First -- what happened to the rule that motor bikes were not allowed in the old town??? We have visited Essaouira several times over the years and we really appreciated the pedestrian-only medina, so different from the motor-bike crazy alleys of Marrakech. This time there were bikes everywhere, beeping at pedestrians to get out of the way, blowing nasty fumes at customers in the cafes of the main square, and creating a noisy ruckus tearing up and down the medina at night. Everybody we spoke to is fed up with the bikes. One restaurant (Il Mare) had five of them revving outside its entrance and a whole tour group took one look and decided to eat somewhere else. Our waiter at a cafe in the main square cursed every time a bike went by and told us it gets worse every week. A carpet shop owner was in despair about it. What on earth are the authorities in Essaouira thinking???
Anyway, the hotel. On past visits we usually stayed at the old Sofitel, but as this is no longer a Sofitel we decided to try Heure Bleue, and we are glad we did. The hotel has a calm atmosphere of discreet quality -- for example, there is no big sign outside the hotel proclaiming its name or even that it's a hotel. Inside, the public areas feel more like a rather old fashioned club, especially the spacious, wood panelled lounge and bar area. Even the reception desk isn't what you might expect, instead there is wooden screen and staff pop out from behind it to attend your needs. And very attentive they are too. The service was excellent and the staff very responsive to any question or request.
The hotel is situated just inside the walls of the medina, a short walk from the main square, the beach, and the port. It is organized in the traditional Moroccan style, around an open courtyard. The rooms are a bit compact, but are comfortable and very well equipped with quality bathrooms and fixtures. There is a lovely planted roof terrace with excellent views over the town and the sea. The breakfasts were quite sumptuous. We did not eat in the hotel for other meals, as Essaouira has so many interesting restaurants now. All in all this was a very calm and comfortable stay at one of the very few first class hotels in Essaouira. Compared with other hotels it is definitely rather pricey though.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A masterpiece of the Essaouira medina...this palace of marvels lies in the heart of this town loved by artists and aventurers alike. The panoramic outdoor pool on the terrasse overlopks the medina and the ocean. the cuisine offers a subtle blend of french and Moroccan influences ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- l`Heure Bleue Palais And Spa
- l`Heure Bleue Palais Hotel Essaouira
- l Heure Bleue Palais Essaouira