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Things to do in Casablanca

Drink in the art at Villa Des Artes

This 1934 Art Deco building is one of Casablanca's most distinctive structures, and home to the country's most forward thinking art gallery. Part of the Saatchi group, the Villa Des Artes (tel: +212 522 295 094; www.fondationona.ma) aims to promote contemporary art, whilst keeping alive Moroccan culture and heritage.

Ride out into the desert

If you're more of a desert hound than city slicker, there's a wealth of tours that will take you deep into the sand into the Atlas Mountains. Morocco Tours (tel: +212 666 163 537; http://morocco-tours-from-casablanca.com) have a number available, including an epic eight day tour that will guide you to Marrakech via Fez and the land in between.

Scrub up in a Moroccan hammam

Pampering is a practically a national pastime in Morocco, so schedule in a visit to a public hammam (public bath). One of the most authentic is Hammam Ziani (tel: +212 522 319 695; www.hammamziani.ma). In a piping hot steam room, expect to be soaped up and scrubbed down before a full-body nap-inducing massage.

Shake your hips in a Chaabi dance class

There aren't many places to learn the classic Moroccan Chaabi dance, but Choreart (tel: +212 522 298 628) offers lessons. The dance studio was set up in 1997 and has classes taught by ex-professionals. If you want something a little more modern, you can take a hip-hop lesson.

Spend an afternoon in Rick’s Café

Casablanca is of course famous for the film of the same name, and in 2012 American Kathy Kriger created a bar that's a replica of the infamous Rick's Cafe (tel: +212 0522 27 42 07; www.rickscafe.ma) where Bogart, Bacall and pianist Sam had their most revered moments.

Featured Hotels

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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.

Kenzi Tower Hotel

A sleek hotel in Casablanca that towers over the city centre offering excellent views from its 237 rooms. Its gorgeous Clarins Spa is too good to miss.

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.