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“The best experience that we had of Moroccan hospitality.Five+ stars”

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Ali & Sara's Desert Palace
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 13, 2013

I think we really got lucky thanks to trip advisor! I was looking for the best place to spend a night on a trip in the desert and chanced upon Ali and Sara's Desert palace! Had an amazing time and dont think any other Riad or hotel we stayed in Morocco comes close. Sara not only gave me invaluable advice on Morocco and the surrounding areas but also helped plan the whole trip. The camp was unlike what we have experienced in places such as Jordan given the personal touch added by Sara and Ali. Right from the comfort of the camp with its clean toilets and showers to the fine dining experience with the excellent dinner and breakfast, not to mention the berber pizza we had in Rissani on our tour through Merzouga and its surrounding areas. Shame we didnt spend 2 nights there as Sara had suggested but only one, with the first night being spent in one of the Auberge's in Merzouga, again organised by Sara. The ride on the dunes in a 4x4 to view the sunset was the most outstanding experience ever. Ali is a very skillful driver and unlike other tours which insist upon taking you into the desert on camels without providing a choice, Ali and Sara also provide this option. They also provide a complete tour service to the surrounding areas of Todra, Dades, Skoura, Ourzazate etc and in our case they collected us from Fes and after a tour of 4 days dropped us at our Riad in Marrakech. Full marks on all fronts to them

Room Tip: Best place to spend your time in the desert and experience solitude and calm!
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Chidiya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sarabreeze, Owner at Ali & Sara's Desert Palace, responded to this reviewResponded June 2, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review your experience of staying with us.

We’re over the moon to know that you had such a good time and also that you enjoyed Ali’s dune driving which really is quite an adventure in itself. It’s heartening to hear that you felt you received service with a personal touch, it really is our aim for our guests to thoroughly enjoy their experience.

Regards, Sara

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103 - 109 of 135 reviews

Reviewed April 18, 2013

Look no further. The experience you will have at Ali and Sarah's Desert Palace will not compare to the many other camps in Erg Chebbi. I did a LOT of research on the desert camps, and found that many of them are crowded, with one bathroom for 20 people, etc. Several are owned by Riads in Merzouga and cater to the hoards of tourists passing through.

This camp is different. There is a lot of heart and soul in this camp, and it's evident from the moment you step foot inside. The dining/common area tent is beautifully decorated and the sleeping tents are extremely comfortable and cozy. Real beds, blankets, etc. Not roughing it at all! The bathrooms and showers are wonderful! Ali is a master chef, and we had one of the best lamb tagine's during our two week stay at the camp.

The staff are wonderful, and at night they build a giant bonfire and sing and play music for guests. It's truly a memorable and wonderful experience. All the hard work in researching desert camps really paid off and we were very fortunate to have found this place. Both, Sara (who we didn't get to meet, but emailed with), and Ali, are a wealth of information about Morocco and are wonderful hosts.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank ponarv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sarabreeze, Owner at Ali & Sara's Desert Palace, responded to this reviewResponded April 29, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review your experience of staying with us.

Yes, we’re completely passionate about our Desert Palace and extremely pleased that you enjoyed yourselves so much.

Ali really appreciates your compliment regarding his cooking, his mother will also be happy to hear this as she taught him to cook when he was about 14.

And you’re absolutely right - our staff are wonderful, Ali and I are very fortunate to have such good people working with us.

Regards, Sara

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Reviewed April 13, 2013

I have wanted to visit Morocco especially the Sahara Desert since 2007. Unfortunately I have read many negative reviews like ‘one camp is shared by 6 people, no mattress (got to sleep on the floor), no bathroom facilities, etc, etc’. I do understand that I will need to get out of my comfort zone and rough it out but personally I know I will not enjoy this type of holiday.
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In mid 2012 (after making a time share exchange for a one week stay in Marrakech in spring 2013) I again researched on accommodations in Erg Chebbi and Merzouga. Through the forum and personal messages from tripadvisor, I found Ali & Sara’s Desert Palace.

All emails to them were promptly answered by Sara. Sara assured me that they have beds, clean mattresses and freshly laundered bed linen in their traditional nomad style tents. Bathroom facilities are clean and spacious, shower has both cold and hot water. I immediately send her an email confirming my booking for a 2 nights stay.

We arrived at the camp around dusk after a long day of sightseeing and approx a 1 ½ hour of camel ride. I loved the camel ride but my husband found it uncomfortable. Upon arrival at the camp we saw candles and fire torches, all very welcoming. We were the only people at the camp, so it was a very private and romantic experience. After dinner, the campfire was lit and the staff sang traditional Berber songs with their drums. What an end to a great day!

Early the next morning, our breakfast was served on a table on a sand dune; so romantic! After breakfast we visited a berber family living in the dunes, the local village of Khamlia to hear the villagers play Gnaoua music, the village of Rissani’s bustling souk market and dune climbing. In the late afternoon, we went sand dune bashing and watching the sunset with Ali on his Land Rover. After dinner, we spent time with Ali and Sara, chatting on desert stories, the way of life of the Berbers, etc. We had a great day and a truly unique cultural experience.

The next morning, just before we need to say good-bye, at Sara’s suggestion, Ali drove us together with Sara for more sand dune bashing and climbing. Ali & Sara, thank you for this thoughtful suggestion; it is a fantastic ending to our desert experience.

In summary, this biovac didn’t disappoint, it is exactly what Sara has described. We were very comfortable during our 2 nights at the camp; comfortable beds, good bathroom facilities, good food, friendly and accommodating staff. The visit to the villages provided us with a unique cultural experience. The camel rides, the sand dune bashing and climbing made our stay fantastic in the desert.

This biovac is suitable for everyone, especially for honeymooners.

Experiencing time in the desert is a truly unique experience. It is like nothing else on earth and should be on everyone's holiday list.

Room Tip: This biovac has 4 tents. Our tent has 1 double bed and 1 single bed.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank maxilee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sarabreeze, Owner at Ali & Sara's Desert Palace, responded to this reviewResponded April 29, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review your experience of staying with us.

Our aim is to share the hospitality and culture of the Amazigh people in this beautiful and natural environment and we’re over the moon that you enjoyed yourselves so much. Your kind words mean a lot to us.

Regards, Sara

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Reviewed March 8, 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed at this camp November 13th, 2012. We were the only people at the camp, so the focus was solely on us. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and would return in a heartbeat.

We arrived late at the hotel in Erb Chebbi, so it was after dark by the time we reached the camp itself. We took the hour-long camel ride to the camp. Myself, I did not mind it. It was not as jerky as I expected. However, hang on when you head down the dunes. We got off the camels just outside of the camp itself and walked in from there.

Our luggage was brought to the camp by jeep, so it was already in our tent. The camp, if I can describe it right, consists of a kitchen tent, a dining tent, a U-shaped series of 4 sleeping tents, and a long tent with the bathrooms and for storage. Everything is in a little valley between the dunes, so you do not see city lights (not that Erg Chebbi is all that big anyway). This camp seems to be away from any of the other camps. We really seemed to be alone.

Upon arrival, we sat down and had a great meal. I think it was a Moroccan chicken dish. Anyway, perfect. Nothing to complain about at all. After eating, we went outside and sat around the campfire that had been made by Ali and some of the workers. We then spend some quality time under the stars, listening to them play the bongo drums and sing. We even took a stab at it. It was then off to bed.

Our tent had a queen-sized bed and a twin bed, if I remember that right. If I would change anything, I would make the bed a little more comfortable. It was mid-November and it was nice to have the blankets. The night passed nicely.

Early the next morning, we got up and climbed a nearby dune, to watch the sunrise. After some photos, we then came back to the camp for breakfast. Breakfast was outside, on a table near the fire pit. Again, nothing to complain about. Plenty of hot, good food.

After breakfast, it was time to pack up and head back to the hotel. Given the other reviews, I had arranged for the jeep ride back. It was definitely an exciting ride. Ali was as crazy as my brother-in-law, when it comes to pushing the limits. And we stopped along the way, to get some photos on the top of the dunes. Then, in a few minutes, we were back at the hotel, where we were met by our driver.

No, this is not a 5-star hotel. But, I think it is a great little slice of Morocco. Well worth the visit, if you are anywhere in that part of the World.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Vernal_Traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sarabreeze, Owner at Ali & Sara's Desert Palace, responded to this reviewResponded March 24, 2013

Many thanks for taking the time to review your experience of staying with us.

Ali and I are very happy that you enjoyed the time you spent at our camp, we really appreciate your kind words and recommendations. Should you return to Morocco you know where we are!

Regards, Sara

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Reviewed December 11, 2012

My husband and I spent a wonderful night in this great camp in November. From the moment we check-in, we were treated hospitable by Ali & Sara. The camp is finely decorated and the room is cozy. The washroom, even though a separate one, is nice and it was a memorable experience to take a hot shower in the morning recommended by Sara. We were having dinner together and enjoyed very much in chatting about the desert stories. The desert safari in a four wheels drive controlled by Ali up and down the dunes was really exciting. No doubt that this is an ideal camp for people who are looking for a hospitable and peaceful stay close to nature. I have to thank Ali & Sara for making our stay fantastic in the Sahara.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank RChui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sarabreeze, Owner at Ali & Sara's Desert Palace, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review your experience of staying with us.

I am delighted that you enjoyed yourselves and sincerely appreciate your kind comments.

