Thinking of heading south to Morocco for a beachy holiday? I just got off the plane from Morocco and can wholeheartedly recommend Essaouira. It's got a boho yet ethnic vibe and of course lots of sunshine. Tempted? Here are my two suggestions of where to stay in Essaouira.
Villa de l'O
This boutique hotel is located right on the edge of the medina, but still inside the city walls. It's housed in a traditional riad with rooms giving out onto a courtyard with a fountain in the centre. We were welcomed with a traditional Moroccan tea and sweets before taken to our room. The whole riad feels like you've been warped back into times when the French were ruling the country as the place is littered with paraphernalia reminiscent of 18th century travel. Think leather travel cases, antique furniture (both European and Moroccan) and lots of globes, compasses and binoculars.
Breakfast was served on the rooftop terrace overlooking the ocean. The food was a combination of French and Moroccan pastries with fruits, yoghurt and of course tea and coffee.
We almost didn't want to leave if it wasn't for our reservation at what is supposed to be the nicest hotel in Essaouira.
This hotel is part of the Relais et Chateaux chain and is housed in what used to be the British consulate. It has a lovely courtyard with lots of plants giving it a secluded feel. This is where the breakfast buffet is served every morning.
We were upgraded to a suite that was bigger than my London flat, but then the latter is of course teeny tiny. Still we had a large hall area, a sitting area with a fireplace, then the sleeping area and a massive bathroom with an equally massive tub, two sinks and a shower room.
The turndown service came with fruits and Moroccan sweeties, which I loved. Way better than the standard chocolate on your pillow.
We spent a lot of time lazing by the pool which is located on the rooftop terrace. There are lots of sunbeds big and small and secluded, shady corners as well overlooking the hustle and bustle in the newer part of town.
There is also a lunch time buffet, but drinks are available all day. They are of the alcoholic kind and come with delightful bar snacks.
It's hard to say which one I preferred, so my suggestion is to do like we did and stay at both. Easy choice.