We stayed in two different hotels in Marrakesh-- Dar Darma and the Riad Idra. They are about the same price, very different in style but both are very luxurious and comfortable. To be honest, we like the Riad Idra better and think it's of better value, but the stay at Dar Darma is a very unique experience which we did not regret either.
On Arrival- We spent our 1st night in Morocco here. Since I wanted to avoid bargaining with taxi driver after our long flight, I booked the airport transfer (150DH) for the four of us. The driver arrived early and was holding a sign which said "Dar Darma". He was polite and friendly, waited for us while we exchanged the money and told us a little about the area during the short drive (~20min) We were a little nervous when he dropped us off on a busy street where a young man took our luggages from the trunk and put on his he tricycle without a word. We assumed he was the porter from the hotel and followed him to an alley, where he asked us for a 100DH. We didn't know that was the door of the hotel as there was no sign, so we got quite alarmed as we worried he would just leave our luggages there if we didn't pay. Finally we gave him 50DH and the door was opened, not a very welcoming experience.
The hotel- The first impression- a labyrinth of long corridors, dark and mysterious. Things got better afterwards as we got used to the dimness and entered the brightly-lit courtyard. The rooftop terrace where we had dinner and breakfast was lovely too, we could have good view of the medina from there. There were lots of steep stairs, people with mobility problem should take caution.
Room- Very uniquely decorated, like the other reviewer's described, "private luxury in a shabby chic, story book way". We had never stayed in a room quite like this, so it was a very special experience for us. The red room was very spacious with lots of details, tho some furnitures appeared to be a bit aged (or was that the design?), everything was super clean and neat. We wondered how they could keep everything so clean and dust-free as there were lots of decorations. There were two bathrooms with three showers in the room, they were not bad, water pressure ok and water temperature stable. Would appreciate toiletries such as shower caps, cotton swabs, shampoo and lotion etc to make Dar Darma a real 5-star hotel.
Service- On arrival we were a bit annoyed because of the greedy porter, but the staff calmed us down in no time with mint tea and very nice service. We were severed by mainly one guy (sorry I didn't get the name>.<), he took all our suitcases into the room by himself while we enjoyed our mint tea. During our stay, he treated us like royalty, very friendly, attentive and helpful, and when we offered him tips, he refused and left the tips in our room. The staff was very thoughtful, I asked for hot water at night to make some drinks, and he brought me a tray with cups, a pot of hot water with spoons.
Meals- We had one of the nicest dinner here during our ten days in Morocco. We shared 3 dinner sets (chickenx2, beefx1) among 4 people since we had small appetites. The chicken and beef were all soft and tender, nicely flavoured even to our spoilt Chinese taste buds. Breakfast was bountiful with fresh fruits and homemade bakery. We really enjoyed our meals a lot, thanks to Maria.
Location- very centrally located, close to the square and other attractions. There are many shops around too. Need to pay extra attention as the area is very touristy and there are lots of locals trying to make money from tourists.
Overall, we were very satisfied with our stay tho Dar Darma was more like a unique boutique B&B than a 5-star hotel. The value was good since we paid half price only (~EUR 180 for the red room for four). It would be overpriced if we had to pay the full price... I suppose ~EUR 250-300 would be a more reasonable price for a stay of this quality.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dar Darma is a private dwelling that can offer privacy, low-key services and traditional Moroccan hospitality in a relaxed, exclusive atmosphere. A few steps from the Museum and the Medersa Ben Youssef. You can enjoy this experience in the intimate surroundings of your suite, in the relaxation areas or on the terraces with breathtaking views of the Koutoubia Mosque and the Atlas Mountains. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dar Darma Hotel Marrakech