Riad Dar Kmissa
My wife and I, in our early 60’s, stayed at the Riad Dar Khmissa for eight nights in January, 2012. It has a GREAT location. The Riad is in the midst of the Medina, or Old Town area and within a short (3 minute) walk to the souks and the Djemaa El-Fna .
However, while the Medina swirls around you in what we can only term controlled chaos, the Dar Khmissa sits in a quiet back alley away from the crowds and noise. As others have pointed out, it is a peaceful oasis in the middle of a human maelstrom. And, once you walk to and from it once or twice, it is not hard to find again.
The owners and staff were very helpful. They created a very relaxed atmosphere that made us feel welcome and, moreover, that they were happy to meet any reasonable request graciously and expeditiously. For example, one of the owners met us at the airport,, which made our arrival an easy one, and one of the staff gladly did our laundry without asking for compensation (although we voluntarily gave her 15 dollars for what we figured was about 3 hours effort).
The room was small but quite sufficient for our needs. One small matter was that the shower had no enclosure so water tended to spread across a good portion of the tiled bathroom floor.
Internet access was good. This is in striking contrast to our subsequent experience in Essaouira and Safi.
We had only one problem with the Riad. As Americans with very lousy French, communication was an issue. The owners and the staff spoke either no or very limited English, which prevented us from taking advantage of their local knowledge and advice as much as we world have liked.
One small further observation. As others have noted, a Riad physical setup is different from a hotel. If there is a group of people that arrive late at night and eat or drink before retiring, or you asre still asleep when the staff begins to prepare breakfast, they are not in a room but in an open courtyard that can reverberate to your room. This was only a real problem for us one night and then for only a half hour or so. We did use soft foam earplugs as a precaution during our stay.
On balance, we felt it was, overall, a very good value and would likely stay there again despite the language difficulty. We will just have to work on our French. But we do feel the Riad would benefit from an English-speaking staff member, who undoubtedly would help attract guests from the United States, Great Britain, Ireland and other predominately English-speaking countries that regularly send tourists to Morocco.