“A laid-back countryside escape near Essaouira for couples, families and friends; beautiful garden, spa and pools”
Inside the imposing façade, plant-filled courtyards and tranquil water features give a refreshing, inside-out feel. Rooms and suites 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
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 25 rooms, 3 villas for 10
- Restaurant + bar
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Heated Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
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 roomss - 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 Relax room (the cheapest), a good size for couples with a suntrap terrace to listen to the birds and bees. Grander options for romance include Luxe 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 three standalone Villa Suites sleep up to 10, 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.
- Air conditioning
- Cots Available
- Safe box
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.
- Children's meals
- 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
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Private guided tours
- Quad biking
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
- Well being
This is an excellent place for families as we can testify following our 2018 revisit. 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!
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. Family 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. 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.
No baby monitors so bring your own; some rooms in the main ksar will be in range from the restaurant - enquire when booking
- Baby cots
- Baby baths
- Bottle warmers
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
A kids' menu and high chairs
Kids Activities on site:
- Boules court
- Ping pong
- Board games
- Family pool
Kids Activities nearby:
- 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)
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.
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