Hotel Highlights

  • Away from the madding crowds
  • Stunning outdoor heated pool and gardens
  • Large, beautifully designed rooms

Overview

Cosy up to your private stone fireplace flanked by richly hued rugs and clean-lined leather armchairs at Marrakech boutique hotel Dar Zemora. High ceilings, metal sconces and gauzy drapes create a sense of place in this city hideaway, finished with touches of both antique and modern furniture. After a day scouring the souks, open French doors for a nightcap in the starlit garden.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Dar Zemora with us:

A candlelit scented bath with rose petals

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

Two suites, three rooms, all very private and looking out on the gardens.

Check–out

12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. The hotel can arrange for you to use a shower to freshen up if you have a late flight.

Rates

Double rooms from $297.66 (£177), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Dar Zemora is unable to accept payment by credit card.

More details

Rates include breakfast, afternoon cake and tea, and mineral water.

At the hotel

Hammam, treatment room for massage, aromatherapy and reflexology, library, limited WiFi. IPod docking stations and DVD players are available on request.

Our favourite rooms

Zahara suite has a lovely terrace, wooden four-poster and fireplace. The Perla suite is on the roof, with open fireplace, marble bath and big private terrace. Bebra is good for guests with mobility problems, and has a hand-painted bathroom ceiling.

Poolside

The heated pool is shaded by palms and surrounded by gardens, parasols and teak sundecks.

Packing tips

Layers in winter; swimmers.

Also

Airport transfer for £20 (highly recommended). Private parties of up to 14 adults can book the whole property. Call for specific details of wheelchair access.

Children

Under-twos and over-8s welcome (check for other ages). Cots in suites, no charge; extra bed, £50 a night. Babysitting available.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

A two course lunch is served daily. In the evening dinner is served at 8.30pm. Jamila prepares a three-course Moroccan dinner every night except Sunday, when a  traditional Moroccan four-course feast is served.

Hotel Bar

None as such: you can relax with a drink wherever you choose.

Last orders

Dinner's always served at 8.30pm, but late arrivals can order ahead for a light supper.

Room service

24 hours, but drinks only after 10pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

As though you’re at home.

Top table

Weather permitting, round the pool by candlelight. In winter, by a roaring fire in the Omar Room.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…
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Lush gardens and palm groves

Dar Zemora

72 rue El Aandalib, Palmeraie, Marrakech

Dar Zemora is in the Palmeraie, an area of lush palm groves just outside of Marrakech, a 15-minute drive from the Medina.

Planes

The drive from from Marrakech Menera Airport should take 20 minutes (it’s 10 kilometres) (www.onda.ma/ONDA/an). There are direct flights directly from London, Paris and Madrid, but those arriving from North America will need to change.

Trains

From the main station in Marrakech, regular trains run to other major Moroccan cities, including Tangier, Casablanca and Fez.

Automobiles

The hotel is in the Palmeraie, a 15-minute taxi ride from the Medina and souks. Dar Zemora can arrange transfers from the airport for their guest. There are hire car desks at the airport, but the hotel recommends you take their transfer option as it’s tricky to find.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Danielle Nay , Brand angel

‘They look like giant Baked Alaskas.’

As you can see, I’m groping for words to describe the Atlas Mountains, which loom mightily over the rosy city of Marrakech. I’m having difficulties because these aren’t just the ‘snow-capped peaks’ of guidebook cliché: from where I’m standing, they’re in full-on snowy chador from top to bo...

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Dar Zemora

Anonymous review by Danielle Nay, Brand angel

‘They look like giant Baked Alaskas.’

As you can see, I’m groping for words to describe the Atlas Mountains, which loom mightily over the rosy city of Marrakech. I’m having difficulties because these aren’t just the ‘snow-capped peaks’ of guidebook cliché: from where I’m standing, they’re in full-on snowy chador from top to bottom. Warm sunshine and spotless blue skies make this a glorious sight, especially for a couple of sun-starved Brits abroad in January.

‘Oooooh, let’s go snowboarding!’ exclaims Mr Smith, at almost exactly the same moment that I squeal ‘Oooooh, let’s go skiing!’ Alarm bells ring. Perhaps we’re only compatible off-piste? But we decide to brave it. After all, the famous ski resort of Oukaimeden is only 75km away.

