As featured in The Times - 10 Great Villas - Marrakech Travel, Saturday 27 September 2014!
Dar Aicha, is the Marrakech home of the English artist, Elaine M Goodwin. It is an intimate and enchanting small palace, filled with light and beauty and situated at the heart of the old medina of Marrakech. Located at the end of a short cul-de-sac, off the main passage-way leading into the souk Smarine, it is a few minutes walk from the square, the renowned Djemaa el Fna. The house is a traditional Dar, built around an open courtyard, with an upper level and an attractive roof terrace garden.
Our guests, even couples on their own, get sole occupancy of the riad and the services of our attentive staff. We pride ourselves in offering a 5-star service in elegant surroundings at very competitive rates. The rates quoted are per person. Please click on 'Rates' for full details.
We have installed free WiFi facilities for the convenience of our guests.
(Please note: We are the original Dar Aicha. We have no connection with a small hostel near the bus station, known as Riad Dar Aicha, also in Marrakech.)
My name is Elaine M Goodwin, an English artist, living in the south west of England. Marrakech became my second home when I purchased the beautiful Dar Aicha in 2001. Marrakech, with its wondrous colours, warmth and incredible light, greatly inspires my art work. It is wondrous.
My good friend Jane Clark handles the rental bookings for me and looks forward very much to hearing from you. She will ensure you have a comfortable and wonderful stay. She takes over this role from our friend Munni who has held this position for over 13 years. For those who knew her, she is at present travelling the world!
Jane Clark (Bookings Manager) - Elaine M Goodwin (owner) purchased this house in 2001
I wanted to find a studio home which would inspire me as an artist. Dar Aicha in the Marrrakech with its beauty and incredible location won me over. Although I have had this gorgeous home for over 13 years, on each and every visit, I remain as excited and entranced as the I first time I stepped over the threshold. Dar Aicha is full of light and traditional character. My wonderful staff of many years make both me and guests feel most welcome at all times.
Waking up at Dar Aicha is a joy. The sun comes streaming into the courtyard, birds are singing and you know that soon a delicious breakfast will be served in the dining area or on the terrace. The day has begun and you know fabulous things will unfold. On the first floor there is an open and welcoming sitting area - a traditional space - known as a 'mensa'. This is where you can sit and relax, read or listen to music. It is the heart of the riad. On the ground floor there is an elegant salon with a television and comfy sofas to enjoy cosy evenings. On the roof of Dar Aicha is a spacious terrace with potted palms and exotic trees. This is the place to enjoy the night sky, the birds, the sun and the unique tranquility of living in a traditional riad...a living room in the sky. Coming into Dar Aicha, after experiencing all the excitement and colour of the souk is like entering a different world - a haven. Madame Zahra, our amazing cook is always on hand to serve delicious meals and Samir our charming house manager is forever helpful in making sure all your needs are met. He is also a great problem solver. The rest of the staff are
equally friendly and delightful. Dar Aicha is gem!
The Riad is so beautiful! And Samir and Madame Zahra with their helpers looked after us so well, and the food was absolutely delicious.
We loved Marrakech and Ossauira, and we had some fabulous walks in the mountains, with Samir being very helpful organising our trips.
So it's hard returning to England!
Thank you for making the arrangements so clear and helpful.
My wife, daughter and I spent 10 nights in this most beautiful home, nestled among the souks of Marrakech. What an incredible location from which to explore. Samir, Madame Zahra and the rest of the staff were so very accommodating and helpful. The food was delicious and plentiful, and the bedrooms and lounges comfortable and well appointed. Samir organized a wonderful 2-night trip for us to the Altlas Mountains and the Sahara. All-in-all, an extraordinary experience. Thanks to Munni for all his help making this trip happen.
Lovely riad which quickly became our home for the few days that we spent there, lots of space and wonderfully restful after the medina market place.
So many great experiences were crammed into our four day stay, a hammam at Rosa Bonheur, a cartouche ride to Jardin Majorelle for breakfast, a wander through the gorgeous Bahia Palace, photos with a snake charmer and shopping, shopping, shopping!
The warmth and humor of everyone we met was a delight, the charm of Marrakech extends well beyond the souks and historical sights; the real treasure we found was in the people themselves.
Having such a calm and well cared for riad made our time in Marrakech all the more memorable. Thank you... And we'll be back!
Flying in from Bristol we were met by House Manager Samir - who we discover is a master "No Problem" organiser. Even arriving very late (11pm) Madame Zahra had prepared a "Welcome Dinner" - our very first Tagine - Delicious!
With a cook and a maid and Samir to serve us it was living like a Sultan for pennies a day! We explored ( When Janice was on her own she felt completely safe even in the maze of the Souks) Everything is just a short walk away from Dar Aicha and before signing off I must mention another 'first' - our first hammam
a steam, sauna, massage, pedicure - We never felt so clean. Don't miss it!
Cheers! Janice and Jed
This riad with an open courtyard where nature comes to call is a gem located in the center of the frenzied excitement of the souks of the old Medina in Marrakech. Booked for a 75 day stay we had an excellent opportunity to access living in a riad in this most unusual location.
The riad is staffed by four of the most amazing individuals, including Samir, the house man, Adil, the household assistant, Madame Zahra, the cook and Ouimainma, the laundress and housekeeper. We choose to dine in 65% of our time and were able to specify foods to our liking, all with a Moroccan theme but spiced to our tastes. The dining experience alone was enchanting, let alone the warmth of the staff in serving us to perfection.
The riad itself is impeccable and cared for to perfection The open courtyard allows moon light to filter in as well as sunlight during the day. With high temperatures the riad stays comfortable. No AC is required when the temperature drops considerably at night.
Every possible amenity is provided in keeping the riad running smoothly. We rarely needed to ask for anything, as the staff was well in tuned to our needs. The setting and property itself offered the utmost of charm and local flavor.
As for living in within the souks? The crowd made walking difficult and annoying, mostly due to tourists shoving and pushing, rarely saying "excuse me" in any language. One must have a thick hide to tackle this each day. One can easily see how the locals, dependant upon the tourist trade, have learned to adapt to this scenario.
Although the shop owners in the souks vigorously attempted to gain our attention, we quickly learned to not look at merchandise which aided in reducing the constant harking at us. These hard working people are only trying to earn a living.
The property manager and owner are thoughtful, helpful and gracious. We couldn't have felt more welcomed and appreciated. Everything was exactly as stated and more.
For us, the 75 day stay was too long, only based on the difficulty in walking through the souk and the lack of restaurants serving foods to our taste in the souks. Most visitors tire of Moroccan spiced foods after a few days. Somehow we managed to "train" the staff at the restaurants to explain how we liked our food. Madame Zahra immediately adapted to our tastes.
Will we return to Marrakech? As world travelers, probably not. But, Dar Aicha will remain in our hearts and minds forever.
My family of four recently spent our Christmas vacation in Morocco and rented Dar Aicha. After a long international flight it was so nice to be welcomed by Samir and driven to the entry of the souk. There a wooden wagon loaded our luggage and another staff member led us on a wonderful scenic walk to our beautiful house. The photos are accurate but don't begin to capture how truly lovely it is. And as pretty as it is, the wonderful scents from the kitchen can't be captured in a photo. We soon learned that after a busy day of sightseeing, relaxing in the riad with fantastic meals from Madam Zahara was far tastier than any restaurants we tried. Samir arranged a two day excursion to Fes with a very nice and accommodating driver. When we arrived back in Marrakech at midnight, Samir was waiting to accompany us back to the riad. He also arranged a wonderful trip to hike in the Atlas Mountains. When we had questions about shopping he made great suggestions and even arranged for us to visit a nearby spice market. He was so helpful and we are so grateful for his assistance. All of the staff made our visit stress free and so enjoyable. I am hopeful that one day we can return!
From our first inquiry through our departure, the staff that runs Dar Aicha was incredible. Besides the beautiful design and decor of the home, especially the roof deck, the home is meticulously maintained, and the staff are simply exceptional (and also incredibly thoughtful). The house is located in the heart of the souks, easily accessible to the main square, but nonetheless situated in a quiet alley. The location is perfect for those wishing to experience the souks but is also a wonderful respite from the chaos outside the doors of the house. Breakfast and dinner were wonderful, and I encourage you to definitely dine in at least one evening (I also encourage you to try the stalls in the Jemma el Fna as the food is amazing). We also decided to visit the High Atlas and Samir was able to set up a trip very quickly, which proved to be one of the high points of our holiday (thanks, Samir).
Marrakech is complex, full of contrasts, and (based on our experience) initially overwhelming for even the most seasoned travelers. Our decision to stay at Dar Aicha was ideal in that it provided us with the perfect location from which to explore the city, but also a sanctuary which allowed us to step back, drink a bottle of wine on the roof, and reflect upon the nature of the spectacle that is Marrakech.
As far as advice, don't spend too much time in the souks, and make sure you visit the Northern and Southern Medina, both are much more relaxing than the central. Also try the cardamom tea carts in the Sq., they are fantastic, definitely head to the Atlas mountains, visit the new part of the city, Guelitz, and, whatever you do, avoid any and all solicitations to visit the tannery. Or don't, it will make for a great story! Safe travels! (Thanks again, Munni)
Marrakech, situated between the high Atlas mountains and the southern deserts of Morocco, is an ancient city of exquisite gardens, historical sites, colourful souks and elegant shops. The city offers all-year-round attractions from cultural pursuits to leisure activities. Shopping in the souk for pottery, jewellery, brassware and carpets is a magical experience.
Other Activities: excursions desert/beach/ mountains by arrangement. Marrakech is a shopper's paradise. Come and experience it for yourself.
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly *||Event|
Jan 1 2015 - Dec 31 2015
1 night minimum stay
|Notes: Rates are based on 1 guests; add £40 per night, per additional guest|
My Standard Rate
1 night minimum stay
|Notes: Rates are based on 1 guests; add £40 per night, per additional guest|
|Fees||No additional mandatory fees|
Rates quoted are per person. WEEKLY rate is for one person - two people per week is £560, etc. Children under 10 years may stay free of charge. Good discounts are offered for older children.
Single visitors (ie one person occupying the entire house) will be charged £500 per week or by arrangement.
Please note that the NIGHTLY rates quoted are PER PERSON, per night
Guests pay a 15% deposit on booking. Balance due 3 weeks before arrival at the house.
For all meals requested by our guests, payment is made directly to Samir the house manager and in the local currency (dirhams)
* Approximate monthly rate. Actual rate will depend on the days of the month you stay.
Payment is usually accepted in the quoted currency (GBP) unless the currency and the amount is specifically agreed in advance with the owner / advertiser.