10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
The best in Essaouira?
"At the risk of repeating what others have said, but hopefully adding to the accolades, this place has a superb outlook (and sound effects) from the sea-facing rooms (photo attached).
The staff were delightful, courteous and always pleased to help.
Our room on the third floor was very spacious, although the hand held shower over the bath could be improved by adding a wall bracket.
The breakfasts were fine, healthy and filling....no fry-ups, which suited us, and the view, sun and breeze, all added to the delightful starts to our days.
The last 100 yards before the Riad (it does have a courtyard by the way, on the first floor, which means it truly is a Riad) are very dark at night, and the street is very uneven. Worth taking a small torch!"
- Travel date: Mon 27th of August 2007
Great accommodation, friendly staff but lacking the special touch.
"Great place but could be much better with just a little more effort (and management direction?) by offering food other than at breakfast - how about mint tea/coffee and pastries during the day & evening? Otherwise, staff very friendly and helpful.
Beautiful public area but feels like a morgue. Sea view room was a little on the small side but the sound of the waves and the strong, cooling breeze were very welcome. Very comfortable bed. Small shower room, nicely styled but easily flooded!
Quiet location but only two minute walk from the centre and the souks."
- Travel date: Sat 21st of July 2007
Loved the Riad Mimouna
"We stayed at Riad Mimouna in May 2006. It is a beautiful riad. The decor is very calming and you really feel you are in an exotic place.When you walk through the large front door from the hustle and bustle outside, it is very quite and tranquil.
We had a Mini Suite which was on the top floor and had sea views from two sides, north and west. You will be lulled to sleep ( or kept awake!)by the noise of the waves crashing below.
We stayed for 4 nights on a B&B basis and by day 4 were well and truly tired of the breakfast. It never varies, bread and cheese, boiled egg, delicious pancakes and yougurt.
It is probably more suited to older couples.
Essaouira is a very windy place.
If you want a drink, the Taros in the Place Moulay Hassan opens the roof bar at 6 and they will give you horse blankets to keep you warm as it gets very cold up there, it was great fun.
For nice food and wine reasonably priced try the Restaurant Ramsess, 18 Rue Iben Roched. I would give Chez Sam a miss,
food is mediocre and overpriced.
Dolina McKinnon, London"
- Travel date: Sun 25th of February 2007
Dramatic and friendly
"Riad Himouna was a wonderful discovery. It sits directly on the old ramparts above the sea and has a great view of the waves crashing against the rocks and rampart walls of Essaouira. Technically, it's not a Riad with no garden or courtyard, but that's just being picky! :-)
If you stay there definitely pay extra for a sea-view room -- some rooms have no windows (as far as I could tell) or look out onto the narrow street.) Room 310 (we paid even more for a mini-suite) where we stayed had windows on two sides, both looking out onto the ocean -- indeed we got sea water in the room through windows during high tide and heavy winds! There's no air conditioning, but they provided a space heater to keep us warm at night. A fireplace in the room showed signs of a previous fire, but we did not ask the staff to light one for us.
No clock in the room, but the bed was very comfortable. No safe, but oddly the closets locked. The soap and shampoo provided in the bathroom were meager, but adequate. Hair dryer next to the sink. No ventilation fan, but opening the window did the trick to clear out the steam. The television had one English station and there was no internet connection. There was no shower, only a bathtub, which apparently is standard in Morocco.
The restaurant was good, but didn't serve alcohol. (Few places do.) The terrace on the roof would have been fabulous if not for the unseasonable stormy winds, but I did find a calm period to enjoy some sun and a soda up there. The views are quite dramatic, especially at sun set.
Getting to the hotel is an experience in itself, being inside the medina walls, where no taxis are allowed. We arrived by car from Marrakech, and our driver found a porter to carry our bags in a cart to the hotel -- about a 10-15 minute walk. We paid him too much (50 dirhams, or $6 USD), but it was infinitely better than trying to find the place on our own!
All the customer-facing staff spoke very good English and were helpful and friendly. The public spaces ample and nicely furnished, though we didn't spend much time in them.
Unlike Marrakech, the town is small enough to learn your way around in less than a day. Hotel Mimouna was a great base to explore the town and experience living in the middle of things. (And unlike a previous reviewer, we experienced no mystery smells on our visit!)
All in all a great hotel in a very charming town. My advice: skip Marrakech and go straight to Essaouira! And stay at the Hotel Mimouna"
- Travel date: Fri 23rd of February 2007
Secret and stunning
"After an early morning flight to Marrakech, followed by a long taxi ride to Essaouira, (interesting- at times, which side of the road to drive on seems to be optional!!?),we arrived outside the ramparts of the town. At this point, if you've never been to Morocco, don't worry, the aged little man with the handcart isn't stealing all your luggage and does know where he's going, just keep up with him!
Arrived at Riad Mimouna and were absolutely stunned -from the outside, you have no idea how beautiful the interior is. It is much bigger than many riads, having 33 rooms on 3 floors, then a roof terrace on top of that with magnificent views.
Get a sea view room if you can, it's worth the extra cost and what a view! Just be careful, windows open at the same time as the door and you have a wind tunnel!
