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“Stars, food, and a pharmacist” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Dar El Menia

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Dar El Menia
Ranked #102 of 209 Fes B&B and Inns
Laguna Beach, California
1 review
“Stars, food, and a pharmacist”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 September 2011

The Riad is beautifully decorated, very inviting, and a haven from the hustle and bustle of the medina. We had dinner prepared for us our first night there and had the pleasure of eating on the rooftop terrace with the stars our only companions. The food was delicious. When my husband needed medical attention, Graham was able to direct us to the nearest pharmacy, a life-saver.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Patricia T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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175 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
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English first
Gibraltar
Level Contributor
74 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 September 2011

This Dar looked very promising on the internet and it was an interesting old building which had been restored however it was down a very narrow pitch black lane which we would never have found without a guide. There was no name on the door and when we arrived we were not greeted by the owner in the manner I had expected. He showed complete indifference to us over our three night stay with no helpful suggestions on things to do, places to visit, restaurants etc.

The Moroccan couple who set up breakfast and keep the place running were smiling and friendly looking but hardly spoke to us. They served up a plentiful but very dull breakfast. The crockery needs to be changed as many items were chipped and cracked.

We were a party of 6 women, my daughter and I and a good friend took a three bedded room on the first floor which was very small but since there was no way I could manage more stairs to a higher floor and larger bedrooms we had to settle for this room. The stairs were an absolute death trap for anyone no longer young and/or agile. No handrails, finger prints could be seen on the white walls where others had hung on in desperation. The stairs were of uneven width, height and tread. Going up was bad enough but descending was dreadful - I was terrified I was going to fall so once I descended in the morning I took everything I needed for the entire day and did not go back to the room until it was time for bed.

The bathroom on the first floor was spacious with plenty of hot water which was excellent.

We did not eat there in the evening because the price was far too high for Morocco. Our Moroccan friends were shocked at what we would have been charged and said we could get an equally good meal elsewhere for less than half the price.

Unfortunately the weather was appalling and we returned soaked on a couple of days - there was nowhere to dry our clothes, the owner could not have been less interested had he tried. All he did was lounge around in the tiny sitting room and use his computer. Since I had made all the arrangements and had persuaded our group not to go to a modern hotel I was mortified by his behaviour. Many friends in Gibraltar and Spain had asked us to report back on our visit as they would like to take a break in Fes - suffice to say they will be staying elsewhere in the city.

Apart from the fact that the house was situated up a dirty back alley it was a good location for the markets and shops of the Medina and we loved the atmosphere, architecture and various buildings. We were lucky that a Moroccan friend who is resident in Fes was kind enough to drive us around the city pointing out places of interest. If you have a chance go to the Hotel which sits above the city and you'll have a wonderful panoramic view of the old city.

We had travelled from Tarifa to Fes in a private mini bus but decided to return via train - a much more tranquil journey as at least the train kept on the lines whilst the mini bus driver had veered all over the road. And of course it was much cheaper.

Although the house was kept fairly clean the entrance patio needed to be spruced up - dead and dirty plants do not look inviting.

All in all it was a disappointment to us all and I think the owner needs to try to imagine what guests require and expect. Perhaps if we had been 6 drop dead gorgeous blondes he might have been jolted out of his inertia! Well my daughter IS a gorgeous blonde but that didn't get her anywhere so maybe not!!

Room Tip: There is one room on the ground floor so if you think the stairs will be difficult then book that ro...
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank dianauni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
36 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 September 2011

The house has been done up beautifully. It is really breath-taking and the furnishings are authentic, making it feel very special. It is incredibly convenient, as it is near the main street of the medina, but in a side alley so is nice and quiet..
Jamal is very helpful with anything and everything, and never pushy. Mustafa and his wife also take great care of you with quiet competence. Their breakfasts are lovely, and I highly recommend the dinner. Great home-cooked food and lots of it. We will be telling our friends to go there.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank tapoa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Casablanca, Morocco
Level Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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...
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Traveling_Bookbinder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Green Bay, Wisconsin
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank James A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank AJDF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Clarkieabouttown
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

Property: 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 #102 of 209 B&Bs / Inns in Fes
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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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