Villa Maroc Essaouira, Morocco - MEV001

Situated right on Essaouira's ramparts, this is one of the first riads in Morocco to be converted into a boutique hotel. It is famous for its food and rooms tucked in the maze of connecting courtyards.

This riad is in fact four inter-connecting 18th century merchants' houses. There are twenty rooms, which makes the riad larger than average, but its layout and intimate ambience mean that you do not feel as though you are among a crowd of people or in a hotel at all. In fact, you feel just like a house guest.

There are seven lounges, four of which have fireplaces lit in winter adding a glowing warmth. It is easy to tuck yourself away in a corner or meet with other guests for a drink. The decor is artful and simple and much use is made of local arts and artefacts. Walls are white-washed and woodwork is blue and white reflecting the colours of the seaside town.

There is no formal dining room as such. Instead guests are allocated a table in an alcove or small, intimate side room. Here you are served some of the most delicious food you'll eat in Morocco (we also recommend non-residents book dinner here). Much of the food (including wonderful tagines) is made using home-grown produce and is a fusion of European and Moroccan cuisine blended with local herbs and spices. In the morning you will be served an ample and tasty breakfast which includes home-made jams and yoghurts as well as pancakes and fresh orange juice.

The bedrooms and suites are furnished tastefully, using local fabrics, rugs and cushions, thuya wood furniture and some mosaics in the en-suite bathrooms. There is the occasional gilt mirror or candlestick providing the odd European touch. The whole ensemble gives a sense of uncluttered space.

All of this is arranged on three floors around a central courtyard in which a delicate conifer tree grows right up to the open split-level roof terrace. The terrace is adorned with bright green cane chairs and tables and is one of the best places in town for a view of the beach and sea.

On the ground floor you just have the reception area and then tucked behind it a small spa with a traditional Moroccan Hammam (steam room) and a number of massage rooms for a good selection of treatments

If travelling by car (private transfer better), you will need to park in one of the public parking spaces outside the medina and walk to the house, as no cars are allowed inside the medina walls.

20 rooms in total - 7 doubles, 5 mini-suites, 5 suites and 3 suites sleeping 2 to 4 people. There is no minimum stay although at busy times a week is encouraged.

The property is located 190 km from Marrakech (& airport), 170 km from Agadir (& airport) although Marrakech is a quicker, easier drive.

Additional Information:
- no lunch, dinner 200 dhs, soft drinks & alcohol drinks available from 20-500 dhs
- hammam 350-600, massage: 300-350, beauty care on request
hair dryers at the front desk

21 Bedrooms, Sleeps 46
£70 - £90 per room per night

Set in beautiful traditional building
Central Location in Medina
Beach and sea views from the terrace
Wonderful dining nooks
5 minutes walk from the beach