The only international five star resort in the area – but for how long? More scheduled flights are finally going to Essaouira. RASK took to the windswept shores of the Moroccan Atlantic coast to check out its reigning resort
Located some five kilometres south of Essaouira proper, the resort offers multiple shuttles to and from town daily. Taxi drivers will happily drive you – but you may pay with your life (be warned; their driving skills may be good, but it’s a hair-raising experience). The location is too remote for walks into town, and it is a fairly long walk to the sea – the saving grace being that Essaouira really is not a place for sea bathing.
A merry mix of French tourists, a few Germans and fewer Brits. We were certainly the only Danes! In all honesty, the hotel does not have the air of a true luxury hotel – that said, nobody walks around in the restaurants in their Speedos.
Style and Character
A really quite beautifully designed and decorated building, with only very few design niggles and errors and a high level of attention to detail. Designed by Didier Gomez, it’s a thoroughly modern place: a successful marriage of sleek and modern with local touches.
Although staff really tried their best, the service was one of the weaker areas, and it simply boils down to lack of training and attention to detail. For example, housekeeping was really good – but while the room/villa was cleaned to perfection, toothpicks and glasses would be left out in the corridors for days. When calling the service hotline, there was either no response, or the promises made were not kept (e.g. room service and so on). A weak point and room for clear improvement.
Rooms and Suites
We tried both a Luxury Room and a Prestige Villa and both of these quite simply exceeded my expectations. They were very well furnished, and very well kept – as well as being nicely designed. I particularly loved the tiled bathtub - but there were plenty of things to love - one of them being the insidiously comfortable bed (of the Sofitel MyBed system). Wow. The Prestige Villa was superb, well equipped and furnished, although the private pool was a little on the cold side. It is worth mentioning here that the butlers assigned to our villa (there were four in total) were absolutely wonderful, service-minded and friendly.
Food and Drink
Food and Drink could be improved on, but I still rate it highly. It must be of high quality however, because there are no other options in the immediate vicinity, and it is clear that the hotel is aware of this and charges (quite simply) too much for it. The half board option requires a masters degree to figure out – but the quality of food and drink overall was fine, if not outstanding.
Features, Wellness, and Amenities
Very satisfying. The two large pools, one of them not chlorinated (naturally filtered and therefore green), were fabulous and beautiful. The spa was very good (although the receptionists seemed completely clueless throughout our stay), the gym was staffed and of a good, if not outstanding, quality (and quite well equipped). To top it all you have a gorgeous Gary Player golf course right next door.
Very reasonably priced for what it offers.
I honestly think this hotel is a great find in a truly under-appreciated destination. Granted, it is not up there with the very best (hardly any Sofitels are, in my opinion…) – but it is extremely reasonably priced.