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“Excellent “Off the Beaten Path” Day Hikes”
Review of Dar KamalChaoui

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Dar KamalChaoui
Ranked #1 of 1 Bhalil B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 April 2014

If you plan on visiting the Fes region, Kamal Chaoui is in an exceptional host and a great resource for off-the-beaten-path activities while you’re there. My partner and I were staying in the Fes Medina for a week. While we truly loved Fes, we needed a break from the somewhat stressful and chaotic environment of the Medina. Enter Kamal Chaoui!

After reading about Bhalil and viewing Mr. Chaui’s YouTube videos about the region, I contacted him to see if he would show us around the area for a day trip. We were looking for some exercise and some remote mountain scenery to complement our very cultural visit in Fes. Kamal arranged the entire day for us that included pick-up and drop-off at our guesthouse in the Fes Medina. He and a certified Guide (Omar the Berber) accompanied us on a 6-hour hike from his guesthouse in Bhalil to Imouzzer Kandar along country farm roads through awesome post card scenery. Along the way he provided a very tasty lunch and snacks prepared by Naïma, the delightful cook at his Bhalil guesthouse.

Before setting out from Bhalil he gave us a tour of the weekly souk (Wednesdays) and arranged a short visit in one of the cave homes for which Bhalil is famous. Throughout our hike and our visit around Bhalil, Kamal provided commentary of the sights that made for a very interesting journey in addition to the great scenery. We stopped off at his guesthouse, Dar KamalChaoui, for some snacks and tea. His guesthouse is charming and immaculate. It would make a great location from which to base oneself for day hikes around the Middle Atlas Mountains.

A couple of days later he set up a similar visit to Tazzeka National Park. What a jewel that was! That trip took us through some spectacular mountain scenery: tiered waterfalls, forests of cedar and cork trees, and a very dramatic gorge upon exiting the park. It’s a strange thing that more Moroccans are not familiar with this national treasure.

Mr. Chaoui speaks fluent French, very proficient English, and a bit of German. If you’ve done your homework and you know where you want to go and what you want to see, he will extend his warm hospitality for the day according to a menu of pre-set fees. He limits the number of participants to about 3 or 4 people if any transportation is required. We made our 6-hour hike during the spring when temperatures were quite mild. During the hotter months you may want to cut this hike (Bhalil to Imouzzer) in half. There is a “somewhat flat half” and a “mountainous half” to the hike between Bhalil and Imouzzer Kandar.

Mr. Chaoui provided an exceptional experience not only because of his hospitality and personal attention, but also because of the time he was willing to invest in planning all of the logistical details based on the sites we wanted to see. He is passionate about his country and its history and takes great pride in sharing its beauty.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank Hubert_Chicago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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78 - 84 of 397 reviews

Reviewed 6 March 2014

Bhalil isn’t far from Fes, but is a world away from its noise and bustle. It’s a gentle hillside village, yet offers more than you’d expect from its size, including mountain walks, troglodyte dwellings and small groups of button-makers plying their craft in the sun.
We spent a couple of chilly nights at Dar Kamal Chaoui at the end of January, but the warmth of our welcome was superb. We enjoyed meeting Kamal’s wife, Béatrice, and his two children, and living en famille gave us the opportunity to get beneath the usual tourist veneer whilst scoffing the most delicious food. I was shown how to make a scrummy lentil soup by Naima (which I’ve managed to reproduce it quite successfully at home) and we were introduced to Aziz the baker, who doubles as a schoolteacher - so I was treated to an impromptu lesson on Arabic diacritical markings. We watched with interest the progress of Latif the carpenter, as he crafted a beautifully carved new door for Kamal’s home – we felt so much at home here!
The accommodation was clean and spacious, interestingly decorated with many handcrafted items, and with a hoard of art books to whet our appetites for the grander sights of the imperial cities yet to come. And how lovely to discover snugly hot water bottles in the beautifully comfy bed! The view from the rooftop terrace was gorgeous; such a shame that the weather wasn’t good enough to take full advantage of it.
Kamal’s passionately proud of his village, wanting both to preserve the best of the old and improve conditions for those less fortunate. Wandering around Bhalil with him was fascinating, whether it was visiting a cave dwelling or laughing with the small children playing on the doorsteps. He took us for a mountain walk, and drove us to our next destination (Meknes) via Sefrou so that we had an opportunity to explore another interesting medina – he really put himself out to give us the best experience possible.
If you’re looking for posh surroundings and sophistication, this place probably won’t tick your boxes, but I can thoroughly recommend it as a home from home coupled with thoughtful insights into Moroccan culture and unsurpassable hospitality.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank Dunkirt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2014

We have spent wonderful days in Bhalil .

We've learned a lot about local culture and way of life ,thanks to the owner Kamal who introduced us the village and local people.

Great local dinner and nice talk in the evening with Kamal and other guests .

Clean and comfortable rooms . Very recommended .

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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14  Thank Zalan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2014

The guest house is very well kept, extremely comfortable, very clean, authentic, and welcoming. Everything is perfect here and well thought out, from the communal seating area on the ground floor with beautiful photo books of interest covering different parts of Morocco, to the rooms themselves (very nice, modern yet authentic), and the rooftop terrace.

