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“THE Best Place To Stay In Essaouira!”
Review of Dar Maya

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Dar Maya
Ranked #5 of 75 Hotels in Essaouira
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 April 2014

I can see others have said the same thing and there's a good reason for it. Let's start with Gareth, the owner - what a gentleman and all round lovely guy!

And his staff are great too, polite and friendly. We had someone meet us at the bus stop and carry our bags to the Riad, where Gareth greeted us and talked us through everything we needed to know about the Riad.

He then labelled a map of the local area for us with places we might want to go to check out, explained how much we can expect to pay and other useful info. After a week in Marrakech where almost everybody tried to exploit every dirham out of us this was a breath of fresh air.

The actual Riad is tastefully designed and decorated, with quality furnishings and a calm air about the place. The room was very comfortable, with a great bed, lush pillows, underfloor heating and a private balcony.

There's a lounge with a computer, books, magazines and sofas, if you want to chill indoors. There's also the courtyard and the rooftop pool and seating area. You could easily spend a few days in the Riad without leaving.

Breakfast was tasty and quick to be served, but we didn't stay for dinner as we wanted to sample the local eateries, so can't say anything about that, but if was up to the same standard as everything else in the Riad you can't really go wrong.

Gareth went out of his way to get us in a taxi back to Marrakech to catch our flight after some time-change confusion - which really sums up his and his staff's attitude towards their guests - they go out of their way to make you feel at home, if we come back to Essaouira, it'll be at the Dar Maya where we'll be staying, thanks Gareth & Team!

PS - the dogs didn't really seem to like me and my wife, I think they picked up that we weren't dog people!

Room Tip: Any room is great, higher up is better though.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank ImranMaq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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249 - 255 of 452 reviews

Reviewed 4 April 2014

We booked Dar Maya based on TripAdvisor reviews and the information available on the website. Gareth was in touch with us before we even left the UK, explaining the ways he could help from airport pickups to arranging excursions and beyond. He was there to answer any last minute queries about climate or anything on our minds before we'd even finished packing.

The transfer was seamless; we were met at the airport and driven in comfort to the medina walls, before being handed over to a porter who walked us straight to Dar Maya. It's tucked away down a quiet medina side street, and the impact of opening an understated wooden door and stepping into the absolute beauty and tranquility of the riad is utterly incredible.

We were offered a drink by Gareth as soon as we arrived, but chose to freshen up after our flight as my excited girlfriend was desperate to see the room we'd been thinking about since we booked it. We stayed in the Tignna suite on the top floor, and it was absolutely beautiful. Each suite at Dar Maya is themed and this was the more modern of the 5 rooms. There aren't words to describe how spectacular it was, especially the bathroom with underfloor heating, soft lighting, and a fantastic, round, deep bath for two. We had a lovely balcony and huge doors opening to a view of the internal courtyard and plenty of light. As the only room on that floor, we had easy access to the beautiful, large, well-appointed upstairs lounge, with comfy seating, internet access, wifi, a library, and Bose audio kit. It was even better in the evenings as it was softly lit by candles.

We were welcomed with drinks after freshening up, and Gareth provided us with a map of the medina and numerous recommendations, arranging a booking for our first dinner and giving us a few pointers of places we wouldn't want to miss. For the whole of our stay, the staff were always on hand and available to answer even the simplest of questions, and nothing was too difficult. Also part of the friendly welcome were the 2 riad dogs, Eddy and Nini, who added another homely touch to our stay (even if it did take Eddy 4 days to like me as much as he liked my girlfriend!) We were heading to Marrakech after our week in Essaouira, and Gareth arranged an extremely comfortable shuttle to take us there, and even gave us some personal recommendations of bars, restaurants and activities to try while we were there.

We had picked Dar Maya as a place to relax for a few days before heading on with our holiday, to really unwind and rest. It was so good, we extended our stay by an extra night; Gareth and the team were extremely accommodating, and we were in the Moroccan-themed suite for one night, with yet another spectacular 2-person bath to enjoy.

On our last night, we booked a treatment in the riad's hammam, which included an in-room couples full-body massage. A hammam is a must while in Morocco and it was a lovely touch to have one accessible within the riad. After being thoroughly washed, exfoliated and oiled, it was amazing to set foot back into our room to find it transformed, with soft music playing and gentle candlelight, and the 2 massage tables set up for our treatment there. That was the first massage I'd ever had and I can't believe what I've been missing out on; it was the most relaxed, contented and happy I've felt in some considerable time!

The riad also had a lovely roof terrace which would have been even better in summer. It was nicely shielded from the wind and had a plunge pool in case you were feeling too warm, but it was a beautiful place to relax and read in the sun.

While we didn't eat dinner in the riad, we did enjoy breakfast there every morning. They were flexible enough accommodate any time you wanted to eat which allowed us to take advantage of some lovely long lies in huge spectacular bed! You could eat in the internal courtyard, a lounge area downstairs, or elsewhere in the riad. Breakfast was simple but delicious home cooked food, with a selection of pastries, flatbreads and omelettes.

