A boutique hotel that comprises of just six riad style villas, Rebali Riads has the best of both worlds, and its location in Sidi Kaouk to the south of Essaouira is fantastic.
The 18 rooms are spread across six riads surrounding the pool and gardens, ranging from Dar Etoile, the smallest with one bedroom, to Riad Valmar, the largest with five bedrooms. Individual rooms can be rented at the latter, or families or groups can take the whole hog. Three of the riads share a large swimming pool and shallow plunge pool, and the three larger ones have their own private pools. Close to the beach, many of the riads have roof terraces with fantastic views out to the coast.
The food at Rebali Riads focuses on truly Moroccan cuisine, such as tagine, cous cous and fresh fish caught on the doorstep (well, practically). Eat in the dining rooms, by the pool, on the terrace, and those with kitchens can eat what they want, when they want.
Slap bang on the beach, there are plenty of activities available at Rebali. From amazing watersports, exploring by foot or by fetlock - both horses and camels - and zooming around the dunes on quad bikes. Back at the hotel there is a hammam and spa, swimming pool and tennis court.
Why We Love It
Sidi Kaouk has fantastic bars and restaurants, just minutes from the Rebali Riads.
The Palais Heure Bleue
The Palais Heure Bleue is a riad hotel in the coastal town of Essaouira.
Located in the heart of the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the property was fully restored in 2004 and maintains the traditional architectural style of Morocco. There are just 33 rooms and suites, decorated with a mixture of colonial and African styles, and some of the suites reflect the Portuguese and British history of Essaouira.
The rooftop swimming pool (the only one in town) and terrace have panoramic views of the town and the Atlantic Ocean. There is a billiard room, a home cinema and a hammam where massages are available. The gastronomic restaurant serves excellent Franco-Moroccan cuisine.
Why We Love It
The souqs, the port, the ramparts and the beach are very close.
Villa de L'Ô
As with any self-respecting riad, however central or busy the location, once you are through the enormous and ornate doors, Villa de L'Ô is a haven in the heart of Essaouira.
The newly restored riad is a few minutes walk from the sites of the town centre, and also the windswept and wonderful beach and port.
There are 12 rooms, all individually themed and with names beginning with 'O', hence the name. The French owners are real detail merchants, and this shows in the clever touches in both the rooms and the colonial-style bathrooms.
Elsewhere, there are superb views over the town and coast from the L'Ôxygène, the rooftop sun terrace; and guests can relax and read in the L'Ôbène and l'Ôracle rooms. L'Ôasis is a central terrace where guests can have an evening drink after a day spent exploring the souqs or kite-surfing.
Why We Love It
The original building was once an almond storage depot.