L'Hippocampe is a small beach hotel located on the 11 km long lagoon that makes Oualidia a haven for birds, surfers and fishermen.
NEW - Recently refurbished rooms at Hippocampe! A long time coming but it has finally happened!
A small, pink-coloured and family-run beach hotel, Hippocampe sits just a few dreamy steps above Oualidia’s lagoon: a silence-inducing outpost filled with birds and fishermen. Next door is a ruined summer palace; after that, stretching away for miles, only sand and water. Be warned that Hippocampe can occasionally be a bit unpolished and basic, and certainly won’t suit those seeking slick luxury. But it is bargain-priced, characterful, charming and unbeatably positioned.
Chalet-style, with summery, light décor, Hippocampe has 21 simple rooms. The 12 Standard Rooms and seven recently-refurbished Comfort Rooms all come with showers, while two larger suites, also recently spruced up, offer a bath. The rooms are either in the gardens or behind, where natural elevation means views to the Atlantic, and the suites sit at the front, claiming direct beach access. We recommend the Comfort Rooms or the suites, as the Standard Rooms haven't yet been refurbished.
Those exotic, extensive gardens thrill with red geraniums, pink hibiscus and ivy colonnades. Equally good is the restaurant, which serves fresh seafood – including oysters, the local specialty – in a sunset-facing position. The (unheated) pool overlooks the lagoon, and comes armed with a glass shield to thwart sand-whipping sea breezes. Breakfast and lunch can be enjoyed on the verandah.
Sponsored by Quicksilver, Oualidia’s surf school has taught everyone from royal children to old-age pensioners. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout. The staff have limited English – a bit of French is beneficial here, especially for reading the menus – but are very helpful. Mohammed is the star of the staff with his kindness and can-do attitude. The hotel can arrange a local taxi to take guests on full and half-day excursions to places of interest such as the pottery factories in Safi or to play golf in El Jadida. Surfing lessons or board and wetsuit hire are available form the French run surf school on the lagoon. Surfing instructors are very professional and the school is sponsored by Quicksilver.
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Oualidia stole our hearts. Hippocampe was exactly as expected thanks to your briefing and you were right about us loving its simplicity. The suite was perfect, clean (and housekeeping came in each day) and its location was incredible, what a delight to open the door in the morning to the quiet, misty lagoon. We had a wonderful small patio area and were right next to the pool. The hotel gardens were a riot of colour and staff couldn’t have been more helpful and attentive. We took a boat-trip down the lagoon, the girls kayaked, swam (in pool & sea) paddle-boarded and were generally indulged by everyone we met. Staff were particularly helpful when it came to sorting out food for the kids! Food was great, particularly breakfasts on the terrace, we couldn’t have been looked after better. We were very sorry to leave – it was the perfect start to our break as we were able to relax before heading into Marrakech madness.
Our driver to Oualidia and also who picked us up for our tour from the hotel was fantastic, very courteous, with clean car and booster seats for the girls. He was also a very good driver so we felt safe on the crazy roads!
Karen Lloyd who stayed here in May 2015.
Hippocampe was in a different league to the others. It felt like a holiday camp initially. Grounds are very well kept and the rooms were clean and nicely decorated. One room developed a smell which I think was the drains. Food was basic (2 of us left with stomach upsets which may have been the hotel food – who knows.) Breakfast was traumatic as there must be a bees nest nearby and the jam was invested in moments. We ate inside the next day when it was much busier and I had a much smaller pot of lovely coffee and we felt a little bit in the way as I think there must have been more important guests there! But all of this is forgiven as our view was superb and the lagoon and beach a complete joy, we spent all day just pottering about. We did catch a cab to El Jadida also which was interesting and I visited the local Souk on Saturday which was also great. Not sure I would enjoy this location in full summer season mind. Oh and the derelict but guarded palace next door was interesting but a bit unnerving.
Sue Melly who stayed here in November 2014.
What this hotel lacked in luxury was made up for by its staff. Great location. Wouldn't do half board again as food was ok but they didn't do half what was on the menu, and it got a bit samey. I also had really bad vomiting and diarrhoea half way through, which put a bit of a damper on the week. Thankfully everyone else in party was ok. We ended up doing the surfing with the other surf place, purely because when we said he had surf lessons lined up, this was who the hotel called. It worked out really well as they had one on one tuition and they were very flexible. We had lunch at La Sultana on our last day, after trying to book unsuccessfully for dinner during the week. We left wishing we had spent at least one night there!
Kate Cannon who stayed here in November 2014.
The coast was, as you warned us, a different experience. We took full advantage of the kayaks, boat trip, beach walks and surfing. We even managed to see flamingoes after a march at the end of the lagoon. Mohammed is delightful but we struggled in the restaurant as they seemed to lack any fish we ordered. It did have the feel of an out of season holiday camp! The curtains in the rooms we had (refurbished ones on the front) did cause the biggest laugh on the holiday.
