DAR AHLAM (link)
The philosophy of the Dar Ahlam hotel is that it’s “a place with no one around.” Created by Thierry Teyssier, the hotel is located on the edge of the Moroccan desert. While the hotel consists of 14 rooms and the service is excellent, you truly feel alone. And while I think that the world alone oftentimes has a negative connotation, in this case, being alone was an amazing feeling. And a good one too. Being comfortable with yourself and enjoying your own company is one of the best ways of being at ease and finding peace in your surroundings. Dar Ahlam was peaceful and incredible – the location was an experience in itself and the property was the perfect compliment to everything around.
While I stayed at the main property, there are five other houses in different locations spread throughout Morocco. With the Dar Ahlam Nomad situated in the sand dunes and Maison de l’Oasis in the Tighmert palm grove on the Timbucktu route, you can explore Morocco in a completely different way with a high level of service and quality. The immersive experiences give you an in depth feeling of adventure and exploration in the different beautiful environments of Morocco.
This experience was very special, not only because I was out to experience Morocco on my own, but also because the property was designed in a way to replicate your home away from home. The leaflet on my pillow that welcomed me read: “Dar Ahlam is your house”, and it felt exactly like home. The main living room was the only area with wifi, decorated with high ceilings and modern fixtures. It was warm and cosy with perfectly placed cushions and an inviting fireplace that heated the entire room. There was no music playing in the background, but the room was filled with a soothing silence. There serenity of the area was like meditation itself, and I found myself happily alone. Like my own home, I spent the next five hours in the living room, taking it in and reading. I actually spent very little time on my phone because there was nothing more important and urgent at the time than experiencing the environment and breathing it all in.
There are no locks on the doors, which might seem unusual for those that crave privacy but actually turned out to be very liberating. It made the place feel like it was yours and you were free to roam around with no restrictions or worries. The soaps and shampoos were also all hand made and environmentally friendly, which follows the philanthropy of the hotel. With in house gardens and attention to the seasons, the food cooked is also local and focuses on seasonal ingredients so guests have the freshest produce. Each meal is a surprise and experience in itself since each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) is held in a secret location that is custom to each meal, day, and guest. The menu is tailored for the specific location and the tablescape is decorated accordingly. Each plate, cutlery, napkin, and even the salt and pepper containers are specific for each meal.
When I had dinner at 9p.m. on the first night I arrived, the lovely staff lead me through the maze like interior of the hotel. Walking through the candle lit corridor, I found myself in a candle lit room with a fire place outside. The room was decorated with white linens, candles, and plates. Again there was no music, but there was no need for it. The sound of nothing was a soundtrack in itself, and it was almost as if it was asking you to pay attention. The silence was the accompanying symphony to the footsteps of the staff bringing in the different dishes. It was the perfect compliment to the slightest crunch in each bite. The silence even elevated your taste buds since you were so focused on each bite and not distracted by anything else. If there was a way to describe eating in meditation, this would be it.
My entire experience at Dar Ahlam was happy and content in every way. The surroundings were a feast for the eyes and the local dishes were satiating to the stomach and my taste buds. I felt mindfulness at every turn – waking up in the morning and seeing the sun, taking a shower with the handmade soaps, watching the fire and the logs burn, witnessing the sun set at dusk. My only commitment during my stay was to observe, to taste, and to feel. Without any distraction and judgements, I was truly grateful to stay in such a place that allowed me to let go and pay attention to only what was in front of me.