Dar 91

  • Location: Beach / Coast
    Beach: In walking distance
    Restaurants: In walking distance
    Essaouira‘s Medina: In walking distance
    Le Souk - market: In walking distance
  • Essaouira Mogador Airport (ESU): 17km (25 mins by car)
    Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK): 185km (2hs 40 mins by car)
    Airport transfer available on request
    Good public transport
    Paid parking

Let yourself be taken back in time and enjoy the calm lifestyle taking place right outside Dar 91.
Watch local life inside the Medina from the rooftop terraces while drinking your morning coffee.
If you like it extra warm and cozy, use the apartment’s fireplace during the colder winter months.
We highly recommend taking part in a local hammam experience, men and women separate.

Like in most historic houses in the Medina of Essaouira, Dar 91 has some fairly steep staircases.

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An introduction to Dar 91

How would you describe Dar 91 in a nutshell?

Dar 91 is a collection of three cool and quirky apartments, filled with art and junkyard finds, in the historic Medina of Essaouira on Morocco‘s Atlantic Coast. This charming house is one of the tallest in our part of the city, which makes absolute sense if you consider its history as an 18th century police watchtower. Now it hosts three individual apartments, ranging from a small loft (this one has no outside space) for solo travellers or a couple, to a three-storey apartment with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two terraces. They offer a private refuge, with the bustling souks and the beautiful sands of Essaouira beach close by.

The house used to be a police watchtower. Please tell us a bit about the history of Dar 91.

It was built by the Gendarmerie Forestiere, the police, to keep an eye on tribal raids from the forest — the forest used to come up to the wall of the house — and to monitor houses within the Medina. This explains why the house is so tall. We have fantastic views across the rooftops to the sea.

The architecture of Dar 91 is actually more French than Moroccan. It has a big French window looking out onto the street, the opposite of Islamic architecture. It gives you the opportunity to observe day-to-day life unfolding. You’re part of the Moroccan culture. You can see kids playing on the street or women carrying water from the fountain.

One thing that was pretty amazing during the renovations was that we ended up finding a couple of cannon balls in the wall, hailing back to when the house was used as a watchtower.

What was your inspiration to buy Dar 91 and rent it out to vacation guests?

To tell you the truth, we wanted a place to escape the rainy English weather. We’d been looking around for ages in different countries. Then we went for a really short break in Morocco. We spent two days in Marrakech where it rained all the time and two days in Essaouira, and when we got there we actually fell in love with the place and bought the house.

When we started doing the renovations, a friend commented on what a nice space we had created and told us that we should start renting it out. We thought, why not, so we started renting it out.

I love the interior. How would you describe the style of Dar 91?

I’ve always been into design. Creating Dar 91 has especially been an enriching experience. It is an eclectic mix of old and new. The house is a handcrafted house, and when it’s built in that way, you can be more creative.

Most of our furniture is designed by us or has been reclaimed from the junk markets of Essaouira and Marrakech, so you'll find 1960s plastic patio furniture next to Moroccan banquette-style sofas, 1970s light fittings and modern, handwoven blankets made by our artisan neighbours.

When we renovated the house, we tried to keep it simple. The result has really been a house that’s very comfortable yet at the same time very quirky. There are plenty of objects to capture your attention or make you smile. When people come, they get kind of bombarded by various objects that are around.

How would you like your guests to remember their vacation at Dar 91?

I want my guests to come back loving the house and loving Essaouira. Essaouira is a very tolerant and friendly place. People are welcomed with open arms. The vast majority of our vacation guests really get the cultural differences of Morocco. They fall in love with the place.

People can come here to recharge their batteries so for example we don’t have television in the house. Essaouira is a city where the pace of life is still slow compared to the mad life in Europe, and that’s what we want our guests to experience when they come here.

To you personally, what has been most rewarding about running Dar 91?

It’s rewarding when people come back and tell us they love the house, and give us really good feedback, but they also enjoy the Moroccan culture and people. The best gift is for people to have a fantastic time and relax completely.

Our part of town is mainly residential, so you live surrounded by Moroccan families. We get a lot of families and I want people to come back telling me stories about their kids playing football on the street with the Moroccan kids.

Is there anything else that you think I missed?

A lot of people when they travel the streets of Morocco complain of street vendors, but one great thing about Essaouira is how much quieter it is. You don’t get much of the street vendor hassles. People are very relaxed, welcoming and tolerant.

Wahed living room
Zhuzh sitting area
Zhuzh bedroom
Wahed fireplace
Zhuzh terrace
Tlata kitchen
Wahed living room
Wahed terrace
Tlata living room
Wahed dining room

Dar 91 rooms & rates

Dar 91 Wahed is a two-bedroom flat with two bathrooms, a kitchen/diner and lounge area, and two terraces.

At the back of Wahed is another house, which we've turned into two vacation apartments - Zhuzh and Tlata. Zhuzh is the bigger one; it has one bedroom apartment and is set over two floors, plus it has a fantastic terrace with panoramic, open views. It's the highest in our part of town.

Under Zhuzh, on the first floor, is Tlata which has its own front door and is a cute, cosy space. You climb a ladder to go to bed, up on a mezzanine. There’s a little kitchen and a shower room. It looks out over the city wall. It’s great for one or two people, if you’re going to be out exploring most of the time.

  • Dar 91 Wahed for 2-5 people / 90 m²
    60 / night
    • 2 Double bedroom
    • 2 Shower room (ensuite)
    • 1 Living room
    • 1 Kitchen
    • 1 Extra bed (on req.)
    • 1 Baby cot (on req.)

    Dar 91 Wahed is a funky, airy and light two-bedroom apartment. Set over three floors, it has two roof terraces with panoramic views and has French windows overlooking characterful Rue Chbanat. The two bedrooms sleep four people comfortably. One of the rooms also has a single bed (1.55m long) suitable for older children.

