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Dar 91 is managed by Paolo, the Owner.
£35 - £125/night
Suitable for 2-4 people

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Dar 91 Wahed living room - Dar 91, in Atlantic Coast, Morocco
— Paolo: “Essaouira is a place where you go around and on every street you turn, you will see something that catches your attention.”
Interview By:

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

Paolo: “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.”
Dar 91 Wahed living room - Dar 91, in Atlantic Coast, Morocco
— Dar 91 Wahed living room

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

Paolo: “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.”
Dar 91 Zhuzh sitting area - Dar 91, in Atlantic Coast, Morocco
— Dar 91 Zhuzh sitting area

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

Paolo: “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. 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.”
 - Dar 91, in Atlantic Coast, Morocco

— Please tell us a bit about the facilities and the rooms of the apartment rentals.

Paolo: “Dar 91 Wahed is a two-bedroom flat with two bathrooms, a kitchenette and a lounge area. There are also two terraces, a small one and a bigger one. This apartment was the first one we renovated. It feels like a townhouse. We love it.

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 - Dar 91, in Atlantic Coast, Morocco
— Wahed fireplace

— What would you describe to be the essence of Dar 91 and your philosophy?

Paolo: “We really believe in responsible travel and responsible ownership. A few years ago we set up a charity called Project 91, through which we try to help the young people of Essaouira. We give at least 10% of our profits to it. We also invite all our vacation guests, and those of other guest houses, to donate any clothes they no longer need, which we sell in order to fund our projects - through our campaign ‘Leave Your Wardrobe in Morocco’.”
Zhuzh terrace - Dar 91, in Atlantic Coast, Morocco
— Zhuzh terrace

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

Paolo: “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.”
 - Dar 91, in Atlantic Coast, Morocco
 
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