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Historical Traveler Reviews Dar Hanane Marrakech
My boyfriend and I have just come back from a week in Marrakech/Essaouira and we stayed at Dar Hanane for the first 4 nights.
The riad itself is really charming. The best thing about it is the roof terrace where we had breakfast every morning and dinner on 2 of the evenings we were there. It looks over the rooftops of the medina with the atlas mountains in the distance and is so peaceful and comfortable. Marrakech is full of sound and fury, exciting, beautiful and scary by turns, but the riad was like a little haven of calm to come back to each day. The Moroccan food we had there for dinner was really fantastic, I really think the chicken tagine was actually the best chicken I have ever had. The rooms are simple and comfortable and are arranged around a shady courtyard with sofa where you can read and relax.
Having read on this website about how the medina can be a bit like a rabbit warren, we had arranged with the riad that someone would meet us at the airport when we arrived and were so pleased that we had! It cost 15 euros which is a bit on the high side for Marrakech but honestly, it is worth it as otherwise you would never be able to find Dar Hanane on your own, or any other riad for that matter. The taxi dropped us a few minutes' walk from Dar Hanane as cars cannot go any closer, and a little boy was there with a hand cart to take our luggage to the door, I think he was possibly the taxi driver's son. Having just arrived we had no change so we had to give him far too much money, which was a bit annoying but I suppose we made his day, and after all they were also guiding us to the riad, through a covered market complete with a sheeps' heads stall where I don't think I ever saw any other tourists venture! I read Lady Amelia's review just now and I can to some extent understand why she was taken aback. However we thought that staying in this riad which is slightly off the beaten tourist track allowed us to experience much more of Marrakech than if we had been staying closer to the D'jemaa el Fna (the main square). The riad is about 15 minutes' walk away - if you know where you are going! On our first day we must have spent literally 4 hours wandering around until we got our bearings. Maps are pretty useless in the medina and I would seriously advise visitors to take a compass to Marrakech instead! To start with I found it slightly alarming navigating through the ordinary residential streets between the riad and the square, particularly when returning after dark. However when we had first arrived at Dar Hanane, we were met by the very enthusiastic and helpful manager, Cyrus, who told us that Marrakech is a very safe city with lots of friendly and welcoming people and as we got used to the place we felt that he was exactly right. Cyrus also took the trouble to go to the bus station to buy our tickets for Essaouira in advance, which saved us spending one of our precious mornings on the trek there and also ensured we actually got to Essaouira, as people turning up to buy tickets on the day were being turned away because the services were fully booked. Whilst we were at Dar Hanane we met the (British) owners of the riad who were lovely and obviously adore Marrakech. The three ladies who work there are also charming and helpful, and one of them is the cook who made our delicious evening meals. They speak Arabic and French but not English, like pretty much everyone in Marrakech, apart from people working in what I would think of as the most obvious tourist traps. Altogether we had a fantastic stay at Dar Hanane and I would recommend it to anyone. Some travellers may wish to stay on the doorstep of the D'jemaa el Fna but you will see far more of Marrakech via Dar Hanane and we have taken away some beautiful memories of our mornings and late evenings chatting and relaxing on the terrace there.
El maravilloso Dar Hanane
Acabamos de volver de nuestro primer viaje a Marrakech y nos hemos pasado un fin de semana fabuloso en el maravilloso Dar Hanane. Nuestra reacción inicial a las callejuelas oscuras y normalmente polvorientas de Marrakech fue inquietante, pero enseguida descubrimos que la gente de allí es muy simpática, amable y servicial, nunca nos sentimos amenazados, ni siquiera volviendo por el zoco tarde por la noche. Este Riad se encuentra bajando el callejón, pero una vez que superamos nuestra inquietud inicial, nos relajamos y disfrutamos de los sitios y el ambiente de esta ciudad tan diferente. Puede que sea un cliché, pero una vez que aprendes como moverte por allí, en cuanto entras, este Riad es un "Oasis de Paz". Las señoritas que se encargaban de nosotros eran encantadoras y nuestra habitación estaba muy limpia y era muy cómoda. Almorzamos y cenamos en el Riad en su terraza de la azotea; la comida era deliciosa, el entorno, ¡y la cuenta razonable!
