Jewel-like designer riad with shades of the exotic

CREATED FROM TWO TRADITIONAL MARRAKECH RIADS, Dar les Cigognes takes its name from the storks whose nests adorn the ramparts of the royal palace opposite. This 17th century former merchant’s home has been transformed into a sleek luxury boutique hotel, and the result is good enough for a sultan, with a stylish modern take on traditional Moorish design.

Set in the heart of the Red City’s Medina, Dar Les Cigognes is a jewel. Walk through the door from the hustle-bustle of the street and enter a calming courtyard where a fountain plays, palms sway and citrus trees rustle.

Shady alcoves are the perfect spot to sip mint tea – unless of course you flop into a raffia armchair in the fabulous rooftop garden, with its unfettered views of the Atlas Mountains. Don’t miss the technicolour skies here at dusk, with a myriad minarets silhouetted in the distance, the sight of snow-capped peaks in winter or the brilliant sharp colours at breakfast time. We loved watching the famous storks fly back to their nests at sundown.

Hit the spot

At the gates of Marrakech’s royal palace.

Exotic boudoirs range from the stunning Silver room to the rich red velvets and gold four-poster of the Harem room – simply made for sultan-esque goings-on. 

Be savvy
There’s no pool, but the rest more than makes up for it.

Be smitten
Medina jewel with modern-Moorish feel.

Petals and stars

Inside Dar Les Cigognes, chic interiors glow with good taste. There’s a dining room and well stocked  library – each with a fireplace – and a covered bridge leading to the second riad where you’ll find a hammam and jacuzzi, a massage room and a boutique.

Eleven highly individual bedrooms in this serene and deluxe riad are steeped in the exotic, with cool stone floors, deep traditional baths, big beds, silky smooth tadelakt plaster walls and atmospheric lighting. Each draws on Moorish artistic traditions, with soothing tones, intricate plasterwork and huge attention to detail.  Return in the evening to find rose petals on your bed (and a hot water bottle in winter) and delicious cookies to munch.

There’s an ornate hand-painted ceiling in the Zouak room, while the Sahara room sports a canopied bed rather like a desert tent, frescoes on blue tadelakt walls and a star-covered ceiling. The Middle Atlas room is adorned with rich carpets and a painted frieze of Arabic calligraphy. Trunks and gauzy mosquito netting are the hallmarks of the Safari room, while the Casablanca room evokes all the decadence of the 1930s.

Other standout rooms at Dar Les Cigognes include the Silver room, with its canopied beds, silver tadelakt walls and beautifully chosen mosaics. The snug Harem room has boudoir written all over it: a brass four-poster bed, scarlet red walls and orientalist artworks. Bathrooms come with big baths and hammered brass basins.

Guests rave about this well-run riad (on-the-ball management means that service is second to none) and its commitment to first-rate guest service. Breakfast and afternoon tea are complimentary, and help is waiting – whether it’s to book a restaurant, arrange a guide, set up an out-of-town excursion or plan a special surprise. What’s more, this haven of civility is just a ten minute walk from the souks and all the action at Djemma El Fna Square.

Dar Les Cigognes was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mairiona Cotter

Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the gallery.

Dining in
Dine in the courtyard or on the roof terrace at Dar les Cigognes, where dinner is cooked to order. Daily changing choices include classics such as vegetable couscous, monkfish tagine and traditional pastilla au fruits de mer (a delicious seafood pie), as well as some European favourites. We stayed for one of the weekly Moroccan buffets, complete with costumed musicians, which was first rate.

Breakfast in bed? No problem. And if you’re serious foodies, you can join in one of the pre-dinner cookery classes and cook your own meal.

Dining out

There are dozens of great eateries within 20 minutes of Dar Les Cigognes, and manager Chris Ryan will be happy to advise. Dine al fresco in a little courtyard shaded by olive and fig trees at Le Pavillon, highly rated for its French cuisine. For Moroccan specialities head to elegant and exotic Jana, on Boulevard Mohammed Vl or swish Le Crystal, with its pool, palm trees and American bar.


Dar Les Cigognes

What’s cooking?

Lamb tagine, pigeon pie, couscous and delicious salads.

Dress the part
Dress-down chic.

Top table?
On the roof terrace, watching the sunset.

See & Do

It’s easy to feel you have stumbled onto the set of Casablanca when you plunge into the hurly-burly of the souks of Marrakech, especially in the Medina (the old city). Soak up the carnival atmosphere of Djemma el Fna square, with its entertainers, hawkers and cafes, then watch the weavers, herbalists, slipper makers and copper beaters at work. Take a horse-drawn calèche ride and make time for a wander in the cool Majorelle Gardens.  

Dar Les Cigognes' friendly owners will be happy to suggest more unusual treats, like a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Atlas Mountains or a helicopter trip over the desert.

Head to the souks on your doorstep for jewellery, leather, spices, silks and slippers – and be ready to haggle. If you’d rather get someone else to do the work, you can hire a personal shopper for EUR 200 to take you to the best places and ensure you pay the right price.

Dar Les Cigognes also has its own small boutique selling kaftans, Berber jewellery and local handicrafts.

This place is designed with wellbeing in mind. Book a body scrub or massage at the spa (we suggest booking as soon as you arrive) or simply soak in the steamy hammam.

After dark
Start the night in Djemma el Fna square, with its fire eaters, snake charmers and traders galore. The clubs and hip hangouts of Guéliz (the city’s new town) await those who like to keep late-late hours, and you’ll find plenty of after-dark dining dens and piano bars. There’s only one reason not to stay out all night… 

Tune into Dakka Marrakchia – Marrakech’s big traditional music event.

The streets are even noisier than usual during the Marrakech folklore Festival. Showcasing the country’s traditional music and dance.

Late September
Watch open-air screenings of Bollywood blockbusters and rub shoulders with stars and starlets at the Marrakech Film Festival.

Rue de Berina, Medina, Marrakech

Parking is available across the street for EUR 2-3 per day.

Marrakech Central station – ten minutes

Around 150 Dirhams from the airport, though we recommend you book a private transfer through the hotel for roughly the same price. This avoids the usual scrum at the airport and assures you of a nice car.

Marrakech Menara – 15 minutes. Many major European airlines fly into Marrakech, including Royal Air Maroc, Air France, British Airways, and Iberia. Casablanca is a half-hour flight away or three hours by road.

Rooms and suites
11 rooms, one suite

Special features
Deluxe rooms and the suite each have a working fireplace and huge baths for soaking. Each room is a highly individual take on Moroccan design.

You’ll also find a hammam, a treatment room for reflexology, manicures or massage, a well stocked library and a secluded roof garden perfect for watching the North African sunset.


Rates guide
EUR 169 - 350

Open all year except July.



Minimum night stay?

No, unless it’s at Easter, New Year or Christmas.


Buffet breakfast with home made traditional pastries and jams is served until 10am. Your room rate also includes afternoon tea.

Room service

Available 24 hours

Over fives are welcome


Air conditioning
Yes – all rooms


French, Arabic, English

Wedding license?

Up to 60 guests can be catered for, if you hire the whole place.

Your contact
Marie Francoise Courrieu – General manager

Room for Romance Extra

A complimentary bottle of wine with dinner



Dar Zemora
Intimate Moorish retreat steeped in the romance of Marrakech

Maison MK
Chic and cool indulgence in the Marrakech medina

Dar Doukkala
Grandly retro riad with shades of vintage Art Deco


© Room For Romance 2009 | Search Engine Optimisation by High Position | Bookings: +44 (0)1225 428888
Site map | Links | Legal | FAQ's