Hotel Iglesia, El Jadida

Portuguese church turned boutique hotel in UNESCO sleepy village. 

You may not know it, but the sleepy El Jadida is one of the 9 UNESCO world sites in Morocco. Although you don’t need to spend more than a morning or afternoon to visit the Renaissance military remparts and the Portuguese cistern, here you can experience some true Morocco and avoid the thousands of tourists that Essaouira attracts.  It also makes a great stop on the way to Casablanca if you have a flight next day or you don’t want to spend the night by the airport. And, since 2012, there’s another reason: Hotel L’Iglesia. A former 16th-century Spanish church, turned boutique hotel, decorated in a 1940s/50s style, overlooking the sea, L’Iglesia is among the most stylish boutique hotels in Morocco. There are 13 rooms and suites – eight in the old convent, and five more in La Capitainerie, an annexe which was once the American consulate. The furniture is art deco with local antique-market finds: fabulous rugs, old radios, Chichaoua rugs and ornate lanterns. La Capitainerie has a lovely dining salon with sunny terrace and, next to the church’s bell tower, a leafy roof terrace overlooking the old town.  Its restaurant serves seafood as well as traditional Moroccan dishes. Best visited all year round. In July and August El Jadida gets very busy with Moroccans on holidays.