Le Jardin des Douars

near Essaouira, Essaouira & Atlantic Coast, Morocco
Book from Book from £79 per night

A laid-back countryside escape near Essaouira for couples, families and friends; beautiful garden, spa and pools

Driving inland from the wind-battered coast, past laden donkeys and fields of argan trees, Le Jardin des Douars appears like a sandcastle on the horizon. Pass through the gates, and colour explodes from the botanical gardens; birds tweet, bees buzz, and calm slips over you like a Moroccan cape. From the main ksar atop the valley, lush gardens cascade down to the oued (river) below. We spent happy afternoons spotting terrapins in ponds, lazing in hammocks and counting butterflies. Two heated jade-green pools are the focal point - a quiet infinity pool for adults, another for families to go wild. And as the sun drops, the enchanting candlelit terrace bar serves up cocktails serenaded by a frog-and-cricket chorus, followed by alfresco dining under starry skies in the warmer months.

Inside the imposing façade, plant-filled courtyards and tranquil water features give a refreshing, inside-out feel. Rooms, Suites and Villas are classically Moroccan in style, with traditional tiled floors, antique furniture and time-worn doors. It’s only 15 years old, but already feels rooted here. The beaches and medina of Essaouira are 15 minutes away, but the happy vibe, slick service and genuine warmth make it hard to tear yourself away.


  • Sensational botanical gardens bursting at the seams with colour against the bright blue sky; absolutely stunning on our 2018 revisit
  • All pools are heated to 28C, so you can swim year round
  • A wonderful balance between a family haven and a couples' retreat; adult-only areas include a pool, dining room and candlelit hammam spa
  • Feels decadent but with a well-pitched price tag - especially of renting one of the fabulous staffed villas
  • The inland river-valley location ensures you avoid the worst of the infamous local winds


  • No outside life within walking distance, so you're confined to eating on site or shuttling into Essaouira (no bad thing with fantastic restaurants)
  • You'll probably want a car unless staying put; taxis add up (although a shuttle bus option is available)
  • If here in the school holidays, you may not find the tranquility and romance you're after as many families are in residence

Best time to go

Unlike other parts of Morocco, Essaouira is a year-round destination. The famous summer winds keep the temperature to a bearable degree even in July and August. Locals swear by the calm other-worldly light in January and February, but it can get a bit nippy in the evenings. We'd recommend either March to May or September to November for the best overall conditions. The hotel is closed for two weeks in January annually

Our top tips

Go wine tasting at the Val dArgan, said to be the best winery in Morocco. The cheapest Gazelle de Mogador is a crisp, refreshing white (perfect with fresh fish) and the Orient du Val d’Argan is gutsy and moreish

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 25 rooms, 6 villas for up to 14
  • Restaurant + bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Boules


Local Maghreb style permeates throughout, with desert hues and chunky antique wooden furniture. Unique African art and black and white Moroccan scenes adorn tadelakt walls, while Zellige-tiled floors and open ceilings add authenticity.

There's a bewildering array of different rooms - see rates for full details. The bulk are spread over 2 floors in the main ksar building (bag an upper room for views and added breeze in the summer months); others are set in separate domed buildings amongst the gardens.

We stayed in a Choukran room (the cheapest), a good size for couples with a suntrap terrace to listen to the birds and bees. Grander options for romance include Pacha rooms with big baths and fireplaces. For families and friends there are triples (Beldi) and large Suites whose living areas double-up as bedrooms; we were impressed by our Babel Suite on our 2018 revisit. The standalone Villa Suites sleep up to 14, with private swimming pools and cooks; perfect for bigger groups.

Don’t expect mod cons; there’s a deliberate absence of TVs to ensure you enjoy the peace.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Family friendly
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


Dinner on the terrace, under starry skies and silhouetted palms, feels wonderfully Mediterranean. Whether you go à la carte or set menu (3 daily changing courses), expect traditional Moroccan flavours with a French twist. It’s hard to pick a winner between the chorizo-stuffed squid and the succulent chicken, date and almond tagine we tried; both were outstanding. On cooler nights, the indoor dining area/lounge has a sociable atmosphere and large fireplace, a candlelit snug is adults only.

Breakfast is buffet style and French in flavour. Think baguettes, cheeses and hams, eggs to order, indulgent French toast with honey, delicious poached spiced fruits, nuts and cereals. Filter coffee was on the weak side, but caffeine junkies can get a Nespresso hit at an extra charge. Simple salads and light snacks (try the ceviche) are served at lunchtime; we feasted like pashas at the buzzy Sunday BBQ with ample meats, fish and salads (avocado and crab was a hit) setting us up for an afternoon nap poolside.

For a change of scene head into Essaouira; staff can recommend restaurants.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Family friendly
  • Restaurant


  • Relax and don't feel guilty. Many people hole up here for a week and barely leave. Alternate between the 2 pools, read a book in a hammock and wander the gardens
  • Spoil yourself in the candlelit hammam spa with argan pulp face scrubs, Moroccan and Oriental massages, and hot-stone treatments
  • Spend a day exploring Essaouira's old medina, ramparts and harbour. It's a great place to idle, drinking mint tea and watching local life happen around you
  • We bought beautiful blankets and beach towels for a snip in the souks - much cheaper than Marrakech's, and with a laid-back attitude to bartering
  • Head to the beach for wind- and kite-surfing (the coast nearby is world-renowned)
  • Various local companies offer camel, horse or quad rides along the dunes at sunset
  • Visit the waterfalls that flow into the sea (staff can arrange a picnic), or play a round at the nearby Mogador Golf Academy

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Camel rides
  • Cooking classes
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Private guided tours
  • Quad biking
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing


This is an excellent place for families as we can testify following our latest visit. There's a family pool for kids to let rip at the foot of the hill, with changing rooms, gently sloping water and a segregated paddling pool for toddlers. Both pools are heated to 28C year round. There are various family accommodation options. And tortoises in the gardens!

