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Hotel Highlights

  • Atlantic coast setting
  • Upmarket hotel in a beloved hippie hangout
  • Quad biking, wind surfing, kitesurfing


Post-colonial elegance reigns at Heure Bleue, a hotel built into oceanfront Essaouira's medina walls. In Marrakech's alternative, seaside sibling where the likes of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix once relaxed, this luxurious hideaway offers peaceful rooms with traditional carvings, fabrics and lamps in a lavishly low-key atmosphere.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Heure Bleue with us:

Traditional hammam body scrub for two in the 'Zen Rituals' space

Latest deals

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Heure Bleue

Last-minute offer: 40% off Special offer: 27% off Special offer: 17% off


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Need To Know


19 suites, 16 rooms.


12 noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from $122.88 (€112), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates include breakfast.


Book ahead for private use of the screening room. There are books everywhere for your pleasure, and a DVD library, or bring your own favourites. No pets.

At the hotel

TV and DVD in-room, WiFi throughout. Billiards room. Gorgeous hammam with a cushion-decked relaxation room, spa and beauty treatments (in-room on request), home cinema room.

Our favourite rooms

All the rooms look onto the peaceful inner courtyard, a tranquil hideout of palm-trees, day-beds and inviting loungers; those on the upper floors are quieter and brighter. For a bath tub, book a suite: standard rooms only have showers. Most suites also have fireplaces separating the bedrooms from the sitting areas. The Oriental Suites are a sensuous deep red.


The heated rooftop pool is surrounded by decking; there are wooden sunloungers, with parasols to loll under.

Packing tips

Sunscreen. Essaouira is famously windswept, which can make the sun seem mild when it isn’t.


Cribs and high chairs available. Children aged three to 12 can share parents’ room if staying in a Senior Suite.

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Food and drink

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Hotel Restaurant

The restaurant serves Moroccan and international food, which is predominantly French cuisine, with Moroccan flavours; seafood is a speciality.

Hotel Bar

Open 3pm–midnight.

Last orders

3pm for lunch; 9.30pm for dinner.

Room service

Large choice of sandwiches, salads and light snacks. Available from 6am till midnight. There are no mini-bars, but staff are in attendance 24/7.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Jacket and Led Zep T-shirt for him, boho chic for her.

Top table

The restaurant sits alongside the courtyard. Ask for a table next to the abundant greenery.

Local Guide

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

Worth getting out of bed for

Essaouira, on the Atlantic coast, is largely a laid-back beach city where hanging out on the sand or eating your fill of fresh seafood are order of the day. Sandy Essaouira beach is an easy walk from the hotel, and offers plenty of watersports as well as camel and horse rides.

Explore Essaouira’s rivers and beaches on a quad bike with Palma Quad,, or head out of town on camelback with Zouina Cheval in the village of Diabet, For an eco-conscious Argan grove tour, try Ecotourism et Randonnées; trips culminate in a traditional Moroccan tea (

If you're a golfer, you're in luck: Mogador Golf Course (+212 (0)5 24 47 94 00) is ranked among the world’s top 20 most exciting courses, though the 18-hole Gary Player-designed golf course has Atlantic views good enough to distract you from your game… If cooking's more your thing, learn from the best at L’Atelier Madada, the top spot to discover the delights of Moroccan cooking (

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No-worry, no-hurry ancient port

Heure Bleue

2 rue Ibn Batouta, Bab Marrakech, Medina, Essaouira, Morocco, 44000


Royal Air Maroc ( flies to Essaouira from Paris Orly, but most visitors arrive via Marrakech’s Menara Airport, which you can reach from various hubs across Europe with British Airways (, EasyJet ( and Ryanair ( Coaches run from Marrakech’s bus station (which is a €12 taxi journey from the airport) and cost around €7 a person.


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 Marrakech and Essaouira airports. The journey from Marrakech along the N8 highway takes around two hours. There’s parking at the hotel.


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Heure Bleue
Heure Bleue 2 rue Ibn Batouta, Bab Marrakech, Medina Essaouira 44000 Essaouira Morocco

Anonymous review

by , Magazine maestro

Rating: 10/10 stars
Arriving to an indigo sky and abandoned streets, at first we presumed our driver had dropped us at the wrong spot. Here we were, hammering on the walls of the medina. There were no lights to guide us, and no one around – just the sound of the sea crashing behind us. So, when the ten-foot oak doors finally inched open, creaking, to reveal a hotel, relief washed over us. Dropping our bags and…
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Heure Bleue

Anonymous review by Charlotte Crisp, Magazine maestro

Arriving to an indigo sky and abandoned streets, at first we presumed our driver had dropped us at the wrong spot. Here we were, hammering on the walls of the medina. There were no lights to guide us, and no one around – just the sound of the sea crashing behind us. So, when the ten-foot oak doors finally inched open, creaking, to reveal a hotel, relief washed over us.

Dropping our bags and falling back onto the sheepskin-clad kingsize, we found ourselves in a junior African suite that suited us only too well after a three-hour drive from Marrakech. Dripping with heavy carvings and fabrics, decked with lamps and wooden-shuttered windows, the room was cavernous, sumptuous and luxurious. We tried to imagine who had owned this 200-year-old riad in the days when Essaouira had only just changed its name from Mogador.

