Essaouira has long been an international port. The present walled city dates from the 18th century but the town was always a major trading point, contended by many.
In the 19th century, Essaouira was the first seaport of Morocco and numerous diplomatic and trade representations were established here by European powers.
Only two and a half hours from Marrakech, with a newly built four lane connecting road, but without its hectic pace, Essaouira is one of the most peaceful town to visit in Morocco. The temperature is more constant that in other parts too, due to the constant Atlantic winds.
The two houses owned by the Gelpke family are within the walls of the ancient medina. The suburbs are constantly growing but this does not influence the timelessness of the narrow and busy streets of the old town.
Clara Toby is on Rue du Rif, a narrow road running along crenellated internal walls, and was the home of a Jewish wine merchant. The first and second floors have ceilings four meters high and are built around a central courtyard with a fountain. From the terrace, one of the highest in town, there are 300 degree views of the beach and the port.
The Brazilian Consulate is next to the Skala, where the cannons that defended the city from sea attack still stand. A large, luminous interior courtyard is at the center of the house. Its room are smaller that those of Clara Toby, and it has a more intimate feel.
Both houses are designed for a family or for a larger group, although Clara Toby can also be rented by floor.