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Douaria Suites are small self-contained houses in the garden, with 1 double bedroom, 1 twin bedroom and a lounge with space for another 2 single beds. Smala Rooms have a double bedroom and a lounge area with space for 2 single beds or 1 single bed and a baby cot on request; some have an outdoor terrace so you can enjoy an evening drink whilst the kids sleep. Beldi rooms have a kingsize bed and a single bed plus space for a baby cot. The split-level Mogador Suite sleeps up to 6; the Royal Suite has 2 bedrooms (a double and a twin) plus a lounge with a single bed; the Sultan Suite has two bedrooms and sleeps up to 5. Villa Suites each sleep up to 10 (in 2 double bedrooms and 2 triple bedrooms), with space for 2 baby cots and private pool (heated to 28C year round) and cook.


On request

Baby listening:

No baby monitors so bring your own; some rooms in the main ksar will be in range from the restaurant - enquire when booking

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Baby baths
  • Bottle warmers
  • Potty

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

Children's meals:

A kids' menu and high chairs

Kids Activities on site:

  • Boules court
  • Ping pong
  • Board games
  • Family pool

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beach
  • Windsurfing and kitesurfing
  • Camel and horse rides
  • Cookery lessons at L'atelier nearby
  • Quad biking

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced and unsupervised; the formal flowering gardens and house are set over many levels with steps everywhere; the ponds are open and unfenced; there's no lawn/large area to run around/kick about in


  • Airport: 10 minutes' drive (Essaouira)
  • Shop: 15 minutes' drive (Essaouira)
  • Hospital: 15 minutes' drive (Essaouira)
Kid Friendly:


The hotel is set in a river valley, 15 minutes inland from the coast and the beautiful walled town of Essaouira. The location means you avoid the worst of the infamous winds, gain a few degrees in sunny warmth and can relax in comfort.

By Air:
Fly into Essaouira (10km), Marrakech (177km) or Agadir (191km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines. The hotel can arrange transfers from either airport - see Rates - or you can hire a car (useful for exploring and going in and out of town; roads are good). See our car rental recommendations.

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

More on getting to Morocco and getting around


  • Essaouira Mogador 10.0 km ESU
  • Marrakech Menara 177.0 km MAR


  • Beach 10.0 km
  • Shops 10.0 km
  • Restaurant 10.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests


We loved our week at Le Jardin des Douars! The decor, the gardens, the pools, the staff - everything was beautiful! The transport arrangements were reliable and on time. The Horse-riding excursion through the dunes and along the beach was amazing. Our only suggestion for improvement would be with the menu - the food is perfectly good and beautifully presented but we felt the menu was a little limited and sometimes bland. We will definitely be recommending Le Jardin to friends and hope to come back one day. Thanks for an amazing stay.


This was our first real break since lockdown in 20 months. After having to fly via France because of restrictions, it was totally worth the effort. Our villa was perfect - incredibly friendly staff, beautiful pool and gardens and lots of space and time to unwind. It's not too far to get into Essaouira which we had seen before and has some great restaurants, But hanging around our villa, catching up with friends and enjoying some treatments and Hammams as well as a few cocktails at the bar was just what the doctor ordered.


We got back last night from a wonderful stay at Le Jardin de Douars and full marks to i-escape for including this lovely hotel in their lists. I would give 5 for everything (apart maybe for the bathroom which was quite dark). We were in a Luxe room with a very comfortable bed, the room was large with a domed ceiling and its own private terrace with 2 sunbeds and a table and chairs. The hotel is set in beautiful, very well maintained landscaped and terraced gardens – lots of jacaranda and bougenvillia at this time of year (Feb) and terracotta pots everywhere. As we were going there as two adults, we were slightly worried that there would be lots of noise from children given that it was half term week. However, there is an adults only pool, properly heated for this time of year and a long way away from the family area pool so it was very quiet. Both pools are equally pretty. There is also a small adults only restaurant. There was a lovely family atmosphere with happy children playing cards and games of scrabble or drawing – I don’t think we saw a child on a mobile phone or screen all the time we were there. We had our own car which gave us lots of flexibility. The hotel is only about 20 minutes from Essaouira and a similar distance from the wonderful sandy beaches at Sidi Kaouki where we walked and had lunch – on one day at a basic beachside cafe/restaurant with fresh barbecued fish of the day (red mullet) and tomato salad for 60dhs and on the other at the very pretty and stylish La Mouette et Les Dromedaires – more expensive but delicious and lovely atmosphere. We had dinner one evening in Essaouira at the Madada Restaurant – highly recommended but you will need to book. We will definitely hope to go back.


{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Le Jardin des Douars

Arriving on: