The maze like streets of Marrakech are filled to the brim with wonderful little hidden apartments called riads. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace built around an interior garden or courtyard. Many of these have now been converted into boutique accommodations. The most spectacular feeling about a riad is - after spending a full day on the chaotic streets of the souks... walking into this calming hidden oasis you call home.
I was so excited to find the perfect accommodation for our stay. But I was quickly pulled into an expedia/tripadvisor spiral. So many 5 star riads... all amazingly priced... all quite central. So after I will admit... several days... of researching. We decided on Dar Les Cigognes. For three reasons:
- The Tripadvisor reviews. And I not only read the reviews, but my favorite way to judge an accommodation is by looking at the 'Traveler Photos'. How different are those photos to the 'professional' photos?
- The rooftop garden. I was daydreaming about having dinner on the gorgeous rooftop. And yes, it lived up to its expectations.
- The culinary school. Whenever Andrew and I travel to a new country/culture, our favorite experience is a cooking class, and this riad had one on its premise! Read more about our excursion here. It was fantastic and such a great way to get to know the local culture.
DAR LES CIGOGNES
Where do I begin? From the moment we stepped inside, we were greeted with an excited and warm welcome. We felt like we were home. Hayat brought us to the beautiful seating area, where we were brought our first taste of the traditional moroccan mint tea (the first of MANY on this trip).
She taught us the in's and out's to Marrakech, and easily planned several options of how we could spend our next 3 days. Then, she gave us the tour of the riad, and WOW.
With only 11 rooms, you felt like you were living in your own tropical palace. The 4 rooms on our floor were built around the courtyard, where we had a gorgeous palm growing throughout the 3 floors and out into the rooftop gardens.
Then we were shown our room through the intricate double doors. We had a beautiful seating area with the traditional berber rug, accompanied with fresh fruit and roses. A fireplace (which was definitely not needed during our 90 degree stay!). A walk in closet leading into the gorgeous bathroom. And of course the wonderful comfy bed with roses petals... where we also received daily poems from the riad! How romantic!
Also, one of my favorite things they had in the rooms was a big leather booklet filled with recommendations of shops, restaurants & walking tours with history. I took pictures of each page and this is how we planned our days! Its also how we found one of our favorite restaurants in Marrakech! (stay tuned for that one)
Andrew literally said "I haven't slept that hard in months". I don't know if it was from the long days of walking through the Medina, or that the room would get completely black-out dark, but it was exactly what we needed.
Oh and the rooftop garden!! I have fallen in love. So many gorgeous colorful flowers & plants. We could have spent all our days just lounging here with a book & some mint tea and we would have been ecstatic. But alas, there were sites to see! (and things to buy in the souks!)
AND we were lucky enough to enjoy our 'cooking class' dishes from one of the best spots on the rooftop.
I cannot recommend Dar Les Cigognes enough. It was a perfect location near several different sites (Palais El Badii & Palais de la Bahia) and an easy (and safe) walk into Jemaa el-Fna. We actually walked everywhere the entire 4 days, and were greeted each afternoon with complementary tea and cake. Can we go back already??
Read on about our cooking class at Dar Les Cigognes . And stay tuned for posts about our days walking through the maze of the souks.