Essaouira – Morocco

A Windsurfer’s Paradise

The colorful little port town of Essaouira is a stone’s throw from Morocco’s best beach, a wonderful swath that curves for miles to the south. When you’re souked out from visits to Marrakech, Fez, and Tangier, this is the place to park your bag for some R and R, Moroccan style.

Within Essaouira’s walled for­tifications, designed by a French architect for Sultan Sidi Mohammed in the 18th century, is the central medina, a hurly-burly whose narrow lanes teem with the craft shops and artisans for which this city is known, as well as friendly cafes in a relaxed atmosphere of a small-town neighborhood.

Since the 1980s Essaouira has been a secret (on everybody’s lips) as an excel­lent surfing and windsurfing destination because of the strong Atlantic winds, so its image as a hassle-free tourist-friendly town may soon be a thing of the past. Go now and check into the simple, serene, and stylish Villa Maroc.

The renovated hotel has twenty-two rooms with blue-painted balconies and shutters wrapped around an open courtyard filled with jasmine and bougainvillea. Some have fireplaces, others have antique canopied beds. The best part is breakfast on the open-air roof terrace, and dinner featuring aromatic spices from the local markets and served indoors by the soft light of wrought-iron chandeliers.

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