Although the concept is the same, the Madada Mogador is not a typical RIAD that Marrakesch can be found in. We're not talking about decorations with arabesques and plaster or latticework on the windows or souk lamps. Mind you, that this type of decoration is also very interesting and is just what you want to see on a RIAD. Just in Madada, we had chosen something a little more chic and modern in décor in terms of our accomodation. It is managed by French people (like most places in Morocco) ve have a lot of taste, and there is a terrace overlooking the beach of Essaouira.. The breakfast is served on the terrace.
The Riad Dar el Bahar which means ´Sea House´ is on the west of the old medina of Essaouira, facing the ramparts and the sea. Built in the last century, it is now run by a French/Dutch couple ve renovated the place and gave it a more oriental style. Before there was a windmill that provided the entire city with flour but it was destroyed. There are a dozen rooms - some with views of the sea - that cost between 50 and 75 euros per night. There is also an apartment at 95 euros per night. We got the included breakfast, but you do have to pay a tourist tax of 4 euros per day per person, which was not included. If you come with a large group or the whole family 21 people can stay in this place, for 440 euros per night. Prices increase during the Gnawa music festival. The rooms are spacious with classic oriental décor but not overdone.
The Smara hotel is in front of the ocean and the port of Skala. Most of the rooms have ocean views. It is an old building in the center which is pretty sloppy. The rooms have shared bathrooms, and are quite small. The place is always full of people, and you are not guaranteed to have a room with an ocean view just because you reserve ahead of time. Breakfast is served on the panoramic terrace (where a lot of wind is blowing) and costs 18 dirham. Rooms are 10-20 euros per night, depending if they have a sea view or not, which is cheap but it's a very basic, and if you can pay 30-40 euros, I recommend you go to other places, with a lot of charm and where they treat you better.
The Purple House, as the name suggests, the Riad Casa Lila lives up to its name. Upon entering the Riad you notice the delicious sweet tooth-type colors. It's a small and quiet place where words are only whispered to the other guests. The Purple House is centrally located in the popular area of Medina of Essaouira (which, unlike Marrakech, is much quieter), where you can go anywhere on foot because it's small and compact. The walls, the port and the souks are located nearby and it's the ideal spot to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing drink. This place consists of 8 rooms, each of which has a different suggestive name, such as: saffron, lilac, pink powder, etc. Moroccans live in harmony with French-inspired details in their homes. You can have breakfast either in the yard or on the pleasant terraces on the upper floors that are equipped with deckchairs and beautiful views of the old city by the sea, the beach and the islands of Mogador in the background.
Le Bastion is a small hotel in Essaouira, situated in the historic heart of the city. The rooms have private bathrooms, some with ocean views, and you can also rent apartments for 4-6 people. Upstairs there is a large terrace with panoramic views to the ocean and the town. Rooms cost around 30 euros per night in low season, and you can cook dinner if you wish and eat on the terrace or in the halls. It had a German and Moroccan couple. The rooms are simple, with a slightly oriental style, and all very clean and modern. There is a private road that leads to the sea, but the place is really rocky, so swimming is not a good idea. The prices do not rise much in high season, only about a 10 euros difference or so.
The Hotel Al Andalous, is a small hotel, with a beautiful reception decorated in tiles in the Andalusian style, which has 20 rooms. As it is located in front of the bus station, its is very convenient if you arrive late or leave early. Its location is lively with a market in front of the Hotel and you can enter by Bab Doukkala historic center,which is a five minutes walk from the hotel. The double room costs 25 to 30 euros depending on whether the bathroom is inside or not. The breakfast is 2 euros per person, you are served it in the room or upstairs where there is a small terrace. It is a very clean, with a friendly owner you can help with transport or get a guide to visit.
Saltana Riad is in the Medina, the oldest part of Essaouira city. It is close to the surrounding walls and the beach is a 10 minute walk away. It is a very quiet and pleasant for a few days of rest and relaxation. The Riad is a colonial house that has been redone made into guest rooms. The rooms are all different but there´s a roof terrace and a communal lounge downstairs where meals are served. The decor is oriental, a little old compared to other more recent places, but very clean and cozy with good mattresses and spacious rooms. The double room costs 30 euros per night, 35 with sea view, and there are 40 euros suites with sea views available too. They offer a range of services such as car rental, surfing, quad, boat rides ...
