Villa de L'O

Essaouira & Atlantic Coast, Morocco Book from Book from £113 per night

An impeccably manicured small hotel at the heart of Morocco’s funkiest coastal town - stunning roof-terrace views
Hidden behind the medina walls, right by the sea, this onetime almond storage depot is minutes from everything that lovely old Essaouira has to offer: idyllic white and pinkwashed houses, rolling dunes, a harbour, fish stalls and souks. Yet despite its central location it is blissfully tranquil.

The moment those huge bolted doors swing open to reveal an elegantly furnished 18th-century colonnaded patio and a cageful of chirruping birds, you know you've arrived at a rare place. Behind a grand sweep of curtain lies a delectable French salon; through intricately carved doors, a dining room with an intimate air. Follow tiered inner balconies up to spoilingly comfortable, hugely handsome bedrooms and you’ll wish you'd booked for longer. The crowning glory is the shaded roof terrace, with views over ramparts, souks and kite surfers on the beach: a great spot for breakfast (don't miss the chocolate pastries), an afternoon nap on the loungers, or a cocktail at sunset.


  • A great location just within the medina walls, and easy to find
  • We loved the larger suites: comfortable and elegant, with eclectic retro furniture
  • Breakfast on the roof terrace, overlooking the ramparts and sandy beach - the best view in town?
  • Delightful, ever-helpful staff


  • Rooms can be a bit dark, particularly the interior-facing Unik Prestiges
  • Decor is more colonial than Moroccan
  • Other than breakfast you'll probably want to eat out, but Essaouira best eateries are within a short walk
  • There's only 1 twin-bedded room, so non-couples should book early

Best time to go

Spring and autumn (March-May and September-October) enjoy moderate temperatures of 20-30 celsius, but even in midsummer there is a cooling wind. There's a music festival in June (book well ahead) - and see the links below for dates of Ramadan (the month-long Muslim day-fast). Winter can also be a very great time to be in Essaouira: days are often sunny and mild and the light at this time of year has a unique quality.

Our top tips

The Gnaoua festival in June is a lively 4-day musical celebration of the descendants of Morocco's African slaves: unique chiming cymbals and string instruments complement trance-like vocals.

Great for...

City Style
  • Riad Hotel
  • 12
  • Breakfast and light meals (+ walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Unik Prestige


Dark wood, sober colours and elegant cane furniture are all common to the immaculate, colonial-themed rooms. Sepia photographs, globes and vintage books tied with string add character, as do a stylish set of golf clubs in one room!

If you can stretch to it, book a Suite Unik Prestige - ours had a beach-view bathtub and another has a stunning private roof terrace! Suite Unik rooms are spacious and light; Unik Prestige rooms are bit darker as they open onto the inner gallery - that said high riad ceilings mean they feel airy enough and all rooms have air-conditioning. There are a handful of rooms suitable for families, too.

The bathrooms we saw were lovely, with bronze, ceramic or hardwood basins and bowls of spices in which shampoos and body lotions nestle; towels and bathrobes are suitably fluffy.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • WiFi


Breakfast is served by lovely, smiley staff on the sunny roof terrace (or in the dining room or inner courtyard); working our way through fresh orange juice, croissants, yoghurt and plates of honey, jam and fig preserves was a lovely start to the day. The coffee is strong, Italian and very good, or there’s proper mint tea.

As far as eating out was concerned, we were pointed in the direction of Elizir for Moroccan-Mediterranean food amid quirky interiors and Chez Sam for the best fresh seafood in town, there's also Caravane Café if you fancy authentic local dishes with a side of live music. If nothing else, an impromptu lunch at one of the fish stalls on the harbourside is a must, as long as you choose your stall with care; a few coins will buy you a plate of seafood delivered by the boats that day, simply barbecued and eaten at communal tables.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Coffee tea making
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Simple daytime menu


  • Essaouira is well-known in the windsurfing fraternity for its strong winds and long sandy beach; or, if this is too passé for you, try kite-surfing
  • Be sure to wander down to the bustling fishing harbour where there are many covered stalls: a highlight of any visit to Essaouira. There are also art galleries, museums and city walls to be explored
  • Essaouira's souks are friendlier, cheaper and often better quality than those of Marrakech or Agadir - especially for wooden furniture and inlay products such as backgammon sets
  • Walk the beach as sunset approaches and the camel-ride vendors have gone home: be thrilled by crashing surf and the distant silhouette of tumbled ruins
  • The hotel can fix up packages to Essaouira's golf course on request
  • Pamper yourself in the Villa de L'O's hammam, you can also book a massage, manicure or pedicure using only the best Sothys creams and oils

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Traditional cultures
  • Windsurfing


Families are welcome - parents with babies or toddlers are requested to check with the owners when booking.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

One of the Unik Prestige rooms has a mezzanine level with space for 2 single beds. There are also 2 Suite Unik rooms with space for 2 children; 1 with a mezzanine level and the other with 2 rollaway beds.


Babysitting is available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

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

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The beach
  • Exploring the medina


  • Airport: 20 minutes
  • Shops: 3 minutes
Kid Friendly: Unik Prestige

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests


We loved the Villa de l'O. Our room was very comfortable and had a view of the sea. We particularly enjoyed the roof where we had breakfast - a very good one - overlooking the sea. Everyone was pleasant and welcoming. Our evening meals in Chez Sam in the harbour were quite outstanding.


We had such a fabulous stay.The room was huge and gorgeous with a vast bathroom. The staff were exceptional - nothing was too much trouble. From breakfast on the roof terrace to lighting a fire and candles for us at night, we loved it and will come back


On the whole this was a nice riad and well located near to the beach and medina and local eateries. The view was lovely from the rooftop, but the whole area is looking tired and needs some refurbishment to make it more pleasurable to sit up there. Good fresh breakfast and the meal we ate in the restaurant was fine. Room was a decent size and comfortable (except the pillows - a common problem!). Service was warm and friendly. Overall perhaps a little overpriced for the amenities available. We flew direct to Essouaria and visited another area before returning there. Taxi journeys easy to organise and reliable in our experience. No shortage of excellent fish!


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Rates for Villa de L'O