The real benefits of Argan oil from Morocco, a daytrip to Essaouira and all about the fountain of youth

In Morocco last week, living a Travelife, we made a daytrip to the seaside town of Essaouira, which is about 2.5 hours away from Marrakech by car.

We left the Four Seasons Marrakech just after breakfast, and then returned just in time to dress up for dinner at Crystal, one of Marrakech’s most fashionable restaurants. It was a very stylish place and we had a very nice time here.

It was I who actually wanted to see Essaouira, as I’d missed this on my first trip to Morocco, and the Travel Companion was nice enough to let me have my way, even if it meant having to spend five hours on the road.

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I was so happy we made it to Essaouira, though, as it’s a truly lovely and interesting town. Read more about it in an upcoming issue of Travelife Magazine, the leading travel & lifestyle publication.

Essaouira was also where we had one of our most delicious meals in Morocco — and this was at a restaurant I’d actually picked myself.


The Travel Companion usually does the picking of restaurants when we go on a holiday and he leaves the choice of hotels to me.

But this time he was too busy to think about Essaouira before our trip, so I made the executive decision to book a table for lunch at this elegant Relais & Chateaux restaurant, which is located at the edge of the town.

It seemed the best place to eat in Essaouira. It was empty when we were there, but we had exactly the same three-course seafood lunch and we were definitely not disappointed. It was a delicious meal.


Another highlight of visiting Essaouira was getting the chance to drop by an argan oil cooperative along the way. If you’re a beauty or anti-aging enthusiast, you’ll know that argan oil is being marketed globally as the all-encompassing answer to eternally beautiful skin and shiny hair.

It’s very pricey if you buy the real unadulterated argan oil in a boutique in a world capital like Tokyo, Paris, London, New York or Hong Kong.

There are a lot of fakes, mind you, and if you find a cheap bottle of argan oil somewhere in the world, it most probably is a product that has been diluted with something else.


The real argan oil is only available in Morocco, and specifically in this area between Marrakech and Essaouira.

So, again, if you’re in Morocco and you see a roadside shop on the way to Fes or Rabat selling what is supposed to be their own argan oil, for instance, you can be sure that it’s either fake or it’s been trucked in from the area around Essaouira.

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So, anyway, argan oil provided us with much to discuss on the long drive to Essaouira.

Actually, having something to discuss on a long drive has never really been a problem with us, for some reason. 

We’ve taken countless long drives over three trips and 40 days in the last 18 months — not to mention some very long airplane rides — and there’s never been such a thing as an awkward moment yet.

But the end result of all this was that we were positively psyched to buy loads of argan oil from the source, to bring back home.


Then, when we finally reached Essaouira, we met the local guide the Travel Companion had arranged for us.

She was very smart and full of information, and we so enjoyed walking the town with her.

Then, of course, we asked her about argan oil. And this was what she said, with a very audible sigh: “In my opinion, it’s just like any other oil. It hydrates and moisturizes. But I don’t think it’s the fountain of youth people abroad market it to be.”

You should have seen the I-told-you-so look the Travel Companion gave me, when the guide said this. He’d been saying something to this effect that same morning.

So I said to him: “Maybe she’s not really into fashion and beauty, so she doesn’t really know about argan oil.” Doesn’t everyone want to believe somehow in hope in a bottle, after all? I certainly did.

He gave me one of his famous looks again and said: “I’m inclined to believe her.


When we finally got to one of the argan oil cooperatives, it was only I who ended up buying a bottle of argan oil for the skin.

There are two kinds of argan oil, you see: one pressed out of unroasted argan nuts for the skin, and one pressed out of roasted nuts for consuming as food.

We were in Morocco, in the exact place where argan oil is made, after all — so whether it’s the answer to eternally beautifully skin or not, I just had to buy a bottle anyway.

That night, we returned to Marrakech and went out to dinner
at Crystal, one of Morocco’s most fashionable restaurants.
And here’s a photo of me from that night, with just a little bit of argan oil…

As for the Travel Companion, he left the cooperative with a couple of bottles as well.

To drizzle on salads,” he said, as he got into the car, already anticipating my question even before I had asked it. After 40 days together, he thinks he can read my mind perfectly, and I’m quite happy to let him believe so.

I hope he reads this blog entry…

And that’s how another wonderful day ended, on holiday in Morocco last week, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.