— The house used to be a police watchtower. Please tell us a bit about the history of Dar 91.
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.”
— Dar 91 Wahed living room
— What was your inspiration to buy Dar 91 and rent it out to vacation guests?
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.”
— Dar 91 Zhuzh sitting area
— I love the interior. How would you describe the style of Dar 91?
Most of our furniture is designed by us or has been reclaimed. Sometimes we brought stuff in from abroad. For example, we got an Italian bath from Fatima and some designer fabrics, but a lot of the furniture came from scouring the junk markets of Morocco. That’s why you’ll find an original French 1960’s light fixture or an antique door or chairs.
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.”
— Please tell us a bit about the facilities and the rooms of the apartment rentals.
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.”
— Wahed fireplace
— What would you describe to be the essence of Dar 91 and your philosophy?
— Zhuzh terrace
— How would you like your guests to remember their vacation at Dar 91?
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.”