Le Jardin des Douars – Essaouira, Morocco
The ruggedly charming seaside town has fortified walls, crumbling ramparts and a unique quality of light that has long attracted artists. Its labyrinthine medina is home to souqs, art galleries and wood-carving workshops.
Why Le Jardin Des Douars?
Set just inland from the wind-battered coast, amid hills of gnarly argan trees (the oil from the nuts is prized), Le Jardin des Douars is a true retreat. The villas’ sun-baked domes peek out above palms and bougainvillea alive with butterflies. There are two outdoor pools and a resident peacock who struts about the grounds.
Essaouira enjoys year-round sunshine but is at its loveliest in the autumn when the heat is less intense. The annual Atlantic Andalucía festival, a celebration of the fusion of cultures in Morocco, with live music and dance performances, and exhibitions of Judeo-Moroccan art, runs from 27-30 October.
What Can I Expect?
To relax. With no televisions, telephones or mini bars in the rooms, you’ll spend days reading on your terrace or by the pool (books can be borrowed from the library), wandering the botanical gardens and being pummelled in the onsite spa and hammam. Cocktails are served on the terrace at sunset.
What’s My Room Like?
What Am I Eating?
The seasonal menu is a mix of traditional Moroccan dishes, such as tajines and couscous, and French cuisine, all which you can see being prepared in the open kitchen. A weekly highlight is the Sunday barbecue, where fish, lamb chops and ribs of beef are grilled, and platters of salads and rice are brought to the tables.
Good to Know
Le Jardin des Douars is a 20-minute drive from Essaouira, so you have to book a taxi into town or the hotel’s shuttle bus service.
Beyond the Front Door
Head to Essaouira to walk the ramparts and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the souqs, before heading down to browse the jewellery, art and woodwork for sale, and to watch the fishermen haul in the day’s catch. The hotel also offers guided hikes i n the countryside.