We arrived at Riad Baoussala after a busy week in Marrakech. As we wended our way down the long unpaved road at the end of the 2hr drive from the city looking for our inn, I confess I had my doubts. Morocco had been a dream destination for my wife since childhood, and the frenetic pace of our time in and around Marrakech with excursions into the Atlas and to the edge of the Sahara had been thrilling but a bit touch-and-go. I worried that Baoussala would disappoint. As we came in through the front gate Dominique, one of the owners, greeted us with an offhand warmth that was quite disarming; and the gardens, walls and trees around us, with only the sound of the breeze, left us feeling that we could deeply unwind our cares and leave our busyness behind. Baoussala feels like home, as it is for Dominique. She designed the place and it looks like she merges traditional Morocco with other inspirations from the continent into a laid-back evocation of Africa in a world-travelers' den. The communal dining area is graced with Moroccan rugs, tadelakt floors, bookshelfs of paperbacks in 12 languages, and artwork of north and sub-Saharan Africa. We opted to take all our dinners here (not included in the room price, though breakfast is) since it was such an inviting place to which to return at the end of the day with the warm hospitality of the staff and pleasant conversation with the other guests. Our room was charming with its sitting area, hearth, reading room and bath shaped of glazed brick and clay with natural wood hatchwork ceilings. My wife, the designer and traveler with uncompromising standards, was deeply pleased with our setting, snapping pics of each detail and from every angle. We enjoyed returning to the room from dinner as the evening chill set in to find the fire lit and the room ready for reading, lounging and sleep. Baoussala is 10-15 min from the center of Essaouira, set in the hills that roll away from the Atlantic. We found access to town easy through arranged cabs or occasionally traveling in with staff on their errands. Essaouira is magical as well offering history, souks, hammam, and a less aggressive sales mentality than Marrakech. I surfed a few days we were there and the riad was nicely situated between town and some of the breaks. We left Baoussala wishing we had a few more days, but we left rested and with our heads and hearts cleared for the homeward journey from Morocco. This is a wonderful place to stay.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.