Dar 91 Wahed: family townhouse

Apartment - Entire home/apt · Rue Chbanate, Essaouira, Marrakesh-Tensift-Al Haouz, Morocco

LIGHT and airy Wahed (‘one’ in Moroccan Arabic) is a three-storey townhouse-style apartment in the medina,near Bab Doukkala. With imposing French windows, Wahed is the biggest of our three apartments, and is a firm favourite with families, groups of friends, or couples who want extra space

The Space

Dar 91 Wahed is a home-from-home for ourselves, our friends, family and guests. Forming the front half of a former police watchtower, we renovated this two-bedroom apartment in 2006, to create a comfortable base for your explorations of Essaouira.

Wahed has two bedrooms, two shower rooms, a living room, simply equipped kitchen/dining area and a private, split-level roof terrace with open views across the medina and to the sea. One bedroom, a double, gives onto the terrace; the lower one can be made up as a double or twin, and has a small extra bed suitable for children. The middle floor has Wi-Fi and i-pod speakers.

Guest Access

All bedding and towels (not beach towels) are included. We also provide you with essential kitchen items, and our prices include bread, croissants and other breakfast ingredients, delivered fresh to your door each morning.

To help you switch off, we have no TV but there is an i-pod/mp3 speakers and Wi-Fi. There is also an iron and ironing board and hair dryer if required.

Our helpful and friendly staff, Naima and Hakim, can cook and/or deliver evening meals on request, can organise for guests’ laundry to be washed at the local laundry, and can babysit (all at additional cost, paid locally). They can also accompany you on trips to the souks, local hammam and to nearby country markets (the latter must be arranged in advance and relies on guests hiring a car or travelling on public transport). Raffia craft, cookery, patisserie and Arabic classes are available.

We have a travel cot and bedding and a small selection of board games and books in the house and provide guests with suggestions of activities they and their children may enjoy in Essaouira.

We send all guests our own guide to the house and Essaouira, which includes advice on how to handle cultural differences, ideas for things to do and our recommendations for the best restaurants, shopping etc.

Interaction with Guests

We split our time between the UK and Morocco, so we may or may not be present during your stay. Either way, we work hard to help you prepare for your stay, especially if it is your first time. We are always on hand to answer your questions before and after you book, and send all our guests our in-depth guide to Essaouira, which helps you get a good sense of the place and receives positive reviews from all our guests.

We are happy to organise airport transfers and help you book local activities; unlike many accommodation providers we take no commission when making any arrangements with third parties.

The Neighborhood

Our neighbourhood, Chbanat, is a part of the ancient medina famous for its textile workshops, where weavers spin their yarn and create beautiful handwoven blankets, throws and scarves on traditional looms. It is one of the most unspoilt and authentically Moroccan quarters in the town.

Through the beautiful French windows you can watch everyday Moroccan life unfold: children playing and collecting water from the communal well; women scurrying back and forth from the public oven; men spinning yarn, chatting on street corners or heading back from a fishing expedition. Overhead the seagulls cry and in the distance the slow march of time is captured by the muezzin’s calls to prayer.

Chbanat is a quiet quarter but at the same time full of the hustle and bustle of everyday Moroccan life. The kids play on the street outside the house and can sometimes get noisy...but that's part of what we love about the place.

Getting around

Essaouira is accessible by Supratours bus, grand taxi or hire car from Marrakech, Agadir and other cities. We are happy to book taxis; you pay the driver and we take no commission. Dar 91 is easy to find (our house guide includes a map) and there is parking near Bab Maarakech - about five minutes' walk. Small taxis for trips to the beach and elsewhere in the new town are found near Bab Doukkala, and horse carriage taxis are also nearby.

Other Things to Note

We are strongly committed to sustainable tourism and are passionate about the need for holiday providers, especially in developing countries – and their guests – to do what they can to help the local community wherever possible. Since we opened in 2006 we have given a minimum of 10% of our profits to local good causes.

In 2012 we set up our own charity, Project 91, to help young people in Essaouira improve their job prospects, and continue to give 10% of all profits from Dar 91 to it. We raise money for Project 91 in a variety of ways, including via our own campaign, Leave Your Wardrobe in Morocco, through which our and others' guests can donate unwanted clothes and other items for sale in the Project 91 shop, with 100% of the profits going to the charity.

Projects funded by Project 91 so far include free English lessons for local young people, two funded placements at hairdressing school, and support for various local families struggling to continue funding their children through secondary school. We also contribute towards a dental hygiene project in the countryside near Essaouira.

Room type: Entire home/apt
Bed type: Real Bed
Accommodates: 5
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Beds: 4
Extra people: $35 / night after 2 guests
Minimum Stay: 3 nights
Check In: 1:00 PM
Check Out: 11:00 AM
Cancellation: Strict
  • Essaouira is a beautiful place and Dar 91 was the perfect base to explore it from. A cool, quirky 3 storeyed property very close to everything. 10 minute walk from the Supratours bus-stop and near the Bab Doukkalla Medina entrance (your taxi destination!). Great terrace on the roof for chilling and a very clean and well-fitted out kitchen. Naima was friendly and looked after all our needs and the owner Jeremy has written a fantastic guide to the house and the local area. Well worth printing out and reading in full before or during your travel.

    Be aware that the beds are hard (at least by Irish standards) and that Naima drops in without warning mostly in the morning time which can be disruptive ;-). We also tried the home cooked meal and either the chicken did a runner from the tagine dish or we were mistaken for veggies. However, these are minor quibbles and Dar 91 is highly recommended and we would definitely revisit.

    April 2014
  • We really enjoyed our stay at Dar 91. Fortunately we met Jeremy and Paolo and so we really know what kind people they are! Very helpfull and so enthusiastic about Essaouira that you really get the feeling you have to discover the village.
    The house is incredible. So well equiped and it has a nice relaxing atmosphere. As we had to cope with illnesses, we stayed a lot inside the house and also on both the roof terrasses. This is actually very interesting. To see the life on the roofs and to have a bird view of what is happening in the street. We couldn’t get enough of it.
    Also it was joyfull to take a raffia course from Naima, who was patient to show us how we had to work. We both finished one sandal, but…in different sizes! Maybe a little trick to get us back to make a matching shoe?!
    Naima took care of the house in a wonderful way and brought our breakfast every morning. She is very gentle. But maybe a next time we like to buy our own breakfast. It is so much fun to walk into the public bakery just a minute away from the house and buy a fresh bread. And also to buy the cheese and milk in a little grocery shop is nice to do.
    Essaouira is a village that asks to be discovered. It is so nice to walk into streets you don’t know where you’re getting at. Also, as we cooked two days in the house, the buying of the ingredients for our meal was already a pleasant thing to do.
    Anyway, if we have the possiblity we like to return to Essaouira and without a doubt we return to Dar 91.

    October 2013
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For me, my partner and our friends and family, Essaouira means escape - from the stresses, over-consumption and unfriendliness of life in the modern, developed world. It's a precious place. Let's enjoy it, do our best not to ruin it, and help those around us where we can.
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