At a glance

  • You'll love

    Maghrebin chic

    Heavenly hammam

    Romantic dining

  • Kids will love

    Heated kids pool

    Year-round sunshine

    Family excursions

  • Don’t expect

    Crèche or kids club

    TVs or a minibar

    Hi-tech frills


Huddled between rugged coast, desert hills and the bustle of Essaouira, family-friendly hotel Jardin des Douars feels like a stylish discovery. Savour the bohemian vibe and French laisser-faire: children are free to explore the nooks and exuberant grounds of this laid-back Moroccan palace with two jade-green pools, tantalising seasonal menus and a child-welcoming hammam.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Le Jardin des Douars with us:

A 30-minute hammam session and black-soap exfoliation for each adult guest, and a 30-minute massage for each child


‘Planted terraces, dotted with tables, chairs and cushioned nooks, lead up to the main house; loose tribes of children gather by the jade-green pool for short-but-sweet friendships under the North African sun. ’

Smith & Family


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Le Jardin des Douars – Essaouira – Morocco

Need To Know


26, including 7 family suites.


12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from $132.21 (MAD1,209), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of MAD30.00 per room per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include a Continental breakfast of Moroccan pancakes, breads, home-made jams, cooked eggs, fruit salad and fresh orange juice, as well as tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Children Children stay free in cribs; extra beds (MAD110) for under-12s can be added to all but Relax, Romantic and Luxe rooms.


In the bathrooms, you'll find a mini hamman kit stocked with local argan-oil products.

Hotel closed

The hotel closes for two or three weeks between January and February.

At the hotel

Spa, swimming pools, restaurants, bar, botanical gardens with access to surrounding countryside and riverbed, boutique, terrace, lounge with fireplace, library, pétanque pitch, free WiFi throughout the hotel and villas.

In your room

Bathrobes, slippers, Les Sens de Marrakech toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

The four-bedroom villas, set close to the main house, are just right for large families. Each has a garden with a private heated pool, and one even has a pétanque pitch. With kids’ bedrooms, bunk beds and space for extra beds, many of the hotel’s rooms are perfect for families. In the main house, Family Rooms have a double bedroom and another room with two single bunk beds; some come with a terrace and a small outside garden. The Douaria Rooms are small self-contained houses perfect for large families, with a lounge area, a double bedroom, a twin room and space for two extra cot beds. Under the main dome, the spacious Royal Suite has two terraces, a double bedroom with a fireplace, a second bedroom with twin beds, lots of space for another bed or two in the spacious lounge and – best of all – two bathrooms.


The family-friendly pool is heated all year round, with a very shallow end within the main pool perfect for small children, and some changing rooms nearby. It’s not supervised, but there are plenty of sunloungers from which to keep an eye on little ones. The adults-only infinity pool is a chic rectangular affair, tiled in blood-red and peacock-green zellige, surrounded by wrought-iron day-beds and straw parasols. It’s heated from October to May and the perfect setting for some quiet sun-worshipping or purposeful laps. Both pools are open from sunrise to sunset.


The atmospheric marble-lined spa (open 10am–8pm, last treatment at 7pm) has two calming treatment rooms and two hammams. The region is famed for its precious argan oil, harvested by local women’s co-operatives; argan-tree bark is used to heat the eucalyptus-scented steam rooms, and the pulp for scrubs. Perfumed black-soap exfoliation, hot-stone massages and algae wraps leave skin prepped for the North African sun. The spa welcomes children too: under-12s can get mini-priced 30-minute massages, manicures or pedicures (MAD300).


Don't forget your wetsuits: the windswept beaches are better for surfers than shallow-paddlers.

Book ahead

The hotel offers daytime babysitting for parents wanting to make the most of the area’s surf spots, but make sure you arrange this when booking your room.


Pets are welcome, and stay free, but you’ll need to bring their bedding and food with you.

Food and drink

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Le Jardin des Douars – Essaouira – Morocco


There are two restaurants serving North African cuisine with French influences. Casual Le Ksar is a spacious room in sultry reds and deep orange, with full-length windows down to the river valley and a cushioned sunken lounge area. The terrace in front of the main house is where breakfast and lunch (including a magnificent Sunday barbecue buffet) are served. The menu changes daily: check the blackboard for light fare such as salads, grilled gambas or salmon tartare. Chalk your name on the board if you want to dine in that night; the à la carte menu changes every couple of weeks. Adults-only La Table des Douars – an intimate dining room of mirrors, cosy nooks and romantic lamps – is ideal for a tête à tête. The kitchen serves fragrant Morrocan fusion dishes such as roast beef fillet with a herb crust, crushed potatoes with Sidi Yassine argan oil, or tender salmon maki with preserved lemons and date pesto.