Each morning of our stay unfurls with the same avowed intent: we’re dying to see if you really do ride the rumoured donkey or camel to access the best powdery slopes. The problem is that Dar Zemora is just too comfortable. It’s like the Venus flytrap of places to stay. For a start, the hotel is brilliantly located. Built in the 1990s as a private villa, it’s in the tranquil Palmeraie district – the Beverly Hills of Marrakech – at virtually its closest point to the Medina. It’s set in three acres of pretty gardens filled with citrus trees, palms, bougainvillea and hammocks. We approached it at night, the driveway lit up by twinkling lanterns – a magical introduction. Inside, the hotel is so peaceful that we feel as though we are the only guests. We swiftly establish that this is because we are, in fact, the only guests. So we make the most of our private palace by leaving it only twice. And it takes us a day to summon up the energy to even manage that.

On arrival, we’re led down a cool corridor by Jamal, one of our two superb hosts (the other is Youssef), and led into an exquisite room with sofas, book-strewn coffee table and CD player. I assume this is the hotel’s drawing room, then recognise the four-poster from the website, and realise it’s our suite. The Zahara Suite, to be precise, with its own garden.

When the people at Dar Zemora say suite, they mean suite – none of that ‘bedroom with a sofa’ rubbish here. Ours is an improbably-proportioned domain, with six-metre-high ceilings and separate dressing area. It's tricked out in chocolate tadelakt and a tasteful melange of antique and contemporary furnishings. The sleeping and lounging zone has punched-metal wall sconces, a stone fireplace (lit every evening), exotic rugs, and French doors leading to the elegant garden. The bathing area and dressing room are across a private hallway. The huge vaulted bathroom's showy marble bath is cunningly disguised as a massive sarcophagus. And - oh joy! - there’s underfloor heating, too.

We immediately covet the bathroom products, presented in impractical but charming metal and glass holders with hand-inked labels. Even the 50cl bottles of water (complimentary) are concealed within chic leather holsters. I ask Jamal if someone could possibly clean our muddy shoes, and they return gleaming, 10 minutes later. He then asks if we want to go swimming. Getting wet in January isn’t remotely on our agenda, but how can we refuse when Jamal proudly beams: ‘We prepare the pool for you!’ We check the temperature first (you can’t be too careful, even when the pool’s a mere five-metre sprint from your private terrace), then four staff retract the pool cover, produce cushions for the smart teak sunloungers, and open a somewhat redundant umbrella. A peek into the dinky stone poolhouse reveals a pile of straw hats for guests to borrow.

It’s safe to say this is the most romantic place we’ve ever stayed in. In the gorgeous Fan Room, an open-sided colonnade is hung with vivid turquoise, violet and pink banners. We indulge in a Thai massage and facial, courtesy of a French therapist, whose brochure we came across in the domed hall, where the sun, slanting through jewel-coloured skylights, sprinkles wine gums over the pale plaster walls. Our first day ends with a candlelit dinner washed down with local wine, followed by lazy games of backgammon beside a roaring log fire.

Next day, we awake to birdsong and find the dining table on our terrace already dressed to kill. Youssef, in a pristine white djellaba, hovers on standby, waiting to deliver the goods. As well as the usual breads and beghrirs – traditional oily pancakes – there’s fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, and home-made jams.

Ditching the ski idea once again, we venture into the medina (only 15 minutes by cab) to inspect a piece of merchandise that will require some spectacular haggling: a stunning apartment forming part of the historic Palais Ayadi, being marketed by agents in London for a cool £1.1m. We return to the hotel, drooling, with boxes of cakes from the Pâtisserie Marocaine next to Dar El Bacha, to find that lunch awaits us, even though we forgot to request it. We get spicy tajine-baked vegetables, chargrilled chicken with rice, and some epic plums stewed with cinnamon and rosewater.

After mooching around the Kasbah area for a few hours, we head back for tea at our stylish boutique hotel, plus delicious freshly baked cake. We spend minutes checking email in the library, and a bit longer ticking all our shopping boxes by dipping into the shelf of goodies for sale, where we find quite the prettiest perfume bottles and babouche slippers we’ve seen anywhere. Later, clocking its scented massage oil being sold for double the dirhams at the airport, we agree that Dar Zemora would itself be a bargain at twice the price.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Dar Zemora from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on 30 Aug 2012

We loved

Everything. This was in the most amazing location ever, with the most beautiful garden and pool. The staff were amazing, you felt so welcome – it was more like being part of a family and I can't wait to go back. The great thing about Marrakech is that you can do as much or as little as you like.  The food at Dar Zemora was exceptional. I probably had the best massage of my life, and I really love a good massage. We were in one of the suites (which was huge), our roof terrace was massive, and we had breakfast there every morning which was very romantic. If this is written really badly I do apologise (I have two children hanging off my legs), I  just cannot express how fantastic our stay was. We went for three nights without our children, and it was really one of the best trips my husband and I have had (not because of the lack of kids). So no complaints. (It is very very hot in August).

Don’t expect

Nothing!

Rating: 10/10 stars