Dar El Mandar

Top choice villa in Middle Atlas

The expansive pool, the top-of-the-world location, the Berber feasts... it's hard to know what to rave about first at Dar El Mandar. If you've been knocked sideways by Fez, this rural retreat 32km south could be your saviour. Come for the day and be treated to a delicious slap-up meal, or check in to one of the comfy lodge rooms.

Dar El Mandar means 'house with the beautiful view', and what a view it is. The stone house has rustic charm, but the French-Moroccan owner has achieved a sleek modern edge, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading onto a patio terrace with Arabian arches and views down to the pool. A series of grassy plots trickle through the property, home to a bar, a couple of Berber tents for lounging and a traditional clay oven where breads are freshly cooked before every meal. It's a particularly great spot for kids: there's a flock of geese to contend with, donkey rides into the hills, bread-making sessions and a restaurant terrace in a dizzying position with awesome views. Guests staying over get treated to Berber music and stargazing under the night's sky. Two of the three rooms drink in all the views that can be seen from the patio. If you can't stay overnight, lunch and day use of the pool costs €35.

Private transfers from Fez, which the owners can arrange on your behalf, cost €20 one way.

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