10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
A Moroccan treasure in Fes medina.
"I first was introduced to the Bouzidi family when my son lived in Fes while going to language school. Starting in 2004, I have accompanied a small group of fellow American bicyclists to Morocco and stayed yearly at Riad Dar Dmana, enjoying the friendship and hospitality of this remarkable establishment.
You truly are treated as a member of the family while staying here. The friendly greetings and warm welcome begin at the front door and continues throughout your stay. The food prepared by Hiat is some of the very best I have tasted in Morocco; the riad staff is always eager to fulfill any request, and the hosts, Khalid Bouzidi and his uncle Rachid are the epitome of Moroccan hospitality. They are more than eager to help you understand and enjoy the ancient medina of Fes and the wonders that it holds. Having stayed in similar establishments throughout Morocco and also all over the European continent, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Riad Dar Dmana to any traveler wishing to enjoy a REAL Moroccan experience."
- Travel date: Fri 30th of May 2008
"This little jewel of a riad is in the medina off a small street just two or three blocks from the souks. The interior 'courtyard' is covered and its walls are beautifully decorated with finely carved plaster and tile. In this gracious setting, the meals are served. When people are in the 'courtyard' talking, especially if they aren't speaking quietly, their voices carry and can be heard throughout the building. There is no elevator. There are two rooms on ground level, the rest are on the three upper levels. The staff, including the petite, pretty girl who serves the meals, carry your overstuffed luggage up to your room. Guest rooms are nice. Staff are pleasant, helpful, and accommodating. The food at dinner is exceptionally good. The continental breakfasts include fresh squeezed orange juice, about four kinds of bread with honey and jam, olives, coffee and tea. Yogurt is available on request. I would be happy to stay here again."
- Travel date: Sat 24th of May 2008
Avoid At All Costs
"I would not recommend this riad at all. The owner and his staff(family) are disingenuous, not sincere at all and do not know how to treat guests.
We were catching a train early in the morning and requested breakfast at 7:30, which for people catching transport is not especially early. We were told by the owner's nephew the evening before that it was too early as the 'girls' did not arrive that early to serve breakfast and the owner does not come to the riad until 9-9:30 (how nice for him). After we questioned his response, the owner came to the riad and made it seem like he was doing us a very special favour when in fact breakfast was included in the price of the room. Moreover we met a couple in the dining area who started breakfast at 7:15 that day and when we spoke to them later on the train to Casa they told us no one had raised a 7:15 breakfast time as an issue at all (they had mentioned their early departure BEFORE we had the same day we had)so we we wondering why they got a different answer and were not meant to feel like breakfast was a special request and was certainly not a problem. If we had not questioned it, did that mean they would get breakfast but we were not entitled to it?!
In addition we also found out that the owner bargained the price of their room at 250 MAD less than ours (we arrived a day earlier), which was much smaller, damp smelling and we stayed one night longer than this other couple thereby providing more revenue. We also had to ask for a garbage can in the bathroom, hangers and pillows.
Lastly the nephew and owner try a hard sell and push to go to their friends' hammam, restaurant and dinner show, and day excursions - all because they certainly get a cut. After declining politely, they are miserable - they put on fake smiles and are transparent in their sincerity and you are made to feel uncomfortable. Lovely building but a truly horribly experience. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. Please do yourself a favour and take your business elsewhere - I wish we had."
- Travel date: Mon 19th of May 2008
A Wonderful Respite on the medina's doorstep
"We spent 4 nights at Dar Dmana at the end of our 12 day trip through Morocco. Khaleed, Rashid, and the rest of the Dar Dmana family took amazing care of us. From flight confirmations and cab reservations to Medina directions and guide procurement, they couldn't have done a better job.
Breakfast each morning was something to look forward to, to say the least, and we were lucky enough to have dinner at the Riad 2 out of our 4 nights. The food was undoubtedly some of the best we had in Morocco. The food was presented with as much as love as went into its preparation--beautiful serving dishes and table cloths were accompanied with candle light and rose pedals. The tagines were to-die-for, but the highlight for us was certainly the assortment of salads and dips that came beforehand. I recommend taking a cooking class from the chef--which we did. She took us to the market to pick out spices and produce, and we helped (more like watched, however) her prepare our food for that day's dinner. She is a delightful woman, as is Hakeema the waitress.
You will not be disappointed with your stay at Dar Dmana."
- Travel date: Sun 11th of May 2008
Special Place in Fez
"I stayed at Dar Dmana in November 2007 and it was wonderful. I had thought to book ages in advance and it turned out it was lucky that I did so. The hotel organised a cab for me from the airport. It was great as the taxi could get to within meters of the hotel, which I was to see later was quite unusual as lots of the Dars and Riyads are inside the narrow winding streets and alleys and so it is a bit of a trek sometimes especially with bags full of Moroccan goodies from the souq. I was warmly welcomed in and that warm welcome kind of set the tone of my whole stay.
