Considering that mere centuries ago invaders passing through the gates of Chefchaouen could meet a swift end after becoming lost in the labyrinth of alleyways therein, it was a comforting thing to have found Dar Gabriel in close proximity to Bab Souk, requiring no engagement with said labyrinth whilst toting a heavy pack nor bow-and-arrow wielding residents. These relieving facts at the end of a chaotic ride out Tangiers and through the city upon arrival cannot be overstated if one is keen to get a holiday started on the right foot. We were greeted at the door of the place by the lovely daughter of the hotels manager, the equally charming Ben Salaam. Along with his wife and children, Ben made my friend and I feel as if we were family, never failing to ask how he might make our trip better or our stay more enjoyable.
Upon entering the hotel one is greeted by the elegant but simple lobby with stunning Moroccan rugs, heavy wooden doors, lounges surrounding, and cascading natural light coming through the atrium running down the middle of the building. A Moroccan tent covers a direct view to the sky as you gaze up through the atrium but the affects of the air and light coming through prove to make the already dazzling colors and openness of the hotel that much more so. Ascending the stairs on each side of the lobby cutting back continuously on themselves and somehow contributing to the quaint and homey feel of the place you come to each floor and can look across the atrium at rooms that are each as unique as the place itself. Lounges on every level act as a great place to relax outside of your room and contribute to the communal feel that the managing family encourages. Two rooms standing alone on the upper level seemed to be the most desirable according to their proximity to the rooftop terrace overlooking the city. From this vantage point one can take in the setting sun as the call to prayer floats from the mosques in the city as well as across the valley. An equally wondrous spot to find oneself as the sun peaks through two ridges in the mountains above the city.
The rooms on this level are colorful, cozy, and complete with everything that one needs in a room with little in the way of frills. The bathroom is much the same with everything one needs and nothing they don't. The easy going nature of the town coupled with just the right amount of distance between the surprisingly bustling nightlife of the modern part of the city and the hotel makes for a quiet and restful place to lay down. Another fact which can't be overstated as a day of bargaining and hoofing it around the city will leave anyone longing for the tranquility found in these rooms.
The complimentary breakfast and the possibility of an authentic Moroccan dinner prepared for a small fee by the host family is one of the better parts of staying in this place. The dining lounge is adjacent to the lobby and offers a beautiful setting for either of these meals.
It would be nearly impossible to find anything that detracted from my stay throughout the 3 days in Dar Gabriel and many more things that contributed to my joy in small ways at having found such a place a place as this. I will certainly be back and couldn't encourage others enough to make the trip to Chaouen that much better by staying here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dar Gabriel is a beautifully restored boutique riad hotel in Chefchaouen, northern Morocco, with seven bedrooms all en-suite. Downstairs is a sitting room heated by a wood burning stove, a restaurant kitchen, and intimate dining room. There are four bedrooms on the middle floor, roof terraces, three more bedrooms with kitchen and chill out space at roof level. Great views across medina and the river valley, with the Rif mountains behind. ... more less
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