This is an amazing place to stay, if and when we return to Marrakech we will book at Dar Charkia again. I haven't uploaded any pictures, because unusually the pictures on the www.darcharkia.com web site are exactly as it is.
Dar Charkia is run by Lisa (English) and Michael (German). Two more helful and nicer people you could not meet. They are not permantly based at the Riad leaving an excellent team of locals to look after you which clearly helps you feel you're in Morocco. All the staff are very friendly and heplful , nothing is too much trouble.
The Riad has a contemporary/boutique feel, but you do get the Riad experience. We opted to eat in on the first night and it was the best Tagine we ate during our stayed. The Riad is 5 mins from the Soukes and main square and easy to find your way back to.
The atmosphere in the Riad is very very relaxed, come and go as you please and use the facilties as you please. We usually ate breakfast on the roof terrace in a tented canopy. Breakfast can be served any time you wish, even late afternoon - honeymooners. You can spread out where you like and do as you wish. It really felt like home and we certainly chilled out a lot.
Lisa and Michael genuinely want you to have a great time. Although not based in the Riad, they frequently call by and happy to receive phone calls or emails for advice and recommendations. Their recommendations are based on their own experiences which were very helpful on a short stay holiday as we felt we didn't have time to experiement.
Dar Charia is run by Michael and Lisa more as a hobby, but don't take this as being any indication of lower standards. What they offer is in many areas above 5 stars. They are not motivated by making money out of their guests and really do take a close interest in your holiday. It is a hobby they want to do well at and from our experience they certainly surpassed all my expectations. From our first enquiry we were met with prompt responses and clear advice. I immediately knew we had made the right choice. This followed throughout our break. When we arrived Lisa spent time with us learning what we wanted to do and see and then highlighted appropriate places on a map. This really was a great help. Lisa also took my wife to some local shops which she trusted - not so good. Lisa can also organise transport to/from the airport.
We found the people of Marrakech very polite and helpful. When we looked lost in the Soukes locals would offer advice and not expect anything for it. We were hardly hassled until some of the shop owners saw we had bought items, but even then a brief 'non, merci' saw them back away. The worst hassling was in the main square at night from the food vendors who set up mini restaurants all brought in each day on a trolley. It is an amazing atmosphere and a sight to see. If you pick a stall where the locals are eating you can't go to wrong. It is also great to have a Nuss Nuss coffee from one of the many roof top terrace cafes around the square and watch Marrakech go about its business - 4 pm is the time to watch the main square trolley cafes set up.
Getting there - the worst bit for us. We went via Ryan Air meaning a 6 am flight out and 3 departure from home. Ryan Air have a weight allowance based on each bag of 16 kgs and not the number of people travelling, so we had to pay excess both going out and back. Although they make no secret of the additional charges, when it came to it this left a bitter taste. Using Ryan Air meant that in the end the flights weren't really any cheaper than the other cariers. Easy Jet have a higher weight limit and more flexible approach. However, for the shoppers out there, Lisa recommends Iberia. although the plane stops in Madrid for up to an hour, you have allocated seating, not treated like cattle, better flight times and importanly a substantially higher baggage allowance. I would go this route in the future, but may even mix and macth carriers for the journey out and back to best meet our needs.
In the soukes you can get great deals on all manner of stuff from throws, cushions covers, leather goods, shoes, lamps etc etc. I would recommend taking a spare bag to bring stuff back in (seriously). Also follow Lisa's advice.
Alcohol is expensive and watch out for street traders who try to swap pound coins for 10 dirhams. The coins are nickel fakes and are worthless.
I really can't speak highy enough of Lisa and Michael and their team at Dar Charkia. It was sad leaving them all yesterday.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.