My daughter and I spent 10 happy blissful days in Villa Gonatouki. The owner Brigitte (Bruno’s wife) arranged a taxi for us from Marrakech and after a short flight by Easyjet and three hour journey by taxi we finally arrived to our first destination in Morocco - Ghazoua village where the villa is situated. It is about 10-15 minutes car drive from Essaouira; the road leading to the villa is a rough 3 km track, which you get to know and like pretty quickly, it certainly adds a feeling that you are abroad. Judging by the photos of the guest house we were for a visual feast, but as many guests commented the pictures don’t do any justice to the place. It is simply huge and clearly built and decorated with love and passion for Moroccan tradition of woodwork and stone carving. There are over 100 Moroccan lamps hung throughout the house (castle, really) and after awhile you notice that all corners are curved. The ceilings in three main salons and patio also made of local wood, supported by stone columns, and some walls of the villa covered in tadelakt (gorgeous traditional Moroccan plastering technique), the floors tiled in different patterns. We stayed in one of the prestige rooms (green room) with a massive terrace and views over nearby ruins, Atlantic ocean and the main pool. Our bathroom windows deserve a special mentioning as they frame outside surroundings in delightful pictures.The house gradually grows on you and by the end of our staying it did feel like home. Most of the time we stayed in for lunches and dinners and the food was simply delicious. I even learned how to prepare briouates (Moroccan version of samosas made of fine layers of almost transparent pasty called “warka” and filled with goat cheese, parsley and grated nutmeg) as you have an easy access to the kitchen (in the morning you simply walk in and ask either Samira, Hafida or Khaoula that you are ready for breakfast and where in the house you wish to have it). Our favourite spot was lovely patio where we spent many tranquil hours reading or having breakfast or mint tea, and from where you can walk into any parts of the villa’s ground floor. Apart from our own terrace we sunbathed by the main pool (there are two) or a terrace next to one of the salons equipped with comfortable sofas, coffee tables and big TV screen. Dinners and lunches were prepared and served by Samira and Bouchra in either a salon overlooking soothing landscapes or a dining room next to the kitchen. We want to say huge thank you for all the girls who fed us and greeted us every day with beaming smiles, hugs and kisses! After dinner we usually had shisha in one of the salons with low metal coffee tables and leather bean bags. The villa gardens are well maintained by a quite man Mustafa who also looked after the swimming pools. A new feature of the guest house, which is not mentioned in the description, is the villa’s spacious hammam and massages, you must try them both as you will learn a lot about traditional Moroccan beauty regimes - argan oil, hennah, ghazoul (purifying mud), beldi (Moroccan soap) and kassa (scrubbing mitten). The hammam will wipe out any stress left in you and argan oil will do wonders to your tired skin. Few words about Brigitte, our host - a kind and warm French lady, who made us feel at home and made us laugh, who took us to Essaouira frequently and showed us around the medina. She also drove me to the medina on our second day to see Mohammed, a specialist in traditional herbal medicine (London hay fever and summer cold nearly suffocated me when I arrived), for that I am forever grateful as I got better after three days. We made a trip together to Fromage and Chateaneuf-du-Pape vineyard of Essaouira and also had a lunch with Brigitte’s daughter Stephanie and her husband Gregory in Le Jardin des Douars. Our stay in Gonatouki was the most charming, warm and blissful time where borders of host-guest blurred and merged into a strong sense of belonging and being at home. We miss it terribly and have to go back!
rent a car if you can
with minimum light pollution at night the sky view from the villa's roof...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.