Our half term trip to Marrakech was all a bit unexpected. We were due to fly to Dubai, but realised at the last minute we couldn’t go as my daughter only had 3 months left on her passport and the UAE requires a minimum of 6 months … However thanks to the brilliantly reliable travel site Mr & Mrs Smith an alternative was found within a few hours. After a quick Moroccan weather and Tripadvisor check, (I wouldn’t travel without it), Dar Nanka, a small 8 bed boutique hotel in Marrakech was booked. Located 20 minutes drive from both the Menara airport and the walled Medina, the hotel had a half price offer in February, meaning we paid just £100 a night for a large room with a terrace. Flights were found on Easyjet and before we knew it we were repacking our bags for a North African trip!Located in a private gated residence, the hotel mixes Moroccan and French provencal decor fluidly. Surrounded by fragrant gardens, its a peaceful hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the Medina. A modern building, its exterior belies the laid back, rustic interiors within….
The hotel is crammed with art and antiques; we were particularly delighted to find an English Bull Terrier sculpture to remind us of our puppy George back at home!
Our bedroom was beautifully decorated in soft earthy tones, with lots of quirky touches like this display of shoe lasts. The bed was huge with excellent pillows (Mr Jones is a bit of a pillow snob!) and we enjoyed the company of hotel namesake, Nanka the cat most days. We made the most of the beautiful fireplace in our room – one of the friendly staff lit a roaring fire for us that kept us warm through to the early hours.
A large terrace overlooking the gardens offered a private sun trap to sit and soak up those much needed rays. Bliss!We loved relaxing by the Dar Nanka pool . As animal lovers we were delighted to hang out with Julia the dog (pictured) and her side kick Bebe (who was off looking for cats). The animals fully represent the laid back attitude of Dar Nanka. It actually feels more like a private home than a hotel which really helped us to relax. We also loved the music – lots of Nouvelle Vague and Ibiza tracks, all very chilled.
You can leave your hats at home – Dar Nanka has plenty lying around to borrow!
The food is excellent at Dar Nanka. Their speciality is couscous which can be prepared with 24 hours notice. I had the most delicious vegetable couscous with caramelised onions. We also enjoyed fresh monkfish skewers, seabass and lots of salads. Breakfast is served on a small buffet table – yoghurts, cereals, fresh baguettes – but also included are eggs any style, moroccan pancakes (OMG – THE BEST) and the coffee is wonderful (yep, Mr Jones is also a coffee snob).
The moroccan mint tea was good too!
At night the staff light dozens of candles and the cocktail bar comes alive. The owners are around a lot – a very chic couple who go out of their way to make sure guests are happy. We sat and played card games whilst sipping on giant Hendricks & tonic, before taking the free shuttle car into the Medina for dinner at the hottest places in town – Nomad and Comptoir. Getting home was easy too – for just £16 the hotel’s driver will pick you up with 10 minutes notice and whisk you back to the comfort of Dar Nanka.
We had a fabulous stay at Dar Nanka. It was spacious and laid back – as much as I love the tiled Riads of the Medina, its nice to have a pool to relax by (especially one that gets the sun all day) and we loved feeling that we could escape from the charming chaos of Marrakech.
We stayed at Dar Nanka in Feb 2018. Prices from £75 per night. We flew from London with Easyjet (flying time 3h15m). The hotel provides a free airport transport service.