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Short keep: Le Jardin des Douars, Essaouira, Morocco

Short stay: Le Jardin des Douars, Essaouira, Morocco

Le Jardin des Douars is the normal Moroccan kasbah stylishly reimagined, sitting excessive above Essaouira on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. Purpose constructed, lower than 20 years in the past, to offer twenty first century indulgent luxurious, Le Jardin des Douars, recollects the structure of a sun-baked-mud kasbah.

And the title? In Arabic a douar is a small village, generally of only one or two homes. On this hill-top, douarais, terracotta homes, are dotted via the verdant gardens. Externally, Le Jardin des Douars pays tribute to the light-terracotta structure of Morocco’s inland fortifications, while the interiors run via Morocco’s trendy design ebook.

This resort of 19 rooms, 6 suites and 6 villas offers a tranquil retreat. Tall palms and needle-thin cypresses give shelter from the Atlantic’s commerce winds.

In summer season, these winds spare Essaouira from Morocco’s boiling temperatures. “We have two seasons,” confides Abdul our information. “Windy and non-windy.” From September via to April, it’s non-windy making Essaouira a 320-days-of-sunshine-a-year vacation spot.

The welcome

A driver is ready for us, after we’ve got rapidly cleared formalities at Essaouira’s tiny airport. Quiet, nearly empty rural roads take us to Le Jardin’s lantern-lit drive inside quarter-hour. After check-in the receptionist leads us via the gardens to our room.

The room

Named after honoured leaders in Ottoman instances, our Pasha room is one among 4 set in a secluded home within the gardens. In the morning, solar graces the rear backyard of sun-loungers, desk and chairs. By mid-afternoon the solar warms the entrance alcove’s sheltered outside sofas. Discrete air-conditioning / heating is accessible if required.

A hearth with bellows, brush and logs is extra decorative than mandatory, taking its place amongst the desert-sand-coloured partitions. On two sides tall fortress skinny home windows, one framed with bougainvillea, infuse mild. On a 3rd wall a glass door opens out onto the patio. Sultan-size, the mattress is past massive. Obscured by the mattress a desk runs behind, simply in case it’s important to work. No tv or radio however will-fi is powerful over a lot of the positioning’s two acres. Furniture is darkish and distressed, concurrently archaic but sumptuously match for a Sultan. A big cupboard homes the coffeemaker, kettle, fridge and minibar. For bigger teams, Le Jardin has six villas with personal swimming pools, some internet hosting as much as 14 individuals. Housekeepers present every day companies together with preparation of meals.

The toilet

Larger than some resort bedrooms, the lavatory contains a separate bathe, his and hers basins, plus an indulgent sunken tub. With wardrobe and drawers positioned within the toilet, it additionally serves as a dressing room.

Eco-friendly toiletries in glass phials are topped up every day by housekeeping. Berber-style hooded tub robes await, excellent for drying off after a swimming pool dip.


Entering the restaurant is like strolling via the courtyards, pillars and swimming pools of Granada’s Alhambra.

Guests graze from the breakfast buffet while searching over the argan tree dotted valley of the Oued Ksob. Waiters rapidly study friends’ preferences for espresso and tea. Eggs, crepes and French toast are cooked to order.

Lunch could be taken on the restaurant or from the finger-food menu by the swimming pool. Light and citron-tangy, the catch-of-the-day fish ceviche is a spotlight. Come night, menus are impressed by each Moroccan and French delicacies.

A 3-course menu of the day makes probably the most of native seasonal produce, maybe a zucchini soup, adopted by a lamb and fruit tagine, with a fruit crumble to complete.

As effectively as offering a spread of enjoyable massages, the spa contains a darkish cave of a hamman recalling the Ottoman’s love of deep cleaning rituals.

A black-soap wash precedes a pores and skin exfoliating scrub.


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South of Casablanca, north of Agadir and west of Marrakech, many friends drop into Le Jardin for a number of days of restorative relaxation and pampering on their grand Moroccan tour. Guests can ebook shuttles to Essaouira: quarter-hour to the seashore, 18 minutes to the harbour and medina.