Graham Ayres who stayed here in July 2014.
Hippocampe - hhhmm. Great location, great selling point, Mohammed was excellent, such a nice guy who made our stay worthwhile. Food was average to say the least & fish not very good at all. Accommodation was ok, nothing special. The place could do so much better if there was some time & effort put into the place a decent chef & some staff of Mohammad's calibre.
Nick John who stayed here in April 2014.
Oualidia is stunning. Sadly our stay coincided with a significant storm along the whole coast but with Morocco desperately short of water, we could not complain. We had a clear morning to enjoy the lagoon and a delightful grilled fish lunch out near the spit. Everyone at the Hippocampe was very friendly and helpful. Had the weather been better they had all sorts of excursions in mind for us. It was wet and cold despite the big open fire consuming lumps of tree. What seaside town isn't in the rain! The cooking was plentiful but could be a little more subtle. The cumin biscuits at breakfast great. We want to go back to Oualidia when the weather is more benign but it was quite something to see nature untamed.
Malcolm Hayday who stayed here in February 2014.
Loved the Hippocampe. Stunning amazing setting and liked the simplicity of it.. Mohamed (one of many!) the head waiter was very welcoming and friendly, and recommended/served up some amazing traditional meals Surfing was fun - especially for us oldies. It was so gentle we could actually stand up quite a bit. Bit tame for our older son though - he decided to stay with the rest of the family, but looked longingly at the bigger waves
The sun was warm, but there was a chilly wind, hence I did feel quite cold a lot of the time! Enjoyed going up to the village, and spent quite a bit of time drinking mint tea and had an evening meal on the roadside up there
All the transfers arrived on time and the drivers were very friendly. We were really excited to stop briefly at a festival on the Sunday in one of the villages (fantasia?) with soldiers on horseback
Sally G who stayed here in November 2013.
The only disappointing bit of the trip was the Hippocampe at Oualidia which I didn't enjoy at all. Even though I was in a suite, it was smelly, with poor quality bedding. I would have been OK with that had the food been bearable. It was barely edible, and I was glad of the skinny cat to which I was able to surreptitiously feed my leftovers. They were quite charming and trying hard, but it was pretty basic and I wouldn't want to go back. What a pity La Sultana wasn't available - my own fault for booking so late.
Mary C-C who stayed here in November 2013.
L'Hippocampe - What a beautiful place Oualidia is! I don't really need to write about the hotel. You know what its like after all! But goodness, they need to refurbish it / rebuild it... its damp and smelly with nowhere to put clothes and one shower flooded after 2 minutes and the other only dribbled. The staff are nice though and the food, what there was, (a restricted menu with much unavailable) was good quality. Good coffee on the terrace after surfing was a highlight of the holiday. The children only went in the pool once. It was cold and uninviting. We went to the surf school every day which was brilliant, the best part of the holiday for my eldest son! I recommend Lawrence of Morocco builds a better hotel next door.....
Virginia G who stayed here in November 2013.
Charming (bit basic for Becci) lovely people, nice food.
Hugh G who stayed here in October 2013.
The hotel was great. We enjoyed very much the upgrade ... thank you again. The owner was not there (in Canada) when we arrived but his manager was very helpful ... downloaded some photos for us because our camera battery was exhausted. The owner returned just before we left and we thanked him for the upgrade. Mahommed, who looked after us, was an angel. Would you give us the hotel address so we can write to thank him.
David Mayne who stayed here in September 2013.
Wonderful spot, hotel description spot on, could do with a refurb but absolutely fine.
NOTE FROM LAWRENCE OF MOROCCO: (March 2014). The refurb has been carried out during Feb and March 2014 and all LOM clients are booked into the brand new rooms for all stays as of April 2014).
Deborah H who stayed here in November 2012.
As you had indicated the hotel is fairly basic in terms of the rooms and facilities. The food we had was good (and much cheaper than Marrakech) and we were made very welcome.
Steve Green who stayed here in November 2012.
Oualidia came as a surprise. I had an expectation from the pictures, but the setting is much more spectacular than I had imagined. Before arrival I had read an article by a travel writer who said she’d enjoyed the Hippocampe, but would upgrade room if she went back so that she could have a sea view. I had that in mind when we arrived , so asked about a sea view. We were shown a choice of standard rooms which were all perfectly acceptable, but also given an option to upgrade to a suite, which we took. I have to say that this upgrade made a huge difference, giving us not only a wonderful view, but also private outside space where we could relax with a bottle of wine and watch the tide going in and out, the boats and people moving around and the sun set. An unexpected treat was having breakfast delivered and set up on the terrace each morning – the waiters watching to see when we were up and about so they could bring it at the right time. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. The food was simple but good, and the fresh fried fish selection was fabulous.
Rachel S who stayed here in October 2012.
Hippocampe Hotel, Oualidia has been rated 14 times, with an overall rating of 3.71 out of 5.
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