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“A wonderful quirky house” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dar 91

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Dar 91
91 rue Chbanat, Essaouira, Morocco   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #23 of 174 Essaouira B&B and Inns
Leeds
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A wonderful quirky house”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

it's lovely to stay in Essaouira in a house in a local street rather than a riad on the main strip. The house is quirky, the owners lovely (who do great charity work in the town) and there is 'onsite' support from Niama, the housekeeper and Hakim who runs the owner's gallery downstairs. They'll both go over and above the call of duty to help. We traveled with two children (7 & 10) who soon made friends with the local children. I could keep writing accolades but wouldn't know where to stop. We'll be back.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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88 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Petersfield, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

What a lovely time we had! SO beautifully decorated, Hakim and Naima were welcoming, helpful and unobtrusive. We were totally relaxed. The flat was equipped with basic cooking utensils (although we did no home cooking) and the all important tea making facilities and we had breakfast delivered to our door each morning so that it was ready whenever we got up. The location is perfect - right in the thick of the medina but we were never disturbed by noise. Also in the house is a "houseguide" and a journal that previous guests have written in so there were plenty of very good recommendations for food, bars, days out etc. There were lots of extra touches that made us realise a lot of care and thought has gone into Dar 91, such as a big feather duvet (we were there in November) and hot water bottle, an ipod dock and mint tea with snacks when we arrived. I thoroughly recommend Essaouira and staying at Dar 91.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dartmouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 14, 2012

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.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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dar91, Owner at Dar 91, responded to this review, 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.

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.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blandford Forum, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

Dar 91 was perfect for a relaxing visit to Essaouira. Right in the heart of a residential street in the Medina, just watching street life unfold from the window was terrific.
We were incredibly well looked after by our hosts who provided a very useful intro pack, great communication and thoughtful help and advise throughout.
Huge thanks to our Moroccan hosts for their kindness and care. We wanted to remain independent and have our own place but still have access to real Moroccan life experiences and the balance was perfect. We enjoyed 10 days and they still weren't enough.
A great, quirky and comfy house. We certainly hope to be back.

Room Tip: The house is set over a number of floors - the rooms are great fun - it's a battle to keep a hou...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2012

A friend and I stayed in the Wahed apartment during the Gnaoua festival in June and we couldn't have been happier with our stay. It's a great location in the Medina. The apartment was cheery, clean, and festively decorated. The rooms are gorgeous - high ceilings, colored windows - and you can see the ocean and the sunset from the roof deck. Naima and Hakim were very helpful and made sure we had everything we needed. I highly recommend staying here when you visit Essouaira.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ilkley
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2012

A compact but extremely appealing house within the old Medina. Tall & thin, extremely characterful and definately NOT "Cod Riad" but decorated in a quirky mix of trad Moroccan and (many) other styles, which all work very well together. Easily accessed from the Medina gate/car park/taxi rank. Everywhere within the Medina is within a short(ish) walk, and the maze of alleys is a great challenge - though as my 11yr old lad observed, it's impossible to get lost as eventually you'll reach a "bab" (city gate) and get your bearings. Because you're in a real local house, fronting directly onto the street, local life in all its hues unfolds in front of you - kids playing football, the detergent seller, countless kiosk owners, people weaving miles of braid, horse taxis returning to their stables at the end of the day. (Though, mercifully, very few mopeds / scooters, officially banned in the Medina) You do get to connect with the locals a bit more because of this, but virtually without exception the reaction was accommodating and friendly, and at no point did I as a father taking his family a little further afield get any sense of threat or hostility. Point to note - whereas in Marrakech my 14year old (but looks older) daughter had the unwelcome attention of countless local youths, Essaouira was hassle-free in this respect. And the store owners were far less in-your-face too.
The property's best asset is perhaps its cleaner/manager/fixers and generally very helpful souls, Naima and Hakim, who were prepared to bend over backwards in any which way to help out - F'rinstance, I set out one morning, only to tear my shirt on a loose nail on a porter's cart. I went home to change, and Naima had the shirt repaired by the local tailor in time for lunch. The recommendations in the Dar 91 "things to do, places to visit" guide were comprehensive, and invariably well chosen and accurate. I would implore anyone to go to the Hammam - for the men it's an experience, for the women it's (apparently) something else still. The owners themselves seem to really have an interest in the community in Essaouira, and what contact we had with them was extremely positive and helpful - all round, we felt well cared for!
You could, quite easily, stay here and do nothing more than get a "grand taxi" to the beach each day, and find a restaurant to eat at in the evening. Personally, I enjoyed the opportunity to touch the real Morocco - shopping for groceries (really cheap!), playing football with the kids in the street, finding the cafes that the locals frequent, that sort of thing.
Finally - if you want camel riding, horse riding or quad biking, then DON'T go near the touts on the beach. Make the journey out to to Diabat (6km away) to the ranch there, where the animals are extremely well cared for, the guides competent and safe, and in possesion of (seemingly) the only motorcycle helmets in Morocco! Pricier than the beach touts but WELL worth it. Negotiate a deal for two hours, you'll go for miles through the dunes and along the beach.
To sum up the experience, I'll quote my 11yr old lad's words as we waited for our luggage at Manchester airport:-

