My first visit to Marrakech saw me touch down at Dar One – and to no disappointment! This place is amidst the hustle and bustle, but supremely gives you the feeling of complete serenity once inside.
Take a Moroccan riad, renovate it in a contemporary minimalist style with Starck-ian bathroom fixtures, cubic leather furniture and boldly striped textiles à la Missoni or Paul Smith, and you’ve got riad Dar One. At the end of a gated alleyway in the Jewish quarter of the medina, this has to be one of Marrakech’s best-kept secrets: sleek, quiet, cosmopolitan and eminently affordable.
Dar One is located at the end of a gated alley in the Mellah, the historic Jewish quarter of the medina. It’s moments from the Bahia and Badi palaces and a 10-15 minute walk to the Djemaa el-Fna. Pick up taxis at the Place des Ferblantiers. For first timers in Marrakech looking to be amongst the craziness of this beautiful city, Dar One is a no-brainer.
Dar One’s six small, but perfectly furnished, rooms offer the same sense of enticing exoticism. Colours are rich and soothing – old rose, watercolour blue and ruby red – while sweeping curtains, leather headboards and suede upholstered chairs suggest the soft, padded snugness of a cocoon. Bathrooms are beautifully finished with Starck-style fittings and glossy marble sinks. Three of them (Oasis, Mirage and Duna) have bathtubs, while the other three have walk-in showers. Duna is the largest room, and best for families, while Sirocco, up on the rooftop terrace, is a perfect, private love nest.
Breakfast is taken on the roof terrace in the morning sunshine or around a communal table in the salon. If you want to dine at the riad you’ll need to book ahead for the three-course menu, which features spicy Moroccan salads, aromatic tagines and desserts of apples baked in honey, cinnamon and orange with a shaving of chocolate. The lantern-lit roof terrace make after-dinner star gazing particularly rewarding.
Service is excellent, but facilities at this bijou bolthole are limited: there’s no pool, but a rooftop shower allows guests to cool down, and while there’s no hammam, in-room massages can be organised. Owner Jean, who visits each morning, also manages the La Vie en Rose resort outside Marrakech where guests can spend the day horse riding, indulging in a spa treatment and swimming. Cookery classes with chef Amina can also be arranged by request.
Incredible! You won’t find friendlier faces during your stay in Marrakech than the staff at Dar One.
The Habit Hunter x