Tenemos que confesar que leimos la crítica de Lady Amelia justo antes de volar y por eso estábamos preocupados, no obstante nuestra experiencia fue muy diferente. Nos quedamos muy agradablemente sorprendidos y no le pudimos encontrar defecto en ningún sentido a nuestro fin de semana. Ya estamos deseando que llegue nuestra próxima visita a Marrakech en el 2008 y nuestra estancia en Dar Hanane.
The wonderful Dar Hanane
We have just returned from our first visit to Marrakech and had a fabulous weekend staying in the wonderful Dar Hanane.
Our initial reaction to the sometimes dark and usually dusty alleys of Marrakech was trepidation but we soon found the people in Marrakech universally friendly, gentle and helpful and we never felt threatened, even when walking back through the deserted Souk late at night. This Riad is located down one such alley but once we'd got over our initial apprehension, we relaxed and really took in the sights and atmosphere of this very different city.
It may be a cliché, but once you've found your way there, as soon as you walk through the door this Riad really is an "Oasis of Calm". The ladies who looked after us were just so charming and welcoming and our room was very clean and comfortable. We had a lunch and a dinner at the Riad on their roof terrace - the food was delicious, the setting magical and the bill reasonable!
We have to confess that we read Lady Amelia's review just before we flew and were consequently rather apprehensive - however, our experience was very different. We were therefore very pleasantly surprised and couldn't find fault with any aspect of our weekend. We are already looking forward to our next visit to Marrakech in 2008 and our stay in Dar Hanane.
Wundervolles Dar Hanane
Wir kommen gerade von unserer ersten Reise nach Marrakesch zurück, wo wir ein fabelhaftes Wochenende im wundervollen Dar Hanane verlebten. Anfangs machten uns die manchmal dunklen und meist staubigen Gässchen in Marrakesch nervös und unruhig, aber bald wurde uns klar, dass die Bewohner von Marrakesch allgemein freundlich und nett sind und bemüht zu helfen. Wir fühlten uns nie in Gefahr, nicht einmal bei einem Gang spät abends durch das einsame Souk. Dieses Riad liegt an einer solchen Gasse, aber nachdem wir unsere anfängliche Besorgnis überwunden hatten waren wir mehr gelassen und genossen die Sehenswürdigkeiten und die Atmosphäre dieser ungewöhnlichen Stadt. Es mag ein Klischee sein, aber wenn man einmal den Weg hierher gefunden hat, ist dieses Riad wahrhaftig eine "Oase der Ruhe". Die Damen, die uns versorgten, waren charmant und freundlich und unser Zimmer war sehr sauber und gemütlich. Wir aßen Mittag- und Abendessen auf der Dachterrasse im Riad - das Essen war lecker, die Umgebung zauberhaft und die Rechnung angemessen.
Wir müssen zugeben, dass wir die Bewertung von Lady Amelia kurz vor unserem Abflug lasen und daher ziemlich besorgt waren - jedoch muss betont werden, dass unser Aufenthalt ganz anders war. Wir waren daher freudig überrascht und hatten keinerlei Beschwerden über unser Wochenende. Wir freuen uns bereits auf unseren nächsten Besuch in Marrakesch im Jahre 2008 und unseren Aufenthalt in Dar Hanane.
Oasis in the medina
Dar Hanane is a beautiful riad in the heart of the bustling medina. The rooms were gorgeous and the courtyard and roof terrace magical. The staff were very friendly and we ate in the riad on two nights and had beautifully presented morroccan cuisine; tagine, couscous and pastries.
The property is located down a dark alley, and is a good 15 minute walk from the main square. The local area was interesting with fewer tourists, but some of the narrow alleys did feel intimidating at first, but once we got used to the route and knew our way arround we felt more confident and at ease. All the locals we spoke to were extremely friendly and helped us out when we were lost.