The village of Bhalil is an absolute gem and a special place, unlike Marrakech, Fes, or Casablanca. We travelled all across Morocco - visiting all the Imperial cities and many places in between as well as some time further east in the desert and I can truly tell you that this is a MUST for any trip to Morocco. You and the other guests at Dar Kamal Chaoui will be the only tourists around and you can explore so much here without being hassled by vendors of any kind. The locals are so kind, genuine, and warm here - you will never want to leave.

The food was the best we had on our whole trip. We had two dinners, a lunch, and breakfast here - all were delicious. Everything they serve is 100% fresh and local. The yogurt they serve at breakfast is even made at the dar! We stayed in many nice places during our stay, but none went so far in the crafting of fine meals as dar kamal chaoui.

The owner and host is extremely knowledgeable, welcoming, and flexible. Anything you need or want to know about Bhalil or Morocco, all you have to do is ask. This was the only dar during our trip where we really felt "at home" and I attribute that to Kamal and his amazing chef Nahima. If you have interest in learning about Bhalil I strongly suggest you take a tour with Kamal. He will also provide you lots of advice and guidance on other things to do near by. If you can stay several days here I really advise it then you can explore surrounding areas and Kamal will help advise you on where to go and what to see. We only wish we could have stayed longer.

We have told all our friends about Bhalil and Kamal since returning to New York because we were so impressed with the guest house and the great treatment we received from Kamal and Nahima - they made us feel like family. We can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: They're all equally beautiful!! We were there in the winter and found it to be one of the most w...
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank Z_lady_nyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 November 2013 via mobile

My husband and I had the pleasure of staying with Kamal during our month long visit to morocco. Although it has almost been a year since our visit we often talk about how much this part of our trip added to our love and knowledge of Morocco. Beatrice provided us with excellent food- I'd love her recipes! The home was clean, beautiful and full of innovative, environmental design choices! Kamal provided answers to all our questions and offered so much history and information about Moroccan culture. It truly enhanced our experience! Kamal was so accommodating and picked us up from Fes (not far at all) and drove us to Chefchaouen. We look forward to the day we can go back.

Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
13  Thank Rgreabeiel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2013

We decided, as neophytes to North Africa, we should ease into Morocco by staying outside of Fes, in the small hillside village of Bhalil. You simply cannot have a better orientation to Morocco and introduction into Berber life, than a stay at Dar Kamal Chaoui. The Berbers were in Morocco before the Arabs and are a unique culture--well worth a visit. During our stay at this comfortable B&B we were welcomed like old friends and treasured guests by our host, Kamal and his staff. Everything we ate was delicious, and we took most of our meals with family and other guests; the food alone is reason enough to stay here! You can make this your base and take side trips to neighboring villages, or the ancient cities of Fes and Meknes. Watch handcrafts being made by expert artisans. Kamal is a multilingual, superb guide who enthusiastically shares his wealth of information. You can find as much privacy as you need, or visiting and sharing meals with other international travelers. The rooms are fastidiously clean, cozy and comfortable, and simply appointed with local artwork and antiques. As we watched from the rooftop terrace the lights of Fes twinkle in the distance and the sky darken and turn color, as the the sun set, we imagined what it would be like to retire here in a few years!

Room Tip: Up on the rood is a nice, private room with great views from the terrace, or any of the rooms if you...
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2013

I've arrived to KamalChaoui at the end of this October, after two wearing days in Fes and I was immediately charmed by the house. I arrived with my moroccian guide Mohamed (2 rooms reservation). My comments: the kindness of Kamal and his cooker Nahima, the quietness of the area and the excellent view of all the region, of the terrace.
In the morning an early breakfast was served outdoors. What a nice surprise someone to wake up in the morning and see all these delicious, home made things on the table, waiting for the guests.
The diner in the evening was very well cooked by Nahima. Ι stayed there for 5 nights ( not the same duration for my guide, because he was not acceptable). Very good choice.

Room Tip: All the rooms were equally good.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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13  Thank VARVARA8586
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dar KamalChaoui

Address: 60 Kaf Rhouni | First on the Right Climbing Up After the Banque Populaire, Bhalil 31100, Morocco
Region: Morocco > Fes-Boulemane Region > Bhalil
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Bhalil
Price Range: £56 - £62 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Dar KamalChaoui 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our Guests house is located in an Authentic village called Bhalil, this village is 24km close to Fez. How to come to Bhalil: A Grand Taxi shuttle is easy to catch from Bhalil to Sefrou located 3km from Bhalil for 3,5 Dirhams per person and needs 5 min to Serou, then catch a Grand Taxi at the same place from Sefrou to Fez, this time it will last 30 min and will cost 12 Dirhams per person, you can also ask us to bring you in our car for 25€ door to door. How to find us in Bhalil: have a look at Google map : Get enchanted by the view from our terrace direct to very close mountains, hundreds fields of olive trees are easily visible all around along with Fez city up there. Beds are hard and very confortable, quality is everywhere, food are fresh safe and tasty, we have European eyes to provide you European standards, safety and confort. We invite you to experience journeys with spiritual intention. Our tours blend authentic cross-cultural encounters with educational programs, recreational activities and life-changing adventure. We aim to take you into the hearts of our culture and to provide unique opportunities for learning, inspiration and personal discovery. ... more   less 
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