Essaouira is a charming Moroccan seaside town for those interested in seeing a different part of the country away from Marrakesh. Its fortified walls and crumbling ramparts are beautiful in their own unique way, with its labyrinth-like medina a joy to wander through, as you make your way past artists at work and the colourful souks you’d expect from the region.
I was excited to see these sights for myself, but this trip was also about unwinding, and it appears that we found the perfect hotel retreat in Le Jardin des Douars.
Le Jardin des Douars
We arrived at Essaouira Mogador’s mirrored airport on a pleasantly warm and sunny day and were met by a taxi that had been arranged for us by the hotel. Hidden away from the main road Le Jardin des Douars can be found down a narrow track lined with rainbow bougainvillea. When we reached the entrance we were greeted by an inviting welcome sign and a guard on the gate who always had a smile on his face.
Exploring the suite
As we walked into the foyer area of our suite our jaws hit the floor – it was huge! We had two large double bedrooms both with their own bathrooms, a sitting room and a large outdoor terrace. The foyer was walled, but had no roof which meant the bougainvillea trailed in and you could hear bird song, which was lovely!
The suite’s décor was traditionally Moroccan, with colourful rugs and paintings and wooden ornaments and furniture placed neatly around the rooms. Everywhere was immaculately presented.
Our bathrooms were beautiful, tiled in green with gold accents and an intricately hand-painted basin. There were little bathroom delights dotted along the side, including a bottle of orange oil, a bowl of dried rosebuds, and bottles of soap and creams with a real hibiscus flower sat in one – so pretty!
We were also treated to a selection of other goodies wrapped in a red cloth. A little, beautifully illustrated booklet accompanied it and told us what each was and what they were used for, which I thought was a lovely touch.
Perfect if you’re looking for peace and quiet
The outdoor terrace curved around the corner of the bungalow which meant it was accessible from both bedrooms. Walled by a large terracotta wall, you were well secluded if you wanted some peace and quiet. Outside of my room was a sun lounger and around the corner sat two more loungers and a small table in our very own garden.
Plus the fact that the rooms have no TVs or telephones means you’re able to really unwind, away from such distractions, if you wish (but there is WiFi for those who can’t step away from social media, of course…).
It’s in the name…
After we’d finished gawping at our incredible home for the next few days, we went exploring around the hotel grounds. You can definitely see why they included Jardin in the name, the whole complex is covered in flora and fauna. Towering evergreens, palm trees, exotic flowers and fruits – we managed to find a star fruit growing outside our door and a pomegranate on one of the plants by the path. During explorations we also came across the resident cat and peacock – something you don’t often see at a hotel!
There are two swimming pools at this hotel, one for families with children and one just for adults. Both are stunning and surrounded by greenery. We spent most of our time around the latter, but managed to find the children’s pool while exploring.
The adult’s pool is surrounded by sun loungers and on split levels with secluded areas if you didn’t want to be disturbed. The water is such an inviting shade of azure blue, all we wanted to do was jump straight in! The plants surrounding it attract a lot of wildlife so you get a lovely soundtrack of birdsong and buzzing while you’re sat reading your book! I also heard a herd of goats one day, which was unusual, but I loved it!
Moroccan mint tea – a must!
The staff very kindly offer wheat cake and mint tea for guests by the pool at around 17:00 every day. They leave a couple of pieces on a table by a tree for the birds too so they don’t bother guests which I thought was a rather good idea. I was right by it and it was lovely to watch them all swooping down to grab their treat.
Our bungalow was a short walk from the main hotel which made it very peaceful. The building is situated in the main gardens and houses more bedrooms, the dining rooms and the kitchen. There is a main dining room where booking is essential for evening meals, and also the terrace, where breakfast and lunch are served as well as dinner.
We also found the main building has a stunning water feature running down to the terrace and a balcony that offers one breath taking view of the gardens and the Moroccan hills beyond the hotel.
The spa experience
Le Jardin des Douars is a spa hotel and the spa is located by the adult’s pool. A seemingly small building from the outside, once you enter the treatment room you are transported into a world that’s deeply Moroccan! I was treated to a complimentary black soap exfoliation treatment in the hammam, a Moroccan steam room, which was completely beautiful. I I felt transported to another world.
I was lead through two sets of large, intricately carved wooden doors into a very dark, cave-like room lit by candles and smelt deeply of incense. The dome of the hammam had stars cut out of it, each with a coloured background and hung from the ceiling was a stunning, very intricately patterned Moroccan light giving off a dim glow which gently splashed the pattern over the walls. In the centre of the room sat a large table holding rose petals, candles and incense. It was so beautiful, I wanted to take it all home with me. Unfortunately, my camera wasn’t able to take any decent photos because it was so dark, but you can see a few photos of the hammam on the hotel’s website.
What we thought
All of the staff are so friendly and helpful at Le Jardin des Douars and are happy to book you onto any of the many activities they can arrange for guests: anything from treatments at the spa and games in the hotel grounds to quad bike rides, camel rides, water sports, sailing trips, hikes and cooking classes. Also, as you only receive 300 MB of complimentary wifi, they can get you back online if you run out.
They have a wall by the dining room where they have hung photographs of all of the staff members, which I think is a lovely touch. It’s great to see the faces of those who work there, and put names to those you see every day.
Le Jardin des Douars is a stylish and beautiful hotel with a very laid back atmosphere. After three days here I returned to the UK feeling so refreshed, but longing to be back in the Moroccan sunshine by the pool!
I was a guest at Le Jardin des Douars for the purposes of review, but as ever, all thoughts are my own.