Dar Seven

Marrakech, Morocco Book from

A small, serene and elegant hideaway at the heart of Marrakech’s medina, which is literally fit for royalty
Bless the day Princess Letizia Ruspoli opened her Marrakech retreat to paying guests. She fell under the city’s spell several years back, and after chancing upon an old house close to the Sidi Benslimane mosque, gave top Marrakchi designer Gérome Vermelin free rein to renovate and decorate. His soothing choice of colours, textures and furnishings provides a perfect counterbalance to the sensual onslaught of the surrounding medina. Staying here you feel like a privileged guest of the Ruspoli family, even though they’re more likely to be in Rome or at their Chianti wine estate.

The coolly elegant ground-floor reception rooms and high-ceilinged bedrooms turn around an inner covered patio. All are exquisite. Vermelin made inspired use of striped walls in subtle shades of cream and beige as the backdrop for oriental prints, intricately carved desks, tables, mirrors and lanterns. Dar Seven numbers amongst the most photographed retreats in Marrakech and a stay here will be a treat you’ll neither forget nor regret.

Highs

  • Bedrooms don’t come much better. Their subtle, finely orchestrated decoration is conducive to instant relaxation - and there are only 4
  • Dar Seven has the feel of an elegant home and is the antithesis to the off-the-peg, chain hotel
  • The roof terrace is a memorable spot for an early breakfast, sundowner, romantic supper or glass of mint tea
  • Staff always seem to be around when you need them yet make themselves scarce when you don’t; a reflection of Moroccan sensitivity and hospitality

Lows

  • Rooms have a high price tag, even for oh-so-hip Marrakech, although you do get lots of welcoming in-room touches
  • Only the White room has a wooden door to the bathroom, the others have a curtain
  • Your arrival is by way of a series of dark and narrow alleyways. But this area is perfectly safe, and once you enter you leave the outside world behind

Best time to go

In high summer Marrakech loses some of its appeal: the heat and the dust gets to most people. The winter months, when you look out across the rooftops of the medina to the snowy peaks of the High Atlas, is a great time to be here.

Our top tips

If you’ve been lucky enough to receive a fat bonus cheque it would be fabulous to book this place for a complete week with a few good mates or your family. You need several days to really get beneath the skin of this extraordinary city.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Riad Hotel
  • 4
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: White Room

Rooms

Dar Seven has just 4 rooms, one next to the dining room on the ground floor (the Guest Room) and 3 more on the galleried first floor. Our top choice would be the large White Room, reached by way of a private staircase, with a 5m-high ceiling and linen-draped four-poster bed.

Vermelin's understated East-meets-West style comes as a breath of fresh air compared with the excessively ornate decoration of so many Marrakech hotel bedrooms. He opted for a palette of beige, black and cream for the 3 doubles with an extra dash of earthy brown in the small African, colonial-style twin - the Brown Room. Add to this a touch of decorative zing thanks to his choice of furniture and fabrics: floor-to-ceiling linen curtains, inlaid cedar wood tables and chests, monogrammed sheets of the best Italian linen, cushion-strewn divans, porcelain vases from China, framed antique prints from Egypt and Iran, calico bed covers with banks of silk cushions - and all of it colour-coordinated to a T.

Bathrooms are in a similar elegant-yet-subdued vein with spectacular use of dark grey and natural-coloured tadlakt, ‘R’ (for Rupoli) monogramming on towels and bathrobes, and a full range of decadent Roger Gallet soaps, creams and shampoos.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

With just 4 guest rooms, and the house often rented as a group venue, Dar Seven’s in-house chef, Fátima, is flexible on ingredients and timings. All meals are moveable feasts, served in the elegant dining room at a petal-strewn table, on the roof terrace or, if you prefer, in your room.

We enjoyed our rooftop breakfast of homemade pancakes, scones and breads - and both the coffee and fresh orange juice were excellent. If you want, Fátima also prepares light lunches: perhaps stuffed vegetables with rice, an omelette and salad followed by dessert.

Dinners might begin with a selection of Moroccan salads or petits farcis of vegetables, followed by a tagine, couscous, or maybe a gratin d’artichaut. The fruit and veg souk is just around the corner so expect the freshest of ingredients.

If you prefer to dine out you're only yards from one of Marra’s top eateries, Dar Zellig, but be aware that you are obliged to choose a set-course menu. There are also food stalls in the medina, offering wonderful barbecued meats. Eating here at night is an experience and an adventure - not least for people watching value.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Jump in a taxi and head for the Djemaa El Fna, one of the world’s greatest stage sets
  • Trawl the souks for handicrafts. Dar Seven has its own list of recommended shops if you prefer some guidance, or can arrange a guided tour of the city and souks
  • Ask for a Moroccan soirée on the rooftop terrace. These can include belly dancers and snake charmers!
  • Treat yourself to a massage and beauty treatment in the nearby Bains de Marrakech, the city’s top hammam
  • Relax in the gardens and swimming pool of Caravan Serai, 20 minutes away by taxi. Entrance is free but you are obliged to lunch (see Rates) in its better-than-most restaurant
  • Wander into the medina and have a sundowner at one of the rooftop cafes - the perfect way to watch Djemaa El Fna come alive at night
  • Visit the tanneries for noxious fumes and a fascinating insight into a traditional industry

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

Children will be fussed over by the resident staff. Although there are no facilities for kids they would enjoy getting back to the quiet embrace of Dar Seven after the anarchy of the souks.

Children are free of charge when sharing parents' room.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Loggia Suite and Brown Room are connected by a loggia-style sitting area making them a good choice for families with older children. Additional beds can be added for a small extra charge in all rooms except the Brown Room. Larger families may wish to book the whole house to ensure the free run of the communal areas.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Distances:

  • Airport: 20 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for Dar Seven