Kamal is a hands-on energetic owner and host. He made sure that our stay was comfortable and that we had a personally fulfilling experience during our stay at Dar Kamal Chaoui. The guest house is tastefully decorated and very comfortable. Every decorating decision has a story, just ask. The meals (prepared by Naima) were delish! The small village location of Dar Kamal Chaoui gave us a chance to have a personal experience with the surrounding cave dwellers and villagers and a chance to visit the town of Sefrou. After three days at Dar Kamal Chaoui I felt refreshed, felt connected to the land and the people and felt as if I had made a true friend. If you are looking for an escape from the big city feel of Fes, seek refuge at Dar Kamal Chaoui.
At this romantic retreat in an ancient Berber village, hear the Call to Prayer while you gaze down upon the sprawling expanse of Fez. Our stay in Bhalil, a half-hour from Fez, was dappled with friendly inhabitants, cave houses, children playing, fabulous meals, cozy nights, great conversations, and excellent day tripping. Our host, Kamal Chaoui, his family and their attentive staff, shared this tastefully appointed, comfortable home of 4 guest suites. From our terrace room with twin beds and a little, efficient wood stove, we could see all of Bhalil and watch the daily actions of the village. With unseasonably chilly evenings, we were thrilled to find a fire already warming our room and hot water bottles under the bed covers--heaven! Each meal was an event--both gourmet (house-made jams and preserves--French desserts!) and traditional recipes. We enjoyed meals with other guests, and a few on our own--all fresh, abundant, and delicious. Many antique and handmade items grace the rooms--I purchased a hand woven Berber "tool bag" made by a local man after he had lost his eyesight; it will always remind me of the richness of the Berber culture. Kamal was available for one day of our visit, and we engaged him for a full-day tour. First we visited...the town dump! As a natural resource professional,Kamal knew I would be fascinated by the environmental challenges of modern vs traditional lifestyles--and we brainstormed solutions while we drove to the nearby, larger town of Sefrou. Even older than the Fez Medina, Sefrou has a relaxed ambiance and much charm. Do not miss seeing the Melleh, the old Jewish quarter, and have lunch at the lovely Dar there. Afterwards, we visited a traditional blacksmith and other craft shops, bought fresh vegetables--then left the medina for a mountain side Berber community with fields of red poppies, old olive groves, sheep and goat herds and a lovely waterfall, gushing clear water from the cliffs above. After our hike, our appetites were keen for our next great meal at Dar Kamal Chaoui. This is sustainable eco-tourism at its best--we made a small donation to the community, knowing our host is dedicated to its preservation and well-being, while looking after each guest's needs and providing an incredible, unique experience! Don't miss it! We can't wait to return--and stay longer!
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