Bohemian Paradise: Essaouria
Discover a bohemian paradise in Essaouria
With February temperatures averaging a balmy 25c and boasting 320 days of sunshine a year, Essaouria is fast becoming a popular short haul destination for city dwellers in search of winter sun without the 14 hour plane journey.
Often referred to as Marrakech's laid back sister, the costal city of Essaouria is known for its ancient walls, rich culture, eclectic tourist shops, exquisite cuisine, scenic sandy beaches and the surf-friendly Atlantic sea. This vibrant seaside city has been known to regularly attract stars such as Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix, and is also home to a UNESCO listed medina, so holidaymakers will have plenty to explore and discover.
After hearing about the temptations of this alluring holiday destination, I decided to book a stay at the bohemian-chic Le Jardin des Douars after a feisty few days of dancing at the Oasis music festival in Marrakech.
This effortlessly elegant hotel resides in the heart of the sunny Essaouira hills, shielded from the wind and the bustling noise of the city centre.
28 spacious bedrooms and three luxury villas are surrounded by botanical gardens adorned with colourful flowers. There are two emerald green heated pools - once of which is reserved only for adults seeking blissfuly silent relaxation.
Our room was vast in size and rich in traditional Moroccan decor. A quaint porch area featured heavy wooden sun loungers and willowy green plants. The moorish bathroom was home to a deep, sunken bathtub of epic proportions and Moroccan natural beauty products, which graced the tiled sink area for hammam-style pampering.
Those in search of the real Moroccan hammam experience can make their way to the Le Jardin des Douars spa, where a range of traditional face and body treatments are carried out by expert therapists. We opted for the couples Hammam experience involving a full body exfoliation and fragrant hair mask in pleasingly steamy surroundings.
Dinners and lunches were spent at the hotel's grand indoor and outdoor restaurant - including a couples only section for romance-lovers. Surrounded by memorising North African artworks and shrouded in candlelight, we feasted on lamb and artichoke tagines, lentil soups and syrupy-sweet puddings full of exotic promise.
Although it was hard to leave this soul-soothing haven, we would occasionally make our way to the city centre via the hotel's very own shuttle bus. This helpful service allowed guests to experience the best of both worlds during their Moorish experience - serene escapism and the hustle and bustle of Moroccan city life.
Once we had our fill of rich tagines, exotic birds and lazy sun-drenched days by the pool, we pried ourselves away from this enchanting place, feeling refreshed and revived, yet ready for another Moroccan adventure all over again.
To book a stay at Le Jardin, des Douars please visit their website.
Images: Le Jardin des Douars