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“Unique and very special gem in the heart of the Medina”
Review of Riad Dar Darma

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Riad Dar Darma
Ranked #241 of 1,153 Marrakech B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Unique and very special gem in the heart of the Medina”
Reviewed April 24, 2012

We chose Marrakech as the destination for a pre wedding trip - myself and 5 girlfriends and were recommended to look at Riad Dar Darma. From the point of booking with Laura (based in Milan), everything was great and nothing was too much trouble. We chose the Red Apartment as there were 6 of us and this was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite with a central lounge in the middle. We arrived and were picked up at the airport and driven to the discreet front door of the Riad - something that we later realised was an almost impossible feat; this was a sign of how far the team would go to make our stay as easy and enjoyable as possible. We entered the Riad from the craziness of the streets outside and were greeted by Maria - a lovely and helpful host - into an oasis of calm and serenity and cool air which was lovely. We were shown to our room and around the Riad - there are little areas all over the place and the rooftop terrace and pool is perfection. Maria was fantastic and gave us a map of the city and made all of our reservations for us - restaurants, camel rides, Nikki Beach etc. The first night they prepared a meal for us at Dar Darma - the food was amazing!! No menu and you were served what had been cooked and we were not disappointed - stunning flavours with fabulous service from Sahid and Abdul. One of the nice things about Riad Dar Darma is that it is very intimate - only 6 rooms and so you know the names of all the team from the housekeepers (Rasheeda & Nadja) to Abdul, Esham, Maria and Sahid. They change over shifts throughout the day, yet the service never changes - we wanted Morrocan Rose wine as this had been recommended to us as lovely - they didn't have it, yet 20 minutes later they did - they had 'borrowed' some from elsewhere and from that moment on, there was always Rose wine. We had no room keys, at first this felt strange and we were't sure and Maria reassured us that we were family in their home and that all would be fine. By the second day, we were leaving our door wide open all day. The Riad is perfectly located in the Medina and less than a 5 minute walk from the souks and the main square - yes you are hassled a little in the street but after your first trip out, you gain your confidence and are used to this. Anybody who complains that there is no sign on the front door clearly doesn't understand this city and the culture - the whole point is that the Riad is hidden and discreet and when you realise this you actually love this. There are no signs anywhere so it would be strange to have a large sign with Riad Dar Darma on the front door. We ate lunch twice at the Riad and dinner also and the food was always beautiful. They lit candles and incense in our room every day and placed an ice bucket for champagne in the lounge every day. The decor in the Riad was absolutely stunning - 100% authentic in every detail and barefoot luxury at it's best. The room we had was 17th century and the details were everywhere. The rooms are a little dark but you also realised that if you were to visit in 45 degree heat - this darkness would be so welcome as it would also mean that the rooms stay cool - again, you adjust to this and I know that if we had asked for extra light, they would have helped and arranged this - it wasn't a big deal for us and we were 6 girls who were doing hair and makeup every evening.There is no phone in the room but you don't miss it as the team are around 24 7 and are always on hand to help - it is as if 'no' is not in their vocabulary and whatever you request - however odd it may seem to them - they make it happen. The medina can be a challenge to navigate however, the team at Dar Darma will happily escort you to the souks or the square or even come and find you and bring you back if you are lost! I have never written before on Trip Advisor but felt compelled to do so the morning after we returned as the experience was so unique - I work in hotels and luxury hospitality myself and truly this place is special. Aside from the Riad, I would recommend a day to Nikki Beach (not at all authentic Marrakech but fun non the less), dinner at Bo&Zin - very cool place with beautiful food and a lovely vibe (taxi ride) and also Le Foundouk - traditional Moroccan place that is walking distance from Dar Darma. Definitely visit the souks and buy a leather holdall that can carry all of your purchases home - I bought a tagine, two lanterns and more! I would recommend this place to anybody and will definitely be returning with my husband after we get married. I would not recommend this place if you only like large chain hotels where you could be anywhere in the world when you stay - Dar Darma is the real Marrakech and allows you to be a part of their world for the time that you are there.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Red Apartment - peeped in the others though and all were stunning and equally indiv...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Anna S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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182 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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barcelona
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2012

We had high expectations of this "Mr and Mrs Smith" recommended Riad - and they were dashed.

Overall the Riad is stylish - but it's a case of 'fur coat and no knickers' . The dimly lit rooms were depressing and a bit tired.

On the plus side - the breakfasts were spectacular - and the folks were friendly and tried hard, but didn't quite get there in terms of delivering 5 star service. (e.g. a loud sign, eye roll and Arab mumbling when we requested coffee in our room before breakfast.)

