Riad Dar Zaman

Marrakech, Morocco
Book from GBP Book from £95 per night

Riad Dar Zaman

Marrakech, Morocco

A beautiful, intimate hideaway in the quieter reaches of the northern medina, whose warm service makes for an unforgettable stay

A beautiful, intimate hideaway in the quieter reaches of the northern medina, whose warm service makes for an unforgettable stay

The taxi dropped me on a main road opposite a narrow cobbled lane which looked, for all the world, like yet another dark dead-end in Marrakech's winding medina. And while it may be a cul-de-sac in the strict sense, a regal wooden door at the end opens to reveal a true haven from the bustle of the outside world. Riad Dar Zaman’s beauty lies in its intimate size (there are just 4 rooms) and its truly personalised service. It also happens to be great value.

When Peter, a British former ad exec, first visited Marrakech in 2005 he had no plans to settle, but on entering the calm of the riad it is easy to see why he has stayed. The building - little more than a shell then - has been lovingly restored to emphasise the beautiful pointed arches, white stonework and wrought-iron grilles of the central courtyard, which now provides a perfect space to relax after a day of exploring the madness of the souks.

As soon as darkness falls, the riad comes alive in the glow of candle light and warm hues. The 4 bedrooms are stylishly simple and decorated in neutral tones to complement the Zen ambience. Couples on a budget will love it here.

Highs

  • Peter and Hassan's warm and attentive service will leave you feeling like you have spent your time in Marrakech with kind and knowledgeable friends
  • You're an easy 10-minute walk from the main square, and a short walk from some of Marrakech's best restaurants & street food spots - the team will advise on their top picks
  • Excellent value for money, and a pretty and peaceful haven from the busy streets outside. We awoke to nothing but the gentle sound of birdsong
  • Our 3-course evening meal was delicious, fresh and creative, which cannot be said of all in-riad dinners
  • Their cookery classes are brilliant - they include a walking tour of local food markets to buy ingredients, and a lovely meal at the end

Lows

  • Finding the riad can be a tricky, but someone will come out to meet you at the main road when you first arrive
  • Bathrooms are quite small, with little natural light; bedrooms are narrow too (as so often in riads)
  • With just 4 rooms, you'll need to book early
  • There's no swimming pool, but a small plunge pool in the courtyard provides relief from the summer heat

Best time to go

The best times to go weather-wise are in the spring months (March to end of May) and the autumn (October and November), when it is sunny but not too hot. The high season is April, May and the Christmas/New Year holidays. Summer (June-September) can get very hot.

Our top tips

Download maps.me before arriving in Marrakech. It works even without the internet and shows the medina in much more detail than Google Maps - it's a life saver to those new to the city.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 4 rooms
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • Over 12s only
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: La Carbone Superior

Rooms

This is stylish simplicity at its best. Walls are neutral creams and whites with rich splashes of reds and burgundies in the bedspreads. The furnishings are elegant: carved wooden lamps and bedside tables, soft Berber rugs on stone floors, and ornate shutters which can be closed at night for an indulgent lie in.

The 4 bedrooms are small but all equally charming; there is no duff choice. Three of them are on the first floor, with windows opening onto the calm of the courtyard below, while La Terrasse is on the roof terrace (smaller and less private, but handy for sun-worshippers). We loved staying in La Douiria Superior and given a choice - which is rare, due to its popularity - it would be our tip for winter stays (it's the largest, with a working fireplace which is perfect for snuggling up), while La Carbone Superior is perhaps the most stylish, with its charcoal-and-red colour scheme. The beds have perfectly plump pillows and beautifully crisp linen which made bedtime a real treat. Given the narrowness of the rooms - a common feature of most riads - some beds are set right up against the wall on one side.