Writing this review makes us both wish we were back there, and we'd frankly have stayed forever if we could. It was the best stay either of us have had in a hotel anywhere in the world, comfortably the best holiday experience either of us could think of. We could add another 3000 words talking about every little detail but I think we'd test readers' patience!

An incredible, wonderful, relaxing stay, and recommended a thousand times over. We can't believe it's not easily the top ranked hotel in Essaouira. Thank you to Gareth, Abdel, the whole staff (and Eddy and Nini) for the time of our lives.

Room Tip: They're all differently themed but all excellent; we stayed in 2 of the 5.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MrKiwiCooCoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2014

The riad is fantastic. Our room 'tigana' was at the top of the riad in prime position and had a private balcony which was fantastic for catching some sun out of the Essaouira wind.
The owner Gareth was fantastic in meeting all our requests - such as recommending restaurants (all of which were excellent choices), organising a day trip and transfers.
The room was very luxurious. The photos on the website don't really do justice to the size. The bathroom was great with a big circular bath and shower. The whole riad was decorated in a really modern way that stil captured the essence of Morocco.
The other staff were all really friendly and always happy to help.
Breakfast was very good - eggs any way you want them, pancakes, pain au chocolat, croissants etc as well as fresh fruit, beautiful fresh orange juice and coffee/tea.

The town of Essaouira is really relaxed and fun - a big and welcome contrast to the hustle and bustle of Marrakech.
We had a great time at Dar Maya and would certainly recommend it to anyone visiting the town.

Room Tip: Tigana is great for getting afternoon sun and is light and bright. Very quiet.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank PaulSarahL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2014

We stayed for 8 days in March and enjoyed every minute. Gareth has a fantastic team working with him - friendly and helpful, nothing is too much trouble. Gareth is a very nice guy and also very helpful, with two friendly dogs in constant attendance. It was really like staying in a home from home. Comfortable rooms with good beds. There are comfortable, relaxing lounges and a roof terrace with a plunge pool. Wifi is good throughout the building and there is a desktop computer available too.

Essaouira is a charming, relaxed place and the locals are very friendly. There is no pressure from shopkeepers who, of course, want to sell you something but are quite happy to chat and show their wares whilst accepting a no if you don’t want to buy. Plenty to see and places to walk and watersports - kite surfing, windsurfing, boarding - in abundance.

There are many good restaurants and the Riad also offers evening meals. Our aim was to eat somewhere different every night so only ate at the Riad once but the meal was very good. Breakfasts at the Riad are plentiful with good fresh orange juice, fresh fruit salad, eggs as you want them and an assortment of pastries.

We had an enjoyable and relaxed time and are looking forward to a return visit. We will now only consider Riad Dar Maya as the place to stay in Essaouira.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank MagnaRoger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2014

We stayed for two nights in March 2014. From the booking stage, through to departure on the last day, Gareth and his team were extremely helpful. Travel tickets were procured, restaurants recommended and lots of advice given. The Dar is stunning in a modern Moroccan style, with large well appointed bedrooms and bathrooms. It’s a really relaxing place to stay. Essaouira is a beautiful town. We have stayed there three times in different hotels or riads, and Dar Maya was our favourite place to stay.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Judie32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2014

We stayed at Dar Maya for two days in March 2014 which turned out to be the highlights of our Morocco trip. Credit mainly goes to Dar Maya and the team around Gareth who made us feel very welcome in their beautiful house. The entire riad could easily appear in a design magazine without being over stylish and making you feel uncomfortable. Rooms are large, airy and have the most amazing bathrooms (think of mini hammams). The roof top terrace offers great views of Essaouira and the ocean, there is stable wifi throughout the entire building (rare in Moroccan hotels), homemade breakfast is delicious - in essence it's hard to think of a nicer accomodation to spend relaxing days in the heart of Essaouira's medina. The best about this riad, however, is the helpfulness and friendliness of Gareth, his staff and his two cute dogs. We hope to return as soon as possible!

  • Stayed: March 2014
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Thank ChristianBowery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2014

Amazing place to stay. Everything runs smoothly from booking in, to transport being organised, breakfast, whatever you want is no problem. Huge rooms and bathrooms, great position, nothing to complain about at all. Relaxing lounge areas, nooks, plunge pool, roof terrace. Fantastic ambience with candles, lighting, but all the while comfortable and cosy. Would definitely recommend.

Room Tip: Any room is fine
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank hazell4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dar Maya

Address: 33 Rue Oujda, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Region: Morocco > Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz Region > Essaouira
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 75 Hotels in Essaouira
Price Range: £94 - £143 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dar Maya is a luxury boutique hotel, offering five rooms, a spa and rooftop hot tub in a chic, tranquil riad in the heart of Essaouira's historic medina. Having successfully blended a mix of understated Moroccan and contemporary European styles, Dar Maya oozes elegance, subtlety and intimacy. Our aim is to make your stay at Dar Maya as enjoyable as possible, and we offer an impeccable level of service that only a small luxury hotel can provide.With stunning ocean views from the terrace, the hotel is a few minutes walk to all the main attractions and amenities including the bustling cafes and restaurants, souks, port and beach. ... more   less 
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