“An charming small hotel at the heart of Morocco’s funkiest coastal town - stunning roof-terrace views”
The moment those huge bolted doors swing open to reveal an elegant 18th-century colonnaded patio and a cage of chirruping birds, you know you've arrived at a rare place. Behind lies a delectable French salon with carved fireplace; through intricately carved doors, a dining room with an intimate air. Follow tiered inner balconies up to comfortable, hugely handsome bedrooms and you’ll wish you'd booked for longer. The crowning glory is the expansive 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 and details
- On our 2018 revisit, we really enjoyed our generous breakfast on the roof terrace, overlooking the ramparts and sandy beach - the best view in town?
- Delightful, ever-helpful staff
- Interior-facing Unik Prestige Rooms can feel a bit dark
- Decor is colonial rather than Moroccan
- Other than breakfast you'll probably eat out (other meals are on request), but Essaouira's best eateries are within a short walk
- Only 1 twin-bedded room, so non-couples should book early
- Rooms are well-maintained, however we felt some common areas could do with a touch of TLC on our most recent visit
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Riad Hotel
- Breakfast and light meals (+ walk to restaurants)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
Dark wood, sober colours, cream walls and elegant cane furniture are all common to the immaculately conceived, colonial-themed rooms, all named with O. 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 (Avelmor) 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 with a mezzanine floor with twin beds, 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.
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Safe box
- Satellite TV
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, chocolate cake, pancakes 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.
You can order other meals on request: we enjoyed a candle-lit dinner in the inner courtyard which featured the famous 7-vegetable couscous and chocolate mousse for dessert.
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.
- Coffee / tea making
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- 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
- 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 products by Moroccan brand leader Azbane
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures
Families are welcome - parents with babies or toddlers are requested to check with the owners when booking. We stayed with kids during our 2018 revisit, and they very much liked having their own mezzanine floor in our very spacious Suite Unik (Odyssey). Staff were kind and helpful to the children.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
One of the Unik Prestige rooms (Orient) has a mezzanine level with space for 2 single beds, as does a Suite Unik (Odyssey) which can also take a baby cot. Four Suite Unik rooms can take an extra bed and a baby cot. All in the Suite Unik Prestige category can take a baby cot
Babysitting is available by arrangement
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 souks
- The fish market
- Learning to kite- or wind-surf
Families Should Know:
There are a flight of stairs apiece to the first and second floors, and a roof terrace, which although fenced, we don't really recommend for toddlers
- Airport: 20 minutes
- Shops: 3 minutes
Villa de L'O is sheltered behind the medina walls of Essaouira (just a few metres from the beach and souks), on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco.
Fly directly into Essaouira (10km), or travel via Marrakech Menara (175km) as part of a wider trip around Morocco. The hotel can arrange an airport transfer from Marrakech or Essaouira.
There are regular buses as well as a constant stream of grand taxis ploughing the route between Marrakech and Essaouira. We'd advise taking the Supratours bus from outside the train station in Gueliz, Marrakech. These are fast and air-conditioned, but book tickets at least a day ahead.
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 10.0 km ESU
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.2 km