Ksar Massa

near Agadir, Essaouira & Atlantic Coast, Morocco Book from

A colourful ocean-side hideaway with a mix of rooms, suites and villas for 2-10, next to miles of deserted beach and the extraordinary Massa Nature Reserve
This is an arrival you’ll never forget. Cutting in from the road that runs south from Agadir parallel to the Atlantic, you follow a sandy track for several kilometres past waving children, flocks of goats and the occasional donkey. Eventually the track loops steeply down a cliffside then arrives at Ksar Massa, a group of low, terracotta-coloured buildings that creep towards the ocean’s edge.

The hotel, a collection of traditional Moroccan rooms and some more contemporary suites and villas, is scattered over 6 hectares of land and several buildings. Stepping through the original ksar's carved entrance door, you emerge in a sheltered, sub-tropical garden awash with greenery and colour. Low buildings with crenellated rooftops wrap around 3 of its sides and look out across a central pool to the mighty ocean. The decor echoes the rich colours and handicrafts of the Maghreb; the food likewise. The newer buildings are set a short walk away; we’ve not seen them yet but they look stylish and arty. You have miles of deserted beach all to yourself, as well as the unique Massa Nature Reserve, the most important birdwatching site in Morocco and home to the endangered Bald Ibis. Romantic and remote, there can be few better places to reacquaint yourself with sun, sea, sand and sky.

Highs

  • The isolated position of the hotel, right beside the ocean, is simply amazing
  • We love the look of the 4 contemporary suites (2 of which are perfect for families), and the architect-designed villas (great for groups of 6-10)
  • The original guestrooms are romantic and colourful with a real Thousand and One Nights feel, plus they have sea views
  • There are several different spaces to chill dotted about the gardens, plus you have your own private terrace
  • If the weather gets cooler you can pamper yourself in the spa, which offers a variety of treatments, a Jacuzzi and a heated pool

Lows

  • Service can be patchy, especially for non-French speakers; during the day you’re pretty much left to your own devices
  • The wind can blow hard, for days on end; you may find rubbish strewn along the beach, and swimming tricky
  • The track leading to the hotel is deeply rutted and in winter you may need a 4x4 (or arrange a hotel transfer)
  • Small windows make the original guest rooms gloomy (though pleasantly cool), while some villas lack sea views
  • Food can lack variety, and some guests say it was disappointing, though we loved it

Best time to go

The summer months get busy when visitors from Agadir head for the beach and when an adjacent camp site is opened up; these guests share the hotel’s facilities. Avoid July and August and you'll be fine.

Our top tips

Ksar Massa is the sort of place where you’ll be ploughing through your novel so take a few along if you’re coming for a week. Some of us would get good mileage out of our iPods and it would be great to have a few of your favourite CDs along with you: all bedrooms have their own music systems. Don’t forget your binoculars and a good ornithological field guide.

Great for...

Beach
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Hotel & Villas
  • 15 rooms for 2-4, 5 villas for 6-10
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Ibis Chauve

Rooms

There’s a variety of accommodation at Ksar Massa: 15 rooms in the original Ksar, 4 oceanfront suites, and 10 villas a 2-minute walk away.

The Original Guestrooms are laid out in 3 wings, wrapping around the garden and swimming pool. All these doubles have their own terrace with a daybed draped in sabra silk looking out to sea, and all are given a funky lift thanks to the exuberance of their colour schemes: dark plum, gold, blue, green and aubergine washes with matching tones in the silk rugs, stripy bedspreads, Berber rugs and cushions. Sabra-draped bedside lamps feel a tad over-dressed but other features - shelving behind the beds, ornately carved mirrors and screed floors with patterned ceramic inlays - work really well. We think these are a great option for couples after a romantic bolthole.

Since our last visit, a number of more contemporary suites for 2-4 and villas for 6-10 have been built a short distance away. The suites have direct sea views, large tubs and grand terraces; 2 have an additional twin room, making them a great family option. The villas have their own pool and can sleep up to 10 in 4 or 5 double/twin rooms; they also have a fully equipped kitchen, but some overlook each other, and lack the breathtaking ocean views.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries

Eating

If you're staying in a villa, you can self-cater in your fully equipped kitchen (oven, hob, microwave, fridge-freezer) if you wish. Otherwise, the hotel's dining room is a great location for a romantic dinner. A line of high, arched windows brings in an unforgettable ocean view, whilst low cushioned benches, sabra curtains, subdued lighting and plum-pink-gold colours create a festive, exotic mood.

Dinners stick to a set Moroccan menu and you can flick through what’s on offer for the coming days and decide when to dine in-house. Your meal begins with a house cocktail (non-alcoholic if you prefer), served in the slightly rococo bar or out on the terrace. We began with fish pancakes and spicy mussels, which were followed by a beef tagine accompanied by beans and artichoke hearts. A small selection of the better-known Moroccan wines is on offer to accompany the food.

Lunches, in a lighter vein and a secondary dining room, mix Moroccan and European dishes: varied salads, grilled fish with rice, lamb brochettes, and oranges with cinnamon and rose water for dessert (a time-tried classic). We also have great memories of our breakfast, served beneath a thatched gazebo on the sea-facing terrace. A cafétière full of freshly ground coffee is prepared at your table, then a dozen mini tagines are delivered, containing figs, cheeses, apricots, honey, butter and jams to eat with your bread.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Ibis Chauve
Activity:

Activities

  • Gallop an Arabian thoroughbred along the beach
  • Put time aside every evening to watch the sun setting into the ocean. You may even get to see that elusive rayon vert (green flash) optical illusion
  • Pamper yourself after a day on the beach with full gommage treatment in the hotel’s own hammam
  • Grab your binoculars and walk 10 minutes along the beach to the Massa Lagoon. The birdlife is extraordinary (iris, flamingo, crane) and the hotel can arrange a guided visit
  • Challenge your partner to a game of pétanque (a type of boules)
  • Swim in the salt-water pool or the ocean - check with the hotel staff where and when it's safe to swim in the sea
  • Put a day aside for visiting Agadir where you can go deep-sea fishing, play a round of golf, people-watch on its beautiful sandy beaches or head inland to visit the waterfalls at Imouzzer
  • Cycle out into the Atlantic hinterland on one of the hotel’s bikes
  • Ksar Massa is a perfect place to simply kick back and do very little. The sea is always present to keep you company.

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Well being

Kids

With a swimming pool and the beach on your doorstep, younger kids would be bound to enjoy a few days at Ksar Massa. But they might start to kick their feet if they were to stay longer.

Children stay for free up to 2 years old sharing their parents' room. Older children will be charged a supplement on extra beds.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Suites for 4 (Gazelle or Addax) have a double and a twin room, so are ideal for families; one can even fit an additional 2 beds or baby cots. A number of the Original Guestrooms have a single sofabed in an alcove, and all can fit a baby cot. The villas sleep 6-10 in 4-5 bedrooms, most of which can be set up as doubles or twins.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
8/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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Rates for Ksar Massa