Kid-Friendly Riad In Marrakesh: Dar El Qadi
As I mentioned in my last post, my favorite part of our recent family trip to Marrakesh was the excellent riad we stayed in: Dar El Qadi*. Located within the medina on 79 Derb El Qadi in the Azbest Quarter, we were completely spoiled with a perfect location, great amenities, a super friendly hostess, and a spotless room. Though I'm suggesting Dar El Qadi* for families, this would also be a lovely riad for couples, friends, or even a solo traveler, as the riad seemed very safe and secure (you had to ring to get in and someone was always on-site). If you are traveling as a large group, Dar El Qadi* also offers the option to rent the entire riad, and the price is surprisingly reasonable for this.
Comfortable Rooms with Beautiful Details
Dar El Qadi* offers its guests 5 different room options, ranging from regular rooms to a small suite and a large suite. I believe we stayed in the regular room (called Uranus) on the second floor on the north side of the riad. When we entered Dar El Qadi*, we were greeted by Nadia, the owner/manager, and invited to sit down and relax in the courtyard while she brought us some mint tea. During this time, our bags were brought upstairs by the only male staff member and we were also able to park our stroller. Relaxing in the courtyard was really lovely after our delayed flight, as the courtyard is lush with comfortable chairs and couches, Moroccan lanterns lit with twinkling lights, colorful doors and paintings, rugs, plants, and so many other beautiful details. We relaxed in the courtyard many more times during our stay at Dar El Qadi*.
After enjoying our tea in the courtyard, we made our way up the winding stairs into our second-floor room, which overlooked the courtyard. The room featured a comfortable queen-size bed with a woolen blanket, low table, and decorative lamps and paintings. New bottles of water were also provided each day for free. On the first night, Baby ISO had a comfortable mattress to sleep on, but that was switched out for the rest of the nights with a large crib. Either sleeping arrangement was completely fine for him.
Another thing that I was super impressed about was the absolute spotlessness of the entire riad, and our room in particular. We've stayed at a lot of family-friendly hotels recently, and this is by far the cleanest room. With a toddler, we spend a lot of time on the floor, under the bed, and just generally getting into things we shouldn't, so I really appreciate that nothing was overlooked at Dar El Qadi*.
The private bathroom in our room was completely adequate, with a beautiful brass (or copper?) sink, large shower, and toilet. There was also a nice storage area for luggage and hanging clothes in the bathroom. The bathroom was also stocked with really lovely Moroccan soaps as well as a shampoo and body wash, both locally made.
Another wonderful spot that we enjoyed relaxing in during our stay at Dar El Qadi* was the gorgeous rooftop terrace. Though not quite open for the season yet, there were comfortable chairs and tables to lounge on and you had great views of the city. I really loved the peace and quiet of being on the rooftop terrace.
I miss the breakfasts at Dar El Qadi*--they were just so good. Breakfasts come complimentary with your stay and the time is negotiated the prior evening with Nadia. It seemed like the standard breakfast time was about 8:30 am. We ate breakfast both in the cozy dining room, which is warmed by a fire, and on the rooftop terrace. Meals consisted of ample amounts of coffee, tea, fresh squeezed juice, jams, honey, butter, fresh fruit, and loads of homemade Moroccan breads, crepes, and pancakes. Everything was delicious.
Home Cooked Moroccan Dinner
We opted to eat dinner at Dar El Qadi* every night, as dining at home is simply easier with a toddler at dinnertime (plus we thought we'd get super lost after dark). I negotiated the menu and dinnertime each morning with Nadia. The meals consisted of three delicious courses plus bread. Some nights we had grilled or stewed vegetables and other nights we had a really rich soup. I loved all of these veggie dishes. The meat course was a tajine, and there for this there were three options: chicken, lamb, and fish. We tried both the chicken and the lamb tajines and both were tasty though I preferred the chicken tajine. Dessert was often fresh fruit, though we did have an apple pastry one evening. My favorite dessert was sliced oranges topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon--such a different and delicious flavor combination that I would have never thought of!
At our time of visit, dinner at Dar El Qadi* was an extra charge of 17 EUR per person, per night. We weren't charged for Baby ISO's meal.
--> Related post: Safe eating and drinking in destinations with non-potable water.
Mint Tea upon Request
Isn't Moroccan mint tea SO good? I'm planning to test out a recipe or two at home this weekend. Another wonderful feature at Dar El Qadi* was the option to have Moroccan mint tea upon request. We enjoyed mint tea several times while we were there, and both J and I agreed that the mint tea at Dar El Qadi* was the best that we tried during our trip in Marrakesh.
Private On-site Hammam
I didn't take any photos of the hammam, but I did have a private hammam plus body scrub conducted by one of their female staff members. It was such a cool experience to get to relax in the hammam (basically a not so hot sauna), get nice smelling oils and creams rubbed on my body, and then get scrubbed down. The woman doing the scrubbing was really sweet, and though my French is pretty poor, we had a nice chat and laughed together when I didn't understand what she wanted me to do. You can also choose to pair your hammam treatment with a private massage. Treatments and massages come at an extra fee, but you should definitely do it!
In a busy, loud city like Marrakesh, it is so important for me to have a quiet place to retreat to at the end of the day. And though Dar El Qadi* is located in the medina near Place des Epices, it is so quiet. I was actually really surprised by how quiet and clam Dar El Qadi is despite being in the center of the action.
Do note that because of the car-free location within the medina, I 100% suggest taking the pick-up and drop-off service that Dar El Qadi* offers. This cost 20 EUR each way (and we were able to request a car seat for one direction, but it wasn't available for the return). For this, we were picked up by a car directly at the airport and brought through the medina. Once we reached the car-free streets, a porter was waiting for us with an wheelbarrow to carry our luggage. He brought us directly to Dar El Qadi*, but do note that you will need to walk for around 10 to 15 minutes to reach Dar El Qadi*. In my view, I think it would be impossible to find Dar El Qadi* on your own unless you are very familiar with Marrakesh.
Obviously, I loved staying at Dar El Qadi* for all of the above reasons. But, the most wonderful thing about Dar El Qadi* was Nadia and the predominately female staff. Everyone was beyond welcoming and friendly. I loved that one of the staff members even came to work one day with her grandchild strapped to her back. You could see how hard working each staff member was and it seemed to me that they enjoyed working at this riad. I cannot say enough about how wonderful the staff and especially Nadia were.
Dar El Qadi* is located on 79 Derb El Qadi and is about a 5 minute walk from Place des Epices and the popular restaurants that surround that square. Rooms start at approximately 80 euros per night and you do need to pay in cash upon check-out. Functioning ATMs associated with banks are marked on the map that Dar El Qadi* provides in case you need to withdraw some extra cash. Because we enjoyed our stay so much, we also tipped Nadia (and the porter and taxi drivers) because tipping in Morocco seemed really standard and important. With only a handful of rooms available, you should also consider booking a room well in advance of your stay.
Please note that the links with an asterisk are Booking affiliates. If you book a hotel using one of these links, In Search Of makes a tiny commission. I paid for our stay and all the extras we took advantage of at Dar El Qadi and in no way indicated that I might review the hotel if I enjoyed the stay. I simply wanted to share my experience because this riad is simply wonderful and excellent with children.