CNN’s selection of the “18 Best Places to Visit in 2018” includes Morocco’s Essaouira – the picturesque port that is home to the Hotel L’Heure Bleue Palais. Two hours west of Marrakech, the breezy fishing town is surrounded by 18th-century ramparts on the Atlantic Coast. One of only four Relais & Châteaux properties in the country (and the only one in Essaouira), L’Heure Bleue Palais is located on the edge of the ancient Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001.
L’Heure Bleue Palais’ rooftop and pool look out over the windy Atlantic – the perfect setting to watch the sun set over the blue-and-white houses within the historic Medina walls. Once the palace of Caïd Mbark Saïdi, Pasha of Mogador, the 19th-century riad was built with a separate floor for each of the pasha’s four wives. Long abandoned, the riad was transformed in 2004 by a family with roots in Essaouira into an elegant, lavish, antique- and art-filled boutique hotel, showcasing Moroccan architecture throughout.
Built like all traditional riads, the property’s inner corridors surround a verdant courtyard adorned with a fountain, palm trees and sunlight throughout the day. Its 33 tasteful guest rooms and suites are in four different styles: African, Moorish, Portuguese and British. The elegant Salon Oriental restaurant serves Moroccan cuisine, while the Salon Anglais is ideally suited for fireside drinks, tapas and afternoon tea.
The riad is located a short walk from the town’s renowned art galleries and blue-boat-dotted fishing port, where travelers can enjoy some of the continent’s freshest seafood.
For more information on L’Heure Bleue Palais, visit: www.heure-bleue.com/en