If I were to return to Marrakesh I would definitely stay again at Dar Hanane
Is it down this shabby dark alley? I can't find it!
If you have a poor sense of direction, are sensitive souls travelling alone, or enjoy a magnificent location and views, then Dar Hanane is NOT for you. Fortunately we came equipped with a sense of adventure and sure as hell found it when we arrived in the middle of a Marrakech side street, full of locals, smells, donkeys, sewage, to be pointed down an alley where apparently Dar Hanane was. Thank God for the kindly local boys who showed us the way; the door has no sign, the alleys have no signs, you just have to wander down tiny, threatening, dark smelly back alleys until you recognise a door. It's horrific, and as young women travelling alone, very, very scary.
Once inside, however, Dar Hanane is an oasis; the rooms are very large and well decorated. Bathrooms are clean and relatively luxurious, and the courtyard and terrace are extremely calm and a complete haven from the madness outside its doors.
Beware the dragon lady who seems to run the place, who not only speaks not one word of English (fair enough, I managed in my broken French) but scowls and demands money constantly, and refused to give me my change upon paying for my room and departing. She also refused to give us dinner (at 8.30pm!) because we hadnt told her in advance (nowhere were we told that we had to do this). And on 2 occasions we were locked out of the dar and nobody came to the door so we were left ringing the bell and knocking on the door from the alleyway for about 25 minutes until someone finally turned up.
However, the other staff are very helpful and friendly, when around.
We paid 110 Euros for the night which I felt was pretty steep for the service we recieved.
The location of Dar Hanane is by no means unusual. in the Medina of Marrakech most riads are located down dark alleys. Dar Hanane is situated in an authentic neighbourhood, complete with all the sights, sounds and smells that make Marrakech so excitingly different from anywhere else.
The lack of signs on the alleys and doorways is also one of those memorable features of a stay in Marrakech where getting lost is almost inevitable, even for residents. Most visitors are a little intimidated and unnerved by their first experiences of Marrakech but, as the reviewer admits, they are then overwhelmed by the peace and beauty of the riads that lie behind those unmarked doors.
The "dragon lady" at Dar Hanane is in fact the kind and charming Aicha who has worked here for more than five years and is incidentally, one of the finest cooks in the whole of Marrakech. It is true that she speaks no English but the owners and the Manager are all English speaking. Unfortunately, they cannot always be present to soothe ruffled English guests. Morocco is a country where Arabic is the first language and French is the second with English coming quite a long way behind. Therefore, English visitors who speak no Arabic or French, must be prepared for some communication difficulties.
On the subject of dinner, all guests are normally asked in advance if they would like dinner on the day they arrive and if this did not happen, we must apologise for the oversight. Aicha shops locally and cooks everything from scratch every day. Moroccan cuisine is based on long, slow cooking methods and suddenly knocking up a few extra dinners at 8.30pm is not as easy as it sounds.
All guests are normally provided with a key so they do not have to ring on the doorbell at all. Again, if this did not happen, we apologise unreservedly.
Staying in a riad in the Medina of Marrakech is a unique experience. Initially, most travellers feel shock and fear both of which are quickly replaced with relief and delight. Unfortunately, some travellers are a little too timid and sensitive. They are destined never to discover or enjoy the real Marrakech.
We are sorry that "LadyAmelia" did not enjoy her experience of Marrakech but we would like to point out that many thousands of visitors have appreciated the wonderful surroundings and warm hospitality offered at Dar Hanane.
Loved Dar Hanane
We stayed for six days in Dar Hanane over the Christmas period. It is situated north of the main souk area about 10 minutes walk from the J'maa el Fna, and is accessed through an alley. We were wonderfully looked after by Francoise, the proprietor, together with her cheerful and competent staff Aicha (terrific cook), Raja and Nadia. The house is beautifully designed with simple, eye-catching furniture, and has a terrace with roof-top views over to the Atlas. It is in a quiet position (although there is at present a construction site next door), and it is kept very clean. In winter however, the house can be cold, but there is portable heating.
