Near Essaouira, Essaouira & Atlantic Coast, Morocco
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Near Essaouira, Essaouira & Atlantic Coast, Morocco

A guesthouse with heart, hidden away in a eucalyptus grove near Essaouira - a genuine taste of that fabled real Morocco

A guesthouse with heart, hidden away in a eucalyptus grove near Essaouira - a genuine taste of that fabled real Morocco

Head south from Essaouira towards the surfing beaches of Sidi Kaouki, then cut seawards along a rural road past errant donkeys, tiny farmsteads and waving children. Arriving at Baoussala will become a treasured memory, it’s one of those places where pictures will never capture the feeling and atmosphere they’ve created.

You’d never guess the pinky-salmon, crenellated walls of this kasbah-inspired hideaway are just a few decades old: antique window grilles, mature trees and a walled garden with rambling jasmines, roses and bougainvilleas suggest a much older building. The 8 bedrooms and suites, wrapping round an intimate courtyard, have been decorated with masses of TLC by Dominique, whose artistic sensitivity permeates every corner.
This delightful guesthouse has the feel of home and sanctum, with an accent on authenticity and simplicity. Come to make new Moroccan friends, eat wholesome food, walk barefoot through dunes and enjoy that sense of being far away from the mundane.


  • Dominique is one of the few ex-pats we met living in Morocco who treats her staff as if they were family
  • There are masses of intimate areas for chilling out - in the courtyard, by the pool and in the gardens
  • The exceptional cooking is of the slow variety, with a genuine commitment to using only fresh, local produce
  • The bedrooms and suites are quiet and comfortable - decor is regularly refreshed
  • Bright colours, eye-catching fabrics and stacks of paintings by local artists impart a cosy vibe throughout the house


  • You're not quite on the beach (5km away), nor in Essaouira (9km away) - but the rural setting is magically tranquil
  • It's popular with French guests, so during French school holidays it fills up with families
  • The remoteness of Baoussala means that you'll probably eat in, but the food is excellent and fairly priced
  • It's not for the animal-shy, as Dominique’s dog and cat (and a few tortoises) are an integral part of the scene

Best time to go

Avoid the midsummer months, when temperatures soar and Essaouira gets packed out. Spring is a great time for flowers and migrating birds, and you should still be able to swim here in autumn.

Our top tips

In Morocco it’s always a good idea to have a few photos of your family and home: you’re bound to be quizzed about them when you talk to local people.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 8 rooms
  • Breakfast; other meals by arrangement
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car not necessary
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym


Having grown organically over the years, Baoussala’s 8 rooms and suites are spread between the main house and a clutch of 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 found the Hammam Suite, the smallest space, to be 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 Akal Room is very spacious with a smart sitting area, as well as a sunken tadelakt bathtub in its ensuite.

The suites are larger, and we felt the Kalyptus 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.

Taabiha Cottage is hidden amid the gum trees; this stilted house has two rooms and sleeps up to 6. Expect a cute open-plan master bedroom-meets-lounge, a second lounge with a ladder leading to a mezzanine bedroom (best for older kids), and a rustic bathroom complete with zinc bathtub. On our most recent visit we stayed in the Warda Suite: minimal-chic with pale pink and nude shades, this is a little garden getaway with a private terrace and two double bedrooms, comfortably sleeping our family of four.

Most of the bathrooms are rendered in beautiful sandy-coloured tadlakt. They're not grand, but they're perfectly in sync with the ‘keep it simple’ philosophy - and worth every dirham of their modest price tag.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots available
  • Fireplace


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 and fresh fruit. 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. The kids menu is great value and we all loved the Berber eggs and chocolate crepes.

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 calamari tagine, barbequed fish and a delicious goats cheese tart. In her choice of desserts, Dominique reveals her Gallic origins: tarte aux poires and gooey homemade chocolate cake. Let the staff know about dietary requirements or picky eaters and they'll be able to make adjustments to the menu.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Kids' meals
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Vegetarian options
Activity: The spa


  • Shop in Essaouira’s medina (15-minute drive) and be sure to wander down to the harbour to watch the day’s catch being auctioned, then treat yourself at one of the colourful little fish stalls
  • Book in a full-body scrub down, heavenly massage or beautifying treatment at the Hammam, open to all guests
  • The nearest beach is at Sidi Kaouki (10km) - almost empty outside midsummer. It's great for windsurfing and kiting, with a reliable afternoon cross-shore wind ("chergui") and decent waves. Head into Essaouira for other watersports, or to Moulay for the best surfing
  • You can also go horse riding or quad-biking through argan forests and sand dunes to reach the beach
  • Follow the coastal highway south towards Agadir to see goats climbing trees in the argan forest; visit the weekly countryside flea markets of ida Ougourd (20 minutes away) and Smimou (30 minutes away)
  • At Baoussala, wander over to the kitchen and take an impromptu lesson in Moroccan cooking or stretch it out with a yoga class

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Horse riding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga


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. The pool is heated year-round, and there's table tennis, board games and an outdoor cinema (mainly July-August) to keep the whole family entertained.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

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). The Taabiha Cottage sleeps 6, although one bedroom is accessed via a ladder.

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms


Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Free for under 3s, good value lunch menu with child-friendly favourites

Kids Activities on site:

  • Heated outdoor swimming pool with inflatables
  • Safe walled garden to roam around
  • Trampoline
  • Table tennis
  • Outdoor cinema (seasonal)
  • Board games

Families Should Know:

Note that the pool has no lifeguard


  • Airport: 10 minutes
  • Shops: 5 minutes
Kid Friendly:


Baoussala is near the Atlantic coast, just south of Essaouira, in northern Morocco.

By Air
Essaouira (10km) is served by several airlines and is an easy 10-minute drive or taxi ride away; you can also fly into Marrakech Menara (180km away).

From Marrakech
There are regular buses and masses of grands taxis (shared taxis) from Marrakech to Essaouira, or you can take a private taxi which Baoussala can organise for you. Car hire is also a popular option - there's off-street parking on site. If you opt for a bus, we'd recommend the Supratours from outside the train station in Gueliz, Marrakech. They're fast (2.5-3 hours) and air-conditioned, but book tickets at least a day ahead. Baoussala can send a taxi to collect you on arrival in Essaouira.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through

More on getting to Morocco and getting around.


  • Marrakech Menara 180.0 km RAK
  • Essaouira 10.0 km ESU


  • Beach 6.0 km
  • Shops 3.0 km
  • Restaurant 3.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests


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Rates for Baoussala

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