more about your oliver guide: Cynthia Pillsbury
Trip type: family / Summer
IDEAL TRIP LENGTH: 1 WEEK (it's far from North America!)
to & From
Direct flights to Marrakesh via major European cities, such as London… spend one night max or drive directly (3 hours) to Essaouira.
- Le Jardin des Douars: A charming, chic and well-appointed “non-resort, resort”. While Moroccan in aesthetic, it has a very French/Belgium sophisticated vibe. The common areas (restaurant, outdoor lounge, pools and spa) are lovely and the food/drink are what you would expect at a 4 star resort. They offer a delicious breakfast that we enjoyed daily and loved our spa services.
- The “resort” is about 20 minutes away from the coastal town of Essaouira- which tends to be cooler and foggier than the slightly inland location of the hotel, which was perfect.
Eat & Drink
- Most of our eating and drinking happened at the resort, however we did venture into the town of Essaouira for dinner a few times and lunch once.
- The best meals were had at Le Jardin des Douars or at places they recommended in town
- One very insider seaside lunch spots, La Mouchette et les Dromadaires (The Camels) where we had delicious fresh fish and light French Rose on a hidden beach.
- While temping to spend the days poolside at Le Jardin des Douars we did get out to explore.
- Palma Quad: A three hour adventure along the ocean where we passed through herds of Camels and massive sand dunes on ATV-4-wheel vehicles. It was a very unique and fun experience.
- We also hit the really unique SOUK district in Essaouria- which is very different and more authentic experience than the souks in Marrakesh, which seemed more like Canal Street in NYC. Worth spending 1/2 days walking around the Souks in Essaouria— and not necessary to have a guide- very fun to wander and get lost.
the inside scoop
- Stick close to the recommendations of the owners of the La Jardin des Douars.
- Use their car service to get from Marrakesh to Essaouira – do not rent your own car and attempt to drive from Marrakesh to Essaouria.
- You can always rent a car in Essaouira or use the hotel’s shuttle service or cabs.
- The seaside town of Essaouira feels safe and very charming compared to Marrakesh- vendors are wiling to negotiate price more and the goods (pottery, rugs, leather poufs, chandeliers etc.) are really charming and fun to see.