Rebali Riads

Sidi Kaouki, Essaouira & Atlantic Coast, Morocco Book from Book from £108 per night

Spacious riads (1-4 bedrooms each), with swimming pools and superb service, in a coastal village just south of Essaouira
Sidi Kaouki has become one of the most popular yet under-the-radar villages in Morocco. Surfing aficionados of every form, including kite and wind, flock to this laid-back spot for the reliable Atlantic winds which create perfect breaks, in a metronomic manner, onto its long sandy beach.

Our perfect break, however, did not involve surfing in any form. We had washed up here to stay at this unique riad set-up. It consists of a terrace of 6 serviced riads, with a heated lap pool, large lawn, tennis court and hammam alongside. The 3 larger riads also have private swimming pools and walled gardens. All work brilliantly for families, with full kitchens, though all meals can be cooked for you, and there are restaurants nearby. Interiors have warm Moroccan hues set against clean white walls, huge lamps hanging from triple-height ceilings, and lanterns at dusk. Days went swimmingly: a camel ride up the beach to a delicious fish restaurant, a spot of ping-pong, a deep massage. Memorably, we also visited a local Berber lady in her home for a simply delicious tagine. At day's end we ascended to our roof terrace for the sunset, devoured a wonderful dinner, then relaxed fireside in cosy comfort. A perfect break indeed.

Highs

  • Immaculately kept and efficiently run by Mohamed, Fatima and their excellent concierge team
  • A very flexible set-up, with riads of various sizes; or you can just take a room or suite in quieter months
  • Delicious food served in your riad at the time and place of your choosing - plus complimentary afternoon tea with yummy homemade cakes!
  • A great range of activities both on-site and nearby, including the beach a 2-minute stroll away
  • An impressive commitment to investing in the local economy, including financial support for the village school

Lows

  • Be aware that Sidi Kaouki is a tiny place with just a handful of cafés and restaurants; for a wider choice, head into Essaouira (25 mins’ drive)
  • School holidays fill up way in advance (and no wonder, this is our favourite family bolthole around Essaouira); book early
  • We found the swimming pools a little chilly, even though they're heated in the winter months
World Favourite Family Hideaway

    Best rooms for families

    The 3 largest riads (Dar Mevada, Riad Sila and Riad Valmar) have 3 or 4 bedrooms apiece so work well for a large family party, and each has a private swimming pool in a walled garden. The 3 smaller riads (Dar Etoile/Azreq/Jeseli) have 1 or 2 bedrooms apiece. All riads can fit an extra bed and/or baby cot.

    Parents should know...

    The pools are unfenced and only heated to a small degree. There are some steep steps within the riads and the tiles beside the pools can get slippery. The property is gated so children cannot run into the (very quiet) road
  • Baby cots
  • High chair

Some equipment may need to be requested in advance

Special requests easily catered for with advance notice. You can also self-cater in your riad; shops are nearby

  • Heated swimming pools
  • Lawn for tearing about
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis court and racquets to borrow
  • Tortoises and chameleons
  • Games including boules, beach cricket, rounders and volleyball for the garden (request at reception)
  • Books
  • Board games
  • Beach games e.g. beach cricket and pool toys to borrow
  • DVDs
  • Camel rides on the beach
  • Surfing and kitesurfing
  • Horse riding
  • Lunch with a local family (a 30-minute easy walk, or you can arrange to be dropped off)

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 6 riads for 2-10
  • Breakfast included, other meals on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Babysitting
  • Creche / Kids Club
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Laundry service
Room:

Rooms

The 6 riads sit side by side in a terrace of ascending size, from one-bedroom Dar Etoile to 4-bedroom Riad Valmar. All have balconies, patios and roof terraces swathed in flowering creepers.

Modern in construction, yet with traditional craftsmanship throughout in fabrics, tassels, rugs and tadelakt walls, the immaculately presented riads come with well-equipped kitchens, squashy sofas and fireplaces. All except Dar Etoile have triple-height ceilings topped by a remote-controlled skylight giving a wonderful sense of space and light.

