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“Charming, Authentic, Peaceful”
Review of Dar El Menia

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Dar El Menia
Ranked #117 of 216 Fes B&B and Inns
Reviewed 8 September 2011

Fez is stressful. It's hot and crowded and you have to walk everywhere. Dar El Menia is a terrific refuge with its authentic and unique decor, easy going hosts, and great location.

I stayed with my husband and a girlfriend in the triple room and everything was perfect. The breakfast was hearty and the house man and his wife were exceptionally welcoming. The terrace, though small, was just wonderful. It was located at a good place in the Medina as well as close to a reliable parking lot. It is a smaller riad so book early.

The thing that sticks with me is the great decor. It was very interesting and really "transporting", you know? Some things in Moroccan Riads/Dars are a little tacky (I'm sorry to say it because I love Morocco and Moroccans) but Dar El Menia is perfectly rustic and authentic. It's calm and simple.

Anyway, stay here!

Room Tip: One of the double rooms has a particularly low ceiling. It's kind of cool, but might be difficu...
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Traveling_Bookbinder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 September 2011

Dar El Menia is one of the best hotels I've stayed in Fes, Morocco. I usually only stay in large commercial hotels, but on my last visit, I was recommended this hotel by a close friend. So I decided to give it a try. At first look, the place does not even look like a hotel. It looks like a comfortable, cozy home. But it was the Dar El Menia, alright. It is built in authentic Moroccan style, with amazing architecture centered on a courtyard that sits in the middle of the Dar. As a matter of fact, as I came to know from the owner, the Dar was restored from a previous construction that dates back to the 14th century! However, don't let the years fool you, as the restoration was done keeping modern technology in mind, and that is the reason I was able to enjoy Wi-Fi all over the hotel. The best part of the Dar, perhaps, is the rooftop dining section, from where you can get some amazing views of the Fes skyline, with Moroccan-styled tombs and mosques and an amazing sunset and sunrise. The suite that I stayed in was an amazing experience, with excellent wash and bath facilities. To top it all, I even had access to a fully-equipped kitchen, present on both floors of the hotel, and could put my culinary skills to the test. It was like a home away from home, with the small size of the hotel, unlike the larger commercial establishments that are all over the place. The Dar El Menia can accommodate only 10 people at a time, so you can get the best value for your money. Moreover, the Dar will also organize tours of the surrounding areas upon request. Meals are extraordinary, with free breakfasts. I learnt from the staff (which, incidentally, consists of just a handful of very courteous and caring people, and also included a chambermaid service) that the owner of the Dar left a family in charge of the hotel, and they are a pleasurable couple indeed. They cater to all your needs, and make sure you enjoy as much as you can. Though I did not use it, the hotel provides taxi service to and from the airport and train stations. Overall, it is just about the most peaceful, affordable, tasteful, and comfortable and in short, the best hotel I've stayed in Fes. I was really surprised to know that the hotel is not that well-known. Well, good for me back then as I would have had to book months in advance if it was better known. A must visit and stay in Morocco.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled on business
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Thank James A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2011

We booked this after much deliberation between a couple of other options found via deep internet searching and review reading!

We were met at the airport by the transfer man which was actually a relief because we were too tired to start sorting looking for buses! We actually did not intend to book the transfer so we were surprised to see our name on someone's card at the airport. They must have thought we were booking it when were simply enquiring about it. We decided not to make a fuss though and just roll with it even though I think we could've saved quite a bit by just getting a taxi. I must warn anyone who has not been to Morocco... they drive like maniacs... way too fast, too close to the car in front, over-taking on corners, speeding over roundabouts... it is quite a relief to arrive alive at your destination alive.

Jamal, the Dar El Menia host, met us in the nearest carpark the car can get you to... we refused help with lugguage from another man as we travelled light and didn't want to tip for something we don't need! We were lead into the medina, where medieval existence is still in full swing... medieval smells too... the local tannery providing a mixture of cow-hide, pigeon poo and blood to wake you up! Around what seemed like some very complex corners and tiny (less than 1metre) alleyways and we were at the front door. Once inside you are in another world. A world of calm, inspiration and peace ( and no bad smells! ). Jamal was very mellow and friendly guy ( definitely the most laid back Moroccan I have met ! ) who makes you feel glad to be there.

We paid the extra 5E ( in advanced) to choose a particular room and I'm glad we did. We chose 'Room 3' because it had the nicest looking bed mast and looked the most spacious with high ceilings and en-suite bathroom. The other 2 rooms (Rooms 1 and 2 on lower levels) are significantly smaller with lower ceilings (not so good in hot summer) so I'm glad we did this. All the rooms are beautifully decorated so don't worry too much about it but if you can choose I would say Room 3 and 4 are the nicest (Room 4 is has its own private balcony looking over the interior courtyard).

The bed was comfy as were the pillows. It was very hot outside but the fan cooled the room to an agreable level. Air conditioning is bad for you anyway so I'm glad we didn't have it.

We had our evening dinner on the first night we were there ( it was inluded in the price as a low-season special ). This was really delicious and tasted like real home-cooked food. Nothing fancy fancy, just a classic soup followed by chicken tagine and vegetables but nicely done. The couple who make it ( well actually the woman does all the real work while the man sort of potters about! ) are very sweet and seem to do all the housework at El Menia. This turned out to be the best meal we had in Fez by far.

Jamal showed us to the Cafe Clock (the nearest place that lots of tourists frequent) and it was a very nice looking place ( not tacky touristy ) with happy staff, which is quite a relief sometimes in Fez. Their prices are significantly higher than elsewhere but it is a great atmosphere so worth a visit.

We really enjoyed staying at El Menia, Jamal always nice to chat to and the terrace has a great view - the vibe is very mellow inside. We did suffer from food poisoning for 24 hours which we thought was probably from some peach juice we bought from a street vendor but you can never be sure... anyway of all the places to be ill in the world, Dar El Menia was one of the best - Jamal was sympathetic and helped me make some home brewed mint tea and supplied asprins.

We found Fez to be more intence than Marrakesh... the people bugging you in the street to guide you to tanneries, restaurants, shops etc gets really tiresome sometimes and some were very rude, bordering on agressive, if you told them to go away and it feels awkward to ignore them completely so I feel we did not master the art of dealing with them - and sometimes this put a downer on the time in Fez. Note: apparently girls do not suffer this treatment, only men. I have been to India and found it much less hassle than Fez for uninvited pestering.

In retrospect I think we should have made use of an official guide on day 1 to orientate ourselves as well as fend off the touts... next time maybe.

El Menia was always a nice haven to come back to and I recommend it for sure.

Room Tip: Room 3 nice size, Room 4 has private balcony with sofa.
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank AJDF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2011

Dar El Menia is a beautifully restored Riad bang in the middle of the most interesting part of Fez Medina incl. Medersas, Mosques, cafes, restaurants and atmosphere. (2 mins from Cafe Clock!)
Service was excellent and the rooms spacious, clean and beautiful - the most comfortable beds and best shower we experienced in Morocco.
We liked everything about this Riad - book it!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Clarkieabouttown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2011

Dar `El Menia is a spectacular place to stay and one mins walk from the Medina's main street. It offers a perfect oasis of calm seconds from all the action and is yet no night noises allowing for a great night's sleep. Staff were very warm and kind and never ran out of time or patients after the many many questions we had. The guide reccommended by Dar El Menia was excellent and also the tarnsport company that provided a day trip to Meknes and Volubilis. All organised in advace by Dar El Menia.
The maid's home cooked evening meal on the terrace under the stars an absolute joy -a must!!!
Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Puddingsgoesoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2011

Dar El Menia is by far one of the best guest houses we have ever stay in! A beautiful building, friendly staff and perfect location. The rooms were light, bright and cool and breakfast - just right. Try the home cooked evening meals!!
Beers on the terace watch the stars - just perfect!

Room Tip: If yoy pay 5 EUR extra you can nominate a room - 4
  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Norrisinfes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 May 2011

If you are looking for an authentic and beautifully restored riad this is definitely the place for you. From the minute we met Jamaal at the medina parking lot until we left at the end, we felt very much at home. I will warn you, those people with cat allergies will likely struggle almost anywhere in Fes where they dry towels/blankets/etc on the roofs. In specific though, I had a tough time here (through no fault of the owners).

We also used the official guide (Khalid) that Jamaal set up for us and we had an excellent tour of the entire medina.

One note, the riad charges 15 Euro to drop you off or pick you up from the train station or airport. At least from the train station, you can find your way to the car park for much cheaper, probably around 30-40 dirham (3-4 Euro - these are tourist prices not the meter) in a petite taxi. I would recommend calling ahead to tell them you're coming and have them meet you in the car park.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank kedarkam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dar El Menia

Address: 7 Derb el Menia | El Kobra, Fes 30000, Morocco
Region: Morocco > Fes-Boulemane Region > Fes
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #117 of 216 B&Bs / Inns in Fes
Price Range: £51 - £53 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dar El Menia 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dar El Menia lies in the heart of Fes (Fez) Medina, former imperial capital of Morocco and the world’s largest medieval medina. Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it is not a museum it is a living, breathing city and Dar El Menia provides the perfect luxurious base to begin exploring the old and the new. This dar, or courtyard house, is at least 250 years old and has recently been completely restored using local craftsmen, techniques and materials. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dar El Menia Hotel Fes

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