Saturday Morning, Hanane and I woke up and grabbed our overnight bags to set out for a further exploration of Moulay Idriss, Volubulis, and Meknes. Since our previous expedition (http://www.vagobond.com/2010/02/vagobond-in-meknes-and-moulay-idriss/) had been so incredibly enjoyable, I decided to surprise her with a weekend trip so that we could really dig into this incredible region.
After scouring the web and various guide books, I decided that the best place to stay would be Dar Zerhoune in Moulay Idriss. While all the guest houses looked good, there was an indefinable magic about Dar Zerhoune that led me to contact them. I am incredibly glad that I did.
Just in case you don’t believe me, I took a picture of the guestbook so you can read what others had to say!
To book with Dar Zerhoune you can either call Fayssal at 0535544371 or 0665141590 or you can email at
email@example.com Their website is
I sent an email off to the owner, Rose on Thursday and had a fast reply and confirmation complete with a map, directions, and information on how to contact the manager Fayssal.
Armed with that information we set out from Sefrou for the approximately two hour journey to Moulay Idriss. 40 dirhams each got us to the taxi stand in Moulay Idriss and then Rose’s easy to follow map and directions got us to the door of Dar Zerhoune taking us throught the main square, past the mausoleum, and then through a friendly and scenic Medina. Fayssal met us at the door.
It turns out we were fortunate since Dar Zerhoune has been fairly busy since last March when they opened. Happily for us, no one else had thought to book a Valentines getaway and so we had this entire beautiful Dar to ourselves.
The Dar itself is gorgeous, the product of three years of intensive renovation and decorating. Hot showers, gorgeous lighting, and a feeling of warmth and home that I often find missing from top end guesthouses, Dars, Riads, and hotels. A rooftop terrace offers a stunning view of Moulay Idriss and Volubulis. The salon was well stocked with comfy chairs and sofas and plenty of English language reading material, including books and up to date copies of Newsweek and Time. There is also free wifi throughout the house, I however had decided to leave my laptop at home since I knew if I had it, I would feel compelled to work. Dar Zerhoune has single, double, and triple ensuite roooms plus a dormitory for backpackers who are looking for some intense luxury without an intense cost. Rates are far less than you would find in any of Morocco’s bigger cities with the triple ensuite going for only 600 dirhams per night.
Don’t think you are getting less though because this place has it all. The kitchen is available for personal use or if you want to have delicious meals cooked by Fayssal’s mom, you can do that too. In short, awesome experience and awesome value.
Fayssal took us for a guided walk through the Medina, sharing with us the history, festivals, and traditions of Moulay Idriss. In addition to knowing virtually everything about his town, he is also a mountain guide and offers treks to lesser known Roman ruins, scenic views, beautiful cascades, and even horseback trips. Inchallah, Hanane and I will return when we have even more time and explore some of these places with him.
As it was, he showed us the only round minaret in Morocco, explored some of the history of Moulay Idriss, showed us where to get sandwiches for a picnic lunch, and set us off on a back route to Volubulis where we saw beautiful nature, pastoral scenes, and epic views of the Roman ruins as we approached.
I’ll write about our hike in part II.
After exploring the ruins, we returned to Dar Zerhoune and sat on the patio drinking hot chocolate and chatting with Fayssal until it was time to go to bed. One of the great things about travel in Morocco is the sense of family and friendship that grows if you let it. By the end of the evening, Fayssal was no longer solely our host, but also our friend.
We slept soundly in Dar Zerhoune. The beds were comfortable and the heater in our room kept us toasty and warm. In the morning we went upstairs for coffee and found a beautiful Moroccan breakfast waiting for us. Fresh coffee, extraordinary tea (not your usual mint tea but including fresh herbs from the surrounding countryside!) breads, pastries, fresh butter straight from the cow, and the most delicious goat cheese I’ve ever tasted.
Our time in Moulay Idriss was wonderful in no small part thanks to Fayssal and Dar Zerhoune. On this trip we didn’t get the chance to trek to Paragliders point or take a thermal dip in the ancient Roman baths of Mount Zerhoune, but as we said goodbye to Fayssal and his mom, we knew that we would be back to enjoy more of what this wonderful place has to offer.