It’s always great having friends in-the-know when you travel abroad, as they often give you top tips that you don’t find in guide-books or through internet searches. Because usually you don’t know about these places and so don’t search on them. One of these gems turned up on our recent trip to Essaouira, when we stayed at our friends’ apartment, Dar Mellah. Sandra, who runs Riad Remy in the Medina, also manages Dar Mellah and so was on hand throughout our stay. She has a wealth of information about Essaouira, especially on the eating out front, but her stand-out-top-tip was a day trip to Les Jardins de Villa Maroc, located about 15km inland from Essaouira.
This secluded idyll is reached by private transfer, arranged through the sister hotel – Villa Maroc – in Essaouira. On Sandra’s instructions, we booked the day before. The cost is approximately £25pp. We met our driver at the hotel for an 11am departure and by 11.3o were around the pool, in the most amazing surroundings imaginable. We were the only guests there so literally had the whole pool area and restaurant to ourselves. Lunch was served on the terrace by the pool and it is no exaggeration to say that what was brought to us, could have fed at least six people. Every dish was full of home-grown produce and each dish was cooked there and then. Essaouira has no shortage of brilliant places to eat, but this was something special!
Les Jardins de Villa Maroc also has three separate boutique suites and private swimming pool – perfect for families or a group of friends. There is also a beautifully equipped kitchen in the largest suite and the hotel staff, if required, will prepare food here.
All in all, an amazingly beautiful and tranquil retreat just outside the hustle & bustle of Essaouira – whether for an afternoon (pick up is 5pm) or a longer stay. And with incredibly reasonable rates for either option, you should just do yourself a favour & get to know this stunning hideaway.