Interiorssneak peeks

The Dar Seffarine Guesthouse of Morocco

by Amy Azzarito

The transformation of The Dar Seffarine from a private residence to a guesthouse was a true labor of love. Norwegian graphic designer Kate Kvalvik and her husband, Iraqi architect Alaa Said, purchased the property in 2003 and set about resurrecting it with their own two hands.

Originally built as a private residence in the ancient medina of Fez over 600 years ago,
The Dar Seffarine needed to be restored and preserved. Rather than over-modernizing the space, Kate and Alaa decided to bring the home back to life using the same building materials and techniques that were used when it was first built. Their dedication to preserving the original details means that The Dar Seffarine is now one of the best examples of traditional residences in Fez. The traditional home feel was a goal of Kate and Alaa’s, as well as instilling the home with a bit of their own design sensibilities. Clean white walls (a nod to Kate’s native Scandinavian style) mix with soaring columns, carved cedar doors and tiled floors to create a space that feels both traditional and updated at the same time.

With only seven rooms, The Dar Seffarine is designed to celebrate and focus on the beauty of communal guesthouses/hotels. Rooms are focused around a central courtyard with a rooftop terrace that guests can gather on to share mint tea and swap travel stories. The experience is truly a blend of old world traditions and modern culture, something we both admire and appreciate greatly in any travel destination. Thanks to much to Kate and Alaa for welcoming us into their beautiful guesthouse today. –Amy


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  • We had a lovely and memorable stay at Dar Seffsrine in 2006. Kate and Alaa were terrific hosts. It’s nice to see that the place remains a tranquil and beautiful oasis in the Fes medina. I’d recommend it to anyone.

  • I ADORE this place! I went there with a crew to film a gnawa band in the grand courtyard and it was such a great time. Kate and Alaa Said were so kind and fun– their warmth was totally contagious. Such a gorgeous, gorgeous place.

  • The woodwork and tile in this place are amazing. You just don’t see that kind of style anywhere else. So intricate and detailed. A lot of patient work went into that place. I am surprised there are no wall murals as I thought that was another traditional element of Moroccan design.

  • We stayed at Dar Sefarine over Christmas 2 years ago. What a beautiful place and such lovely people. And we met some great people (including two couples from Brooklyn :) The photos, while stunning, don’t do it justice. Breathtaking!

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