Tucked away round a corner, so very easy to miss, when the large wooden doors swung open it was like entering the Tardis. Stunning interiors, a delightful welcome, beautiful and decorous, fabulous rose-petalled bedrooms, breakfasts on the terrace, the small but welcome pool, and of course the three tortoises (large, medium and cute). But what sets this Riad apart is the service - attentive, friendly, perfect.
We spent 2 nights here with our two 11 year olds following 5 nights at Kasbah Angour near the Atlas Mountains (see part 1 review). Abu was our main host here, and his tips on what to do and when, and where to eat were great. When we ate at Pepe Nero on the first night, it was a beautiful setting complimented by very good cuisine (they have Moroccan and Italian menus). (btw, walking to the restaurant some cheeky gent told us it was closed - no doubt trying to win custom for another place - luckily we had reservations so didn't fall for it).
However, Abu's second recommendation on our last night was sublime - Dar Rizlane was beyond exquisite: the gardens, the food the service were amongst the best I have experienced anywhere. It cost a lot - around £150? - but as near to perfect as a meal in Marrakech can be.
Marrakech was very hot this week, 38 degrees, and the assault on all the senses with the souks and the Medina square as mad and as noisy and as busy as ever may not suit everyone, but it is a magical place, with great exotic sights and smells at every turn. The ever present and buzzing mopeds and scooters are not welcome partners in the alleyways.
On our first afternoon there, Abu recommended we ask our guide to take us direct to the souks and visit the Bahi and Saadian tombs the next day ourselves as they were very closeby. Unfortunately, the guide wouldn't listen to us and it took an hour and half in very hot conditions before we finally arrived in the markets. We weren't happy with him, as the souks are only about a 10 or 15 minute walk from Dar Anika, but he did show us some great stalls. You have to be prepared for the way of the guides - they take you to a shop - usually a pharmacy/herbalist, a carpet shop, a carpenter etc where there's a medium to hard sell, but on about the fourth or fifth 'no thank you' the message is received. But there is so much I'd like to buy! If you do want to buy something, always offer less than half their asking price and work up a little from there. Never pay more than half their original asking price. Walk away, then you will get a good price! At one stage, we got drawn (via our guide) into a carpet shop, tired and hot, and we politely withdrew quickly, before our guide had re-appeared. I suggested (only half jokingly) we make a run for it.
A guide is useful the first time there, but no its not impossible to find your way round the Medina with a decent map.
Dar Anika provided a wonderful, peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle and noise of Marrakech; on our last day they provided very tasty lunch bags to take to the airport with us.
It's a fabulous place and just doesn't get better than this.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Riad dar anika welcomes you to Morocco, a luxurious and intimate boutique riad situated at the entrance to the old souk and close to the Djemma el Fna.With 12 rooms, individually styled with flair and imagination, a swimming pool and hammam, we believe we offer a truly personal experience, a home away from home where guests can relax in an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the medina outside.From the very moment you step through the heavily carved door of Riad dar Anika our staff are on hand to ensure your stay is perfect in every way. Every fine detail has been thoughtfully considered from the crisp bed linen and fresh flowers to our authentic Moroccan cuisine. Our roof terrace is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the sun or evening drinks, affording total privacy and stunning views over the surrounding city and Atlas mountains. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riad Dar Anika Marrakech
- Riad Dar Anika Hotel Marrakech