I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Villa Maroc and would return in a heartbeat.
A few scenarios will be indelibly marked in my memory ... the warm, smiling welcome received from Said as I walked through the doors at 11pm after a long journey, followed by supper served in my room (despite the late hour) ... breakfast on the roof terrace awash with glorious sunshine, with views of the ramparts, the extensive beach and the sparkling sea ... a cookery class with the gorgeous, engaging and hilarious Hayatt (apologies, not sure of the correct spelling) after a shopping trip round the markets for the ingredients ...a trip to Les Jardins de Villa Maroc, a breathtakingly beautiful 'sister' guesthouse a few kilometres away (I'm desperate to stay here at some stage!) ... vases of fresh roses every day throughout the riad ... the beyond beautiful ambience created for dinner in the evening, with the intimate dining salons illuminated by candles and the animated glow from open fires, gentle Moroccan music playing quietly in the background (I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!) ... I hope you get the picture.
The riad is indeed labyrinthine - a feature I found charming (can't stand generic-style featureless hotels, to be honest). I stayed in a 'superior room' which was huge, with a sofa and table area. The bed was fabulous and so comfortable, and the toilet was in a separate little room (within the room), which is a great idea (typically french in concept I think). The staff were courteous and helpful ... but I have to mention with special fondness and gratitude Hayatt, Leila, Said and the wonderful Ayaachi.
Further points: Food was terrific (dinners delicious!), I really liked the wine I was served (I ordered by the glass), you can order a beer whenever you fancy one. I liked the fact that at breakfast they included French-style baguette bread (I'm not overly fond of Moroccan bread).
Worth noting - my trip was at the end of April and although the weather was fantastic, it does get cold at night. Do the needful for that time of year and pack a nice warm pair of pyjamas and a warm cardigan for evening strolls round the town.
Also important - if you are booking an airport transfer, stress that you would like a driver who isn't tired of living!!! The driver who transported me from Agadir airport to the riad (a 2.5 hour journey) drove like Schumacher on crack!! Not for the faint-hearted - especially given the winding mountainous roads involved.
I ordered a car at the end of my stay to take me from Essaouira to Taroudant (approx. 4 hours by car) and the staff made sure, on hearing my previous experience, that I got a really great driver (Hossein), who drove steadily and also acted as an impromptu tour guide, pointing out places of interest along the way and anecdotally informing me about local culture and events.
Should you choose this riad on your trip, I hope you enjoy it as much as I can honestly say that I did.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The leading Riad Hotel in Essaouira. Villa Maroc has everything you could dream of for an unforgettable holiday. Great location tucked inside the ramparts of the historical medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Villa Maroc offers you breathtaking views of the sea and port, 21 rooms with simplicity, spirituality, elegance and refinement, as well as an Oriental Spa. Just a few minutes from the sea and port. Close to both shops and beaches. Villa Maroc is famous for its regional cuisine and romantic candlelit dinners round an open fire. Villa Maroc is the meeting place for artists, actors and musicians." Good Wifi connection throughout the hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Maroc Hotel Essaouira
- Maroc Hotel Essaouira