Walking into the lovely courtyard area and having tea was just lovely. I was in a room off the courtyard, which had a really comfy bed and a lovely little bathroom, and the furnishings were just great too. I felt like I was really in morocco! It was an oasis in a bustling city. I later had to stay at another Dar and while it was much grander, the feeling was quite different, which led me to conclude that what made the Dar Dmana so special was the people who worked there and came in and out. There was constant hot mint tea, someone to chat with if you wanted; the food was spectacular as Hayat is an absolute genius in the kitchen. The rooms are very clean, Rachid and others are always around to help discuss travel options and organise trips away if you need, or just to tell you about some little aspect of Moroccan life and society and the history of Fez. I stayed there for 6 days and was so sad at leaving as I felt I was leaving friends and would not know when I would next get to see them.
I think it was good value as all the hotels are getting more expensive and so it was in the same price range as others. I cannot wait to go back so maybe that is the best recommendation of all."
- Travel date: Mon 4th of February 2008
A beautiful oasis
"Our host picked us up at the bus station at 1am after a 30 harrowing hour journey, and stepping into the beautiful courtyard of the riad absolutely took our breath away. Rooms are simple and comfortable. Delicious breakfast served in the courtyard included, dinner available for extra, but worth trying at least once - best meal we had while in Fes - amazing pastilla. Hosts are very accommodating in terms of giving advice, arranging tours, etc. The only drawback was that in some cases the hosts were slightly overbearing in trying to ensure that we had a good time, so we needed to be firm in order to do the things we were interested in at our own pace."
- Travel date: Fri 9th of November 2007
"we stay for 3 days with our 2 sons ,the locaton is central ,room clean and the staff very friendly we recommed this hotel ."
- Travel date: Tue 23rd of October 2007
Not so great value for the money
"I friend and I stayed at the Riad in August and were not very satisfied with the value for the money. We thought the rate was 60 Euros per room per night, but it was actually 60 Euros/person/night, so 120 Euros/night in total. That was not worth it at all, and I felt they were trying to cheat us. The room was very small and cramped and not especially clean. It reminded me of an old Howard Johnsons. The air conditioner blew semi-cold air, but the room was still sweltering hot. Also, the riad is facing a mosque. At 3am there was the call to prayer, which you cannot avoid no matter how tired and how heavy of a sleeper you are. And the call lasted no less than 20 minutes. Basically, I would recommend staying somewhere else when you are in Fes."
- Travel date: Wed 19th of September 2007
Wonderful stay at the Dar Dmana
"We recently returned from a 4 night, 3 day stay at the riad Dar Dmana in Fez, where we were visiting our college-aged son who's been studying Arabic there this term. What a charming place! We had a spacious room with queen bed, beautifully furnished with Moroccan decor and including air conditioning controlled in the room and a TV (which was never turned on!).
Our room was on the 3rd floor, accessed by very narrow and winding steps, like much of Fez. Not a good place for anyone plagued with bad knees, but certainly manageable for most of us in good form. The night watchman helped carry up our bags, which helped!
Our quarters included a separate sitting area as well as a large alcove with an armoire, and a very large bathroom which featured a beautifully tiled bath/shower in the Moroccan style, and two gorgeous Moroccan sinks.
Breakfast was served each morning in the central courtyard of the riad- a stunning space, complete with gorgeous tiling and many comfortable Moroccan couches and seating areas, with accompanying low tables. We enjoyed goblets of fresh squeezed orange juice, jugs of coffee and milk, baskets of sliced baguette as well as plates of two different Moroccan breakfast breads (not sweet), with dishes of olive oil, butter, apricot jam, honey and olives. Each morning some kind of egg was served, either hard boiled with a dish of salt and cumin for dipping, or one morning a frittata -like egg dish with vegetables.
Dinner was available by pre-arrangement, but we never ate dinner at the riad.
The owner, Khalid, speaks some English and is very welcoming; other staff spoke limited English but French and of course Arabic. Other guests appeared to be French or German while we were there, but Americans have certainly stayed and inscribed the guest book. The overall air is very friendly and welcoming. The doors are kept locked to the outside, but a watchman is always on duty.
We found the location, near Batha, to be very convenient, and overall were extremely pleased with our experience at the Darmana. Wish we could have stayed longer!"
- Travel date: Sun 13th of May 2007
"after booking orally (and confirming by mail), and offering me a discount, how pleased I was when I arrived in Dar Dmana to find a large fabulous room (Radia) with hammam-like bathroom, moroccan-style walls and lamps....real beautiful. on top of it, everything was
well prepared for us, the service is excellent (monsieur Rachid is lovely and eager to help you find information by giving a phone call...). and the lovely patio offers great food. totally recommend it!"
- Travel date: Mon 9th of April 2007