Room Tip: Do not go for the Blue Apartment - unless you enjoy reading braille before bedtime
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank elizabeth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 5, 2012

I stayed at Marrakech for 3 days on my second trip there and ended up spending ALL of the time at Dar Darma - it was that special. I walked around for 3 days just making photos, trying to capture the magical feel of the place. The staff is super attentive and anyone who is looking for an oasis of tranquility in the otherwise buzzing place would be pleasantly surprised. It's like staying at a house of a dear friend or relative who takes pleasure in spoiling you.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ashatan30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed December 6, 2011

Thanks to the help of trip advisor i emailed the hotel who reassured me that they would pick us up at the airport and transport us to the hard to find riad! Laura was quick to reply and then really made our day by upgrading us to the fabulous red suite . On arrival we were plied with mint tea and entered the serene and cool palace of dar dharma. Immediately our blood pressures lowered and we fell into role of sultan and sultaness! Our palatial red suite more than lived up to its expectations and we marvelled at the beauty , the leopard skin rugs , shabby chic chairs and sumptuous bathrooms. Warning though in winter its cold at night so take your jimjams ! Breakfast is a carbohydrate feast of pancakes served with a smile.
The staff were very sweet and accomadating and anything could be arranged.
We took a trip to the coast and the high light of the trip for me was seeing the goats in the argan nut trees and holding a baby goat ! I Beautiful memories

Room Tip: all the rooms are beautiful no worries!!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank misstree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level 5 Contributor
31 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed September 26, 2011

We just came back from Marrakech...sigh. We stayed at Dar Darma for 5 nights and we had a great experience!
Dar Darma is really beautiful, the atmosphere is very relaxed and the design impressive. The staff super friendly and professional , always ready to help with a smile on their faces! A special thank you to Abdul ,Sahid and Isham that really made a difference and were available 24/7 ! The Dar is impressive ! high ceiling, beautiful furniture, large bedrooms (massive bathtubs:)) and very very quiet! we did not have lunch or dinner in the Dar but Breakfast was served on the roof terrace (amazing terrace, actually are 3 terraces with 2 plunge pools and sun loungers ) rich, fruit,orange juice,coffee,milk,a big pastries platter (crepes,pancakes,pain au chocolate) and jams (more than enough for us) The Location is great as well -in the beginning we had few problems in finding it (but was only our fault...zero orientation skills...)- but after few days we really started to appreciate and understand that we were less than 10 min walking (slowly) from Place Jamaa el fna and a couple of minutes from the souks! We will definitely be back! Thank you!

Room Tip: All rooms are very quiet, large and beautifully furnished.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Vierky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2011

We stayed at this riad for 4 nights. For anyone who does decide to come here the riad has no sign, which is unhelpful when searching for it with suitcases and locals looking to exploit tourists at your heels.

At first we were presented with immense splendor, the riad had an authentic feel and the rooms and courtyard were equally impressive.

However when we went to leave the riad we were confronted with a large amount of pestering from locals in the area, which at times could get very aggressive and intimidating. We believed this was due to the area, as pestering was less intense in the more touristy areas closer to the square. There was a back entrance which helped reduce hassle slightly, however staff did not always here us knocking to come in from this entrance.

Apart from one staff member the staff were extremely unhelpful and uninterested in engaging in friendly conversation, even in greeting. One member in particular was incredibly rude and would tut if we asked for water or if we knocked on the front door (keys are not provided). He seemed bitter and resentful towards the guests, I began to fear asking for anything. In the morning he would slam breakfast on the table without uttering a word. One morning he even had a full on argument in Arabic in front of us with another staff member.

In addition the food, water and tea at this riad were not good value for money.

To conclude unless you can stay at this riad for a reduced rate, it probably isn't worth the money.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank HRosselli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chester, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2011

just returned from dar darma stayed in red 2 bedroom suite which is amazing. the riad is beautifull as is all the suites, sahid and all the staff are lovely. the service is wonderfull, in obtrusive but ever present, on hand day or night for whatever you want, nothing really is to much trouble, breakfast was lovely served whenever or where ever you want it. we have stayed at many top riads in marrakech. r e riad farnatchi,noir d ivoir, riad el fenn and i have to say this is as good as it gets. i have never written a review about any where before partly because they have not needed it but i cant understand the negative reviews about dar darma so feel i must set the record straight.i can only think that the people who have written these reviews do not really apreciate marrakech and the riad. the dar is a palace with antiques and quirky touches everywhere, our suite was massive two bedrooms two bathrooms large living room,truly amazing.the roof terrace is massive with lovely hammocks and daybeds and a pool which is large enough to swim in. the comunal areas are amazing i really can not say enough about this riad. i would reccomend this riad to any one the whole riad is immaculate clean. it is a 2 minute walk from la fonduk restaraunt and the souks and a 5 minute walk to the square. cant wait to return and would like to thank all the staff for a truly amazing stay.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank mattm37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Riad Dar Darma

Property: Riad Dar Darma
Address: 11/12, Trik Sidi Bohuarba - Medina, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Location: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Marrakech
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #241 of 1,153 B&Bs / Inns in Marrakech
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Riad Dar Darma 5*
Number of rooms: 6
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

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