Dar Houria is a traditional 3-floor open-sky riad in old medina; groundfloor courtyard, living, dining, kitchen, sunny roof terrace. 2 single, 2 double suites all have own toilet and bath or shower; in quiet street with attentive neighbors and kids
When you reserve with Airbnb, your breakfast is always included!
Dar Houria is not a hotel or commercial rental; it is a private home that we make available to friends, family and guests. We don’t rent to ‘customers’, ‘tourists’ or ‘clients’, rather we welcome you as our private guests (the subtlety is important :)).
Some background to Essaouira, and things to do (then more about accommodation options and advice further below):
Essaouira is a charming small fisherman’s port, with traditional ‘souk’ markets, friendly laid-back people and an old UNESCO world-heritage medina that is easy to navigate. It is well known for its ‘thuya’ wood carving artisans and furniture, berber jewellery, traditional goatskin lamps, fresh Atlantic seafood, and of course where you can obtain exceptional culinary and cosmetic argan oil (we recommend obtaining this from our own stock at Dar Houria, because we have already ensured it is the real thing!)
Essaouira bay and nearby beach spots are well-known for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing (our friends and partners can guide you, we know, we organised two professional kiteboarding events there!) A northern breeze keeps Essaouira cool all year (15-25 degrees Celsius), so it is a favourite respite from nearby Marrakesh for both tourists and locals.
Essaouira was once known as Mogador, and its port has a rich history of Silk Road trade between the West and the East, to Timbuktu across the Sahara and beyond to Asia. Gnaoua music was one of the cultural results of this trade. In the 1960s-70s, it is said that musicians Jimmy Hendrix and Frank Zappa had been inspired by the ‘purple haze’ often seen in spectacular sunsets over Mogador Island that sits 3 km out in the bay. One of the best known events in Essaouira is the annual Gnaoua Music Festival in late June (you must book in advance!)
Many travelers use Essaouira as a restful home-base for short excursions further inland, to witness traditional berber markets and the springtime ‘moussem’ and ‘fantasia’, or camel-back and 4x4 off-road excursions (we’re glad to connect you with local partners for these), as well as longer trips beyond Marrakesh, across the Atlas Mountains to Ouarzazate, the Draa Valley and Zagora, or South to Taroudant and Tiznit.
We do not have internet or TV in the house, but we do have a collection of well-read classic and paperback books available, and family board and card games for all ages, too (there are many internet cafes in the medina). You have access to the sunny roof-top terrace anytime, where you can have your meals day or night, sunbathe or just relax in shaded areas. Since it is open-sky, the house has plenty of natural light, is well-ventilated and cool, even in summer.
We don’t recommend that you purchase lots of food and cook meals for yourselves, though the ground floor kitchen is equipped for it. Obviously, preparing coffee, making a sandwich, etc. is easy, a refrigerator is available to you and frying up an omelette won’t be difficult if you want to do that. But, we do prefer you leave it to our staff to propose cooking the largest meals for you. It is cost effective and saves you time. Keep in mind, your free breakfast will be hearty!
If you want to eat a traditional meal at Dar Houria, which we recommend highly, usually a couscous or tagine, consider a cost of +-80DH per person per meal, including drinks (water, soda or juice and mint tea), simply make arrangements with our concierge a day in advance to determine when you want the meal, and do not hesitate to ask for 'bag lunches’ too, if you need those for your daily excursions.
Interazione con gli ospiti
Our concierge can be the source of many good referrals to other services such as ‘hammam’ and massage, where to find internet cafes, restaurants, shops and even might suggest taking you to ‘must-see’ sites. Whenever that is the case, she does so as your friend, not your guide (again, the subtlety is important :)), but do ensure you are prepared to participate financially in the cost of the referrals and activities, in local currency. The dollar is worth about 8 DH and the Euro about 10 DH. Anything is possible by arranging in advance. At the house, you will find a book of business cards and brochures for various activities, organisations and services, and a map of the city showing the location of the tourist office. We have very good knowledge of Morocco and its customs, how people relate to money and approach relationships, so please do e-mail or call us with any questions or advice you may need before you go.
Altre cose da evidenziare
Upon arrival to Morocco, customs officials will ask you to fill out an ‘arrival card’ in which you will identify the location you are staying as ‘private home, rue Houria, medina Essaouira’ or in French ‘maison privé, rue Houria, medina Essaouira’.
Ours is a non smoking house. And, It goes without saying: you may not invite unannounced persons to stay overnight, nor engage in illegal, lewd or morally deprecating behaviour in our house. We reserve the right to ask you to leave without notice or refund.
We're a traditional couple that has great respect for cultural differences. We like to listen, to learn and exchange knowledge about our experiences, but we also like privacy, common courtesy and good manners. We don't smoke and don't keep pets in our house. We love to travel, visit historic sites, and also be outdoors, go camping and participating in sports. We're easily swayed by a smile, a nice gesture or kind word. If you're attentive to the good care of our house and neighbors, we are attentive to making your stay that much more memorable.
When you stay with us, you support the local people: our concierge, cook and cleaners live nearby; your food is sourced in the market; your daily fresh bread from our own little street’s ‘farran’ (oven) and much of the errands, gratuities, clothing, pens, pencils and school bags go to the kids on our street. We look out for them and they look out for you!
Between us, we speak Arabic, Dutch, English, French and Spanish. We both live and work in Europe’s political capital, Brussels.