Situated on top of Essaouira’s ramparts at the heart of the Medina, Villa Maroc was one of the first riads in Morocco to be converted into a boutique hotel. Famed for its food and rooms tucked in the maze of connecting courtyards, Villa Maroc is in actual 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 in amongst a crowd.
There are seven lounges (four of which have fireplaces lit in winter to add to the glowing warmth) and it is easy to tuck yourself away in a corner or meet with other guests for a drink. The décor is 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.
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 and the whole ensemble gives a sense of uncluttered space.
There is no formal dining room as such but 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 will encounter in Morocco and much of it 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, yoghurts, pancakes and fresh orange juice.
On the ground floor is a small spa with a traditional Moroccan Hammam (steam room) and a number of massage rooms.