Villa Maroc is an amazing place to stay, combining top class service with a very laid back approach that leaves you feeling comfortable whatever your mood. The staff are what really mark it out - they are unceasingly kind and concerned that you have everything you need, without ever being intrusive. They even called us before our stay to confirm that our online booking was going to meet our requirements, unheard of in this day of call centres and automated responses! The hotel itself is beautiful, with all the little hidden corners, atmospheric lighting and log fires you would hope to find in your dream riad. The bar and dining areas are charming and relaxed, we whiled away many an hour playing backgammon and drinking decent local wine. The terrace, where you can have breakfast, sunbath, take tea or just relax with a book was perfect with great views of the sea, beach and incredible sunsets. There is a tree growing in the central courtyard which crests on to the terrace and while we were there had singing mynah birds and even its own chameleon. Calm, tranquil, it's the perfect antidote to Essaouira's medina. The location is great, near enough to the medina walls that getting out to a car is quick and easy, less than 5 minutes walk to the beach for long strolls in the sunshine and right in the medina itself for access to cafes, restaurants, shops and the souk. Having stayed in chilly riads in Essaouira twice before over christmas, this was also the first time I've ever been truly warm at night once the sun sets, helped along by the hot water bottles the staff put in your bed every night. One word of caution would be to appreciate that you are staying in an old building in an old city - if you can't live without lifts and satellite TV you might prefer to stay in a more modern build outside the medina. For me though, the atmosphere of the building, charm and old school courtesy of its staff and perfect service make Villa Maroc somewhere I would return to in a heartbeat - we've only been home a week and are already wondering when we can return! Top marks.