1 Rue de Touahen, Essaouira, Morocco
Buzz trips opinion
Meaning ‘House by the Sea’, Dar Al Bahar is a beautiful, traditional dar of four storeys built into the ramparts of the old city of Essaouira with views over the ocean and the medina. Perfectly located within a footstep of the heart of the bustling medina but far enough away to provide complete tranquillity, Dar Al Bahar is packed to its pretty roof terrace with character and charm.
Amidst carved wood furniture, eclectic modern art and the sort of unglazed original Moroccan tiling that makes you want to prise it off and smuggle it back home, the dar combines tradition and authenticity with comfort, pristine cleanliness and a genuinely warm welcome. The breakfast is scrumptious too.
Ten uniquely styled, en suite bedrooms and one apartment overlook either the Essaouira medina or the sea depending on which side of the house they lie. A narrow, spiral staircase leads up three storeys to scented landings off which the bedrooms lie. We had Malika which is on the third floor and faces out to the sea. A comfortable, wrought iron double bed occupies the main sleeping room with a beautiful wooden roof, a curious corner wardrobe with shelving that means you can only hang garments that are less than 18 ” long, a cupboard housing extra pillows and bedding and a window onto the ocean. The pièce de resistance however is the fabulous en suite bathroom with its rose quartz coloured tadelakt walls with tiny alcoves, walk in shower and latticed shutter window over the medina on which pigeons rested, their feathers pressed against the glass.
Breakfast is taken in the small dining area on the ground floor where bowls of freshly cut roses lie in pretty bowls as centre pieces on the mosaic, wrought iron tables and a huge wood burning stove and chimney occupy one corner of the gold and blue room. Accompanied by the soft background of Gnaoua music, hot, fragrant Arabic coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit, crêpes with jam and butter and warm bread are served for breakfast. Breakfast can be taken on the roof terrace if you prefer. Dinner is available by pre-booking and they have a good selection of vegetarian dishes as well as the more traditional lamb and chicken tajines.
Prices at Dar Al Bahar begin at €40 per night for room and breakfast.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+