Where to stay in Morocco
Morocco’s tourist industry continues to flourish, with forecasts for 2015 estimating around 13 million visitors, so there’s no shortage of hotels in every budget-range, class and style. Choose from eco-lodges and converted casbahs in the mountains, to luxury and package resorts spanning the beaches on the Atlantic coast and historic riads in the city medinas.
Indeed, riads, being an accommodation type specific to Morocco, harbour a special attraction for many visitors. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house designed around a central open-air courtyard or garden. Most are to be found in the medinas of the larger cities, and are popular for their privacy and wonderful authentic features. Many are centuries old and include decorative beam work and original Arabic mosaic tiling.
One of the most popular choices for a stay in Morocco especially for those looking for the simple pleasures of sun, sea and sand, is a holiday resort. Most of the country’s big resorts are to be found along the Atlantic coast. Agadir is still the largest, with an array of hotel complexes to suit all budgets, and its vast beach remains a firm favourite. All-inclusive resorts in formerly modest seaside towns, such as El Jadida between Casablanca and Rabat, continue to spring up.
Camping is the cultural way of life for many of Morocco’s nomadic tribes and there are many well maintained campsites around the country for pitching up your own tent. Most have good facilities that often include swimming pools and internet access. They’re all are usually good value, but tend to be located closer to scenic wilderness areas than the major towns and cities. Boutique camping, or glamping as it has become known, has gained major popularity in recent years and Morocco provides the perfect environment for this five-star ‘luxury under canvas’ experience. Many of the best can be found on the desert’s edge where indigenous tribes such as the Berbers and Bedouin are your hosts, for a unique and authentic experience.
Self-catering: As the boom in buying property abroad accelerated through the mid-noughties, Morocco appeared as an emerging market with amazing bargains to be had, especially for those willing to do little renovation work on a historic property. Consequently there’s currently a market for self-catering holiday rentals with plenty of choice and competitive deals. Spanning much of the countryside and nearly all the main cities and resorts towns, self-catering is available on a wide range of budgets, encompassing country-villas to beachfront apartments, city riads and private casbahs.
Eco-lodges: Morocco’s terrain may look robust but its eco-system and diverse habitats are delicate and preserving them is increasingly a priority. The construction of eco-lodge resorts in the heart of Morocco’s most scenic areas is now a quietly burgeoning part of the tourism industry. Many of the ruined casbahs in the mountain foothills have been restored to create both spectacular and environmentally friendly accommodation, while new buildings have also been erected using ancient and traditional techniques that are entirely sustainable and environmentally sound.
Youth hostels: There are international youth hostels in Asni, Azrou, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, Meknes, Rabat and Tangier. Although particularly popular with the young and student groups, these hostels cater to all and are a good way to meet other Moroccans. The standard of accommodation can be quite variable however, and membership is required; you are advised to join in your country of residence.