We stayed at Dar Lazuli for 7 nights in October.
It was the second part of our honeymoon in Morocco, after an action-packed 1st week of trekking, Marrakech, walking in Ouzoud and so on….
We were ready for a rest and a bit of calm and I can safely say – we could not have made a better choice than Dar Lazuli.
So often, you turn up in a place you’ve been bursting with excitement to see, with high expectations and it falls short somehow. Often in the small details or the care taken by the owner / manager. That kind of thing can really rattle and take the edge of your enjoyment.
This WAS NOT the case in Dar Lazuli.
I do not know where to begin with the praise!
Firstly, Rachel (the owner) knew it was our honeymoon and had asked Latifa and Rachid to organise a bottle of wine to be in the apartment when we arrived. Which we thought was a lovely gesture.
Secondly, the apartments are really beautiful and excellent value for money.
They have been restored with so much care to an impossibly gorgeous state! I started to dread leaving before we’d even unpacked!!
It’s a fabulous combination of Moroccan colours and style, with tasteful and quirky, arty notes and modern comforts (docking station for your ipod (not that we had one, but….), large fridge, excellent shower etc etc
We started our stay in Ghibli – it’s really adorable, beautifully designed with access right out on to one of the three roof terraces.
It is a smaller than the other apartments (this is made abundantly clear on the website!), and as we were staying for 7 nights, the rest of the apartments were free and my husband at 6ft 3 filled a lot of the space on his own! – we asked Latifa if we could move to Calimar.
Of course, it was “no problem” (we were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves) and Latifa kindly helped us switch on the 2nd day.
We loved this apartment – the romantic, curtained mezzanine level with the bed, the huge bathroom, beautiful, colourful tiled kitchen and cosy, snug, lounge area around the fire place – it’s just wonderful.
Latifa and Rachid were there every day – Rachid regularly put fresh flowers in our apartment, Latifa cleaned and tidied really thoroughly. They answered questions we had, gave us tips and helped with anything we needed.
The night guardian was also as regular as clockwork, ensuring that everything felt safe and secure.
They are a wonderful team – Rachel, obviously has a great relationship with them and the trust and respect on both sides is clear.
Essaouira is a fantastic place. The medina (where Dar Lazuli is located) is lively and stimulating – it would be misleading to give the impression that it is peaceful – the call to prayer is regular and the minaret is close-by. Dar Lazuli is surrounded by family homes, so you really feel that you are in the thick of Moroccan life. I guess one of the luxury hotels facing the beach would be quieter, but there is no way I’d swap!
There are some brilliant places to eat and lots of choice. For us, Caravan Café was the pick of the bunch – great, generous food, with a really fun, lively, colourful atmosphere – lots of activity and laughter. The vegetarian place Triskala came a close second for high quality food and excellent value for money. Patisserie Moulay Driss was another haunt of ours during the day – which we loved. The terrace at Taros is lovely for a sun-downer, but the food wasn’t as good as we’d expected and Chez Sam….. well – the less said about that experience, the better I think!!
The chic hotel Villa Maroc is your neighbour at Dar Lazuli and they kind of adopted us – looking after our bags when we arrived early and chatting to us every time we passed. We joined their trip to their pool and gardens just outside the town. It was such a great day out that we went twice!!
It is staggering beautiful there, the pool is gorgeous and we had a peek at the rooms – WOW!
On both trips we were treated to the most fantastic lunches: plates and plates of delicious fresh and cooked vegetables, BBQ chicken, delicious desserts. A full day at the pool, with towels and sun-hats provided, return transfer by 4x4 and the unforgettable lunch, all for about 20 Euros a head – really good value if you ask me!
We also had dinner at the Villa Maroc one evening (we made it officially our “wedding dinner” – we married in secret & boarded the flight to Morocco a few hours after the ceremony), it’s a special occasion kind of place – and it was a lovely evening. Food was great and only a few short steps home!!
Shopping in Essaouira is a fun and rewarding experience. We’d not even considered attempting it in Marrakech – far too crazy! And as we relaxed in to life in Essaouira we found everything a lot more welcoming and fun. We have never shopped on a holiday – neither of us enjoy it much in “real life” but in Essaouira even my husband found himself bartering and enjoying carting home the beautiful things we left with!
To sum up (I’m rather enjoying reminiscing!) Dar Lazuli and Essaouria are gems.
In Dar Lazuli, you have the comfort of a high quality hotel, but tonnes more space and total freedom.
Essaouira has lots to see and do (we would have happily stayed longer!) but is a relaxing and relaxed environment.
Rachel makes sure that you are well prepared, the comms were excellent during the run up to our holiday.
Rachid, Latifa and the night-guardian work really hard and do an excellent job. It helps that they are such nice people, who obviously take pride in their work. There is nothing slap-dash, no corners are cut and the results speak for themselves.
I would recommend Dar Lazuli & Essaouira wholeheartedly and I really hope we’ll go back some day and explore a little more.
Thank you all,
Jane & Mark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.