"It's totally the best ever holiday I've ever had!".

  • Liked — Location, helpfulness of staff & owners, contact with the locals
  • Disliked — Nothing springs to mind!
  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2012

From the moment that we arrived in the dead of night in the pouring rain the hospitality began! We were greated on our walk from outside of the Medina with umberellas and help with our cases which was most definitely a great welcome!

Three of us stayed in the Zhuzh apartment which is absolutely beautiful. It's a mixture of traditional Moroccon and modern/kitsch and the number of aritifacts, pictures, decoration to feast your eyes on is staggering and I kept spotting things that I hadn't seen! We also had a look in the Tlata apartment which is much smaller but still to the same standard. The kitchen is compact, but it's all you need. We managed to put together a few lunches but ate out every evening because the food around Essaouira is yummy, yummy, yummy! Although our delivery of fresh and warm baguettes, pain au chocolats, yoghurts and milk every day was also looked forward to every morning and missed that as soon as I got home. Breakfast is delivered at the top of the stairs every morning so as not to disturb you.

The Dar91.com site doesn't show the shower facilities on either apartment which we were a little worried about but I can assure you that they in absolutely great condition, as are the rest of the apartments.

All throughout booking, lead up and our stay we had great communication with the owners and the house staff, Naima and Hakim. After booking we recieved an amazing guide to the local area and recommendations for places to eat and drink. Also in the guide was the option of learning raffia work with Naima (recommended if you are crafty and sitting on the sun terrace doing it getting a tan is even better lol) and I've continued to make some coasters with the raffia that I brought home with me. Also recommended is going to the Hammam with Naima (female only). It's a real experience to go to a local Hammam rather than one geared at the tourists and Naima worked really hard to do scrub and pamper the three of us at once! It was totally worth it, our skin felt great afterwards and we all loved being bathed in rose water towards the end of the experience :). You can also arrange to have food delivered to the house, cooked by either Naima or Hakim and we did this on the night of our arrival and I have to say it was a welcome, delicious meal after a long travel time. All for a reasonable price too!

Would I recommend this place? Most definitely and have done so already to friends! The location within the Medina is a brilliant location even though Essaouira itself is not that big.

Just a couple of things to note, if you have any kind of walking or disability issues you may struggle with the stairs. There are lots of them and they are quite steep and a bit awkward to negotiate. Lets just say I was glad I wasn't drunk and try to climb them lol Great for working out the thighs tho!

Also, beware of the line of horse and carts parked up not far outside the wall. Walk against the wall and not near them because one aimed for me and then bit my friend!

  • Liked — The style and decoration
  • Disliked — The steep stairs!
  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dar 91

Address: 91 rue Chbanat, Essaouira, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Essaouira
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 174 B&Bs / Inns in Essaouira
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dar 91 is light, airy and comfortable. It fuses old and new Moroccan and European styles, but without being slavish to any particular "look" or period. Unlike many Moroccan properties let out to tourists, Dar 91 does not feature a central courtyard - which can be a big advantage if you value your privacy, as you won't be sharing your apartment or roof terrace with other guests. We give a minimum of 10% of our profits to Project 91, our charity to help local young people improve their skills and find work. ... more   less 
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