  • Dar 91 Zhuzh for 2-3 people / 75 m²
    50 / night
    • 1 Double bedroom
    • 1 Bathroom (ensuite)
    • 1 Living room
    • 1 Kitchen
    • 1 Sofabed (on req.)
    • 1 Baby cot (on req.)

    Dar 91 Zhuzh is a spacious one-bedroom duplex apartment which towers over the roofs of Essaouira's textile district. It features an open plan living room/kitchen; an elegant double bedroom; a chill out zone/extra bed on a mezzanine floor; and a stunning two-level roof terrace with panoramic views across the Medina and to the sea.

  • Dar 91 Tlata for 2 people / 35 m²
    30 / night
    • 1 Double bedroom
    • 1 Bathroom (ensuite)
    • 1 Living room
    • 1 Kitchen
    • 1 Baby cot (on req.)

    Dar 91 Tlata has a living room/kitchen, a mezzanine bed deck and a bathroom. The apartment has no outside space. It's perfect for a lower budget getaway, or when booked with Zhuzh if you're in a group.

Included in the rates
Rates include oven-fresh bread and/or croissants and yogurt delivered to the bottom of the stairs every morning, a kitchen stocked with milk, coffee, tea, jam, butter, home-made Moroccan biscuits and a free bowl of fruit; plus daily cleaning by our housekeeper Halima.
Optional extras
Services on request: food delivery, Hammam visits.
Children & Extra beds
Children are welcome, baby cots are available free of charge, beds for children under 13 years are EUR 10 per night. Extra beds for children 14+ and adults are EUR 20 per night.
Minimum stay
2 nights
Check in time
after 14:00
Check out time
before 11:00

Facilities & services

  • Children welcome
  • WiFi
  • Terrace
  • Maid service
  • Concierge service
  • Fireplace
  • Music system
  • Laundry service
  • Hair dryer

Dar 91 has three different apartments at different price points, so we hopefully have something for everyone. The two bigger apartments have fireplaces and private rooftop terraces, from which you‘ll enjoy beautiful views of the Medina, and even a little bit of the sea!

Each lodging is self-catering, comes with a kitchenette and a dining area.

Wahed takes up half the house; Zhuzh and Tlata combined take up the other half (they share a front door and hallway but each is fully private and self-contained - so they can be rented separately or together).

Things to do in Essaouira

  • Art / Culture
  • Cooking classes
  • Massages / Treatments
  • Yoga classes
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing

You shouldn’t miss a fantastic sunset. We are lucky enough to have fantastic skies. It turns from pink to purple. A lot of people go onto the bastion, onto the wall, and gaze onto the sea and watch the sunset.

Essaouira is a place where you wander around and on every street you will find something that catches your attention. Mingle with the people, spend time looking at the craftsmanship. We’re still lucky enough that we have people working with wood, making carpets and blankets, something that has disappeared in Europe for a long time. It’s a good time to reconnect to the simple pleasures in life.

Essaouira was put on the map in the ‘60s and ‘70s by the hippies. It’s a very relaxing place. You don’t have to do a lot. You can be active, going on camel or horseback rides or water sports, but it’s more of a place to sit, relax, and soak up the atmosphere.

Dar 91 reviews

5 of 5 stars
Verfied Welcome Beyond stay
A magical experience! Just thought I would let you know that I'm back from Morocco after staying at Dar 91 for a week. And it really was a magical experience. They really couldn't do enough for us...just before we got there, the water in the whole town stopped, so they were going to pay for us to go to the hammams. When we arrived late on 3rd Oct - Paolo was there with the house manager after fixing the showers himself.....and we had a lovely meal waiting for us! It's a lovely traditional house, in the old medina, and after staying there I really don't think I would want to stay anywhere else! Having mobility issues, my friend slept on the top floor and I only made it up to the roof terrace once...but I managed to get about o.k, and we really did fall in love with Essaouira. Will absolutely be going back there again. Jeremy, Paolo, Radouane, Helima and everyone connected to Dar 91 were absolutely lovely, and a pleasure to deal with. I will be telling EVERYBODY about our trip! :o)
Lisa J. (UK)
stayed at Dar 91 in October 2014

The location of Dar 91

Essaouira is a feast for the senses. Morocco is a visually amazing country, and when one falls in love with Morocco, one falls in love with the differences. Everywhere you turn, you see something that catches your attention. It’s a colourful place. It’s an exotic place with fantastic weather.

Life in Essaouira remains rooted in a past long lost in Western Europe. Everyone rises late and gets busy by afternoon and evening, and then fades into a gentle slumber. If you turn your head, you feel you’ve gone back several centuries. The fact that Essaouira is a long way from the more sanitised resorts of the Mediterranean is something to shout about.

It has fantastic long beaches, about five kilometres and is famous for its relaxing charm, but also for amazing water sports — wind surfing and water sports, in general. The Medina is pretty small. You can walk from one side to the other in about 50 mins.

When is the best time to visit Essaouira?

Nowadays where the climate is changing everywhere in the world, I’m not sure. The thing with Essaouira is that it has its own microclimate. For example, if you go in July and August to Marrakech or another city in Morocco, the temperature can be 45, 48 degrees. Essaouira is normally 38 degrees maximum.

But I think the best time to come is November, December, January, and February, if it doesn’t rain. If it does rain, it’s a completely different experience. The winter is normally around 20 degrees.

There’s also a big difference between the day temperature and the evening temperature. In the evening in May you might need a woolen jumper. The temperature drops quite a bit at night, but during the day it is blue sky and around 20 degrees.

Overall, though, I would say it’s really an all-year-round destination.