“A guesthouse with heart, hidden away in a eucalyptus grove near Essaouira - a genuine taste of that fabled real Morocco”
Having grown organically over the years, Baoussala’s 6 rooms and suites are spread between the main house and 2 smaller buildings in the garden. Though they all vary in layout, they do share a decorative, home-spun warmth. Cosy chill-out areas with low, cushion-strewn benches, original paintings and masses of candles easily compensate for any lack of ‘extras’.
We stayed in the Hammam Suite, the smallest space, but wonderfully cosy for couples (and, as the name suggests, converted from the former steam bath). Similarly petite is the Oasis Room, set in the verdant garden. In contrast, the romantic Red Room is very spacious but rather dark.
The suites are larger, and we felt the Blue Suite’s private terrace overlooking the garden gave it extra wow-factor. The gorgeous standalone Marabout Suite cottage, with its 2 bedrooms (one of which has a spectacular circular domed ceiling) and terrace (near the pool), is perfect for families.
Most of the bathrooms are rendered in beautiful sandy-coloured tadlakt. They're not grand, but they're perfectly in synch with the ‘keep it simple’ philosophy - and worth every dirham of their modest price tag.
It was in the kitchen that Baoussala scored the highest for us. Dominique is a genuine foodie who loves to experiment with new recipes, and all meals are moveable feasts.
The day begins with a Moroccan breakfast of freshly baked bread, pancakes, local jams and honey, coffee and tea à volonté, plus delicious fresh orange juice. This is the time to let Dominique know if you’d like to dine in that evening: she will be heading off to the market for fresh ingredients.
Poolside lunches are deliberately kept simple as guests tend to be visiting Essaouira or at the beach. Our grilled calamari and prawn salad was perfect.
But for dinner you can expect an extra-special feast. Both the sheltered courtyard and the cosy lounge look really lovely at night, when dozens of lamps are lit. You can also request dinner à deux - perhaps on the roof terrace under the stars…
Our supper started with olives and nibbles, before a peppery orange and black olive starter. Main courses are classical Moroccan: we had monkfish tagine, but couscous, chicken au citron and barbequed fish all make regular appearances. In her choice of desserts, Dominique reveals her Gallic origins: tarte aux poires, homemade chocolate cake.
Families are welcome at Baoussala which is, by nature, an inclusive type of place. Kids will get a lot of attention from the lovely Moroccan staff and love to play in the tortoise garden. They'll also get a buzz out of a camel or donkey ride along the beach.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Most rooms have space for at least 1 child. The suites can each sleep up to 4 people and we feel the large Marabout Suite is a particularly good option: 2 bedrooms, a living room, a terrace and a more private garden setting (yet near the pool).
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
A reduced-price menu is also available for children
Note that the pool has no lifeguard