Patrick the owner was away in Spain selling carpets. We were ably looked after by Monaim and his wife. He arranged a taxi to collect us from the airport. Because Dar Dallah is in the pedestrian (and moped) area of Marrakesh the last part of the journey was on foot with someone taking our cases on an old cart. It was the Volcano Ash period so the previous guests had been unable to leave. Monaim was able to provide additional accommodation next door until they could get a flight out. He also organised for someone to show us around and get our bearings free of charge. I say foc because you will never find anyone except a fellow tourist (or sometimes a local woman) who will show you the way without payment. The going rate seems to be 10 dirhams. Anything less is disdainfully described as "that nothing". If you look the slightest bit lost, even if you don't want to be shown the way you will find yourself surrounded by enthusiastic boys who lead you to wherever you are going and then demand money. The key is to walk slowly, get your bearings and NEVER look lost... although I have to say that is easier said than done. Marrakesh is a never ending rabbit warren which adds to the excitement.
The bedroom was a delight. All rooms have an en suite shower and overlook the courtyard. The huge breakfast was taken on the rooftop. Tea, coffee, fruit, croissants, rolls, toast, marmalade and eggs cooked anyway you like.
There was a mosque at the end of the road. The recording of the Immam calling people to prayer was set to go at 04:10 every morning. To be honest there are many mosques in Marrakesh so wherever you are you will be in earshot of the call which happens several times a day.. The sound spreading across the whole city is one of those moslem memories that you will treasure for life.
Monaim organised a personal taxi for the day to go into the Atlas mountains, supposedly to go where we wanted, but in fact there will always be preplanned stops along the way where you will be descended upon by people selling herbal remedies, jewellery, argon oil. If you don't want to do that you have to be extremely tough with your driver. Having said that we went along with his plan and had a great experience, even having lunch in the mountains with a genuine Berber peasant family.
All in all, once you have acclimatised to the way of life and perfected your bargaining techniques, the whole experience was never to be forgotten, and you could always call upon the services of Monaim to help out. We paid Monaim for everything at the end, even the taxi to and from the hotel and the day out in the Atlas Mountains, but they don't accept credit cards so it had to be in cash, either euros or dirhams. Getting cash was easy from ATMs or currency exchange booths.
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