Ali tells me that he drove you to the top of the highest dunes and I hope that you managed to achieve the particular photographic shots that you were seeking.

Regards, Sara

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Reviewed October 7, 2012

My boyfriend and I, were unsure about camping in the desert due to the very mixed reviews for places. We read reviews where everyone camped together in one tent, with no privacy, dirty blankets/bugs, and camps set up only 50 feet from a hotel - so we had mixed feelings. We really wanted the desert experience and did not mind roughing it a bit - but we also wanted a little privacy to enjoy the amazing experience. Ali and Sara delivered an amazing experience- even better than we had imagined it could be. Our driver Jalil Benbili - who is also an amazing find- and truly made our trip special (see reviews in the forum). Ali and Sara do work with a local inn- so we were able to freshen up a bit and also have a place to come back to in the morning for a shower if you would like. We had a mint tea with the inn owner and Jalil, packed a backpack with our needed items for the night and headed off to the camels. Ali was there and introduced himself and said he would be our host for the evening. Then we mounted our camels and headed off with our Berber guide. The camel ride was beautiful (but a little uncomfortable- is putting it mildly) - in the morning they do offer you the option of returning by jeep instead of camel- which I wish I had taken advantage of. I'm glad I did the camel- but as Jalil had told us- "once is enough". We rode along for about 1.5 hours and then stopped at a sand dune to watch the sunset. Our guide was close by to take pictures, answer questions, but he also gave us space to enjoy the sunset alone. During the whole experience there were often guides/staff nearby if you needed them- but they retreated to give you space to enjoy the experience- which really made a difference for us. After the sun went down, we continued about 15-20 minutes to the destination. Let me say the pictures posted by management are 100% true- the camp is beautiful. There are tents set up for sleeping (separate tents- private with a real bed- mattress and linens), a central tent for eating meals/relaxing and a bathroom with water piped in (full western toilet that flushes, sink, and shower). Actually the mattress was one of the best we slept on, during our whole trip. We were served some light snacks, cookies, nuts, raisins, and water and mint tea- as our hosts prepared dinner. We were their only guests for the night- so we had a very private experience- but even with other guests- I think there is plenty of privacy to allow for a unique experience. Dinner was a Berber salad, Tangine and Melon for desert. All were some of the best foods we had in our stay in Morocco. Everything was beautifully presented. I was so impressed with how clean everything was- our sheets on the bed were white- and given it was the middle of the desert- that is hard to keep clean! Ali and Sara have paid attention to all details to give guests a uniquely Moroccan experience with all the comforts and luxuries Western travelers enjoy. Additionally their prices were right in line with other biovacs- so you are not paying more for a luxury experience. I'm thrilled to be the first reviewer- and let people know what a special place Ali and Sara have created. It was a five star experience, with 5 star service, food and sleeping arrangement. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Thank you Ali and Sara for an amazing stay and I hope to return again someday (inshallah).

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank AntyJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sarabreeze, Owner at Ali & Sara's Desert Palace, responded to this reviewResponded October 10, 2012

Thank you for taking the time to review your experience of staying with us.

I am very pleased that you enjoyed yourselves and I will share your comments with the guys in the team who work hard to make Ali & Sara's Desert Palace such a special place.
Regards, Sara

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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile
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Stayed: October 2017, traveled as a couple
Thank Larissa A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ali & Sara's Desert Palace

Address: Erg Chebbi Dunes | Nr Merzouga Village, Erg Chebbi 52202, Morocco
Phone Number:
Location: Morocco > Meknes-Tafilalet Region > Erg Chebbi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Erg Chebbi
Price Range: $116 - $333 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We created Ali & Sara's Desert Palace with the aim that our guests could experience the beautiful and natural setting of the desert, staying in clean & comfortable surroundings where the focus is relaxation and enjoyment, together with some safe adventure. Nestled well within the dunes, we're about an hour or so from Merzouga village by camel and 20-30 mins by 4x4. If preferred we can collect clients from around Morocco or if travelling independently we can greet you on your arrival in Merzouga village for you to enjoy light refreshments before setting off by the desert ship, the camel to your home for the night. Our aim is to remain as environmentally friendly as possible and lighting is by a combination of candle and solar power. We pump water from our own water well and guests can take hot water showers, with laundered towels and toiletries provided in a large dedicated bathroom which also houses a separate flush toilet. Dining is in under the stars or in our separate well furnished restaurant and food is freshly prepared to suit personal preference, served at a time to suit. We wake our guests to see sunrise although it's not obligatory and breakfast is served at a time to suit, there's no early morning rush or hurry on our part for our guests to depart. Our aim is for guests to have an exceptional and complete desert experience, we take great care of our clients and we pride ourselves on our service, always on hand, but unobtrusive. ... more   less 
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