Dar Aicha…A small palace…A big lifestyle…Photos of the “riad”…

Looking up at the sky, day and night, is a rare treat, from inside the riad, defined as traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard.

The water pressure and the consistency of the hot water makes taking a shower a pleasant experience.  The lack of insects, snakes and centipedes allows fearless roaming at night in the dark. It’s no longer necessary to lather from head to toe in insect repellent several times a day. 

Link to the listing on Homeaway.com

The sunlight in the courtyard provides a welcoming warmth as we acclimate to the cooler weather.
Morocco is known for its traditional design, architecture befitting the lifestyle of its people for many centuries. Our bedroom is through these white drapes.  On the interior, there are heavier drapes for added privacy. So far, we’ve been up and dressed before staff arrives between 8:30 and 9:00 am, staying until after dinner is served and dishes washed.

The cool temperatures from a low of 50F, 10C to a high of 75F, 24C prevents us from the necessity of wearing the least amount of clothing possible while maintaining a certain level of modesty as we did over the past many months. Sleeping is easier and more comfortable with a fluffy comforter we don’t need to kick off during the night. I wore socks to bed these past three nights. Nice.

The one end of the salon, comparable to a living room, is where we’ll spend most of our free time when not out.
The opposite end of the salon as shown above. We’re delighted to have discovered the BBC, an English speaking news channel, allowing us to stay current in world affairs.

After nine months of hot weather, beginning in Tuscany during Italy’s heat of summer, with no AC;  then on to Kenya’s humid heat with no AC; later on to South Africa’s heat of summer with AC in the bedroom, it’s taking time for us to acclimate to the cooler, albeit pleasant, weather of Marrakesh (may also be spelled, Marrakech, still pronounced with the “esh” sound).

The dining room where our meals are served each night we choose to dine in with Madame Zahra cooking. One of the conditions of staying in Dar Aicha is to have all of our dining-in meals, prepared, served, and cleared by Madame Zahra and other staff. Employed as a full-time chef, we stay out of the simple kitchen other than to get our beverages, which we prefer to do on our own. Soon, we’ll head to a grocery store for snacks and cheese, also which we will be able to serve ourselves. However, we may not cook at all during the two and a half month stay.

This morning I’m wearing a long dress, long socks, and a hot pink fluffy robe provided in our room and I’m also covered with a blanket. Gee, what will we do in Iceland in September?

This is the entrance to the artist’s studio.  The owner of the riad is a renowned artist currently living in England. On occasion, she spends time at Dar Aicha when it isn’t rented. The staff gave us a gracious card from the owner with a thoughtful handwritten note, welcoming and thanking us for visiting Dar Aicha, a touch we greatly appreciated.

Finally, we’ve adapted to the two hour time difference between South Africa and Morocco with both of us awakening this morning at our usual times. I’m more rested today than a few nights before we left South Africa when fitful sleep plagued me over several nights while anxious over the upcoming long travel period. 

This second-floor lounge area was where we initially anticipated, we’d spent most of our free time. But, once we tried the lower level salon, as shown above, we found it to be a more ideal location for us, although at times we will use this area.

(By the way, we both have combated any future anxiety over lengthy flights and travel time. Although we were tired, we did very well, comfortable that we’ll easily manage any long trips in the future. Traveling to Morocco was our longest travel time thus far).

Most of the rooms surrounding the courtyard are long and narrow but, by no means feel cramped or small. This is where we sleep in this comfortable bed and covers. The colorful glass in the windows blocks out enough light to provide privacy and block out the light when sleeping.

We chose the “blue” room for its calming atmosphere. 

The Moroccan furnishings are interesting and well made. This chest is where Tom stores his clothing while I keep mine in another bedroom preventing me from awakening him when I awake about a half-hour before him each morning. He stays up later than I.

The first night, we both kept walking into the protrusion on the right side or this ornate bathroom door that is at shoulder level. With our bad, right shoulders, we quickly learned to avoid walking into this. On the right, is the last of our now worn large orange suitcase, used for Tom’s clothing.

The interior of the master en suite bath, all blue to match the room. The darkened colors on the walls are not water stained. It’s simply a variation in the color. The bathrooms, as well as the bedrooms, are fully equipped for all of our needs, soaps, toilet paper, and tissues, and a hand mirror. The sinks are all hammered brass, which hasn’t rusted as typical for brass near water. 

The colorful daybed is reflected in this antique mirror in our bedroom

This is the doorway from our bedroom to the sunny courtyard.  We can easily drop these drapes for more privacy, if we choose, which hasn’t yet been necessary.

All in all, we’re very comfortable. The food is manageable for my way of eating and for Tom’s taste buds, the people are warm and friendly and we feel safe, although continuing to maintain our usual level of caution.

I chose the pink bedroom for my clothing and for showering and dressing in the mornings. At first glance, these en suite bathroom doors appear to be a mirror, giving one the sense of “Alice in Wonderland,” walking through a mirror.
 This is the interior of my pink bathroom.
 This bathroom is cluttered with my stuff, illustrating why it’s best that Tom and I don’t share. In my old life, I had an entire cupboard filled with stuff. Now, I only have what is shown here, a bit messy, but all that I use.
 The interior of my pink shower. Great water pressure and fast hot water. After using water, the pipes make the most unusual sound, a “whoosh,” we’ve never heard before.
The window near the bed in the pink room.  I use the bed to keep one of the smaller orange bags for easy access to our supplies.

The riad is ideal for us, although for the less sure-footed, the one or two steps off of each room into the courtyard could be a tripping hazard. The bedrooms are all up a flight of stone steps with another flight to the rooftop which may be difficult for some. 

The smallest of the three bedrooms is the yellow room which we don’t use at all, ideal for children.
This doorway has an “Alice in Wonderland” l than any of the others, especially when entering its charming yellow en suite bathroom.
No photo can do justice to this playful and colorful en suite bathroom.

With our diminished activity level with no housecleaning, laundry, cooking, or dishes, other than walking in the Medina, and up and down the steps, we will make a concerted effort to keep moving around as much as possible.

Today, we share our photos of Dar Aicha and a link to the website where we originally discovered this lovely property. Although not officially a “palace” its style is commensurate with the layout of an open-air center courtyard, as typical in many homes in Marrakesh. 

Another blue sky view of the sky above the center courtyard.  At night, the stars are breathtaking from inside the riad.

This morning, as I stepped from our bedroom to my own “dressing” bedroom, I noticed three of the “tibbits,” (birds) flying in the house. No, it’s not as exciting as a warthog family of four or five or, a kudu with his white “got milk” mustache or, a giraffe thudding through the yard munching on treetops.

Last night’s vegetable course of Madame Zahra’s fine dining. We were so busy chatting I forgot to take a photo of the main course, a flavorful and spicy meatball dish made with cooked eggs on the top. We enjoyed it all.

But, it was exciting to see the little birds freely flying in the courtyard, their chirping music to our ears, and the sounds of other familiar birds of Africa flying over the house, creating a shadow in the courtyard, in the morning sunlight.

For now, we couldn’t be happier. Dar Aicha is our home.

Note:  This afternoon, we’re heading out to the Souk and Medina to find a good spot for dinner. The options are many! Our outing provides Madame Zahra a night off which we’ll happily do a few times each week.  We’ll report back tomorrow with more photos, of where we dined, what we ate, and more new areas of the Medina and the Souk that we’ve yet to explore.

Comments and responses Dar Aicha…A small palace…A big lifestyle…Photos of the “riad”…

  1. Anonymous Reply

    What a great update. The house looks lovely and I am looking forward to exploring Marrakesh through your eyes.
    Jody in Chan

  2. Malia Reply

    Each new destination that you arrive in makes me excited for this type of post, just to see how other parts of the world live is so incredibly interesting to me. I love that you do this house tour!

  3. Jessica Reply

    We so excited that you enjoy our posts. It is equally interesting to us to see how other people in other countries live, most often so different from what was familiar to us so long ago. Now, we develop a new lifestyle which becomes a combination of everywhere we've been.

    I love hearing from you and remember how happy I was to meet you and that we went to breakfast for pancakes.

    You and Jared look so wonderful together. Keep enjoying life with a similar passion for life that Tom and I share.

    Jess & Tom

  4. Jessica Reply


    We hope you see this response further down on today's post. I can see you riding on the bus in the icky Minnesota weather, reading our posts. It makes us both happy to share a little piece of our crazy lives with a fellow Minnesotan.

    Soon spring will come your way and everything will be lush and green. May you enjoy that time with aplomb!
    Thanks for writing to us. We love your kind comments!

    Warmest regards,
    Jess & Tom

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