Hotel review: Dar Ayniwen Villa, Marrakech
The Dar Ayniwen Villa is located about 20 minutes away from Marrakech medina in the La Palmeraie area. This is where you can swap your dusty and busy riad stay for something a little greener and quieter.
If you contact Dar Ayniwen in advance of arrival, and provide them with flight times you can book the complimentary hotel to airport car service, this is a great touch as it immediately makes you feel settled and meant we didn’t have to worry haggling over the correct taxi fare. The journey from the airport to Dar Ayniwen took just under an hour and took us past the old walls of the Medina, making me very excited and eager to get out and about to explore even though we would have to wait until the next day for this.
On arrival at Dar Ayniwen we were met by Stephane the owner who showed us around the villa whilst our bags were taken to our room. Even though the daylight was waning, the villa looked superbly impressive and first impressions did not disappoint. Stephane explained the villa had originally been built by his father as their private residence and led us through a stately looking courtyard into the main house where we were offered some sweet yet refreshing mint tea. Drinking our tea we were shown the main garden and seating area with views of the pool and were then taken to our room to meet our bags.
The personal service and touches we had read so much about in reviews began early as Stephane knowing we would be arriving around 8pm had pre-ordered our evening meal if we wanted to eat and stay at the villa that evening. We happily agreed to head over to the seating area after we had settled in a bit (more on our first meal further down the post)
Unbeknown to me, the other half had contacted Dar Ayniwen the week before to request a room upgrade, so our room was now a suite named Tiwaline II complete with hamman style bathroom and a private patio with hot-tub. The rooms are decorated in an opulent Moroccan style and I really liked the fact that each suite at Dar Ayniwen has a different look and name. The bed was very comfy and the air-conditioning became a welcome relief from the midday heat.
All the rooms and suites at Dar Ayniwen feel very private due to the use of space in both the main villa and the surrounding grounds so you never feel like you are on top of any of the other guests. At times it felt like we were in our own private house as there were even sitting areas next to our suite where we could relax if we didn’t feel like being by the pool.
Food and Drinks
As mentioned earlier, Stephane had kindly pre-ordered our first night meal for us so we graciously sat down in the restaurant area and awaited the first taste of some traditional Moroccan fare. The setting was very romantic and we quickly slipped into holiday mode. I would love to have been able to post some photos of the selection of starters we had as well as the tasty chicken and olive tagine that followed but unfortunately my hunger took over and I forgot!
The next morning we made our way round to the seating area for breakfast. A welcome change from hotel breakfast buffet fare we were treated to delicious homemade yoghurt and granola, fresh orange and ground coffee, fresh fruit and an assortment of bread, pastries and cakes. Eggs and other additional options were available at an extra cost but we were happy with the offerings every morning and felt we didn’t need to order anything else.
Whilst we chose to eat out on our other evenings in Marrakech we did have lunch by the pool one day as we just wanted to relax. You can opt to pre-order your lunch at Breakfast so that you can choose from Dar Ayniwen’s two menus. The standard lunch menu has burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and chips without the need to pre-order and then then the A La Carte menu has all the traditional foods you would expect to see for both lunch and evening options. We really enjoyed our lunch and very much enjoyed drinking mojitos by the pool.
As you’ve probably gathered the villa is set amongst some stunning gardens and is the perfect place to escape to from the hustle and bustle of the medina. Stephane the owner has a huge passion for birdlife and there are many different species living in the grounds in addition to fish in the ponds and tortoises around the grass area. After spending most mornings in the medina we would head back to the villa to relax by the pool or read on the patio area near our suite, you can not help but feel totally relaxed at Dar Ayniwen.
This is what sets Dar Ayniwen way ahead of the game with any other hotel in Marrakech in my opinion. From the minute we arrived we were looked after superbly. In addition to having Stephane the owner on site if needed, all the staff were genuinely warm and could not have done any more to make our stay more comfortable. We need to pay particular thanks to Youness and Aziz who not only provided us with the best service we have ever encountered in any hotel or resort around the world but were also an absolute pleasure to talk to. Aziz looked after arranging the complimentary shuttles back and forth to the medina for us, taking note of our requested times so that if there were no other guests needing the service we could come and go as and when we wanted. Youness was always on hand to bring drinks as well as being our unofficial photographer for couple shots! As a teacher I enjoyed talking to Youness about his past career in the education system and the differences and similarities between our two countries.
I would not hesitate in recommending Dar Ayniwen to anyone, in fact I have already told several friends who are planning on visiting Marrakech that they have to stay here. It’s the perfect place to escape to if you want a quiet and relaxing break to just read and lounge about but is also hugely convenient for trips into central Marrakech with the complimentary shuttle service. You can have the best of both worlds without feeling like you are missing out on the craziness of the medina, you will get enough without having to sleep there I can assure you!
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