An imposing Kasbah in Ouarzazate, hugging the edge of the Moroccan desert. Arrive at Dar Ahlam and enter a cool, calm retreat. A clear swimming pool shaded by 100-year old palms. Manicured lawns and mature gardens. All with the majesty of the desert on your doorstep. Breezy in summer and snug in winter, this traditional Kasbah forges an intimate connection with its surroundings. Secluded by palm groves and almond trees at the edge of the Moroccan desert, this two-hundred-year-old rammed earth Kasbah, the color of Champagne, is the original Maison des rêves.
Gracefully made over with all modern comforts and the necessary technology, this singular fourteen-room hideaway overlooks the Atlas Mountains, with a palm-shaded swimming pool, hammam, and candle-lit massage room. Yet Dar Ahlam is not so much a hotel as a team of over 100 people dedicated entirely to you. Meals are customized and served to you among various distinct, private settings like the flourishing gardens by Louis Benech, the Jardin des Tuileries' gifted designer in Paris, and the Bosquet du Théâtre d'Eau at Versailles.
Days at Dar Ahlam take shape around completely personalized adventures with your dedicated guide. Trek into the Valley of Roses, explore among the corn stalks and pomegranate trees of a nearby palmeraie and drive to the hilltop vestiges of a 12th century Berber village for a traditional tea ceremony at dusk. To all of these, added elements of surprise. The only wish is for you to leave Dar Ahlam with memories more beautiful than dreams.
Dining - Meals among all the Maisons des Rêves are curated for you from 450 gourmet recipes created by the likes of Frédérick Grasser-Hermé, Philippe Conticini, Frédéric Eyrier, Cédric Nieuvarts, and Thierry Alix, with desserts by the incomparable Pierre Hermé. Each dish has a story to tell. Dining is private at every meal. Each venue along the Route du Sud has been thoughtfully selected for a dramatic impression like your picnic lunch served alongside the natural basalt archway that curves acrobatically over Legzira Beach and into cerulean Atlantic waters and the strategically placed dining table atop a 12th-century Agadir built by Berber tribesmen. At the Nomad Camps, those first rays of morning sun illuminate breakfasts while dinners are served under a canopy of stars. In residence at Dar Ahlam, you might be collected from the lounge after a cocktail and led through in darkness through this 19th-century fortress to a lavish dinner table for two, lit by 100 candles. Following a guided nature walk among abandoned Kasbahs tattooed with Berber motifs, you may be whisked by SUV to a secret celadon-hued lake and surprised with Moroccan salads and chicken skewers served as you recline on Berber cushions and carpets shaded by a canvas cover.
The Ingredients - Living within a Berber village as we do at Dar Ahlam, ingredients for the healthy seasonal vegetarian dishes showcase traditional farming methods. We buy pomegranate vinegar, date caramel, tall herb grass honey, and amlou, a luscious spread made from crushed almonds and argan oil, from the neighbors and purchase whatever can be harvested regionally from local producers in the souks. Whenever possible, the dishes incorporate what we purchase from women’s associations in nearby villages, such as goat cheese and argan oil. We have also developed a micro-credit system to involve local breeders in implementing high quality, environmentally responsible animal rearing process to raise awareness and promote the quality of animal products such as chicken and lamb at Dar Ahlam.
Among the bountiful gardens at Dar Ahlam, we grow seasonal organic produce and elements that are difficult to sources, such as certain tomato varieties, beetroots, and carrots. To appreciate the connection between the terroir and what we serve at the tables, wander through the aromatic herb garden. In keeping with today's environmental concerns and social responsibility, the cuisine among all the properties is organic.