Dar Mounia is a small hotel in the heart of Essaouira. Laalouj Street is one of the main streets, and is only a 10 minute walk from the harbor and 5 minutes from the city walls. In front there is a history museum of the region and the city. The single room is 60 or 70 euros per night, double from 80 to 100 and the suite between 100 and 120 euros, depending on the season. They have a private bathroom, and lovely Moroccan furnishings and décor, simple and colorful. Once inside you can´t hear any noise from the below streets. At night, if you a half day in advance, you can have dinner prepared, which is 15 euros per person, and you can eat on the terrace, or even downstairs in the lounge if you choose.
Lunetoile is a hotel in the northern part of the Medina of Essaouira. It is a traditional house, organized around a central courtyard, and 200 years old. The owner is from Zimbabwe, and renovated it with 4 suites and an apartment. 12 people can stay there in total, and you can either rent or a room or the whole place. The terrace overlooks the ocean. The rooms are traditionally decorated, like the rest of the hotel. The suites are for two people, but as each has its own private lounge, you can have a child in the sofa if you´d like. The rooms cost between 35 and 65 euros per night, plus 10 more if a child sleeps there, and the apartment costs 85 euros per night . There are discounts during low tourist season, and if you stay for 5 nights you only pay half price.
The Riad Mimouna is a luxury hotel located in the old Medina of Essaouira, facing the sea. It is a building where there used to be a mill, but its been renovated beautifully by Moroccan artisans. There are a total of 33 rooms, with several lounge areas, a fireplace, and even a hammam. Today the steam bath serves as a public bathroom for those ve don't have a bathroom at home. Most of the rooms have an ocean view, but it's best to visit a few before deciding on which one you like the most because no other one is its equal. The double room is 85 euros a night, or 120 euros with sea view, and the prices go up to 230 euros per night for other types of rooms. Breakfast is included in the price. There is a restaurant that serves traditional dishes and has a terrace that offers a great selection of fish and seafood.
The Riad Aanbra is in the old area of Essaouira, inside the walls and beside the ocean. They have a large roof terrace with beautiful ocean views, where it is very nice to have an afternoon tea or simply watch the sunset. Prices are from 40 euros per night, but rise a bit in the summer and during the Festival of Gnawa music. The rooms are arranged around a central courtyard are are luminous and bright, but are not too hot during the day. They don´t have sea views. It is a quiet place where people treat you like a king, and you can prepare meals if you want to, and have dinner at one of several lounges, generally where you want. There isn´t a room where they won´t let you eat. If you're reading on the terrace, they will bring you the food there. It´s a nice place for couples, not so much for families and groups of friends.
Maktub means ¨the destination¨ in Arabic. This riad is a welcoming place, an old renovated house in the historic center of the city. Riad hasbasic, low prices from 20 euros per night, and in the summer you don´t spend more than 50 euros per night. There are 6 rooms, and down in the yard some chairs to enjoy when having a meal or resting. The rooms are a bit small, furnished in an oriental style, with wrought iron and basic colors. The place is family run, and you can have a dinner prepared which typically costs 12 euros per person for a couscous or tagine (the dishes cooked in a clay oven) with mint tea and a fruit dessert. It's in an alley, is very quiet, but a little hard to find. Maybe you can ask for them to pick you up from the airport.
The Riad Arboussas is an old 19th century colonial house, which has a half dozen spacious and simply decorated Moroccan style rooms that are quite nice. The rooms have two or three beds, some with raised beds and small beds for children. The wrought iron beds and bathrooms also have vivid decorative tiles (tadelakt). Downstairs there's a lounge where you can eat or read quietly, and it also has a fountain and an opening that lets the light in. Breakfast is served on the roof, where there is a terrace overlooking the old city. The single room costs 28 euros a night, the double is 40 and the triple is 50. They can come get you from Marrakech airport for 60 euros.