Dar Ahlam, a magical oasis hidden in the palm groves over the Atlas Mountains, where time is infinite and dreams are made.
As you push through the heavy door into the cool, candle-lit shade of the Kasbah, you enter the heart of Dar Ahlam, The House of Dreams – a place where you need never ask for anything, where you never have the same experience twice, where deep relaxation is assured.
This is Dar Ahlam, an exquisitely restored Kasbah in the oasis town of Skoura, where capacity is 28 guests to over a hundred staff. There is no hotel reception, but an opulent communal room awash with thick textiles, snug sofas and a vast, grandiose fire – here guests arrive, whenever they feel, for breakfast, dinner or an excursion into the desert for a bedouin lunch.
At Dar Ahlam time is not important; the hotel and staff run on your time and rhythm. Breakfast is from whenever you roll out of your magnificent bed, wash in your grand, sublimely tiled shower and patter down the tenderly lit staircase to feed. On arrival to the lounge, you’ll be escorted to your private breakfast spot to leisurely snack on eggs, cactus-fruit jam, pastries and sweet Moroccan tea.
This is a place that has been designed elegantly on the personal experience and every guest that enters into this whimsical world enjoys their own private corner of it that has not been explored before. Every meal is served up in a new and exceptional location, each taste is saturated with thought and precision, all detail is exactly tailored to you.
It is a hard task to drag yourself away from the tranquil perfection of Dar Ahlam, but leave you must to dine under a shaded canopy, beyond where nomads make their homes in caves, between barren canyons in the Sahara. Rich Moroccan wine is poured whilst you recline in your own spot of the desert and your personal chef whips up a storm out of sight somewhere behind you. A five star three-course meal cooked just for you in the desert. You better believe it.
Afternoons here are leisurely spent laying in the sun with a cocktail or tea, floating in the heated palm-shaded pool and submerging into the finest hammam I’ve ever set foot in. Couples massages, facials, body scrubs and foot rubs are all at your disposal whenever you wish where natural, lush Argan Oil will sumptuously drench your body.
Dinners are a theatrical affair, with each hushed and decorated room occupied by a different couple, group or family. No written menus are provided, but a brief description of the evening’s flavours are spoken to you as you sit. Mango creme brûlée, rich Moroccan tagine and succulent grilled John Dory were all wonderfully served during our stay.
A stay at Dar Ahlam is, without a doubt, a journey into the fantastical. A lavish secret nestled within the arms of traditional Morocco. A wondrous experience that you’ll hardly believe was real when slammed back to reality. It’s a place to go when the real world is just too much to bear.
How to get there
We flew to Marrakech, hired a car and drove for five hours over the High Atlas. However, connecting flights to Ouarzazate are available on selected days, and pick ups from Ouarzazate airport are included.
It’s worth noting that if driving, Google Maps will take you over a dried up river and through the palm groves. This is correct, and don’t panic, even when your car is on two wheels over dodgy terrain. An escort is available to meet you in Skoura and show you the easier way in, just call in advance.
Transfers from Marrakech to Dar Ahlam are available on request, at a price, as are helicopter transfers if required.
Expensive, but worth every penny. Junior suites are around MAD 10,000, Superiors are MAD 15,000. Both rates are all inclusive of food, drinks (apart from Champagne and some wines) use of the hammam and transfers from Ouarzazate and Skoura. Make enquiries and bookings here.