Designed by a French architect, the ethereal alleys are Champs-Elysse straight somewhat than Marrakech-labyrinthine. To escape into the hills, the resort affords strolling eco-tours and quad biking. Nor is it far to one among Morocco’s most interesting golf programs, 18 holes designed by Gary Player, hugging a spectacular shoreline.

On the fringes of the Medina, L’Atelier, a former almond warehouse, affords a cookery course the place friends cook dinner their very own lunch – maybe a tajine or pastilla.

Whilst lunch simmers, the culinary pupils go to spice service provider Mohammed to learn the way Moroccans supply and use spices.

Essaouira’s huge, wind-swept seashore is a spot for camel or horse rides, kitesurfing and browsing.

Other good touches

Late afternoon, by the pool, waiters convey spherical complimentary mint tea and cake.

By the poolside bar, friends may help themselves to straw solar hats. On Friday evenings there may be stay leisure across the restaurant and its terrace. Children had been thrilled by the go to of Youssef the magician.

Spread over two acres, Le Jardin caters for each households and adults. Down a few terraces, a household pool is out of earshot of adults enjoyable by their very own jade zellige-tiled pool.

Al fresco tables on the expansive restaurant terrace go well with households for lunch and dinner. While there’s a small and intimate adults-only restaurant for {couples}.

The value

Bed and breakfast is priced from round £140 per room. Villas start from £530 per villa per night time.

The last verdict

“No news, no blues, no formal shoes” runs the resort’s credo. Surrounded by vibrant gardens of bougainvillea, cypresses, daisies, ferns, palms and plumbago there’s a relaxed oasis really feel to Le Jardin des Douars.

Yet, it’s a misleading calm, for some friends Le Jardin is the peaceable base for adrenaline fuelled actions as they horse-ride, quadbike or kitesurf.

Disclosure: Our keep was sponsored by Le Jardin des Douars.

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AccommodationBodysgallen HallBodysgallen Hall and SpaEuropehotelsLLandudnoNorth WalesRegionsreviewshort stayUKUnited KingdomWalesWestern Europe

Short keep: Bodysgallen Hall and Spa, LLandudno, North Wales, UK

Short stay: Bodysgallen Hall and Spa, LLandudno, North Wales, UK

If ever there’s a Welsh model of Downton Abbey, then spectacular Bodysgallen Hall and Spa could be an ideal venue. It actually has the heritage. Originally constructed excessive on Pydew Mountain some six centuries in the past, Bodysgallen tower, now on the core of the pink sandstone home, gave early warning to low-lying Conwy Castle of approaching hostile forces.

Bodysgallen Hall and Spa has the required grandiose setting for the Celtic tackle Downton. Two miles south of Llandudno, on a North Wales peninsula, the corridor offers spectacular views of medieval Conwy Castle and the brooding peaks of Snowdonia.

A Grade 1 listed constructing, restored and revived after its buy by Historic House Hotels in 1980 and its gifting to the National Trust in 2008, Bodysgallen is now a luxurious rural retreat of gables, roaring fires, undulating flooring and chiming grandfather clock.

The welcome

A protracted drive meanders ever upwards, by sheep grazed pasture, artfully concealing Bodygallen’s splendour till the final second. The receptionist guides us by higgledy-piggledy stairways to our room while a porter in his sensible waistcoat delivers our baggage. Bodysgallen was constructed lengthy earlier than lifts have been even considered.

The room

Number 18 has a wall dedicated to mullioned home windows framing a spectacular view throughout the formal gardens, past ripples of inexperienced valleys and onto the imposing battlements of Conwy Castle.

From the Narnia depths of the wardrobe by to a seven ft huge double mattress, every part is on a generously aristocratic scale. Warm swimming pools of sunshine from table-lamps present a delicate glow. A floral bedspread, sheets and blankets are from a bygone period. No wall-mounted televisions right here. A modest tv is partially hidden away in a quiet nook. Only just lately have tea trays been launched as a nod to the twenty first century.

