, this led to a disagreement:
- Giuseppe will insist on talking to Jamilla for 20 minutes. WHen she cant convey what is needed, he'll offer to talk to you in his perfect english. When you don't give up and insist on asserting your frustration, he'll decide that he can't speak english anymore. Then he'll want to speak in French. When (after another 20 minutes) he realises that he isn't wearing you down, he will insist that he can't speak french to you any more but he needs to talk to Jamilla again. After another 20 minutes, they'll compromise with the suggestion of two bills. One that you can agree on, and an additional one that he won't put through (and you wont sign) until you resolve your disagreement. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. Both transactions ar eimmediately put through and you cannot dispute them with VISA. Trust me. DO NOT SIGN THE VISA SLIP UNLESS YOU WANT TO PAY HIM.

Personally, I feel ripped off, and I would NEVER recommend this riad to anyone I liked. Instead, click on TripAdvisors popularity index and stay away from this place.

There was no welcome to speak of, no explanation for where we were in the Medina, no sense of looking out for your guests or trying to make their experience in your city pleasant.

  • Liked — cleanliness
  • Disliked — owner is not onsite and there is no recourse when the stuff hits the fan. we were ripped off
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham UK
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2007

Eight of us recently spent four nights for my 40th birthday at the Riad. I read all the reviews here, both good and bad, before deciding to go ahead and book. It turned out to be a great choice.

My wife won't do anywhere remotely dirty so believe me when I say the riad is stylish, ideally-located, spacious, very clean and well run by Jamilla and the gang. I believe the negative reviews seem to stem from the time before Pepe owned the place as there were no real hassles at all - although we were renting every room, so if you were sharing the riad with strangers then perhaps your mileage may vary.

The airport transfer was there on time (look for the riad name rather than your surname) and once we had grown accustomed to the frankly insane driving (thankfully at low speeds due to traffic) it became apparent that the taxi staff, local shops and the riad all have a good working relationship.

Although Jamilla and the staff speak a little English, French is better so dust off your schoolbook. My French must sound like pidgin 'Allo 'Allo but I was able to make myself understood better in this tongue. Obviously Arabic is widely spoken but was not an "O" level option for me in 1983, at least not in Widnes.

The riad seem to use the same taxi guys all the time, which is good as you would need someone with local knowledge or a pigeon-like sense of direction to guide you down the 2-3 minute maze-like walk from the taxi to the front door for the first time. The tall medina streets are too narrow for cars so bicycles and mopeds are very popular - watch out.

The surrounding cat-filled streets are dark and narrow but not intimidating (I live in Nottingham!) and the local kids are friendly enough to banter with. The nondescript door opens and you are treated to the splendid interior views which the website shows. The riad is very photogenic and there are plenty of things to photograph.

Once unpacked, we spent the trip just chilling out at the riad in the morning, strolling the markets for lunch, then either eating at the riad or taking a trip out to a restaurant in the evening. Crystal @ Pacha was nice (Jamilla booked this same day at our request), but don't book before 8:30 and try and sit away from the central fire - it's hot and smoky at the nearest tables. The club itself was closed that night, despite it saying "Open daily" on the website. You may wish to confirm.

We stayed in the Douiria suite. The bed was very comfortable and there is plenty of storage. The bathroom in this suite is dark marble and plaster, and there is not a lot of light, so you may want to move a lamp into there.

One of the rustic sinks has a patched hole in it that sometimes leaked a little - but only a few thimbles-full or so. There was always hot water available. The specks of powder here and there are probably caused by woodworm in the wooden ceilings - par for the course in this type of building.

The mosque does a call to prayer around 4AM. I only heard it the first time, as I am a sound sleeper, but you may want to bring ear-plugs as the prayer MC also seems to be accompanied simultaneously by a revving scooter engine and a braying camel.

Breakfast seems to be available at any time in the morning. Staff are there from around 7AM but I don't recall us being up for anything before 10. Breakfast is continental - coffee, crepes (freshly made in the kitchen), bread, english tea, jam, cake and juice. Bring your sweet tooth to Morocco.

