Hidden behind the protection of unassuming doors, this Riad is the ideal escape from the busy Medina and the perfect base to explore Marrakech.
For our next stop in Marrakech we stayed at Dar Les Cigognes located on the south side of the medina, right next to the royal palace. Hidden behind a small unassuming door was the beautifully restored Riad, that would be our home for the next few days. A simple courtyard, well shaded and beautifully decorated with Moroccan adornments welcomed us. Little sitting rooms, lit by hanging lamps surrounded the space and a team of smiling faces were ready to check us in and show us to our room.
With only 11 guest rooms and suites, space is limited, yet you’ll receive that personalized service that can only come from a true boutique hotel. Dar Les Cigognes has a full restaurant, that serves a mixture of Moroccan and French cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can be served wherever you would like on the property. A full-service spa, offering typical treatments like massages and facials is on site, as well as a typical Hammam and jacuzzi are available for you to take advantage of.
One thing we quickly realized during our stay, is that the staff really cares about your experience and will do the best they can to make you feel welcomed. It’s the type of place that begs you to stay inside, yet is perfectly located so you can get a sense of Moroccan life, right outside the door.
Our mornings were spent leisurely hanging out on the rooftop terrace where a simple yet satisfying breakfast was served. We sipped on freshly made Moroccan tea as we nibbled on delicate pastries and exotic fruit. After an hour or so, we would head out to the Medina to look for hidden treasures and just capture the moments in front of us. Before we left, the front house team made sure we had everything we needed from directions to important phone numbers. Definitely appreciated, as wandering around Marrakech can be a bit intimidating with all the winding streets and hawkers.
At around sunset, we would head to the rooftop, which had incredible views of the skyline and just had an overall relaxing vibe. Ordering a bottle of Moroccan wine, sitting on the lounge chairs, watching the sunset became our favorite activity. Once we could pry ourselves away, we would grab dinner in the Medina and one of the recommended restaurants.
A few times we stayed in and attempted to catch up on work, which was probably not the smartest thing to attempt. WiFi is unreliable in the area and when it does work, it’s very slow, making in almost impossible to quickly navigate the internet. Marrakech and Dar Les Cigognes is a place to come get inspired and relax, but probably not the best if you’re a digital nomad like us. So leave the work behind and just take in the bright colors and sounds of this vibrant city. Outside the walls, the chaos of the medina ensues, yet inside it’s peaceful and quiet. It’s a bit of an oasis in other wise busy and loud area.
Beautiful Moroccan-Inspired Room
We stayed in a Deluxe room, which was on the second floor of the Riad. Tall elaborate doors marked the entrance and all the windows faced the courtyard, which is typical of a Riad and helps keep the noise out. Our room was small but had all the comforts, including a small sitting area and large bathroom.
White washed walls and wool textures filled the space with beautiful Moroccan details throughout. If you’re looking for more space, there are Superior rooms and suites available, which are all equally as appealing. Guest rooms at Dar Les Cigognes are all unique, yet all carry the beautiful Moroccan decor I have come to love. You can expect rich colors, a variety of textures and intricate details that don’t let you forget where you are.
Perfect Location in the Medina
Since Dar Les Cigognes is located inside the Medina, everything is within walking distance or just a short and inexpensive cab ride away. Our recommendation is to head out on foot, and just get lost in the winding alleys and open squares. At night, it’s great to walk towards Jemaa el-Fnaa and test your luck at navigating the food stalls. If food stalls aren’t your thing, there is a fabulous list of recommendations, you’ll receive at checkin, so find your favourite and let the manager make a reservation for you.
If you’ve had your fill of Medina and are looking to get out of town to explore, there are plenty of tours available. Simply tell the team what you’re looking to do, or choose from their packaged tours and they will make it happen for you. Whatever you do though, make sure to allow yourself an afternoon to participate in Dar Les Cigognes famed cooking class…it’s absolutely amazing!
A Cooking Class You’ll Never Forget
Some hotels you’ll revisit, because of the location, maybe the service or perhaps the style, but for Dar Les Cigognes, I will come back because of the amazing chef they have in the kitchen. We had the opportunity to meet this women during our cooking class and I was able to learn so much about Moroccan cuisine…it goes far beyond just using spices. There is passion, simplicity and patience that go into making these traditional dishes - all of which were expertly shared with us during our stay.
We started our afternoon class, by taking a walk through the markets with Pierre the hotel manager. He showed us one of the towns communal ovens, where anyone is allowed to bring their treats to get baked. Depending on when you visit you might see fresh bread coming out of the oven or delicate Moroccan pastries. We then continued on to one of the markets, where the Riad does all their purchasing. From fresh chickens, to olives and spices, we visited all their favorite stalls and got a first hand glimpse of what it’s really like to shop in Marrakech…we were the only tourists around.
After our visit to the markets, we came back to the kitchen at the Riad, where we met the chef and dove in to learning all her secrets. Wine in hand, we learned how to properly make couscous, the special spices that go into tagine and how to make my favorite, Moroccan salads. After an hour or so of leisurely chatting, chopping vegetables and meticulously watching every move chef made, dinner was ready. We took a little break in one of the sitting rooms as our table was prepared and to relax before dinner.
Set in the courtyard, surrounded by lanterns and under the dark sky, we began our feast. We were served dish after dish of everything we cooked just hours before. We had a series of four Moroccan salads (small appetizers), a beautiful chicken tagine, vegetable couscous and all served with Moroccan wine. The setting was incredibly romantic, simple (not overly done) and was just a great way to spend an evening.
For more information about Dar Les Cigognes make sure to visit their website: