London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
A painter dream seaside setting with a vibrant medina Unesco patrimony since 2001, Essaouira in December was such a great call! The beach and skies are wide, the Moroccans we met so warm and engaging, there’s tones of culture, Games of Thrones locations, quads, horses and camels riding adventures, great surfing, easy to navigate bustling Medina, fairy tale walls and stonegates, colourful port, stunning green grounds by Sofitel Essaouira, chic rooftop bars and riads. A zillion cats and fabulous things to do, we can’t recommend any warmer Essaouira with kids.
The laid back alternative to Marrakesh by the Atlantic Ocean lured me in for a long time. And when I found the tickets on skyscanner for less than £25 both ways pp, I just grabbed the bargain and booked instantly a long week end. Surely those round of antibiotics and pills will work better in the sunshine!
Adventure Essaouira with kids (or without):
– Dromedary riding by the beach at Ocean Vagabond. The 6 years old raved about to all his friends and at school, to quote him ‘so high and cool like a roller-coaster!’
– The quad ride was fast and fun and we had to go even faster when it started raining.
– Surf by Essaouira wild and windy beach is great . Will come back with older kids in tow to test the surf lessons and further tasty lunches on the beach.
Culture Essaouira with kids (or without):
– The fishing port is vibrant, scenic for pictures and fun to observe!
– Skala ramparts have been 6 years old favourites in the city explorations : narrow dark stairs, ancient defence walls for the kasbah, Portuguese cannons in great shape with the most beautiful seaside setting.
– Medina with its cobblestone alleys, beautiful handicrafts, art and so many cats!
Morrocan cuisine and Essaouira restaurants we tried:
– So lounge Sofitel. It’s easy, chic and great for sunsets; there’s music live and super helpful staff. I loved their wine flights where I got to discover an amazing wine range from Casablanca, to Tangier, to Marrakesh and Mogador. For reds my favourites ended up being the Medaille; for rose and white I found the Mogador bios just glorious.
– Heure Bleu rooftop terrace to enjoy the sunshine, the heated pool and an easy lunch with more Mogador crisp rose. Part of Relais & Chateaux, expect tones of charm and impeccable service.
– Les Planches Essaouira. Next to Ocean Vagabond which proved to be closed December in Essaouira. Les Planches team were warm, kind and engaging, sorting my charger and the 6 years old clothes after a quad ride in the rain. I had some meatballs tagine which were delicious and Moroccan tea. We loved the baby kittens everywhere, small balls of fur great to cuddle and feed and certainly in better condition than the ones we saw in the Medina and by the port. And if by the port, I’ve been reluctant for the 6 years old to touch a few, in here we were both relaxed to play with, feed and observe. Too sweet and so many!
– Sofitel buffets. We’ve been invited to experience some great fresh fish on the grill, vegetables, plus to help ourselves on the lavish Sofitel buffet. The seabass and seabream were divine and I helped the 6 years old with a couple of slices of pizza, yum. No space left apart from an éclair, which proved to be the best I ever tried! French patisserie, with chocolate mousse, light and so subtle, perfection!
Friends warmly recommended us as well La Table de Madada and UMIA, both outstanding.
Our base was Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa. The grounds are green and stunning, the reception very grand and airy, Didier Gomez design, brightened up with playfull sculptures and blending to perfection authentic Moroccan details like mashrabiya windows. We stayed in a very spacious room overlooking the golf terrain, the bio pool and the Atlantic Ocean but there are also luxury villas with their own swimming pools.
We indulged ourselves at the SO Spa one afternoon and I explored the jacuzzis, hammam and heated swimming pool with the 6 years old. Usually access is restricted to 16 years and above, but management kindly accommodated us in as the outside pools were not heated beginning of December.
The 6 years old got to go one day to the Villa des Enfants / kidsclub – trampoline, lots of games, tents, football and one great supervisor, Ahmed, thank you! I took the opportunity to soak in the sun by the main pool and chat once more to Rachid about Morrocco and my previous travels, Marrakesh and Casablanca included.
4 days and so many cool things to do in Essaouira, for sure we will be back soon! For further Arabic inspiration, check our Jordan roadtrip, Dubai stay, Abu Dhabi Christmas holidays (also at Sofitel) and Oman 10 days itinerary.