Terracotta Tropical Paradise, Ecotourism and the Argan Tree at Le Jardin des Douars in Essaouira
1 Jun 2016
- Ecotourism excursions include discovering Argan trees in the countryside
- Argan oil is the true product of Moroccan soil and used in hammam treatments
- Year-round sunshine allows for sitting by one of Le Jardin des Douars pools
- Stay in a terracotta traditional building with outdoor space and Moroccan furniture
Nature may not be the first thing that springs to mind when planning a visit to Essaouira. But, Essaouira is home to the famous Argan trees found across forests just inland from the Atlantic coast. The Argan is a true symbol of the region surrounding Essaouira. Southwest Morocco produces this highly prized oil which is extracted from nuts and these have been used across the world in beauty products and spa treatments.
Le Jardin des Douars is located in botanical gardens and the hotel is home to a hammam and spa where treatments are offered using Argan oils. The hotel has also partnered with a specialist local ecotourism company, offering excursions to discover the Argan trees’ origins.
Produced in Essaouira, visitors can enjoy two types of oils. The cooking oil, is darker and has a much stronger taste due to the roasting; experience this at the hotel’s restaurants. The cosmetic oil, is lighter and is used on the skin and hair. Today it is a component of many cosmetics. It helps combat dehydrated and aging skin. Le Jardin des Douars offers a varied hammam and spa treatment list not typical of most hotels, the Argan oil used is local and organic. Treatments include the Skin exfoliation Hammam with Smimou Salt and Argan Oil.
How about finding out about the origins of the Argan tree and exploring the Moroccan countryside? Either a full-day or half-day hike offers visitors to Essaouira an insight into the charms and slow-paced way of life of this corner of Morocco, a complete contrast to the busy medinas. Le Jardin des Douars partners with Ecotourisme et Randonnées, who guide guests around the countryside crossing through several douar (small traditional villages), before making their way into the forest to see Argan trees and possibly goats climbing trees, although this isn’t ideal for the trees preservation. Along the way guests visit a Berber home where they can enjoy traditional Moroccan mint tea whilst also enjoying an insight into how this part of the country runs day-to-day. The excursion ends with a visit to a cooperative for the production of Argan oil where visitors will see first-hand the meticulous work, mainly by women, who extract the precious oil.
Le Jardin des Douars is the perfect backdrop for relaxation. The hotel is spread throughout many terracotta traditional Moroccan countryside buildings. In all, there are just 28 bedrooms, suites and luxury villas; all with their own outdoor space, making the vastness of Le Jardin des Douars feel like a true relaxing retreat. The hotel’s three dining areas offer the absolute backdrop including outdoor dining for lunch and dinner and Le Jardin des Douars features a couples only restaurant.
After all that relaxing the coastal city of Essaouira has much more to offer visitors. Essaouira’s beaches are famous for their wonderful waves. Kite surfing, surfing and wind surfing are all on offer. Places to head to include: Essaouira Bay, Sidi Kaouki and Moulay Bouzerktoune. Follow the waves and wind on some of Morocco’s most unspoilt beautiful beaches. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Essaouira’s beach is Golf de Mogador. Designed by Gary Player, the newly launched 18 and 13 hole courses are wonderfully integrated into the natural environment. Open daily, the two courses are ideal for professionals and beginners.
The UNESCO Medina is a creative laid-back art-filled area where local artists and craftsmen and women create authentic Moroccan pieces. Essaouira’s medina is smaller than those in other Moroccan cities meaning guests can explore and shop without getting lost. Visitors won’t go hungry, seafood is excellent here and available at every turn. By the harbour at the gates of the medina, a strip of fish restaurants offers all manner of fresh fish. Guests can visit the shipyard and wooden boats.
Essaouira offers plenty of variety for all manner of holidays, from the inland Argan tree excursions to simply relaxing by a pool and indulging in hammam treatments. The chilled-out vibe is felt everywhere and with a short three hour flight from the UK, visitors can escape at any time of the year.
B&B priced from around £100 per room, per night in a ‘Relax’ room and from £180.00 per suite and from £390.00 in a villa
Half-day hikes priced 220MAD per person, so around £16
Full-day hikes priced 450MAD per person, so around £31
boutique da silva public relations – Peter firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 7727 084 058
easyJet fly between London Luton and Essaouira twice per week on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
Essaouira airport is located 15 minutes from Le Jardin des Douars and a shuttle service is available. Marrakech is about three hours from Essaouira by coach or less by car.