My boyfriend and I stayed in Marrakech for 5 nights. The first 2 nights we stayed in Dar Bamileke which cost us the same price as Dar Hanane (90 euros per night). Dar Bamileke we thought was lovely with its huge, clean rooms, spacious communal relaxation areas (which we never had to share with anyone else) but it was nothing compared to Dar Hanane.
After our 2 night stay finished at Dar Bamilie we walked from Dar Bamileke (which is a 3 minute walk from Jemma El Fana) to Dar Hanane. Dar Hanane is really difficult to locate because you need to walk down a couple of tiny alleyways before yoy reach it and nowhere along the way are there any signposts (not even the door of the riad is signposted) - so I would recommend having the hotel organise a taxi at the airport to pick you up or someone to meet you at an easy to find place within the Medina instead of trying to locate the riad yourself.
When we arrived at the Dar Hanane we were greeted by Francoise (the French, femal owner of the riad). She informed us about the best local restaurants and interesting day trips to take.
We were then shown our room which was the cheapest room in the riad but was absolutely gorgeous. The bed was massive and so comfortable. The room had a lovely little bathroom with a nice shower (although there was no curtain or door so the water always leaked onto the bathroom floor and there wasn't any drain for it to disperse - but this was only a slight annoyance). Unlike Dar Bamileke, our riad was cleaned everyday and any clothes that were strewn across the floor (we are messy when on holidays) were neatly folded and placed in the easy to access closet.
We ate at the riad on our second night there and had the best meal that we had eaten all trip. Although we had dined at the more expensive Marrakechi (overlooking Jemma El Fana), Dar Moha (super-expensive) and Cafe Arab (expensive but nice) - we were blown away by the food at Dar Hanane. We received 3 courses for 10 euros each (so much cheaper than the restaurants) and there was so much food. We had delicious startes incluing a moroccan salad, mince pastries and dips with bread. For our main we ate an amazing Lamb, artichoke and pea tagine. For dessert we had a light creamy yoghurt with strained, spice apple compote. It was delicious. The next night we decided to eat at the riad again. This time we had even more amazing food. For starters we ate a selection of antipasti (moroccan style) of: sweetened baby carrots, marinated red peppers and the most unbelievable spiced aubergine salad that we begged the recipe for (no luck there - top secret). For our main we ate a luscious beef and quince tagine that was a delightful balance between the sweet and sour).
Both nights we chose to have a secluded dinner on the terrace - eatinng by lamplights and candle lights. It was so romantic.
We took Francois up on her recommendation of a day trip to the foot of the atlas mountains. For 700 dh Francois organised a taxi (we spoke decent English) that drove us to the town of Imlil (about an hour and half journey fro Marrakech). The latter stages of the car ride towards the mountains was amaxing as you climb higher and higher - and as you see the way the berbere mountain people live. The driver didn't mind us constantly stopping to take photos of valleys and mountains, and when we finally reached Imlil he waited while we spent the day hiking around the village and base of the mountain. The view from Imlil was gorgeous and definitely worth doing if you are staying in Marrakech for several nights.
I would definitely recommend staying at Dar Hanane (it was recommended to us several friends who had a wonderful time there also). And I would definitely eat in (especially if you know good food and want something different from the same-same menus of the marrakech restaurants).
We booked through morrocanriads.com
or you can book through dar hanane's own website.
Loved Dar Hanane, an oasis in the bustling hot medina!
Dar Hanane was a beautiful, cool, calm riad run by a very friendly french lady called Francoise. We got a suite at a low rate because we went in early July, the hottest part of the year!! The room was gorgeous and overlooked a shady courtyard that was a wonderful retreat after a hot morning shopping in the souks. The staff were very helpful and the cook made us a delicious Moroccan meal one night. I would totally recommend this riad - although it is located in a dark alley way in the medina, not for the faint-hearted. It also lacks a pool but Francoise provided passes for a beautiful complex elsewhere. All in all, its a great place to stay - but maybe go during low season if you suffer from the heat.
TripAdvisor Reviews Dar Hanane Marrakech
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