While in Essaouira, Morocco we stayed at the very chic L'Heure Bleue hotel which sits just inside the walls of the medina. The minute we walked in, the group was in love. We all agreed that it looked exactly like we thought Casablanca was going to look but didn't and was terrible romantic. It also looked to me like a place Hemmingway would have felt at home. L'Heure Bleue is a mix of design influences including British Colonial, African and the Orient.
The building is a riad which is a house with an inner courtyard or garden usually open to the sky. The word riad comes from Arabian word for garden ryad. The architecture was so beautiful that I just assumed that it was all original. After reading the history section of the hotel's website did I learn that originally built in the 19th-century was home to a wealthy merchant before becoming an orphanage in the 1960's. It was abandoned for more than thirty years before being bought and renovated by the Palais & Chateux group who turned it into a beautiful hotel.
I feel like I'm going to have to have multiple homes someday so I can incorporate all my favorite design elements into them including Moroccan design. As with most of the country, the tilework on the floor and walls was gorgeous but also practical since the open roof allows in the rain. The tiles also help keep houses cool in the hot months. I read online that the open center of a riad and small outer windows help create privacy. Plants and planters are something I saw a lot of in Morocco. We saw many places to buy large planters along our drive to Marrakech.
The reception desk.
I think this is a photo of the King of Morocco. It is customary for businesses to hang a photo of the king in their establishment.
The lobby seating area where they serve you traditional Moroccan tea and treats upon arrival.
I feel in love with these lantern light fixtures.
More amazing tile.
The bar at night.
The dining room.
The inner garden at night.
The inner garden during the day.
Behind the screened wall on the left is the desk and entrance.
Probably the only bad things I can say is that my room had very dim lighting and very spotty WiFi service.
My room was in a corner and had a balcony. Others had fireplaces and windows with shutters that opened to the center of the riad.
The view from my balcony.
Unlike most riads, this one had two elevators outside of which these chairs were located.
Stairs to the roof.
The rooftop pool.
The roof door was locked when I went up so I could only take photos through the window. I'm told it has an amazing view of the city of Essaouira.
This photo from the L'Heure Bleue website shows the hotel visible about the city walls. My balcony is the one to the right on the top floor.
L'Heure Bleue sits on the right just inside this entrance in the city wall.
The view just outside the hotel.
Photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic