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Hotel Highlights

  • Honey-hued chic
  • Old-town location
  • Harbour-view terraces

Overview

Madada Mogador hotel embodies the best of beachfront Essaouira's dichotomies, from its rooftop terrace with vast sea views to its streamlined Moroccan interiors. More residential apartment than formal hotel in feel, this hideaway has five tadelakt bedrooms off a central salon and two more at the top of a staircase. Exquisite bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and private Balearic-style terraces give this retreat a romantic edge.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Madada Mogador with us:

A bottle of wine or a home-made pastry

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Madada Mogador

15% off for your stay at Madada Mogador

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

Seven rooms, including two ocean-view suites.

Check–out

12 noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $114.30 (€105), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.50 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

Also

Smoking is allowed on the patio and terrace. The annual Gnawa Festival happens the last week of June every year, and the area around the hotel can be quite busy and noisy.

At the hotel

Library, treatment room, board games, WiFi, iPod dock, and cook services if required.

Our favourite rooms

Clues to Madada Mogador’s rich history linger on inside its walls, which once housed traders in the Jewish quarter. Guests were received on the terrace; if you’re staying on a summer escapade with a lover, there’s no doubt the Madada room upstairs is the one to earmark. It opens onto the ramparts, with a private balcony and tadelakt and aged brass in the bathroom. Warm-red Sabra room has a bath in the room and club armchairs; Assala room has a wall-sized bedhead and big ivory tadelakt tub.

Spa

Madada Mogador's bijou treatment room faces the ocean; indulge in a relaxing massage or get yourself sandal-ready with a mani-pedi.

Packing tips

Leave some space in your luggage for a stash of hand-loomed towels from the souk: they'll double as handy wraps on the windy beaches and stylish bathroom-brighteners at home.

Also

Try your hand at tajines with a two-hour lesson in Moroccan cookery, taught in either French or English, and culminating in a two-course meal. The cookery classes are held in L'Atelier Madada, a former almond warehouse.

Pet‐friendly

The hotel has feline residents; small pets can stay free in rooms with a balcony or terrace.

Children

Children are warmly welcome, though the layout of the hotel doesn’t make it particularly suitable. Under-twos stay free and there is a crib available; extra beds cost €30 a night for over-twos, and babysitting is about €10 an evening.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Right beneath the hotel in an old converted carob warehouse, La Table by Madada is an arched, bistro-style eatery with a menu that draws heavily from Essaoira's seafood-rich waters. The day's catch – octopus, spider crab, swordfish – takes centre stage in inventive dishes such as pastilla, gratin and carpaccio.

Hotel Bar

You can order drinks in the informal lobby or on the roof terrace. Try the local rosé, a blend of syrah and muscat grapes, or the home-made fruit cocktail.

Last orders

La Table by Madada takes last orders at about 10.30pm.

Room service

Snack service during the afternoon until 7pm: paninis, omelettes, salade niçoise.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Whatever you like lounging in.

Top table

If you're just after nibbles from the tapas menu, nab the high table for two.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Beachy, carefree Essaouira is a laid-back fishing port and surfers’ retreat. Walled in by impressive 18th-century ramparts, the car-free medina is a walker’s delight: head out on foot to experience its animated street life, bustling fish market and colourful souk. A stretch of golden sands along the windswept Atlantic coast, the city’s beach is an easy walk from the hotel, and offers plenty of waterspouts as well as camel and horse rides. Stop by Madada Mogador’s concierge desk for a rundown of the neighbourhood’s best sights and activities; staff will happily point you to the nearby hammam for indulgent treatments and aromatic steam baths, or arrange a candlelit dinner in a charming auberge.

Ida Ougourd’s Berber souk on Wednesdays and Had Draa’s Sunday market for farmers and breeders offer a glimpse of the region’s trading traditions. A charming cluster of 19th-century riads, Meskala Kasbah (+212 (0)666 233534) is now home to a farm producing artisan cheeses. 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. Explore Essaouira’s rivers and beaches on a quad bike with Palma Quad (+212 (0)666 709999) or head out of town on camel and horseback with Equi Evasion (+212 (0)666 780561) in the village of Diabat. For an eco-conscious Argan grove tour, try Ecotourism et Randonnées; trips culminate in a traditional Moroccan tea.

 

 

Local restaurants

Ignore Restaurant Chez Sam’s (+212 (0)524 476513) gaudy boat-themed exterior: the hake, lobsters and soles are fresh off the boat and simply prepared. Light-up mannequins, toy robots and retro chairs sit alongside traditional Moroccan tiling at quirky-cool Elizir (+212 (0)524 472103). Book ahead to sample North African dishes with an Italian twist, such as chicken with fresh figs and chestnuts, or pumpkin soup with local olive oil. 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).

Local bars

Take in views of the bustling port below with a cocktail in hand: Taros Café’s alfresco terrace – a sleek hangout of sculptural cacti, woven parasols and pretty lanterns – is the city's best spot for a sundowner (+212 (0)524 476407).

+ Enlarge
Ocean-view ramparts

Madada Mogador

5 rue Youssef El Fassi, Essaouira, 44000

Close to the port, souks and ramparts, Madada Mogador is at the heart of the old town, a short stroll from Essaouira's main beach.

Planes

Royal Air Maroc flies to Essaouira from Paris Orly, but most visitors arrive via Marrakech Menara Airport, easily reached on direct and budget flights from various hubs across Europe. One-way transfers from Marrakech cost about €65 and take two hours.

Automobiles

You won’t need a car to get around Essaouira but if you’re planning to drive to the town you’ll find rental desks for Avis at both Marrakech and Essaouira airports. The journey from Marrakech along the N8 highway takes around two hours. Cars are not allowed into the walled town centre and must be left at the public car park by the harbour – a two-minute walk from the hotel.

Reviews

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Madada Mogador
Madada Mogador 5 rue Youssef El Fassi Essaouira 44000 Essaouira Morocco

Anonymous review

Rating: 10/10 stars
I am ashamed to admit that before we were invited to spend a night in Essaouira, I’d never heard of it. In fact, I could barely even pronounce it. As our taxi takes us through desert, I discover that my companion cannot only pronounce it perfectly – ‘es-sooo-weera’ with a stress on the ‘weer’ – but she was there 15 years ago. And recalling it to be rather …
Read more

Madada Mogador

By Mr & Mrs Smith.

I am ashamed to admit that before we were invited to spend a night in Essaouira, I’d never heard of it. In fact, I could barely even pronounce it. As our taxi takes us through desert, I discover that my companion cannot only pronounce it perfectly – ‘es-sooo-weera’ with a stress on the ‘weer’ – but she was there 15 years ago. And recalling it to be rather windy, it has a delightful onomatopoeic ring to it. My Ms Smith is curious about whether it will have changed, having arrived last time in a limping coach and found accommodation by entrusting herself to the least seedy-looking guy offering a put-up in his mum's house. I assure her that from what I’ve heard of our stylish stay, Madada Mogador, we’re in for an altogether different experience.

After a couple of hours heading from Marrakech in the direction of a very pink sunset, through small towns and huge swaths of dessert, our first sign of Essa civilization is indeed a hotel with ‘Mogador’ in its name. Yikes. Surely this faux castle isn’t meant for Smiths. (My companion who slept in a closet and had to dress in full chador-like garb at mealtimes at her last abode here, still considers this modern-day concrete beast an improvement.) Thankfully, the taxi driver knows better and hurtles past, explaining that Mogador was the name for Essaouira when the Portuguese occupied it in the 16th century, so we’ll see it a lot. Having been assured our designated Mogador-mantled retreat is not only chic, but in a unique setting, we perk up again.

The approach to the old town, where we’re headed, is along a coastal road, and we’re disappointed that we’ve arrived in the dark, fearing an underwhelming introduction. We couldn’t be more wrong. Moonlight only enhances the incredible impact of miles of white sand and iridescent sea. While the modern buildings that line this road here aren’t as charming as what we were hoping for, as soon as we spy the medina and harbour in the distance, we realise that we’re bang on target for a fantastically unique destination.

Dropped off in a carpark by the port, I’m worried for a millisecond that we might end up in the same situation as my backpacking pal all those years ago. That’s quickly dispelled as a helpful soul with a cart appears from nowhere and swiftly ushers us towards the high walls of the medina. A few inches within the ancient city, and we’re at the stairway to our abode. Up a narrow, zellij-tiled flight of stairs, it feels a bit more flat-above-a-shop than North African boutique bolthole. Just as our rollercoaster-inclined expectations are poised to take a dip, the dark wooden door to Madada Mogador opens. ‘Bon soir’ – an elegant French blonde welcomes us into her incense-infused enclave of beige-hued contemporary cool. It’s just what we’d hoped for.

With a built-in wooden bookshelf acting as reception desk, hotel shop and concierge, Madada feels more like an enormous private Parisian apartment. Five of the bedrooms are here off the central sand-coloured salon, with a staircase leading to two more. As it’s uncustomarily quiet tonight (the only other folk we encounter are a young American couple sat at one of the four little tables arguing about the rules of backgammon), we’re given a choice of where to sleep.

Had it been a summer escapade with a lover, there’s no doubt the rooms upstairs with the massive Balearic-style terrace would have been the ones to earmark (the uninterrupted sea view must be the best in Essaouira); but as two friends who’ve made their way here in winter, we fancy the cosiness of the main floor. Having admired the Ralph Steadman-esque art, the Asian-accented layout of the bedrooms, the huge cream tadelakt bath and twin sinks in my open-plan room, and the tub armchairs in her red-hued den, we embrace our seaside destiny and head off to get a fresh-fish supper.

While the hotel has its own chic sister eatery below, the owner also recommends, Les Alizés Mogador, so we decide to continue on the Mogador theme. A few minutes walk away, right on the ramparts, we discover it’s shut, so we stroll through the small main square, past the fishermen’s stalls, towards the harbour. Wonderfully peaceful on this Sunday evening, we’re lone silhouettes wending their way past the postcard-perfect blue-hulled wooden fishing boats to Chez Sam, on the edge of the water.

You know you’re getting older when you revel in the ghost-town effect of being on holiday off-season, although my friend assures me that this is somewhere not thin on action most of the year. As we sit down at a checked tablecloth by the window, she toasts the fact that this taverna-like blue shack hasn’t changed one bit since she last pounced on squid and sardines all those years ago, having eaten nothing but oranges and peanuts for weeks. I make my own pact not to leave it so long before I return again myself. Still, I reckon if I do, mon amour Mogador, so rich in history and with its air of insouciance, will be the same place that I’ve so quickly fallen in love with.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Madada Mogador from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This was a great location and staff couldn't have been better. They were really friendly and helpful, offering great suggestions for some excellent local restaurants. This was a good standard hotel and we had a lovely big balcony outside our room.

Don’t expect

The only drawback was the hotel had two pet cats. If you are allergic (like me) then this hotel is not for you. Having said that, the staff were great but it is not ideal if you are not a cat lover.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff were very friendly and breakfast was great.

Don’t expect

There was nothing really wrong with this place - the rooms were comfortable enough and the rooftop is nice but there are other places in town that have more character. It's not that I disliked Madada Mogador, but rather that I think there are more interesting places one could stay.

Rating: 5/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Madada Mogador was absolutely beautiful with huge rooms, high ceilings and an extremely high-quality finish throughout. We were upgraded to a room with a large balcony overlooking the Atlantic: a beautiful view to wake up to. The rooftop terrace was incredibly peaceful – we sat and read there for several hours a day on comfy white sofas with a 180-degree view of the ocean. All the staff was friendly and helpful, organising everything from someone to take our cases to the bus, to tables in lovely restaurants. We could not have asked for a better hotel.

Rating: 10/10 stars