Essaouira camps - Ryad Watier

Ryad Watier

There are two ways you can tackle Essaouira: inside the medina or outside the city walls, so ancient or modern. Ryad Watier, reached down a sequence of ever narrower streets then alleyways is very much an example of the former.

As with most riads, you have scant warning that you have found it until you spot the name on the door. Knock and go within and you really do enter another world. A short corridor opens into a classical central courtyard.

Owner Jean-Gabriel is a charming Frenchman with Africa in his blood, having been born in Algeria. After years spent sailing yachts, he has dropped anchor in Essaouira, spending two years with his architect brother converting this once derelict building. The result is an ten-bedroomed,  four level, owner-run riad, with three double-height family rooms with the second bedroom on a mezzanine floor and windows looking out over the rooftops, with glimpses of the crashing surf beyond. There is a steam room and a massage treatment room as well. Breakfast is taken on one roof terrace, with the other occupied by sun loungers. Dinner can be eaten in the riad, but the staff must be notified in the morning. This is a quirky, personal place that is ideal for families who are prepared to forsake swimming pool and gardens for a taste of the real Essaouira.

The riad is a five minute walk from the port and beach and the main drag of the medina is a one minute walk from the front door.  It offers really excellent value for money for a family on a more limited budget.

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