The Heure Bleue is a traditional riad, situated in the Essaouira medina, restored to a very high level to merit its Relais & Chateau status.
Hidden behind huge oak doors, L’heure Bleue is an upmarket Relais & Châteaux riad with an unusual history. Originally a 19th century palace for Essaouira’s governor, it then existed only as a simple traveller’s stop-off until 2004, when a wholesale restoration installed an opulent colonial style. Now the place feels more members club, less hotel: an island of sophistication and style deep inside the whitewashed walls of Morocco’s hippie city.
ROOMS: The 16 rooms and 19 suites are variously decorated in African, Portuguese, colonial English, Oriental and African styles; exotic menageries of carvings, rich fabrics, lamps and wood-shuttered windows. All have air-conditioning and fireplaces, and all look onto the courtyard’s palm trees and day-beds. First-floor rooms are quieter and brighter; suites boast bath tubs. Wherever you sleep, the sound of the ever-crashing ocean lends a restful air.
FACILITIES: Along with the great service, an unusually wide range of common areas – bar, library, billiards room – raise this bolthole above the ordinary. Those, and the heated rooftop pool and terrace, a stunning perch above the UNESCO-protected old town. Make sure to have a scrub, massage or hammam in the Zen Ritual spa before settling down to dinner – zesty Moroccan or international (mainly French) cuisine, with fresh seafood a speciality.
MORE INFO: Wi-Fi’s available throughout. For active types, the hotel can arrange quad-biking, windsurfing and kitesurfing; for inactive types, there’s a home cinema room and DVD library.
The Lawrence of Morocco map displays the locations of the destinations and accommodation that we have selected and visited; for each item, hovering over or clicking the marker will display a short summary and photo of that place or hotel, and hotel pricing. Follow the links in the info box to the full page listing which has much more information.
Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.
When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.
Just mention you don't want room 24 for future guests. I should add that we saw a large cleaning team head in there and the maintenance man. I think the manager was suprised when she saw our first room and i can understand why as it really did not reflect the rest of the hotel!
Matt Bell who stayed here in August 2014.
L'heure bleue. I felt the staff let it down. They were untrained and breakfast for example was a hit or a miss. Expensive but we knew it would be so that wasn't the issue. Just really over promised and under delivered due to the staff and actually lack of management presence compared to for example les deux tours where the presence of the manager made such a difference. No comparison in terms of levels of service and standards. Les Deux Tours streets ahead.
Shelagh Bryce who stayed here in March 2014.
L'heure Bleue - we loved the colonial feel of the hotel. The staff were gracious and professional and clearly felt proud of their hotel - quite justifiably. Our room was quite small but that didn't bother us - the girls' twin bedded room was on the corner so was quite a lot larger (think they secretly quite enjoyed that!) The rooftop pool/terrace was stunning. The food was good but v pricey for a lunch snack, but I guess that's just what one pays in a hotel of this standard. Breakfasts again were buffet style but there was an issue with running out of cereal bowls, spoons, etc on a couple of occasions. Fresh orange juice was tantalisingly being freshly squeezed by a lady, and then taken round to the tables. It was a bit hit and miss as to whether it actually made it to one's own table - perhaps a better arrangement would be to collect them from the buffet counter - just a small thing but thought worth mentioning.
Sara R who stayed here in November 2013.
The hotel has been a big disappointment since we arrived earlier. The room is not maintained well. Lots of lights don't work, cupboard doors don't close, the water pressure and temperature is awful and there is no proper shower. A bath isn't a real option as the water is tepid and takes forever to reach a quarter filled. The worst aspect however is the large amount of mould on the bathroom walls. These problems combined with the pile of rubbish beneath our balcony have led to anything but a luxury feel.
Sorry to be the bringer of a complaint as the first two hôtels were brilliant and the driver has been too! We have shared our complaint with hotel staff who are seeking to rectify the situation, but getting our complaint across has been difficult.
Matt Bell who stayed here in August 2013.
We were a little disappointed with the food considering how much we were paying!
Diana Short who stayed here in March 2013.
Heure Bleue - Relais & Châteaux, Essaouira has been rated 5 times, with an overall rating of 3.00 out of 5.
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When travelling around Morocco it is not (contrary to common belief) necessary for women to ‘cover up’ out of respect for local modesty traditions. Morocco is a very mixed society with Moroccans who dress as westerners and more traditional families dressing in a more traditional way.
The only areas of the country where it is advisable for women to cover up their legs and shoulders would be in some parts of the High Atlas Mountains (very remote areas) where the locals are rarely visited by foreigners. It is highly unlikely that you will be visiting these areas on any holiday arranged by Lawrence of Morocco.