HOTEL DAR DARMA
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Dar Darma, Marrakech

The perfumes mingled with the wood that smelled like sandal on the walls. Two courts make up the Dar Darma, from the ground to the sky

In Marrakech, the unprepared are on the lookout for rugs. The taxi driver leaves us in an emporium just inside the walls, under a shop sign. A cup of mint tea with a lot of sugar, the scent of water and warm autumn, like an August you have never spent. The pale cobalt blue rug takes our fancy: the seller expects us to haggle, but when we put it down to leave, the situation becomes unpleasant. The souks are divided by goods – one for shoes and one for medicinal herbs – in the rug district, the bazaars all look alike. You quietly look at the rugs and touch them – the softness and width of the loom used are important factors. The colors must be natural, red the most common, blue the rarest, white with black stripes the most fashionable. We visit the labyrinth of a market, inside and outside the buildings – on the stalls you find stones, powders and clays – turtles and chameleons. The tables of the restaurants above the roofs, on different levels and terraces in the sun – spring and autumn remain the best times to visit Morocco. The Nomad is an address they recommend. There is never room for breakfast if you don’t book in advance, unless it’s after three in the afternoon – but it seems a place for those even more unprepared than us, others looking for rugs. A boy wants to show us the way, he sees that we have got lost amongst the dead ends. He pretends to know where our house is, but it’s not true – at one point he tells us to go left then right and you’re there – our house is on exactly the opposite side. He wants a tip, and gets annoyed when we don’t play ball.

We arrived last night. Late, the flight landed just before midnight, immigration control was slow. In a side street, the door of the riad opened into a small corridor closed against a wall. A staircase to the side descended a few steps – the embers were alive in the fireplace, a dark table was inlaid with white flowers in lacquered wood. It is the lunge at the Dar Darma, designed by Massimo Tocchetti and Dario Locatelli, who have turned it into one of those houses with a private flavor, where you can stay as if time were set, not even standing still, in a novel. Glitz and luxury faded out of place – you immediately understand how the pleasure of knowing how to live, how to travel and stop, to understand the flavors and perfumes, were choices made by the owners. Last night we were hungry – a boy who looked like family brought us carrots with raisins, zucchinis with saffron and honey, peppers and chicken and apples and curry. The perfumes mingled with the wood that smelled like sandal on the walls. Two courts make up the Dar Darma, from the ground to the sky – yesterday we went up at night to see the city lit up. In November, the jasmine plants helped us breathe, the water from the pool was not cold, merely cool – to then touch a bed protected by canopies and perforated ceilings, embroidered in stone, mosaics in the vault – red and gold striped walls, leather sofas, brass lamps. There was space and softness – even Maleficent said with more sweetness, “for the first time in sixteen years, I shall sleep well.” (Just one recommendation: don’t take the Dar Darma social media into consideration. The impression that you will get will be of a place frequented by people who like to pose and show off, and this does not correspond to the privacy that we guarantee you are able to experience here – ed.).


Dar Darma

Derb Tarik Sidi Bouharba, Marrakesh 40000, Marocco

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