Family fare

Children are welcome anytime at Le Ksar. Three highchairs are available in the restaurant, as is a lunch menu for under-12s of classic child-friendly fare such as mini burgers, home-made bolognese or chicken skewers. Staff are used to dealing with families, so just ask if you need to heat up baby milk or want vegetable or fruits pureed.

Hotel Bar

Set to a jazz soundtrack, cocktail hour is on the terrace: the drinks menu features classic negroni, caipirinhas and mojitos, as well as local and French wines. There’s also a pool bar, and a bar area in the main restaurant; both serve mocktails, fresh and bottled juices, and minty- and fruity-sweet sirops for little ones.

Last orders

Le Ksar serves breakfast from 7.30am to 10.30am, and lunch from 12.30pm to 3pm. Both dining rooms are open from 7.30pm to 10.30pm.

Smith Insider

  • Top table

    Sit out on the terrace so restless little Smiths can run around the glorious gardens while your food is being prepared. On a rare cloudy day, pick a table indoors by the windows, which have vistas over the riverbed.

  • Room service



    The open kitchen is a bustling walk-in affair: guests are encouraged to come and ask questions, taste and learn about the local produce, fragrant spices and in-house culinary secrets.


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Le Jardin des Douars – Essaouira – Morocco

Parent approved

‘Planted terraces, dotted with tables, chairs and cushioned nooks, lead up to the main house; loose tribes of children gather by the jade-green pool for short-but-sweet friendships under the North African sun. ’

Smith & Family


There’s no crèche at the hotel, but staff can organise daytime babysitting in four-hour slots for parents keen to make the most of the coast’s surf spots; be sure to arrange this when you book your room.


Babysitting is available with one day’s notice, but it’s best to arrange daytime care when you book your room. The hotel charges a flat fee of MAD75 for up to four hours during the day, and MAD150 for up to eight hours during the night. Babysitters are local Moroccan-speaking women; they may speak a little French but not English. Ask when booking if this is important to you.


Bring a baby monitor from home: there's free WiFi throughout the hotel and villas so you’ll be able to keep an ear on your little Smiths’ snores from the restaurant, terrace, or adults-only pool.

What's there already?

For babies

• Highchairs • Travel cot • Baby bath • Infant car seat

For toddlers

• Highchairs • Cot beds

For older children

• Swimming aids • Pool toys


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Le Jardin des Douars – Essaouira – Morocco

Things to do

Jardin des Douars is all about sunny idle living: there’s a sunlounger here, a hammam there, and glorious flowered gardens everywhere. Brush up on your French with fellow guests, though you may only need to practice surly nods and Gallic shrugs by the pétanque pitch. Parents and kids each get their own swimming pool; the more adventurous can also wander down to the riverbed for a spot of exploring, or ask the hotel to organise anything from camel rides to kitesurfing or cookery lessons.

Sunny days

Make the most of Essaouira’s 320 days of sunshine: the neighbouring hills are criss-crossed with mule trails and lead to the Ksob’s riverbed, where stone-skimming and lizard-chasing make for well-spent afternoons. Further afield, Essaouira’s beaches are rugged, windswept stretches of rolling Atlantic waves, better suited to the kite-keen and surf-mad than the gentle paddler. The cooler hours before sunset are a great time for old and young to gather for a few rounds of pétanque with a glass of pastis or grenadine.

Rainy days

Snuggle up on the sunken lounge area in front of the fireplace, or steam yourself floppy in the hammam.

And there's more…

Staying at Jardin des Douars is very much about getting off the grid: there aren't TVs or phones in the room, but there's good WiFi throughout.

Local Guide

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Le Jardin des Douars – Essaouira – Morocco
Smith tip

Leave your straw hats at home – the hotel has bags of them on the terraces for guests to use.

A few minutes’ drive from the bustle of Essaouira’s medina, hotel Jardin des Douars sits on a hill off the road from Agadir. Sheltered from the winds of nearby beaches, the house enjoys vistas to the valley of argan trees and the river Ksob below. The temperatures here are warmer than in Essaouira; the hotel’s staff is very knowledgeable and can arange a few rounds on Mogador’s attractive golf course, quad, camel or horse rides to the voluptuous dunes, or even a picnic by the sea, where improbable desert waterfalls flow into the ocean.

