Riad Baoussala is a truly special, almost magical place. I actually hesitated before writing this review, as I loved it so much I kind of want to keep it a secret, so that there is room when we book again next year (Inshallah, as they say in Morrocco).
At the heart of it all, it's Dominique's vision and personality that makes Baoussala what it is. It's hard to describe how perfect this place is, and even photos don't truly give it justice. The architecture and lay out is original, exotic and fun: uneven steps, low doors, delightful colored-glass sky-lights, maze-like quality with secret nooks and lovely corners. This place is so peaceful that you just want to chill and not leave. We were there for 5 nights but could have easily stayed 10 and not be bored. We had rented a car for 4 days and ended up using it only twice, as we just did not feel like leaving the Riad at all (we were very tired after a few crazy days in Marrakech).
The food is great - we had dinner at the Riad 4 out of 5 nights (once again: why leave?) and we would have licked the bottom of the tajine dishes if it were not inappropriate (and too hot). Baoussala has its own (lovely) hammam and I splurged on a Grand Oriental treatment (hammam, scrub, mask, massage, bath) - Saloua the hammam attendant was very good and the price very reasonable for the level of service. The pool is gorgeous and heated, which is a good thing when the wind blows, at it often does in Essaouira, because it can get chilly even in the sun. Which is really my only gripe about Essaouira in general - it's a bit windy/chilly for my taste,
All in all, Baoussala functions a little bit like a resort, with the difference being that it only has 6 rooms instead of 200... so if you want to make friends and socialize with your fellow guests you can, but if you want to keep to yourself you can too - there are enough nooks where you can sit/read/eat/drink that you are never crowded and can find an isolated spot. One of the family we chatted with at Baoussala was on their 9th stay there, which is saying something!
In terms of outside activities, besides visiting Essaouira proper, we went to Tagenza, a wild beach a few kilometers away with a beach shack managed by Abdou with his 15+ dogs and as many cats, 2 donkeys etc. Completely unexpected and beautiful. We also went on a quad ride in the forest, the dunes and along the beach which was a ton of fun. Both activities were recommended by Dominique: she spends time with the guests upon their arrival to look over maps and point out things to do, how to get there etc. Very useful. We did not have time to go horse riding but it's on the list for when we come back. This time we traveled as a couple but we can't wait to bring our daughter next year, she's going to love the animals (cats, dogs, turtles, donkeys, goats), the pool, and everything else about this place.
Yes, Baoussala is in the middle of nowhere and a pain to get to on a very bumpy rocky dirt road, but it's worth it. Finally, a special mention for Rachid who is the consummate professional and so smooth.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Riad Baoussala is a lovely house situated in the nature, 9 kilometers south of Essaouira, and near by the wild beaches of Sidi Kaouki. This charming hotel is composed of 3 rooms and 3 suites, all differents, comfortables and stylish, they offer a quiet and peacefull atmosphere.From the gardens to the roof terraces, the pool to the Hammam, with your family of just as a couple, the Riad Baoussala is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy a stay near Essaouira.The pool is now heated at 28° all year arround thanks to an ecologique system. We offer a free access to the Hammam and we propose scrubs and massages upon request.Dominique, Leah and their team welcome you in this uncommom place where modernity and tradition are mixed for your pleasure! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Riad Baoussala Essaouira
- Riad Baoussala Hotel Essaouira