We loved the decor and Hakim was a real star. Whilst we had a lovely time, having also stayed at other places in the same area, sadly we found this was significantly overpriced compared to other similar places. We also had 3 children with us, loads of space, but not the safest set up for younger ones .....slippy (albeit beautiful stairs - in fairness we were alerted to this).the kitchen only has 2 chairs and 2 high stools and small table ..... We could not eat together as a family of 5 and the kitchen was not very well equipped. Great rooms, boys loved bunk bed, but we found the double bed pretty small and not very comfy. Also upon arrival the place had not been cleaned or stocked up as indicated ( again to be fair we were 30mins earlier than planned and it was a festival day......but this was not rectified the following day either), although sorted out when we specifically asked. We are not fanatically into cleaning or anything, but this too could have been better, or even having access to products etc to keep on top of it for ourselves would have been fine. One of the biggest draw backs however was breakfast at 9am (10am English time) which if it had just been us adults would have been fine, but the kids were hungry at least 2 hours before this. We requested an earlier drop off of breakfast and were simply told no! So we had to get our own each morning......all manageable, but not fantastic given price of property.
Aside from the gripes, we did have a lovely time ...... We also appreciated the quirky style of the place and really appreciated their food recommendations, which were spot on every time.But on balance whilst we would go back to the area we would stay elsewhere next time and sadly would not recommend this riad for families, especially with younger children. Look around as there are loads of less publicised options for a lot less money.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
November 17, 2012
We are disappointed that the clients were not entirely happy with their stay – and also rather surprised, given that at the end of it they asked if they could stay on another three days! A family of five, they paid £18 per person per night for a peak time holiday. For this they stayed in a quirky, comfortable and entirely private, self-contained 2-bedroom apartment in a characteristic part of the ancient medina, during a school holiday. Here they were able to relax and make as much noise as they liked, not having to worry about upsetting other guests as they would have done in one of Essaouira’s many riad-hotels or guest houses with shared public spaces.
Report response as inappropriate
There are plenty of lower-cost self-catering apartments in the area – but few provide the level of comfort, style and service of Dar 91, where one self-caters but has access to the kind of service one would expect of a guest-house. It’s also worth pointing out that, unlike many other property owners in Morocco, we pay our staff a living wage, national insurance and other benefits, and pay taxes both in Morocco and the UK – which perhaps helps explain why we focus on providing good value for money rather than rock-bottom prices.
To pick up on the specific points the clients raise…
• We did warn them in advance about there being lots of stairs, which is typical of many Moroccan houses.
• The table in the dining area is easily big enough to seat a family of 5. In keeping with the overall style and feel of the apartment, there are not matching chairs, but as well as the chairs and stools the clients mention, there are another two in the adjacent living room which could have been brought through. Many of our guests choose to eat around the lower coffee table in the living room, which would have been another option.
• As we say clearly on our website, the kitchen is simply equipped, with a fridge, two- burner gas hob, kettle and all the crockery, glasses and cutlery one would expect – our aim being to provide guests with the opportunity to make basic meals. One of the joys of visiting Morocco is eating in the many excellent restaurants and cafes and sampling the street food, and in the guide we send clients when they book we list our favourites - and make clear that our house manager Naima and guardien Hakim can deliver a range of low-cost meals (or even cook a barbecue on the terrace) on days when staying in feels like the thing to do.
• The double bed the clients refer to is 140 x 200cm. We’re sorry they didn’t find it very comfortable – mattress preference is notoriously subjective but we are taking their comments on board.
• The apartment was cleaned from top to bottom on the day of the clients’ arrival; other guests had vacated the same morning (the previous day had been a public holiday to celebrate Aid el Kbir – the most important festival of the Muslim year). We always leave clients with a stock of essentials like coffee, tea, sugar, toilet paper etc and these are replenished regularly throughout one’s stay…on rare occasions Naima might miss the fact that something has run out, but as the clients say, will rectify this when notified.
• Keeping sand, dust and dirt at bay is a constant battle in Essaouira, like many coastal towns. This is especially the case when it’s wet and windy, as it was when these clients stayed – and obviously, keeping the place spotless for a family of 5 can be a challenge at the best of times! We are confident that Naima did her best under difficult circumstances, which included the clients requiring numerous changes of bedding and towels. We provide basic cleaning materials and Naima would have provided more if asked (we keep the cleaning cupboard locked so that children cannot access potentially dangerous products).
• We are sorry that the clients were not happy with the breakfast arrangements. Obviously different clients like to have breakfast at different times and we try to fit in with what time works for them, within reason – but Essaouira is a slow-paced holiday destination and Dar 91 is not a hotel. We have never before had clients ask for breakfast as early as 7am, and Naima and Hakim are briefed that breakfast should be delivered at a point agreed with the clients between around 8 and 9am, or later – and the clients originally chose 8.30am. We are now amending the guide we send to clients, to clarify the ‘window’ within which breakfast can be delivered.
On a general note, we always make clear to clients that if there are any problems, we are available by phone or email (there’s a landline in Wahed, as well as wi-fi) to discuss them and/or help if they’re having problems communicating with Naima and Hakim, whose English is basic. We’d much rather get things sorted out at the time rather than people ending up feeling that their holiday was less brilliant.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.