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Dar Mimosas
Essaouira, Morocco

by Sarah Shuckburgh

Four years of restoration and building, and the delivery of 240 lorry-loads of earth, have resulted in eight suites dotted about a beautiful garden. The owner and proprietor, Philippe Cachet, claims to be colourblind, but his choices of colours for his hotel are spectacular - deep blue and terracotta, with black and white tiles. Everywhere, inside and out, are Moroccan antiques - earthenware jars, mosaics, fountains, statues. Leading off the shady terrace are several small dining rooms where guests are served dinner at rose-strewn, candle-lit tables.

Dotted about the garden are four double suites, and four villas each with two double rooms. It is hard to choose the best - all have log fires (already laid and ready to light), private terraces or gardens, and all are full of works of Moroccan art, carpets, antiques, and traditional furniture, including local marquetry. Two of the suites have sea views from their terraces. The other two have private walled gardens. The villas each have two bathrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, a large sitting room and a terrace, patio and private garden with a fountain. When the King of Morocco comes to stay, he takes over Philippe Cachet's own quarters upstairs in the main house.

Ask for the key to a vivid blue gate in the terracotta garden wall, and walk through the scrubby sandhills to the 'oued', home to millions of birds. Cross the estuary to walk to the village where Jimi Hendrix and his friends lived in the 1960s, or stroll along the crescent of sand to Essaouira.

First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd

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