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Casablanca Travel Guide

About Casablanca

"Why did you have to come to Casablanca? There are other places." Humphrey Bogart's plea to Ingrid Bergman in the classic film Casablanca rings true for many tourists today.

Whether it's fabled Marrakech two hours' south, fortified Fez to the north, or the enticing Sahara beyond the Atlas Mountains, Morocco has become an enormously popular tourist destination. But Casablanca is a city where visitors seem keen to move on from as soon as possible.

This might seem a shame, but it’s wonderful to have a city with such an intriguing history to yourself. Casa's old medina, the earliest part of the city, may lack the glamour of Marrakech's ancient souks, but the latter can feel like a theme park rather than an authentic North African city. Casablanca is the real deal.

Beyond the medina lies the pleasant new town of cool arcades and palm-lined boulevards, built under the French protectorate a century ago. Its art deco architecture is amongst the finest found anywhere, especially around Place Mohammed V with its Grande Poste, iconic clock tower and the Palais de Justice.

As Morocco’s commercial capital, Casablanca is its biggest city, with more than 7 million cosmopolitan inhabitants. People are drawn here from every corner of the country, adding their influences to the enduring European vibes.

An air of French sophistication pervades Casablanca's cafes and restaurants, but that's just one aspect of the dining and nightlife circuit. As establishments aren't catering to a transient audience, their flavours are built to last, and some of the finest Moroccan cooking can be found in Casablanca – not to mention the most liberal attitudes to drinking found anywhere in the country.

A number of projects signal the city's modernity. Commissioned by the King, the Hassan II Mosque is the tallest religious building in the world, every inch of it covered in traditional craftsmanship. Norman Foster's incredible Anfa Place shopping complex has been constructed, while the ambitious development of Casablanca Marina is underway.

With such innovation, as well as pretty beaches and a lively cultural scene, tourists may soon be rushing to this city on the move.

Key facts

Population:
3,581,000.
Latitude:
33.602924
Longitude:
-7.612719

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Featured Hotels

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Riad Jnane Sherazade

For a traditional Moroccan riad experience, stay in the plush Riad Jnane Sherazade. Although this renovated 1950s era hotel is a bit distant from Casablanca's main sights, the hotel's affordable pricing, 400 sq m garden, terrace restaurant, hamman, winter lounge, and sunroom are worth the travel time.

Hotel and Spar Le’doge

A Relais & Châteaux property in an old art deco residence. Centrally located in the heart of Casablanca, minutes from Parc de la ligue Arabe. Just 16 uniquely decorated rooms with free wi-Fi and air-con, onsite Hamam (Turkish steam bath) and rooftop terrace.. Ideal for an extremely luxury experience.

Hôtel du Centre

Hôtel du Centre is basic but clean and one of the best options for cheap hotels in Casablanca, with just 32 rooms and a good location in the Old Medina.

Hotel Galia

Conveniently set right in front of the central market, this is one of the cheapest hotels in Casablanca with clean, comfortable rooms and a staff that speaks English and French as well as Arabic and Berber!

Hyatt Regency Casablanca

This high-end Casablanca hotel boasts 255 bedrooms and suites, an outdoor pool (summer only), a gym, squash courts, a sauna, hammam baths, three restaurants and the Casablanca nightclub, which is themed on Rick's Place from the 1942 Bogart/Bergman movie. Rooms are spacious, luxurious and air-conditioned. It is big and therefore slightly impersonal, but when you want service it is meticulous.

Hôtel Transatlantique

Edith Piaf once stayed in this 1922 colonial time-warp that has been sympathetically refurbished to preserve its nostalgic ambience. The guestrooms are nicely furnished and there's a bar and restaurant plus nightly cabaret shows.