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Riad Zahra
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Reviews (872)
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All reviewsdownstairs restaurantthe ownerminute walkswimming pooltown centrelovely poolwalk along the beachtop floorno air conditioninglovely riadhorse ridingrooms are comfortablerelaxing staymoroccan stylepancakeshome from homesea view
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Reviewed 13 November 2011

My partner and I stayed here as part of 3 town trip around morocco after I had raved on about Essaouira due to it appearing in our favourite film 'Kingdom of Heaven'.
I booked online via a UK site whilst in Morocco,and the staff confirmed immediately in superb english.
There is parking to the rear of the hotel, and a fabulous entrance with plants either side of the large door, leading to a reception that matches the photos. No they are not commercial fish bowl lens lies! It is designed with a nod to the Riad style, with the rooms arranged around a central lobby.
Check in was easy, which was a relief as we were exhausted, and we were shown to a room which was back from the noise of reception and had a direct view over the pool to the sea.
The room was great. Adequate bedding, a nicely decorated plaster bathroom, lots of space to dump suitcases, and surfaces to leave your books etc. First we went to eat over at the beach- a generous salad and some cold drinks under the most amazing sail shade.
However back at the hotel I could not access the free wifi, which I needed to make sure we had our next booking confirmed via email. (It was advertised on booking) This was not a problem and we were moved across the landing to an even bigger room, with speedy internet.

So after the move, we settled down to some tasty food, refreshing cold beers, and dozing in the sun on the loungers.
I tried swimming in the pool, and it was very cold. It is ok after you have been in a while, but the tortoises would plop in and out of the water as often as they pleased all day long.
It was a mix of guests, and we could hear them in the bar/restaurant in the evenings but we ate out at night. Breakfasts were mainly bread and coffee, as I cant eat eggs. So I had double coffee instead. There were a few kite surfers there as the beach is well known for the wind it produces, and the relaxed tourists it attracts. You could hear english, dutch and french used by the guests.
The mood in Essaouira is completely different to Marrakesh, there is less urgency, and I have only ever been hassled to buy once in three trips to the souks, so it is very relaxing.
We LOVED this hotel. I would say the only downside was that there are no balconies so we can sit out and enjoy the view from our room.

Room Tip: I was not sure how to get a better room, other than ask!
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Velvet-tassles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2011

Riad Zahra is a great choice because you get all the style of the Moroccan riad but without the noise/privacy problems that you might encounter in some smaller establishments. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the feel of a traditional riad, but this usually comes with added ‘bonuses’ such as knowing when your neighbours are taking a shower and being woken in the morning by sounds from the riad kitchen. Rest assured, the walls of Riad Zahra are of solid construction and coupled with the sea air you’re guaranteed a goods nights sleep! You won’t miss out on Moroccan style if you stay here; all rooms and common areas are done out in a very tasteful unfussy way.

The room: Our sea view room was VERY generously sized and had lovely Moroccan cushions and romantic lighting should you so choose. The view did not disappoint either. This place actually looks better than the photos on the various booking websites.

Food/drinks: Breakfast was good and included the freshest orange juice ever. We had several lunches and dinners in the pretty 2-roomed restaurant which was always good and very reasonably priced. Again, this is another area where Zahra scores highly; we found it very convenient to have somewhere to eat when we arrived at about 9pm after a long journey and also throughout our week’s stay when we were just too relaxed to go anywhere else! There is also a bar – another plus point over a normal riad as choices for places to have a drink without a meal in Morocco are very limited.

Other highlights:
The Terrace: a great spot for a drink at sunset or lunch
The owners: who couldn’t do enough to make your stay in Essaouira a good one
The pool: a decent size. You won’t get this in a normal riad. (we had a wander through the Sofitel down the road for comparison, but it’s such a characterless chain hotel and you won’t feel like you are in Morocco if you stay there)
Location: It’s right on the sea front and I enjoyed the 15 min walk down to the medina.
I am so glad we chose Riad Zahra. I can’t imagine having a better stay anywhere else and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone staying in Essaouira.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jane P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2011

Wonderful riad that has everything: great location (especially if you want to surf etc.) close to the beach, great atmosphere, very helpful owners, nice swimming pool and good breakfast.
The beds were a bit too hard though.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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Thank mansBromma_Sweden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2011

We have stayed in Riad Zahra for almost a week and enjoyed every day of it. The whole building is really beautiful as are the pool and the rooms. The owner couple is very friendly and helpful and made our stay unforgettable.

I can only recommend this place to everyone visiting Essaouira as it is normally to windy to visit the beach and Riad Zahra has a pool!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Sebastian R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2011

The owners, Xavier and Edith Panades and their son belong to the kind of people which makes living on this earth more than worthwhile and reminds you that commerce and kindness can work very well together. But also their staff try their best in making you have a terrific stay. The relaxed atmosphere, the friendliness of everybody and the flexible attitude to the undersigned and his sons as regards to losing or forgetting keys and the immediate helping out with any problems that suddenly occurred such as a defective hire car and a son with an upset stomach make this hotel second to none.
Robert Beydals

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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