We arrived to Essaouira late at night on the Supratour from Marrakech (70 dirham and two hours for those wondering) and walked along the sidewalk parallel to the ocean. Though many touts were eager to bring us and our bags to the hotel we preferred to stretch our legs and enjoy a little silence. As soon as we entered the medina we easily found signs indicating Madada Mogador and knocked on the large door.
Malik opened the door with a great smile and welcoming demeanor he ushered us into the main arrivals area.
We set our bags down and he made us a fresh pot of mint tea with traditional Moroccan pastries while he showed us the property. In fact, he said we could choose between two rooms. He showed us the first room on the main floor with a beautiful bathroom and long soaking tub that left me ready to jump in. It had a balcony and chairs that overlook the ocean and was so much more outstanding than I’d seen in photos. Some places really must be seen to be believed.
Up the stairs we saw the main terrace that has room for all the hotel guests to enjoy the magical sunset hour, and the room alongside it that enjoys a private patio and outdoor furniture. Since we knew we had work to do and wanted a scenic backdrop to do it, we took this room. I’m so glad we did.
After filling out the requisite information sheets (which you’ll have to do at all hotels in Morocco upon arrival with your passport, visa number, and address) Malik helps us upstairs with the bags and wishes us a good night.
Maddy and I run a bath, leisurely unwinding from the trip with the Les Sens de Marrakech bath products which seem to fill the bathrooms of all high end hotels and riads here in Morocco. They’re a scent I’ll always associate with Morocco so they’re very special to me and I fall asleep softer than ever.
In the morning we enjoy breakfast served on our private terrace, it’s the perfect way to wake up. Slowly I enjoy a steaming cup of coffee while watching the ocean play tricks with the shore. Actually, coffee is served in a handmade ceramic bowl and is the perfect size for a great dose of caffeine and keeping your hands warm in the windy city.
Soon my leg is brushed by the resident cat Sultana, with her son Sultan just around the corner, far too comfortable to be bothered to beg for a little breakfast.
She’s got great manners, Sultana, but I can tell she’s eyeing the breakfast table to see what we’ve got. I explain to her that we’re vegans and there’s just nothing up here she’d like. She insists on rubbing against my leg and then hops us on the sofa next to me. Charmed by her affections, I let her climb onto the table and she finds the pitcher of milk the staff has left and she gives me a quick look. She’s busted me.
These beautiful Maine Coons are great companions and never beg – in fact, if you didn’t show them any affection I am sure you’d never hear from them again, so those with allergies or aversions to cats need not worry.
Time to See What Awaits us in Essaouira
Just out the door, we turn right then left and find ourselves in the main square, Place Moulay Hassan. After such a filling breakfast — that was admittedly taken a little late in the morning thanks to the luxurious comfort of the bed— we can’t dream of eating lunch but stroll along the winding streets discovering the many handmade goods and the shop sellers.
After our time in Marrakech we both know the drill and take the bait of far fewer shop owners to “just look, please”. Instead we spy down alleyways, watch our step on the cobblestone streets, and read restaurant menus just for the fun of it. Essaouira is a place to relax and unwind — it’s hard to even remember what the word stress means here.
We’re still window shopping but there are far too many leather products for my taste, thankfully this prevents me from any impulse purchases because a good bag is one thing any traveler can always justify buying, right? The only thing I am searching for in the souk is this cute little teapot holder that they use at Madada, but my search continues….
Madada has provided a reusable shoulder bag for shopping in the souk, so as we wind through the streets I feel like I live in Essaouira. It’s easy to imagine a laid back life here and it’s no wonder you see so many smiling expats lining the streets and populating the cafés. With a microclimate that is similar to that of the Canary Islands anyone who hates winter (putting my hand up here) should look into relocating here.
After walking the Skala and getting blown around by the wind — it’s no joke here —Maddy and I decide to self cater for the night. Back into the vegetable souk we buy pre-cooked garbanzo beans, fresh tomatoes, big juicy grapes, almonds, dates, and oranges to turn into a mostly raw vegan dinner. Eating vegan is absurdly cheap in Morocco if you do it yourself and all our supplies cost us well under three euro and left us nourished and stuffed.
Though there were many wonderful restaurants to choose from in Essaouira there’s something very special at Madada that lulls you into a comfort that follows you through your stay — we always found ourselves wanting to curl up on our private patio after a few hours walking through the city. And with a view like this, can you blame us?
It’s just a few moments back to our hotel and we walk on clouds all the way there where Malik offers us yet another afternoon tea while we watch the sun slipping into the ocean.
This is a hotel I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone looking for a lot of personality and charm within the walls of the Essaouira medina. It’s comfortable, chic, clean, and offers a very intimate experience; you’ll leave Madada by saying “see you later” instead of “goodbye”, that’s for sure.
Essaouira Vegan Tip: If you’re looking for a good source of vegan protein look for the carts with large metal stock pots, they usually hit the streets around 5 or 6 pm and are gone by 9pm. Some of these are selling snails and some are selling garbanzo beans so be brave and go find them. Ten dirhams is enough for two people, so don’t overdo it!
Disclaimer: though we were the guests of Madada for the purposes of this review we were so satisfied by our stay we’ll be back many times in the future and suggest this to anyone. Check out rooms here.