We then went upstairs to the terrace where you can bask in the African sunshine - not incandescent at this time of year but still very warming. The terrace is well appointed with day beds and tables and the staff are happy to fetch you snacks (olives and nuts), wine, beer or water - not free of course; the Rose was 14 euros and beers 3 euros - which is quite a markup. Better to buy it locally if you find it (we didn't actively seek it).

Jamilla and the gang do great meals in the evening, Moroccan style. Very tasty but perhaps a little pricey considering drink is not included. We eat there twice. The dining room also has an ipod dock which came in handy. The other lounge has a large flat screen tv with satellite box. We didn't watch much tv to be honest. The riad also has wireless internet and you can settle by credit card there.

The local markets are 2 mins away back towards the taxis, and the main square is -15 mins beyond these, depending on how fast you want to walk. I didn't find the stallholders overly aggressive. We weren't there to buy things, so it was easy for us to walk away.

Jamilla also organised an impromptu trip to the mountains for a couple of our guests with their own driver for the day. She is very good at organising and can get you most things should you require. Jamilla clocks off after dinner is served, and then Hisham, the riad's handyman, is also on hand until you go to bed to help you with anything. Again, French was the most effective route.

If I had one criticism, I would like the riad to show you a price list for the wine, beer and snacks before you tuck in as the prices came as a surprise to some. Also make sure that the room tax (8 EUR per room per night) has been included if you didn't book direct with the riad - it was a little difficult ironing out all these points in French when Jamilla wanted to go home and we all wanted to eat.

The airport taxis were bang on time for our early start home (they haven't managed this trick in the UK) and a good time was had by all.

  • Liked — 24-7 Service, Cleanliness, Style
  • Disliked — Price of food & drink was too heavily marked up.
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malcolm McGilchrist
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2007

First time in Marrakech, my girlfriend found this wonderful contemporary Riad online from their own website. If you wind down through the Eastern part of the medina you'll find this Riad in a quiet cul de sac. Lovely staff including the owner Giuseppe who provided friendly service and a nice continental breakfast too. We stayed in "Le Chambre Chocolat" which was perfect and reasonably priced at 150 Euros per night. Cant recommend this Riad highly enough. Malcolm & Anita.

  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles / New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2007

My time at the Dar Al Sultan Riad was one of the WORST travel experiences of my life.

I arrived in Marrakesh alone for the first time and was not picked up at the airport as had been confirmed by email THREE TIMES. When I contacted Giuseppe, the brand new owner by phone, I was hurriedly told to take a taxi myself. When I finally arrived at the Riad, Giuseppe was not there and no one spoke a word of English or could communicate with me for 8 hours.

The unfilled swimming pool, which is advertised all over the Riad’s website, was an empty hole. I was promised it would be filled with water the next day. The roof was covered with a cheap plastic sheet. The place was still freezing cold. The space heaters in the room didn’t work. The room I was supposed to have was given to someone else. During my stay the pool was never filled.

The owner of Dar Al Sultan was having furniture built at his apartment next door. So there was loud banging going on the entire time. I felt like I was living in a construction site! I complained and was told that I could not stop all construction in the town of Marrakesh!

One day, the owner brought me some wine and cheese, olives, bread which should cost about $10 dollars in Marrakech because such food is so inexpensive. When I got my room bill, he actually charged me $63 Euro or about $80 for the food!

There are no phones in the rooms so I once asked to use a telephone as I needed to make plans with a friend who was also staying in Marrakesh. Giuseppe told me I would have to walk into town to the Tele Boutique. So, $190 euros per night and I have to go out to use a TELEPHONE??

One day I was taking a nap at 4:00 in the afternoon and I woke up to blaring RAP MUSIC being played through the riad, the music of course was being played by the owner Giuseppe! These people are clueless of the hospitality business.

