The perfect Dar Dayana in Essaouira

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Slug on October 10, 2012

We arrived at our Essaouira Riad, the Dar Dayana in some style, being led by a porter with our luggage in a huge trolley wheeled through the narrow streets of the Medina. Down a narrow street and a right turn down a dead end we reached our destination, and the door opened into a little beautiful oasis of banana trees, tiled flooring and beautiful furnishings.

Our hosts, a very friendly French couple showed us to our room on the second floor and invited us down for a mint tea so they could introduce us to the area. The woman had been a French teacher in the UK, so her English was very good and her partner was no slouch either. Over tea they gave us a few tips for the best restaurants, bars and a couple of things to see. The couple explained how they spent some time in France and retired from time to time to their family home here in Essaouira.

Our room had a little balcony overlooking the open space garden below and was furnished simply but carefully and beautifully with a lovely Moroccan themed bathroom, with a particularly lovely tiled shower wet room. We were very happy in the room and although we only stayed 3 nights it quickly felt as though we might have lived here. I spent a happy morning sitting on the balcony (it unfortunately only fitted one chair) reading and watching the owner sketching a drawing of a woman in the garden below.

The other nice thing about the Riad was that it was in the centre of things in the Medina; in the evening we could hear the voices of passersby on the main street behind the building, but it only served to make me feel comfortable in this most hospitable place. Likewise, I had got used to the pattern of life led by the calls to prayer and hardly stirred for the dawn call. Obviously, it was just a hope skip and jump to the main street in the Medina and to hunt for a few places to eat; the more touristy places were perhaps 10-15 minutes' walk away.

The only potential downside to the Dar Dayana Riad is that it is in the middle of a maze of streets, although even I with my terrible sense for direction found my way back fairly easily (just look out for a couple of nearby road or shop signs that you must remember. You could arrange to dine at the Riad if you didn't fancy venturing out and I'm certain they would have given you a very good spread. We did take advantage of their offer of a bottle of wine for 100 Dirham (about £7 $10) and of course being French, we had a very nice bottle selected for us.

Breakfast was served in the lovely courtyard, and with only 3 rooms to let the place never got busy. The pottery was traditional, and the food simple; just Moroccan breads, jams, yoghurt and fruit with tea or coffee. However, all was nicely made and fitted the bill perfectly.

During our stay my beloved came down with the "curse of Morocco" and our hosts couldn't have been more concerned, asking whether we might like some soothing tea, or if we wanted anything from the pharmacist.

Our room cost around £50 a night and truly was a perfect experience; I wouldn't fault anything. Totally Recommended (and you don't hear me too often say that!).
Dar Dayana
26 Rue Ibn Khaldoun
Essaouira, Morocco, 44000

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