The 3 smallest share access to the swimming pool. The remainder have a private pool within walled gardens apiece, and 4-poster beds in master bedrooms. Riad Valmar comes with internal courtyards and Riad Sila (where we stayed) has a 14m living-dining room, perfect for larger groups and family gatherings.

Nearly all the supremely comfortable bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms. You get twin sinks, showers and baths in each riad; rose petals and argan oil potions await your arrival.

During low season, you can take an individual room in Riads Sila and Valmar; during school holidays you must book a riad in its entirety.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • DVD player
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Oven
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Let Mohamed and Fatima know when and where to serve breakfast. We partook of coffee, fresh fruit, fresh juice, yoghurt, crusty bread and Moroccan pancakes on our sunny poolside terrace.

A light lunch of salads, grilled fish of the day, lamb kebabs or sandwiches can be delivered from nearby cafes. Complimentary afternoon tea of mint tea, biscuits and freshly baked cake is served in the open-sided salon daily; a chance to meet your fellow guests.

Dinner needs to be confirmed by midday; the chef will check the planned menu with you. We had ham salad to start followed by a stunning vegetarian tagine with fresh fruit salad for dessert. You get a bottle of wine for booking through i-escape; for soft drinks choose from the honesty bar. Rebali Riads can purchase wine and beer locally on request but doesn't have an alcohol licence.

Sidi Kaouki has some nice cafes and restaurants for a change of scene. We really enjoyed our tasty lunch at fresh fish restaurant la Mouette et Chameau, a short camel ride (or 20-minute walk) up the beach.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Our highlight was a camel ride along the beach to a fish restaurant for lunch. You can also take a beach picnic, visit the Cap Sim headland, or visit local waterfalls on longer journeys. Or stay overnight and camp in a Berber tent
  • The coastline here is renowned for windsurfing, surfing and kitesurfing; there are operators in the village
  • Luxuriate in the hammam with an all-over scrub treatment, or have a deep-tissue massage, face mask, or mani- or pedicure treatment
  • Cooking classes and pastry-making demos are a treat: purchase ingredients in the souks of Essaouira with the chef, then return to your riad where he assists in preparing your chosen dish for lunch or dinner
  • There's a tennis court, with racquets and balls to borrow
  • Yoga classes are held once or twice a week on request
  • Walk up the road for a delicious chicken tagine lunch with a local lady in her homestead
  • Go horse-riding on the beach

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Camel rides
  • Cooking classes
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Star gazing
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Best Time to go

As you're close to the coast, the local winds will temper some of the heat in summer, but the best times to visit remain spring and autumn, and we really enjoyed soaking up some winter sun on our February visit.

Our Top Tips

We loved star gazing from our roof terrace (you get given a star map on arrival) and got up before dawn to see Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in an ecliptic line, as well as Scorpio, Sirius and the Southern Cross. Heavenly!
Kid Friendly:

Location

Rebali Riads is in Sidi Kaouki, to the south of Essaouira on Morocco's Atlantic Coast.

By Air:
Fly into Essaouira (15 minutes' taxi) or Marrakech (195km / 3 hours' drive), or Agadir Agadir (187km/3hr20m drive).

From the Airport
Rebali Riads can organise a transfer from all airports. We don't think it necessary but if you want to hire a car here are our rental recommendations. You can park for free beside the riads.

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

More on getting to Morocco and getting around

Airports:

  • Essaouira 15.0 km ESU
  • Marrakech 195.0 km RAK

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 0.5 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Great place with kids. Amazingly friendly staff who really look after you during your stay.

8/10,

We stayed 9 nights in Riad Valmar, 4 adults, two teenagers, a 3 year old and a baby, and it was perfect for us. Plenty of space, a wonderful kitchen and terrace and a nice garden and rooftop terrace as well plus a pool. The service was just perfect and we had all our meals at the hotel. The two managers were very helpful and kind and helped us organize the things we wanted to do around. It can be a little chilly at night and in the morning during winter, but there are heaters and a big open fireplace. Facilities on the grounds include a hammam/spa and tennis court plus garden and terrace for afternoon tea plus a larger pool (although a little cold in the winter). This place is highly recommended for families or larger groups - one of the best places we have stayed over the years.

10/10,

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