After an enchanting stay at the Dar des Cigognes on the outer perimeter of the Medina of Marrakesh near the Jamaa el Fna, it was time to move in a little closer to heart of the Medina at the Riad Dar One. I was traveling in Morocco this summer and was privileged to stay at family-run guest houses like the Kasbah du Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains along the way.
Bracing what seemed like 60 degree C heat in the noon-day sun (this was in June remember), I headed off with baby and carry-on to be greeted personally by the owner of Riad Dar One, Jean Peres, at the Palais Bahia. You can’t get to Dar One by taxi and you can certainly get lost while trying to find the old converted riad which is now a guest hotel with 6 rooms.
The possibility of getting lost in Marrakesh, and returning to it after you’re exhausted and exhilarated from the market square, is what makes it really fun. Dar One is clean, modern, and its staff friendly and cute. It is a perfect place for couples, newlywed or more experienced couples, looking for a romantic getaway. I liked staying a night at Dar One for loads of reasons.
Riad Dar One by night. A place for sipping cocktails or coffee and telling tall tales of travel.
Stay at the riad includes use of a charming inner lower level patio where you can take breakfast; there is an inside lounge on the lower floor, and a rooftop patio and chill-out area up top.
Riad Dar One was previously owned by a Jewish family, and while he himself is not Jewish, the owner who is from France is pretty knowledgeable about the history of the Jewish people in Marrakesh, and about the Jewish spice market nearby. Moroccan Jews going on roots trip might look into this place. For Euro 600 a night the whole riad can be rented out.
There is a great vibe at night when the candles come out. Don’t worry, the meticulous staff don’t leave candle wax dripping in every corner. It’s a clean, stylized vibe – something you wish you had in New York City. But you are in Morocco dear reader, and better still you are in Marrakesh.
On the patio at twilight.
Tip to the traveler: the Riad Dar One is located down a series of winding alleyways with no clear signs. I would take pictures on your camera or cell phone to help you remember *for sure* where you are going. Leaving in the day and returning at night might make you wonder or worry about how to get back. With the images in your hand you won’t make that wrong turn.
Some other good points about Dar One: I am told that there are about one thousand registered riads in Marrakesh. What makes Dar One homey and comfy is that it isn’t trying too hard. It’s not screaming Oriental fusion or some fantasy from 1001 nights. It’s got a super positive staff, it’s clean and modern, and like I mentioned earlier, offers a small chance to get lost in the Medina. Plus it’s very close to the famous Marrakesh square without being inside it.
Above is a picture of Dune, the room we stayed in.
For any worried traveler: Morocco in general and Marrakesh in particular felt very safe and secure for a single woman traveler. I traveled as a single woman with a small baby and was helped and encouraged along the way. If you travel with a baby just watch out for kisses. My child was kissed about a million times by both men and women. If they call Thailand the land of smiles, then Morocco is the land of kisses.
Enjoy. And kisses to the staff at Riad Dar One for my lovely stay in June.
Read more about Green Prophet travels in Morocco:
Staying at Dar des Cigognes
Chasing Berbers in the Atlas Mountains
10 Tips for Traveling Like a Millionaire Without Stuff
Morocco and Egypt Eye Eco-Tourism Markets
Dare Eat Nuts Broken by a Goat’s Butt?