Submitted: 28 Apr 2012
“An absolute gem, highly recommended!”
We travelled as two couples to Essaouira and stayed for 5 nights in this gorgeous riad. From the booking process onwards, everything was smooth sailing - Diane, the riad owner, based in the UK, gave us lots of helpful information and was prompt and pleasant to deal with in booking the riad. She recommended a fab taxi driver, Abdul, who picked us up from the airport and drove us (very carefully, unlike some Moroccan drivers!) to the riad in his very cool and retro 1980s Mercedes sedan with great musical accompaniment, including Eric Clapton, The Eagles, Dire Straits and Tracy Chapman! Maybe not everyones taste, but we loved it!
On arrival at the riad, the housekeeper (another Abdul) was there to welcome us and show us around. Both him and his wife, Saida, who prepared our breakfasts and cleaned our rooms each day, were lovely and friendly and tolerated our very poor French with much humour (and sign language!). We had booked the 3rd and 4th floor rooms as two couples and it was a perfect location - the 4th floor has its own private roof terrace and is lovely and light, with views from the bedroom windows over the port and the sea. The room on the 3rd floor has a little outdoor courtyard area with potted plants and a nice big wetroom with plenty of hot water at all times, as well as a sitting area with sofa, chairs, chess and a little table - great for the odd occasion when its raining (which it did on one evening). Sleep quality in the 4th floor, although a lovely comfortable bed, was slightly worse than on the 3rd as you can really hear the mosque at 4am call to prayer, whereas on the 3rd floor (and I expect the lower floors) the sound is shielded somewhat and the other couple in our party on the 3rd floor had 5 nights of undisturbed sleep. Perhaps bring ear plugs if youre a light sleeper! The sound of the mosque is present wherever you stay inside the medina, so its not a problem specific to this riad (and its not really a big deal - its only a few minutes at 4am and anyway is part and parcel of staying in a traditional Muslim town). Downstairs the communal area and ground floor courtyard is decorated in a traditional style. Breakfast served on the terrace in the sunshine each morning was a highlight, although you have to be on your guard for raiding seagulls! The view from the terrace across the town as the sun is setting in the evening is stunning too.
The location is great - right by the main square, so easy for orientation, but set back from the bustle in a peaceful location through some archways. The beach is a 5 minute walk.
We loved our stay and highly recommend Riad de la Mer and its chilled-out atmosphere. Go there - you wont be disappointed!
Room Tip: The room on the top floor is lovely and light, has sea views and its own private terrace - we loved.it..