Moroccan Adventures | The Windy City
I have a feeling I might have saved the best till last with this one.
We relunctantly left our Atlas Mountain idyll for our final 3 days on the windswept coast. Thankfully, upon at arriving at Riad Baoussala, our base in Essaouira and third and final pit stop with i-escape.com, we instantly fell for the place.
Located down a bumpy, rough track and hidden behind high walls and trees, you can’t help but be charmed by Basoussala. The sweetly decorated rooms have a hippy, homely feel (you won’t find minnibars or aircon here) while the cactus-filled gardens and numerous loungers, hammocks, terraces and nooks to relax in made this perfect place to while away our last few days. Oh and that picture-perfect pool. I could have photographed that blue wall all day (and might have done in fact). Animal lovers like me will also love French owner Dominique and host Leah’s friendly dogs and sleepy cats that wander around from time to time. In short, Baoussala is pretty much what I imagine running away and building in my day dreams. One day….
Oh and the best part? Baoussala is the most affordable place we stayed at, with prices ranging from £64 – £96 a night for a suite. Given the small difference in price, I would probably pump for a suite – they really are lovely.
Blue and terracotta just screams hot holiday. Baoussala’s roof is a real dream – head up there for breakfast or a Gin & Tonic as the sun goes down.
Essaouira itself is pretty cool. It’s white and blue buildings reminded me of Mykonos while the shopping itself had a far more languid, relaxed vibe. You don’t get hassled like in Marrakech with the town hosting a mixture of socks-and-sandals tourists, kite boarders and surfers, holidaying Moroccans sipping coffees on the square and laidback locals hurrying children to school. From the smelly, bustling fishing port to it’s rooftop bars and canon-lined fortified walls, the old part of the town is a place of exciting contrasts.
I preferred the wares up for grabs in Essaouira too, although there isn’t quite the same amount of choice as Marrakech. If you’re keen for shoes, ceramics, spices and top quality Argan oil, Essaouira is the place.
We loved staying at Baoussala 5 km outside Essaouira. It’s really small and the town-end of the beach is pretty uninspiring, so it was nice combining pool-based mornings at Baoussala with afternoons wandering the souks and grabbing a coffee.
Told you. Too many photo ops at this cobalt-lined pool….
Perfect mornings look like this…
On a side note, even the pickiest Parisian would be impressed with Baoussala’s flaky chocolate croissants.
Veggie pasta salad by the pool.
The only time day glo underwear is acceptable….
These guys are the bottom half of the Triangl set I was wearing earlier.
Make sure to have dinner at Baoussala at least once – the Moroccan food was some of the best we had. On our first night, we were the only people at the hotel and the lovely staff cooked us a delicious three course feast of tagines, pastries and chocolate mousse, laid out in the nook in the picture above. The whole place was lit with lanterns and candles and it proved one of the nicest, most memorable nights of our trip. The homely working kitchen is directly off the courtyard so it really does feel like you’re staying with friends and as far removed from soulless, stuffy chain hotels as you can get.
I’ve had a few people asking what I wear to tan and promised to include a something in this post. The obvious answer in suncream! I have yellow-toned skin so tan easily and evenly but, like anyone who spends half the year in dark, cold England, I also burn very easily if I’m not super careful.
I started the 10 days in Morocco wearing Piz Buin Factor 30 and staying out of the sun for the hottest part of the day (12-3). I then moved onto P20 after about 3 days – this once-a-day oily concentrate is what my red-headed dad swears by and the only thing that allows him to be out in the sun without burning. I’ve heard so many good things I wanted to give it a go. I would definitely recommend but if you’re very fair, I would go for a higher factor as it’s still technically only medium protection. Along with this, I used Clarins Factor 50 Anti-wrinkle Sun Fluid for my face, neck, chest and top of my arms throughout the whole trip.
And finally, for the last 2 days I moved onto Piz Buin Once-A-Day Factor 15. I‘m always a bit nervous of once a day stuff, but I’m not much of a swimmer and we always have long lunches and breaks in the shade so it works quite well for me. Just be careful and know your own skin. It doesn’t mean you can spend 6 straights hours in boiling sun without burning!
I also use Lancaster Tan Maximiser After Sun everyday after showering and as you can tell from lots of the pictures I’ve posted, I live in a massive hat and shades.
Hope that’s helps anyone that was asking! The sun has such a bad rep these days but if you’re careful and religious about proper sun cream, I still believe in such a thing as a healthy tan.
More from Essaouira and Riad Baoussala in the next post….