Dar Liouba

Essaouira & Atlantic Coast, Morocco Book from Book from £48 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.


  • 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:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests


Very good service Patricia the owner and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. Lovely riad, easy to find in the heart of the medina.


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