In my opinion, definitely DO take into consideration the previous bad reviews. There are plenty of other gorgeous chic and less expensive riads in Marrakech, do yourself a favor and RUN from Dar Al Sultan.

  • Stayed December 2006, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yorkshire, UK
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2007

My wife and I were seeking a romantic and stylish Riad in Marrakech that was far from the madding crowd - we found it! A little wary of previous comments about this Riad but, based on recommendations in The Sunday Times (London) and having viewed the Riad website, we decided to book and take a chance. Very glad we did. Now under NEW ownership (in fact the new owner took over as we arrived) & with all new staff, we experienced just what we had hoped for.
A stylish Riad within the city walls - down a myriad of narrow lanes that leaves you wondering where you will end up - you could not ask for a more tranquil location in what really is a very busy city. Currently only 3 beautiful bedrooms with plans for expansion. The new Italian owner, Guiseppe, is a charming gentleman with real vision for the future. Aided by a wonderful housekeeper and fantastic cook - Jamilla. If you stay here do ask Jamilla to cook for you at least once, you won't be disappointed! We cannot recommend highly enough. Previous reviews refer to a previous owner/staff - don't be put off.

The Schofields (30.11.06 - 04.12.06)
North Yorkshire, UK

  • Liked — Stylish and contemporary - see Vogue!
  • Disliked — The narrow & maze like streets were a little disorientating the first few evenings
  • Tips/Secrets — Ask Jamilla (the housekeeper) to cook an evening meal for you/your party. Take breakfast on the rooftop terrace
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto, California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2006

We had an almost identical experience as the previous member at the Dar Al Sultan. Although this dar is visually stunning and intimate (we loved the photos we saw on the internet), it has some terrible flaws and we would never recommend it.

Upon our arrival, there was a mix up with our room and the maid began yelling at us as if the mix up was our fault. The owner was nowhere in sight to confirm our room. After calling the owner's cell phone and speaking with him, the maid then proceeded to pack the belongings of the guests who currently occupied our room so that we could have it.

The room we were given was very calming with a wooden canopy bed and wooden shutters and armoire, but we nonetheless felt bad about our experience with the chambermaid. We were however too tired to find another riad in the complex streets of Marrakech (it was our first time there) and we decided to stay at the Dar Al Sultan.

The next morning at 6 am we were rudely awakened by the screaming sound of a French talk show coming from the radio in the kitchen. Whoever was preparing breakfast seemed to feel the need to listen to the radio at full volume. Breakfast at the dar was a basic bread and coffee. For the price of the dar, at least they could have included fruit and a smile. The best part of breakfast was meeting the other international guests and laughing at the pitiful quality of service at the dar.

We had been traveling extensively throughout Morocco and wanted to take advantage of the laundry service at the dar. What a mistake! Our clothes came back tie-dyed and some pieces missing. Friends of the owners lounged around the dar as if they lived there, using the phone and internet freely. When one of the friends offered to make reservations at a local spa for us (since we do not speak French well), we happily accepted. The spa, however, was full, and when I asked her to call another, her mood suddenly turned sour and she responded, "I don't work here, you know."

Finally, the owner disputed the price of the room with me, telling me that the price on the website was not actually the real price of the room. Terrible. We actually only saw the owner twice our entire three night stay and there was no one to check us out the morning of our departure.

There's no doubt that Marrakech is an exotic and captivating city. We are glad we went, it's just a pity our experience there was tainted by this dar.

Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOMMY44, OWNER at Dar al Sultan, responded to this review, February 22, 2007
I'm the new owner of Dar Al Sultan and I'm really sorry for these negativ review that they regard the past. My main objective is to offer an optimal service at the customs, the rooms very clean and a very rich breakfast. Above all to render me useful whichever requirement of the guests. I ask excuse for the old management of which I do not have folt.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Dar al Sultan

Address: 26 Derb El Arsa | Riad Zitoun Jdid, Médina, Marrakech 4000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #632 of 1,040 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Amazing riad, quiet and relaxing. ... more   less 

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