> Meet the People Behind Dar Lazuli
After being inhabited for 200 years by fishing families, Dar Lazuli was transformed into the boutique riad accommodation it is today. This is the story of the people behind its transformation and day-to-day running.
Dar Lazuli was renovated by two English women, Rachel and Nicola, who wanted to create a cosy base from which guests could freely explore the labyrinthine medina and vast open beaches of Essaouira, safe in the knowledge that they could return to a quiet haven with comfort and relaxation at its core. In 2015, Dar Lazuli was bought by a Belgian couple, Madeleine and Jean-Marc, who are the current owners of the house. Madeleine was a teacher of Latin and Greek in a high school of Brussels and Jean-Marc, an economist in a Paris-based international organisation. Both are now retired and share their time between Brussels where their two children – Clémentine and Sylvain - live, their house in the South-West of France and dar Lazuli in Essaouira.
The day-to-day running of the house is managed by Arabic and French speaking Rachid and Latifa Zini, who live with their two daughters in Al Ghazoua, near Essaouira. They are a delightful family and the success of the house is due to their cheerful willingness to help, no matter what!
Latifa is a meticulous cleaner whilst Rachid is our fix-it man and chief host.
Abdelkader who also lives in the neighbouring village of Al Ghazoua works in the evenings as our Guardian, just to make sure you get home safely and that the house is secure and quiet. His wife, Zenoba, is an incredible cook who will prepare excellent dinners on demand.
Communication with the owners Jean-Marc and Madeleine was faultless from beginning to end. Rachid has a beautiful smile indeed, and his wife Latifa was warm, friendly and conscientious. Everybody was always quick to response with queries and the language barrier was not an issue when we needed help
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Dar Lazuli takes its social responsibility seriously and Rachel and Nicola have designed the house in partnership with local artisans, craftsmen and women who have helped build and decorate the property. They have commissioned lamps, bed throws, upholstery and more from locals. They deliberately did not install baths due to the demand on the ancient plumbing system in the medina and the annual droughts in the country. Therefore we urge guests to use water carefully.