The rest room

Featuring reassuringly stable stainless-steel plumbing and yesteryear plugs with chains, there’s additionally a retro really feel to a toilet containing separate tub and bathe.

Named after the Latin phrase for oak, Penhaligon’s Quercus toiletries add sophistication to the lavatory with an aroma of basil, jasmine and lemon.

The services

Set under the corridor, the Bodysgallen Spa is a haven of tranquillity housing a big indoor swimming pool with spa tub, sauna, steam room, gymnasium, six spa remedy rooms, Club Room and a leisure room.

The vary of remedies makes use of merchandise by Aromatherapy Associates, Environ and Mii Nails and CACI.

A dark-wood corridor the place the barometer appears to all the time level to “Change”, an ancient-tome-lined library and the drawing room are idyllic spots for afternoon tea.

Portraits of the topped, wigged, robed and generally beheaded, look down enviously on crustless sandwiches, scones and immaculately introduced desserts.

An AA three rosette restaurant, giving views throughout the terraced gardens, with white-draped linen tables, is certainly a kind of eating places the place you gown for dinner. From Wednesday to Sunday, Head Chef Abdalla El Shershaby presents a nice eating menu. Local elements are introduced with imaginative aptitude.

For a starter an Arlington egg comes with a Welsh asparagus salad, recent truffle and salad dressing. One of the principle course choices is gradual cooked Conwy Lamb accompanied by salsify and pak choi. Currently on Monday and Tuesday a invoice of fare menu is served.


A two miles drive down the Royal Welsh Way arrives on the Victorian grandeur of Llandudno the place a prolonged pier nonetheless stands. An extremely huge promenade suggests how fashionable this seaside resort was in its heyday.

Though that is citadel nation with Conwy Castle very shut certainly. For many centuries, North Wales was an uneasy land the place drawn-bridges have been repeatedly pulled-up. Although it’s greater than an hour’s drive away, Chirk Castle, now cared for by the National Trust, internet hosting a powerful choice of flintlocks, reveals what number of a citadel transitioned to turn into a household house.

Heading west, the North Wales Expressway crosses the Menai Straits into Anglesey. Idyllically located on the banks of the Straits, Plas Newydd is one other National Trust property.

After enjoying a number one function within the victory over Napoleon’s forces, Henry Paget of Plas Newydd, was given the title of Marquess of Anglesey.

Today the home shows art work and relics from the battle.


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Other good touches

Fresh flowers convey the aromas and colors of the backyard into the principle home. In each room a leaflet summarises Bodysgallen Hall’s historical past.

It additionally recommends three itineraries for days out exploring the area.

The price

Bed and breakfast start from £250 per room.

The finest bit

Bodygallen’s 200 acres of gardens, wrested from a grudging post-volcanic. post-glacial terrain is amongst Wales’ best. Over the centuries, pink sandstone walled gardens have been constructed to shelter roses, delphiniums and fruit timber from blustery winds racing in from Colwyn Bay.

In Victorian occasions the gardeners’ mission was to place fruit and veg on the desk early and late, regardless of the season. Today, the kitchen backyard nonetheless provides the restaurant. For gardening cognoscenti, the gardens’ primary attraction is the parterre, a proper backyard made up of aromatic herbs, enclosed by field hedging.  Sage and bronze fennel thrive in a sheltered setting.

Through the descending terraces, the gardens stream from formal, lily pond and roses, to lawns and woodland.

The closing verdict

There’s an outdated Welsh saying “dod yn ôl at fy nghoed” which, I’m advised, actually interprets as “coming back to my trees”.

Perhaps, in right now’s phrases, it speaks of returning to a state of stability and well-being. For Bodysgallen Hall and Spa, the place there’s a trace of Celtic magic within the air, that Welsh phrase actually is an apt motto.

Disclosure: Our keep was sponsored by Bodysgallen Hall and Spa.

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