The Hotel des Iles was built in 1948, and renovated 2002. It isn't brand new, but it has character. The rooms are nicely decorated, and they are all different. There are 23 rooms on 2 floors. (There are also 40 motel-type bungalows--with parking--behind the hotel, but I didn't see what they looked like.)
Note: there is no elevator.
I really liked the hotel, and I would definitely recommend it.
Unique Quality: The location couldn't be better--it is just outside the medina's gate, and across the street from the beach. There are several restaurants and a bar in the hotel, and a swimming pool behind it. (However, there were seagulls in it!)
Thanks very much for all the replies - think we will probably go to Marrakesh & Essaouira.
We were wondering are there any hotels whihc allow non residents to use them for the day ? Any idea of cost ? we are a family of 4.
Marrakech is a very good choice and Essaouira as an antidote to the frenzied atmosphere of Marrakech.
There are several hotels quite very close to the medina, just minutes away from the Bab Sbaa entrance. The Sofitel quoted 2000Dh per night and has an outdoor heated pool; Hotel Des Iles quoted 900Dh per night and has an outdoor pool.
Inside the medina is Palais L’Heure Bleue (5*) which has a rooftop pool and the Ocean Vagabond Guest House which has an outdoor pool.
You will have to do an internet search to get the best rates, dealing direct with a hotel/riad will mean you probably pay top price.
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Address: Boulevard Mohammed V, Essaouira, 44000, Morocco