I found the name of Dar Kawa Riad in an article about the owner, the designer Valerie Barkowski. As our decision to go to Marrakech was made last minute and we had no time to compare too many places, I simply contacted the people from the Riad and upon availability we flew there for the weekend. We were told in advance by the contact person that we are going to be the only guests that weekend and were very happy about it.
The Riad itself is situated at the heart of the Medina, not far from the museum of Marrakech. Very calm, clean, beautifully decorated and everything is done with great taste and high quality. Most of the linen comes from the factory of the designer, which unfortunately was not available for sale as the show room is out of town. So it is a true oasis of peace and what one sees on the Internet site is truly what one gets in terms of surrounding. Breakfast was fine, a bit too sugary (slacking at times). It would be nice to find a shampoo + odor freshness for the WC in the room.
Price- 90 euros per night, breakfast included. Room for parents joint by an annex room for child.
Unfortunately, the situation with the personnel was very peculiar.
Upon arrival the guy responsible for the Riad waited for us in a café as promised. He was both kind and strange at the same time. In the four days we stayed we could not clearly figure out the situation, but its seems as if the owner, who no longer lives in Morocco, rents the place while he and the cook take care of the guests. At the same time it seemed some abuse was going on and though completely trained to receive guests (beds made, instruction given if asked, breakfast served), most of the time the service remained arbitrary – sometimes pleasant/excellent, sometimes slacking/tensed. Our son broke a CD and the guy took upon himself to replace it even though we insisted to pay as we could not find the equivalent in the Medina, or on the first day the cook brought a lunch plate for our son without asking.
It felt at home without being at home. We were out most of the day, but on two occasions we arrived in the afternoon and no one was there to receive us, thus had to wait for the guy to return at 20h in order to ask if we can make some tea. The next day we just did it ourselves and cooked something quick for our child.
We offered to pay for the teas and were refused. But then at the end we got a huge bill for "extras", which was absolutely inappropriate. We did not mind the money itself (as we meant to tip them anyway) but we did have the feeling someone was trying to make money inadequately. He knew it was wrong, we knew it was wrong, so we just paid and asked him to accompany us to the taxi he reserved for us.
We never stayed in a Riad before and do not know what is the costume. The people present were naturally very kind but we had the impression that the situation with the owner is not clear for them and that we were their main salary provider.
If you look for Moroccan hospitality, this is definitely NOT the place for you. If you are independent and only want some peace and quiet at the heart of the Medina, it could be a perfect place for a weekend or even a few weeks, provided that the situation with the personnel is clarified in advance.
A list of goods with prices is recommended and so an explanation about the nature of the service.
Marrakech is wonderful and the people we met incredibly welcoming and kind. Two recommendations for restaurants –
1. In the new city (Gueliz), look for Al Fassia +excellent pastry at Al Jawda near by.
2. In the Medina (south east to the square) – wonderful dinner at Dar Mima
Both require reservation, though some guests just showed up. Both excellent and prices very reasonable for the quality.
For cheap lunch at the medina, look for the restaurants on the square next to the Palais of the Bahia.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Push the door of Dar Kawa and let go. Gliding by the rhythm of a slow life, of well-being and healing. Initially, Dar Kawa was a place of prayer ... This is definitely the reason why there still emanates a soothing energy. Here, you feel at home, without the constraints of your own home. We abandon ourselves in this universe fully imagined and created by Valerie Barkowski. Valerie Barkowski, creator, traveler from here and elsewhere who invents and assembles by following her moods. Respectful of tradition and know-how, she has always worked with artisans creating textiles and objects with a soul and a history, which travel through time by their authenticity. Dar Kawa is her home. She restored, shaped, modulated the house according to her desires and inspirations. You will find her own designs and notice that every detail of the house has been taken care of. In Dar Kawa, certain memories coexist, like those of the Sahart foundation. Paintings, photographs, traces of artists who have stayed there. Here, you live with the seasons, wandering from the terrace to the patio in summer and living close to the open fire in winter. The table also metamorphosis during the year using local and seasonal products cooked delicately by Saida. We take time to taste healthy ingredients, assembled according to the principles of Moroccan cuisine. We can enjoy a book, a mint tea or a siesta in the shade. One can also go through the Spa of the house for a personalized massage, to live life simply. Dar Kawa is more than a hotel. It is a house where Valerie Barkowski and her staff welcome you with warmth and kindness ... Welcome. ... more less