Dar Liouba

Essaouira & Atlantic Coast, Morocco Book from Book from £44 per night

A former Imam's home re-designed into a sophisticated guesthouse filled with plants and carved cedar wood
Dar means house in Arabic and Liouba is a Russian endearment for love - a great deal of which went into creating this airy, stylish abode. It was a Russian furniture designer who first created and ran this guesthouse with her Chinese-French jewellery-making partner, and whose brilliant hospitality brought rave reviews. Their inspiration to add another storey to this former Imam's home created a wonderful, almost gazebo-like interior.

Now under the equally charming French management of Patricia and Jean-Jacques, it continues to delight. Bedrooms are arrayed around the sides of a wooden-carved pergola that rises three levels, narrowing to a octagon-shaped skylight. It’s the focal point of the house, but doesn’t detract from the elegant furniture in the ground-floor lounge or indeed the down-to-earth staff who keep Dar Liouba in tip-top condition.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.


  • The sense of staying in a beautiful wooden pergola, spiralling to the sky
  • Sophisticated space, away from the bustling bits of Essaouira
  • Neither over-priced nor overly pretentious
  • Fresh, clean, stylish rooms without the damp problem that can be prevalent in Essaouira


  • With the exception of the apartment at the top, the rooms are quite small
  • No baths, just showers with seat
  • Like all medina guesthouses, there is no parking directly outside but there is open parking 5 minutes away
  • Not the typical riad-with-courtyard style, more of a French Colonial house (but a lovely one!)

Best time to go

All year – unlike Marrakech, Essaouira is not bakingly hot in July & August so it’s a great summer destination too.

Our top tips

There is an excellent local music festival every June, with Gnawa and other tribal performers.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 7
  • Over 2s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym


The unique arrangement of Dar Liouba’s six rooms gives each one a charming wooden balcony, carved by Essaouiran craftsmen, brimming with flowers, where you can look down to an interior garden with a ficus and solitary pine or upward to the skylight. Inside, each room has a few splashes of colour to offset the white walls: bright red cushions and curtains (Piment) or appropriate shades of green for Arganier and Olivier (both twin bedded). We stayed in the Ocean room which had a scrubbed blue-and-white Mediterranean feel and a comfortable double bed. Tile patterns outside each door indicate the colours inside, while the doors themselves are painted in a mosaic pattern. There are more pretty tiles in the bathrooms, which all have showers with built-in benches, for those long relaxing soaks.

There's also a suite (Lavande) on the top floor with a beautifully long, slim coffee table surrounded by plump pink sofas; and from here it’s only a few steps up to the expansive terrace with a panoramic view of the medina and the sea.

Features include:

  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Safe box


Climb down the spiral staircase after a good night’s sleep and you’ll find an even better breakfast awaiting you on an immaculately set table just beside the spacious, morning-lit lounge. Exquisite wooden-handled cutlery, linen napkins, embossed glasses… with food as pleasing as its accoutrements: fresh orange juice, yummy jams, light crepes and strong French coffee.

If you've got room, lunch at the bustling fish market is always a treat. The night we stayed, staff booked us a table for supper at Ferdaouss – a cosy restaurant with Moroccan couch seating and really tasty tagines at non-tourist prices. If you prefer to stay in, dinners at Dar Liouba can be prepared with notice - either traditional Moroccan or Continental.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Horseriding can be arranged from a nearby stable and also quad-bike rides in the sand dunes

  • Windsurfing from the sandy beach is a popular sport (equipment can be hired)

  • If beach sports are not necessarily your thing, outings to a large hotel with a swimming pool can be organised (please note that this can be difficult in the very hot summer months when hotel pools are busy)

  • Indulge in hammam and beauty treatments - Dar Liouba is happy to sort out a spa visit

  • Go shopping at the souks (markets): friendlier, cheaper and often better quality than in Marrakech, especially for wooden furniture and carvings

  • Listen to traditional Moroccan music in the lounge and relax with a soothing mint tea on one of the roomy sofas

  • Sip cocktails and enjoy a sunset view on the spacious terrace

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Horse riding
  • Quad-bike riding
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing


Children over the age of 2 are welcome - extra beds are available, but there is a maximum of 1 extra bed per room so for 2 or more children a separate room should be booked for them.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:


Dar Liouba is in the medina (old town) of Essaouira, on Morocco's Atlantic Coast.

By Air
If you're combining Essaouira with other parts of Morocco, it's easiest to fly into Marrakech or Agadir. Agadir is served principally by charters. Both Marrakech and Agadir are 2+ hours' drive (about 175km); you can either hire a car, book a taxi (from 600DH) or take a bus (see below). There are also some flights to Essaouira. Click on the links below for details.

By Bus from Marrakech
There are regular buses as well as a constant stream of grand taxis ploughing the route between Marrakech and Essaouira. We'd advise taking the Supratours bus from outside the train station in Gueliz. These are fast (2.5-3 hrs) and air-conditioned, but less frequent (only 2/day, currently at 11am and 7pm).

By Car
You won't need a car to get around Essaouira itself but if you want to hire one to drive there from Marrakech see our car rental recommendations. Dar Liouba is about 200 metres from a parking area – someone from the house will meet you, just call when you are about to arrive.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to Morocco and getting around


  • Marrakech Menara 175.0 km RAK
  • Essaouira 20.0 km ESU


  • Beach 0.2 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests


We absolutely loved our time at Dar Liouba. Favourite things about it include: peaceful atmosphere - this is a bright, quiet hotel which left us feeling very rejuvenated. Great rooms. They were spacious, airy and clean, with nice linen and a comfortable bed. They also had their own unique touches too. Bright, peaceful terrace - we very much enjoyed breakfast on the terrace in the morning, and spent a lot of time reading and sunbathing there. Helpful but low-key staff. Staff took initiative and offered to help in ways that were so helpful but also supported the peaceful environment. Thanks so much Patrice and team, we loved it.


Dar Liouba is a really nice place and we strongly recommend it.


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