The staff are all lovely, my husband was in a wheelchair and everyone was so kind and helpful to us, they were wonderful. He did manage to climb the stairs- slowly - not the spiral ones though!
we did the ultimate bah humbug and went for xmas, enjoyed it so much we are going back in March."
- Travel date: Wed 10th of January 2007
Crashing waves and sea views
"I really enjoyed my stay at this beautiful riad. The majority of the rooms are around an internal courtyard so the windows open in on the corridors of the hotel. Its definatley worth while upgrading to a sea view room. This way you can relax on the window seat and listen to the waves crash against the sea wall.
The breakfast terrace offers some of the best views of the town, and the breakfast itself is a great mix of pankcakes and bread and jam.
The Riad has a Hammam which was nice but pricey. For some reason European prices are prevelant in Morocco!
The 3 course dinner was excellent, but only one man was serving 7 tables, resulting in orders being mixed up. And as in previous postings no alcohol is served, but I beleive you can bring your own, as other guests were having wine with dinner.
The rooms are large, but like much of morocco the lighting is on the dark and moody side. (not always a bad thing). TVs with english speaking channels are also in the rooms."
- Travel date: Wed 8th of November 2006
Am shocked at the good reviews for this place
"We booked for 2 nights hoping for a relaxing stay but sadly had a terrible time at Mimouna.
We were put into room 302 which was ok for size but nothing great for the price. But the worst thing was the appalling stench and we could never work out exactly what it was - maybe something like dead rats wrapped in seaweed! It totally ruined our experience and we had really looked forward to this place.
Additionally because the the floors were open plan you could hear lots of noise from the ground floor and the other floors so it wasn't a great place to get some sleep either!"
- Travel date: Wed 25th of October 2006
Good value place with sea views
"I agree with the two prevoius reviewers. It is worth paying the extra supplement for a room with a sea view if you can sleep with the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below. It is a bit far from the beaches if that is what you want.
We stayed three nights on a dinner bed and breakfast and found the food very good although with little or no choice. However, those who like a glass of wine or beer with their meal should be aware that this Riad is an alcohol free zone.
We added a fourth night on a bed & breakfast basis so that we could try other restaurants. This was a mistake, we went to Chez Sam on the quayside but the good expensive food was spoilt by bad cooking. Riad Mimouna would have been better.
In summary, an excellent place to stay in Essouira."
- Travel date: Sun 24th of September 2006
Excellent location with loads of character
"After a wonderful time in Marrakech at Dar Anika we headed off towards Essaouira on the Supratours coach for a four-night stay at Riad Mimouna booked directly with the hotel over the phone and via email. The journey from Marrakech took approximately 2 hours 40 minutes and included a 15-minute comfort break at a roadside cafe in Sidi Moktar. The hotel is situated in a quiet corner of the Mellah and is therefore a good ten-minute hike from the coach terminus. It is built right on top of the sea wall and its position, as well as offering incredible sea views, enables a short cut to the square without having to go through the hassle of the main souk.
If you can, go for a sea view room. These are absolutely stunning with incredible views across the mellah and out to sea. Keep a strong hand on the windows as the wind is very strong and incessant; the view is literally breathtaking!
Breakfast on the roof was fine and plentiful and also a bit of fun having to cope with the constant gusts of wind; make sure you get a sheltered table. We only ate at the hotel once for dinner. To be honest it wasnât that good and there could have been more choice for the price. There seems to be a distinct lack of restaurants in Essaouira but the several pizza kiosks make up for it.
All in all, the Riad Mimouna is a charming hotel with loads of character. The interior is stunning with a wonderful painted ceiling above the courtyard and fountain; the windows facing the sea on the corridors all add to the quirkiness.
There are a few things to look out for in Essaouira:
If you want to buy Argan oil, go to one of the cooperatives and not the souvenir shops along the main streets. These tend to mix it with olive oil and you need to check that the cap seals arenât broken. There is a good cooperative in Rue Ibn Rochd in the Kasbah district. You should pay about 100 DH for 250 ml.
The evenings can be chilly even in summer. Take a light fleece or sweater to keep off the chill.
Take loads of change as begging is widescale."
- Travel date: Thu 14th of September 2006
Exquisite Riad Mimounia
"Just returned from a 3 week stay in Morocco, ending the trip with 4 nights at the Riad Mimounia in Essaouria. The riad is exquisite - every room is georgous. Be sure to get a room with an ocean view, preferably on floor number 1. There is no ac as it isn't needed. You leave your windows open at night and the sea crashes into the side of the building right beneath your window! Breakfast is on the terrace each morning and the cute little waiter, hamid is willing to make any food you want, including his delicious cappuchino. The riad is located in the medina at the back near the sea wall, so if walking is a problem, this place isn't for you. Dinner was made by a name brand chef and was fantastic - shrimp tagine was outstanding. The riad is very near the main shopping streets and the merchants came to recognize us in the 4 days we were there. Many invitations for mint tea! Don't have any negative things to say about the riad. There are no other hotels/riads that are directly on the beach. There is a main road that separates the hotels from the beach."
- Travel date: Tue 5th of September 2006