Why Ecolodge?

We’re still working on this, and probably always will be. It’s not enough to have used as much as possible natural and recycled building materials, or that we turn our waste and grey water into compost for soil regeneration, or that the house is designed around rainwater catchment and storage; there will always be new ways to reduce our ecological footprint and to pro-actively benefit the local environment and community.

Sustainable Use of Resources

The electrical grid arrived here in 2012 and the The Serai is on it, which means we can still be solar powered, but without batteries. With a combination of solar panels and homemade wind and gravity generators our aim is for the meter to be running backwards so fast during the day that we are, over all, a net supplier of electricity to the grid.

Community Action

10% of your money goes into local community projects.

As a principal generator of funds for The Fertile Roots Foundation, this contribution is pivotal to our project to assist local farmers switch over to sustainable agriculture. With less and less rainfall each year this this is vital and difficult work, and we don’t have much time left..

Event Spaces

The original vision behind the Serai was “an inspiring and visually compelling space for teachers of art, well-being and sustainable living to bring their students to”. We’ve gone completely out of our way to create an unrivalled choice of beautiful and original spaces for workshops, discussions, lectures, dance, etc..

The ‘Temple’

Listening to visiting teachers, we are building this alternative space to allow a seperation between ‘work’ and ‘play’. The Temple is a little behind schedule due to Covid-19 but will be ready for autumn 2021. With large French windows to the East and West its 6x11m wood floor will be bathed in golden light at sunrise and sunset. Solid buttresses will support a huge vaulted ceiling.

 

The House & Around

With or without the ‘Temple’ the house was designed for groups, having indoor and outdoor stages, the vaulted saloon, an enormous flat roof, the sunset deck and front terrace. There are also prepared spaces in the garden and previous groups have made much use of the beach, which at low tide is huge.

Bedrooms

Celebrating natural lime plasters and time-worn, recycled wood, bedrooms are unpretentious and uncluttered. Large glass doors and cleverly angled windows fill every corner with light and reward every glance with a view. Hammam style bathrooms of exposed, handmade brick and rich tadelakt plasters lend a deep warmth to the space.

The North Wing

The north wing houses the principal bedroom (8x4m, sleeps 3). With large French windows opening onto a small courtyard and the western terrace, plus more windows to the north, this room is large and filled with light. The en-suite bathroom is of exposed brick and rich tadelakt and there is a divan that converts to a single bed if needed.

The Family Room

Accessed via the central courtyard, this room features a king-size double, or twin beds, and makes use of a higher ceiling to offer a mezzanine space for 2-3 children (or adults), accessed by a spiral staircase. There’s an en-suite bathroom, and French window opening onto a south-facing patio.

Double / Twin Rooms

The Tower Library

This small reading room and library has the best views of any in the house and converts between a single, double or twin bedroom. There’s no en-suite bathroom but a compost toilet is there if needed and there’s a shower downstairs. You can lie in bed and watch the setting moon paint a silvery street across the ocean, or on darker nights see the myriad lights of the Essaouira sardine boats twinkling like a line of stars on the horizon.

En-suite double / twin rooms

These 3 rooms are similar in size (26sqm)and layout, each offering a king-size double (or twin beds), en-suite turret bathroom, and a French window opening onto a south-facing patio. The SouthWest bedroom, however, also features a huge, west-facing French window opening onto another patio with outstanding views down the coast and over the ocean.

Relaxing

The Serai has attracted much architectural interest for its “simultaneous expression of scale and intimacy”. Non-architects just say it has a ‘magical atmosphere’. That ‘magic’ is something to do with light and space and texture; the way they intereact as the sun moves from one window to the next and the way you are ‘bathed’ in it all wherever you happen to be sitting.

Indoors

The kitchen, dining room, hall, and saloon with its stage and tremendous vaulted ceiling, are all open plan but can be seperated as required with sliding doors and curtains. There is a sound system and projector in place, with which to enjoy the superb acoustics of the saloon or watch a movie.

Outdoors

The courtyard is the beating heart of the Serai. Arranged on three levels beneath a natural roof of vines, honeysuckle and jasmine, it features a natural plunge pool cleaned by a border of wetland plants. At the western end there’s a bar area and steps up to a roof terrace with more shaded and comfortable seating. Elsewhere around the house, small, shaded seating areas abound, all with a great view.

Catering

Self-catering is an option in our fully equipped kitchen, but local chefs with different specialities are also available. Whether you wish traditional Moroccan cuisine or something more specialised, lighter and vegetarian, vegan even: everything is possible. The best bet is to contact us to discuss your needs. Alcohol is available from Essaouira and the town is also packed with restaurants for every budget and taste.

Nadine Rossner is an Essaouira-based chef specialising in vegetarian menus with a ‘wild garden’ theme. Her delicious dishes and smoothies are a celebration of colour and texture. A yoga teacher herself, Nadine’s cooking is especially appreciated by ‘wellness’ guests seeking a thorough but pain-free detox. Contact us to connect with Nadine and discuss your menus.

Eating together is an intimate experience; beautiful food with beautiful people in a beautiful setting. The dining table not only has views out over both the courtyard and kitchen garden but sits in the middle of a 22m long, open plan space stretching from the kitchen door to the north wing. The sensation is more that of banqueting than merely dining. For lunch, however, the cool, green shade of the courtyard is unbeatable.

Water, water, water

This part of Morocco is semi arid, bordering on arid. Average annual rainfall is a bare 15cms and Azrou Issa does not enjoy easy-to-reach groundwater. We do have a well but it produces very little each day, so the building is designed to harvest and store every possible liter of rainwater and then recycle as much of that as possible. We could buy in water, but that’s not a sustainable solution to the problem, so instead we use our reserves very carefully indeed, especially through the long summer drought. We ask that guests respect and remember this whenever they go to turn on a tap or take a shower. And whilst there are flush loos in all the bathrooms we also ask guests to consider using instead our beautiful vermi-compost toilets. To live sustainably in an environment such as this it is vital to ‘close the loop’ and feed back into the soil as much as we can.


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