A gentle hike or quad ride will take you from the village of Sidi M’Barek to waterfalls springing from the desert. Explore Berber mule paths and traditional villages, then let little Smiths loose on the stretch of unspoilt beach. The El Khoubane family have owned the Meskala Kasbah, a charming cluster of seven riads, since the 19th century. Its mosaic-tiled walls are now home to a farm, where kids can meet the argan-leaf-grazing ewes, cows and sheep that produce milk for the artisan cheeses made on site. Savour the table d’hôtes’ sampling platters and generous lunches, or try your hand at tadelakt or wood-painting in one of the workshops run by the kasbah (+212 (0)666 233534). Designed by Gary Player, Golf de Mogador is a five-minute drive away and has two 18-hole courses nestled against the Atlantic coast and its magnificent dunes. The hotel can book courses, caddies and buggies for you (+212 (0)524 479230).

Little Smiths will love the light-up mannequins, toy robots and retro chairs sitting alongside traditional Moroccan tiling at quirky-cool Elizir. Tired of tagine? North African dishes here have an Italian twist: pumpkin soup is served with bruschetta drizzled in the local olive oil, and chicken paired with fresh figs and chestnuts. Book well ahead – it’s a deservedly popular dinner spot that only seats 30 (+212 (0)5 24 47 2103). Don’t miss the stalls on Essaouira’s port near the sea wall, laden with enormous prawns, iridescent fish and monster-clawed crabs. Take your pick from the writhing catch of the day – the stalls will grill them for you in no time, and serve them with a simple salad, chips and lemon wedges. For dinner à deux, pick a table tucked in L’Heure Bleue’s lush courtyard, somewhere by the pretty trickling fountain. Fabulously fresh seafood gets the Moroccan spice treatment – the salt-baked sea-bass is a must-try (+212 (0)524 783434). Sandy walls, magnificent stone arches, bright orange hues and contemporary Arabic artwork make for rustic but refined interiors at lively and laid-back la Table Madada. Cooked in a traditional clay pot with a medley of aromatic spices, the beef shin tagine is a specialty. The tapas-style dishes (sardine dumplings, calamari tempura) are equally enticing (+212 (0)5 24 47 5512). Taros Café’s atmospheric terrace is all sculptural cacti, woven parasols and pretty lanterns – just the spot to enjoy a cocktail with views to the bustle of the port below(+212 (0)5 24 47 64 07).

+ Enlarge
Le Jardin des Douars
Douar Sidi Yassine, Ida Oueguerd BP 209, Essaouira, Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, 44000
Hotel setting

Riverside hilltop oasis

Getting There

A 10-minute drive from Essaouira’s medina, hilltop Jardin des Douars is in the dusty hills off the road from Agadir, a few minutes from Mogador’s beaches and golf course.


Essaouira Mogador Airport, a 15-minute drive away, has connections to Paris Orly, Marseille, Brussels and Marrakech ( Most visitors arrive to Marrakech’s Menara Airport two hours away, which can be reached from various hubs across Europe with British Airways (, EasyJet ( and Ryanair (


You may never feel the need to leave Jardin des Douars’ walls, but if you want to venture into the surrounding countryside, it’s best to hire a car to explore the area or make the most of the coast’s surf-friendly beaches. The hotel rents cars (€40 a day) and operates a shuttle to the medina, the golf course, or the beaches (€10 a room for single trips, or unlimited trips €25 a day).

Parent travel tip

Avoid a long drive and the hustle of Marrakech airport by flying into the smaller Essaouira airport if you can; you’ll be sitting in the shade of Jardin des Douars’ palm-trees before the first ‘Are we there yet?’ can be uttered. The hotel has one baby seat for hire cars or transfers, but no booster seats; it’s best to bring your own.


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Le Jardin des Douars – Essaouira – Morocco

Smith & Family  Parent Panel reviews

Every property featured in the Smith & Family collection – including Le Jardin des Douars – has been selected and approved by parents.

You’ll never find distractions of the wireless, beepy, touch-screen variety at Jardin des Douars: life here, tucked away behind pink plaster walls in an exuberant garden of date palms, cacti and succulents, is all about about the low-key joy of being off the grid. There’s a definite Francophile vibe about the hotel, perched in Essaouira’s hills and once the party pad of a Belgian couple; Marais-chic families now gather here to seek out the sun, steam in the decadent hammam, explore the rugged beaches and feast on delicately spiced tagines and mezze. Planted terraces, dotted with tables, chairs and cushioned nooks, lead up to the main house; loose tribes of children (of the French Children Don’t Throw Food variety) gather by the jade-green pool for short-but-sweet friendships under the North African sun. Beyond the walls, there’s a stretch of Maghreb to explore: just ask the hotel’s knowledgeable staff for the best windswept dunes, surfing hotspots, well-mannered camels or souk bargains.

Smith & Family

The Guestbook  Smith member reviews

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith & Family hotel, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what real-life family guests had to say about Le Jardin des Douars in the Guestbook below.

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