Each ensuite bathroom is decorated in traditional tadelakt, with an abundance of soft towels and Sens de Marrakech goodies which we loved. All have showers except La Baignoire which has a wide tadelakt tub (with shower attachment) - you can request candles for a romantic evening soak. All have hairdryers and decent size mirrors; the only thing missing is natural light.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Hairdryer
  • In-room treatments available
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Food at Riad Dar Zaman is a leisurely, intimate affair; breakfast, lunch and dinner (the latter two on request) can all be enjoyed inside or out. The cosy dining area has space for 3 couples, while the courtyard and roof terrace provide picturesque alternatives for dining al fresco.

In some B&B-style riads, dinner is an afterthought, but not here. Simply put in a request in the morning, and chef Karima will source fresh produce from the market, taking on board any dietary preferences – nothing is too much trouble.

We arrived late in the evening and - having requested dinner ahead of our arrival - were welcomed by a candlelit courtyard table, relaxing tunes gently humming in the background. We were sent a menu prior to arrival or given the option to let the chef choose a selection of dishes - we like a surprise, so went for the latter. The meal opened with a selection of Moroccan starters including fresh courgette salad, an aubergine salad, a sweet tomato dish and home-baked bread; then came Karima’s signature dish, a chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives, served with green beans and cous cous. Finally, sliced oranges with cinnamon were followed by mint tea and coffee. It may be a fairly standard Moroccan menu, but it was all delicious, fresh and reasonably priced. When Hassan heard how much we loved the meal, he emailed us the recipes to recreate at home!

We’d also recommend sampling the Moroccan wine as it’s usually better value than international offerings - we went for the rose and found it to be the perfect dinner accompaniment. If you fancy a change of scene, Dar Zellij and Dar Yacout - two of Marrakech's best restaurants - are a short walk away (you'll need to book).

For our breakfast, we were in the courtyard where we could chat to Karima in the kitchen. The cool, shaded dining room would be a welcome choice in the summer heat, or if you’d prefer the views and sunshine of the terrace just ask. The choice was impressive: toasted artisan bread and pastries, homemade jams and freshly cooked pancakes, plus a strong selection of vegan and vegetarian options: fruit, hummus, olive tapenade, avocados, yoghurt, nut butter - yum! Light lunches and snacks can be arranged throughout the day.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity: Koutoubia Mosque

Activities

  • Explore the medina: Peter has compiled a comprehensive list of tips - where to eat, how to shop, what not to miss - which you can browse over breakfast. In addition to the big draws - palaces, souks, medersas - he points out hidden gems such as the Maison de Photographie, which houses over 3,000 black and white images of Morocco from 1870-1950; and Dar Cherifa, a magical 16th century house built around a central courtyard with tall columns, ancient stucco work and old carved beams
  • Keen shoppers should consider booking a guide to take you around the souks and point out the best handicrafts
  • Take a horse drawn carriage around the city (available from Jemaa el-Fnaa), and then cool down with a mint tea at the Cafe des Epices, and watch the world go by
  • Back at the riad, chill out with a book in the shade of the beautiful roof terrace; or slip into the plunge pool if you're feeling hot and bothered (and not too self-conscious)
  • Ask staff to book you in at a nearby hammam; or arrange a day's hike in the Atlas mountains, an hour away by car

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Camel rides
  • Cooking classes
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

This is definitely aimed at couples, and children under 12 are not accepted unless you take the whole riad.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Riad Dar Zaman is in the northern part of Marrakech's medina (old city) in the Sidi Ben Slimane area.

By Air
Fly into Marrakech Menara (8km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From the Airport
We advise that you book your transfer through the hotel, as not all taxi drivers will know it, and it is a few minutes' walk from the nearest road access.

Car Hire
You won't want to drive around Marrakech given the narrow labyrinthine streets - far better to walk, cycle or take taxis. But if you're driving before / after your Marrakech stay, see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to Morocco and getting around.

Airports:

  • Marrakech Menara 8.0 km RAK

Other:

  • Beach 180.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.3 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 10 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for Riad Dar Zaman

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