Need to know
18 rooms in six villas and seven suites, which can be booked separately; two of which (in Riad Valmar) interconnect to form a family apartment.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 2pm, but both times are flexible if agreed with the hotel in advance.
Double rooms from $286.76 (€255).
Rates include a Moroccan-style breakfast, with fresh fruit, spiced pancakes and tagine-style eggs, yoghurt, breads, jams and pâtisserie.
For large groups the hotel can arrange a barbecue, and guests can mingle during daily afternoon tea with Moroccan pastries and mint tea; cooking lessons in Essaouira with the hotel owners should be booked in advance. The hotel also leaves out star maps for a stellar family evening on your roof terrace. Ask the concierge about camel rides, surfing lessons, or anything else you might fancy.
At the hotel
Hammam with spa treatments, steam room, tennis court, bikes to borrow, dining area, gardens, DVD library, boules, a cricket and rounders court, table tennis, swings, laundry and free WiFi. In rooms: Suites and family apartments have pool access, an iPod dock, safe, free bottled water and bathrobes. Private villas have an additional flatscreen TV and private kitchen with an oven and hob, fridge, kettle and cafetiere. The larger villas also have private swimming pools and a dishwasher in the kitchen.
Our favourite rooms
Guests can either stay in a suite within a villa (each with an ensuite, a private terrace and shared pool), or book a villa for exclusive use. Riad Sila has a private pool with a furnished terrace and three interconnecting suites on the first floor, and Riad Valmar is the largest, sleeping up to twelve people in four first-floor suites and one ground-floor room.
Two communal pools, including one shallow kids' pool, and three private pools. There’s no supervision at the communal pools, so keep a watchful eye on any little Smiths.
The hotel’s hammam sits under an elegant white dome at the centre of the hotel and a range of spa treatments – waxing, body scrubs, manicures, pedicures, massages and facials with all-natural masks – are offered from 2pm to 6pm each day. Henna painting is also available in half-hour and hour-long sessions for groups.
If you and your little dudes are serious about surfing, bring your boards and wetsuits.
The hotel has two wheelchair-accessible rooms with ground-floor showers. Yoga classes and belly-dancing lessons can be arranged.
Kids of all ages are welcome, but families with kids under 12 must exclusively book a villa. Cots for under-2s (free) or extra beds for under-18s (£30) can be added to any room type. Babysitting must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
Rebali Riads encourages a slow-paced and stress-free stay, so onsite activities tend to follow suit – swim in your villa’s pool, settle in for a massage and body scrub in the hammam or engage in a sporting game of tennis, cricket, boules or rounders in the communal gardens. Outside the villa the pace picks up – you can ride the surf or kitesurf by the shore, rev up a quad bike and race en famille, tour the local farm and milk the goats or giddy up on a camel – a rite of passage for any visitors to Morocco. Day trips to Essaouira provides a little more local colour, with Moroccan cooking lessons, and souks to sift and haggle your way through. Spend evenings at Rebali huddled under a Berber-style blanket from off the bed stargazing from the roof terrace.
Surd-mad teens and swim-mad littles.
Riad Silar and Riad Valmar are the best suited for larger families; Riad Valmar is best suited to families with older children because it has a private pool and plenty of outdoor space, spanning three enclosed courtyards.
Rebali Riads offers a rare combination of parental peace and child-distracting activities. Onsite, life moves as slowly as the riad's pet tortoises (found in the olive garden), but thrills can be found along Sidi Kouaki's windswept coastline which has prime windsurfing and kitesurfing conditions
There’s no supervision at the communal pools, so keep a watchful eye on any toddlers or arm them with a float from the hotel’s stash.
There's no kids' menu but small versions of adult meals are available for a reduced rate, and the chef can pack a picnic lunch for camel sojourns or whip up a baby food when needed. If you have fussy eaters, tell the accommodating staff before noon so they can concoct something more to your child's taste. If eating in-villa, high chairs are available for free and staff can deliver food (or ingredients for self catering, if you've requested them) to your door at an arranged time. For relaxed mealtimes with a toddler it's best to take your meals in the large light-filled dining room.
Babysitting costs £20 for every two hours and must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
This bijou Berber village may be a little windswept, but this is still Morocco, so a day without sun is rare; however, if you do find yourself caught inside on the odd dreary day, you won’t get bored. The hammam is housed in a distinctive domed building at the centre of the hotel, where guests can steam and and scrub their troubles away. The hotel’s film library has U-rated films, so an afternoon spent sunk into the cosy sofas in a family pile will while away the time; or a range of board games and toys will engage active children until the showers have stopped.