We chose Dar Darma with our eyes wide open in the knowledge of some mixed reviews. We were sold on the incredibly stylish look of the riad, that has been executed superbly. Our previous visit was to Riad Fernatchi, amusingly next door to Dar Darma, which was a true 5* riad in look and feel and experience. I guess Fernachi was our yard stick of comparison so the bar was set high! Please also read this review in the context that I'm a fussy traveller who has stayed at some of the worlds best hotels, as well as some of the worst! I understand that, generally, you get what you pay for. In Dar Darma's case, the rates were at the top-end of riads so my expectations where reasonably set high.
We stayed in the Mirrors Suite. You really need to like shabby chic to enjoy this riad and for me, I prefer a more refined style, which is probably why I really enjoyed Fernachi. Could of points if you're thinking about the Mirrors Suite:
- The suite opposite can hear every word so if that puts you off, be warned
- Atmospheric lighting was great but there was no task lighting, which made simple things like looking in the wardrobe and looking in the bathroom mirror a complete pain. One might as well have a blind fold on!
We did look in the apartments suites (Blue and Red Suites), which are truly wonderful.
What really let this riad down was two things in my mind. First, the poor service. Not all staff at the riad were below par. Maria, the assistant manager, was excellent and without her we would have moved to another riad. The guy who serves breakfast was obnoxious and for the first three mornings, various items were missing from our table and when we requested such things as salt and pepper, we just received a look that said "are you supid". Not how to make a guest feel valued!
Maria is the only member of staff who has a good command of English, which is a surprise as most of the good restaurants and other quality raids do have the majority of staff who speak English well. This was a problem at weekends when Maria didn't work.
I also found that when Maria left in the evenings there was a a further drop in service to the point that it was just lack lustre. We did complain after three days that not one person had approached us to ask if we needed anything. I don't like in-your-face service but occasionally it is nice to be asked!
I also found that there was a complete lack of atmosphere in the evenings. Unlike other riads who light candles and play music, Dar Darma is uncomfortably silent to the point of being cold. A simple thing that could be sorted.
We were offered a great meal (complimentary) on our first night which I have to stay was excellent. A table was laid out which was romantic and away from everyone else, and the food (prepared by Maria) was one of the best meals that we had in Marrakech.
Overall, I think that there are other riads that offer a better service and stylish accommodation so please think carefully about this one.
- Also Known As:
- Dar Darma Hotel
- Dar Darma Hotel Marrakech
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dar Darma is a prestigious and recently refurbished palace placed in the Medina of Marrakech. The 4 luxury suites and the 2 apartments, furnished in a superlative way and with sophisticated decorations, lounges, and bedrooms with toilettes and fireplace. Elegant and absolutely private atmosphere thanks to the personalized service offered by the Staff, available 24h . The new dining areas and the terraces with shady lounges and swimming pool complete the exclusive offer of the maison. ... more less
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