Almost 10 years ago, Londoners Emma Wilson and Graham Carter moved to Essaouira, Morocco. Owners of a shop that sold “quirky furniture,” they shut it down and loaded up a red transit van they bought for the haul to their new home. They bought this 18th-century house, spent two years fixing it up–and after it landed a gorgeous seven-page spread in Elle Decoration (“A unique mix of bright white with cave-dweller style, and pop-art plastics with weather-worn beachcomber finds.”), it’s been filled regularly with travelling guests. Built around a central courtyard, sandstone columns and thuya wood ceilings, the modern four-story space is outfitted with eclectic furniture mostly from the ’60s, creating a smart, nuanced look that’s a little bit exotic, a little bit retro. And around every rounded corner there’s a hammock, fire place or outdoor lounging area. Consummate hosts, Graham and Emma personally attend to the guests, giving everything from recos (best market stalls) to a pair of babbouche (Moroccan slippers) to wear and take home. “I love looking after clients and being busy,” says Emma. “We have an excellent reputation now due to word of mouth.”
To stay, it’s $420 per person per week (for parties of two, another $420 is added to supplement cost). Kids under 4 years stay for free. Located in town, just off the tourist path, Dar Beida is a 10-minute walk to the beach. They can arrange someone to either prepare traditional Moroccan meals at the house, or bring them to your door. Rent it at castlesinthesand.com.