“Renovated by retro-design pros in smart 60s fashion, this stylish medina house may be the coolest place to stay in Essaouira (sleeps 2-8)”
Solidly built and full of designer pieces, The Design House's floor-to-ceiling whitewashed plaster work is accented exposed stone support arches and columns. Some display intricate symbols from the 1800s Portuguese colonial period, speaking of the building's long history.
There are 4 double bedrooms: one on the first floor with a private walk-in shower room and 2 on the second floor, which share a large shower bathroom. These upper rooms also have access to a pueblo-style terrace, complete with hammock, cactus and a rather ingenious bamboo-stick awning. At the very top, the fourth bedroom has sliding glass doors onto its own roof terrace.
The first-floor dining room opens off the all-mod-cons kitchen and afterwards, the cosy living area complete with stereo, WiFi and iPod dock is perfect for lounging. Along with the terraces, the ground floor has a quiet courtyard so there's plenty of space to chill.
All rooms have fireplaces and plug-in radiators ensuring the house is still cosy on chilly winter nights.
The well-equipped kitchen is sleek and long, with a creamy tadelakt (polished plaster) worktop and open shelving. It’s crying out for would-be gourmets to try their hand at tagine and couscous suppers, and on-hand supplies include fruit, bottled water, tea, coffee, milk, oils, salt and pepper. Step through a white archway and dine at the striking ‘tulip’ table, then chill with postprandial tunes in the living room’s music area. In summer, it’s warm enough to have a mint tea on the roof terrace. During our spring visit we breakfasted al fresco every morning.
The house is close to some good bakeries and local fish and vegetable markets. If you tire of cooking, Emma's excellent cook/cleaner can prepare a scrumptious Moroccan meal in her home and deliver it to you - now that’s service! Wine and beer can also be ready chilled in the fridge for your arrival, just ask.
The only problem with dining out is the sheer choice: Essaouria is replete with restaurants and its proximity to the Atlantic means seafood lovers are especially indulged. Thankfully Emma knows just about everyone and is happy to provide recommendations and book tables if required.
Children are made very welcome, and this house works well for an extended family party or two families holidaying together. That said, due to the layout we feel that the house is best suited to ages 7+.
Essaouira is a great destination for families with a fascinating souk, colourful port and long beaches. The Design House is centrally placed for easy access to all sights and it's only 10 minutes from the beach.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
All 4 bedrooms have double beds. The second-floor mezzanine room is best suited for children as its double bed is a little smaller than the others and parents can sleep on the same floor and share a bathroom.
There's a baby cot, which is free of charge (top sheet provided so please bring own sleeping bag or blanket). A steriliser is also available.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The house has everything you need for self-catering. The housekeeper, Amina, often cooks for guests on the first night (children eat for free). There are plenty of child-friendly restaurants nearby, Emma can advise.
The house has an all-white interior and some valuable design pieces so it may not be ideal for smaller, messy ones. In addition, it's not ideal for toddlers as there are a lot of stairs.