In the morning, we woke feeling well and well-rested, to multicoloured sun streaming through the stained-glass windows. The madness of taxis, fishermen, shoppers, and market vendors tearing up the port below our window noisily announced that it was time for us to explore.

Breakfast at Heure Bleue is a well-stocked, plush affair in a traditional riad courtyard, complete with twittering birds flitting from table to table as you munch. Three floors of bedrooms all look down onto this grand, stone-pillared breakfasting banquet. Warning: resist the urge to take a flying leap onto the rope hanging from the ceiling as a sneaky shortcut to your fruit salad. (And don’t even think about it when you come home after a night on the tiles.) Having plotted a route on the map over a pastry and head-swimmingly strong Moroccan coffee, we headed out.

Built into the medina walls, the hotel is an oasis of luxe in laidback, countercultural Essaouira, the sandy sister of Marrakech and old hang-out of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. The beach was getting a pummelling from the face-slappingly fierce winds that Essaouira is known for and, suddenly, the camper vans of the spliff-sucking hippie contingent made sense; they just wanted to retreat from the punishing wind. Declining a friendly offer of a smoke, we made our way to Place Moulay Hassan and up to the rooftop Café Al Faid, where we got a bird’s-eye view, sipped espressi and got our bearings.

Essaouira really is compact. Tripping over an Italian film crew shooting here (the town has played host to some epic-looking films – Kingdom of Heaven and, more recently, The Hills Have Eyes), we wound our way around the slipper/spice/hooded-robe souks and back down the main drag of Avenue de L’Istiqal. Meanwhile, the North African sun belted down and burned Mr Smith rather epically. Yup, even on a chilly February day, the sun can almost skin you alive. Quote of the day, as we snapped up some wooden carvings and boxes: ‘You’re welcome, one thousand times!’. Sweet.

Luckily, the hotel is just ten minutes’ pavement-pounding from the centre of town. So, nipping back to the rooftop pool, we cooled burned brows and took a breather while the call to prayer sounded from the minarets. A quick peek into the mini spa made us wish we’d factored some official pamper time into the schedule. The exquisite black-tiled, candlelit treatment rooms were begging to be abused. But foiled by the clock, we opted for the next best thing: food.

Make a reservation for Les Alizés. It’s a rinky-dinky, unassuming, traditional little restaurant – but ridiculously popular. We waited half an hour for a table, with an endless supply of pink olives to placate us. The happiest waiter in Essaouira brought us a beautiful tajine, complete with finger-burning earthenware to eat it from (why does that never look as good when you get it home?), plus comedy-proportioned huge wooden ladles to slurp soup with. Narrowly sidestepping the waves breaking against the medina walls, we ducked into Il Mare Mogador (Rue de la Skala) for a cheeky post-dinner drink. But as the live band struck up, we struck out – back to Palais Heure Bleue’s English-style bar for a bit of a late-night leather sofa/cigar/whisky action.

If you fancy a luxurious, anonymous, squidgy-bathrobed weekend in a stylish boutique hotel, punctuated with the odd meander through an atmospheric port and its film-set ramparts, then this is just the jaunt for you. Ideally, come when you need a post-Marrakech chill-out. A three-hour drive from the hustle and bustle, this is one beautiful, hushed hideaway in one very beautiful, ancient town.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members have to say about Heure Bleue in the Guestbook below…


Stayed on

We loved

Lovely room. Excellent food. Helpful and friendly staff.

Don’t expect

The beach is not for swimming but for surfing.

Rating: 5/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The ambiance: serene and sophisticated.

Don’t expect

An afterparty.

Rating: 9/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

Serenity of its impressive architecture and top notch service.

Don’t expect

Wild nightlife.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The amazing service and calm escape from the excellent craziness of Essaouira!

Don’t expect

Late night madness.

Rating: 9/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The roof terrace with pool and lots of spots to relax - and eat too if required. breakfast in the courtyard was excellent. the contrast of the peace and quiet of the hotel while the blue front door leads straight on to one of the busiest alleyways in the medina.

Don’t expect

Loud music, or an up tempo feel.

Rating: 8/10 stars


Stayed on

We loved

The hotel is an oasis of calm off a busy medina street. All is quiet, calm with neutral decor and lots of cool, quiet places to sit and relax. We had a Portuguese suite on the 2nd floor, really spacious with lovely traditional furnishings, huge comfy bed and enormous bathroom. It was very peaceful and with the windows shut no outside noise. Loved the rooftop pool, it was much larger than expected, the hotel wasn't full so plenty of space for lounging and lots of shade. Lots of variety at breakfast, fruit, eggs, pastries, Moroccan pancakes and lots more - you could easily go without lunch! All the staff were genuinely charming, helpful and friendly.

Don’t expect

We only had one lunch at the hotel which was very average. It was a shame the pool area closed at six as it is a lovely time of the day to be up there as not so hot.

Rating: 10/10 stars